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Mind, Body, Green - Ultimate Wellness articles

I love their articles for it is written by various authors coming from wellbeing, yoga, holistic nutrition background that brings you closer to nature and serenity...

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Slightly drawn towards IT tips but they do also have tips about anything and everything you need under the sun, including tips for baking and cleaning! Check them out

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Raising Patient Children

For the parents out there, maybe a little tip? Just worth a read regardless :). It really sunk in for me as I do a lot of reflection on myself when I was younger. Anyway, any comments or thoughts feel free to shout.

Thanks OCPD

The quickest way to stop the crying of a child who is upset for not getting what he or she wants is to just give in and hand over the desired object to him or her. Although this may be the quickest solution, it is by far one of the worst solutions in the long-run. Instant gratification robs your child of the opportunity to learn some very important lessons: (1) we will not always get everything that we want so immediately; (2) our imperfect world can never be set in a way that it perpetually provides whatever it is that we want; (3) the difficult feelings associated with not getting what we want are a normal part of the human experience and they will eventually go away with mindful acceptance and positivity.
Mindfulness and delayed gratification build patience.
Patient Child
Let’s start off by exploring a scenario that all parents are familiar with. You and your daughter are in a toy store. She wants a toy. You say no. She cries because she is overwhelmed by some unfamiliar feeling of discomfort in her heart. What do you do? You help her identify and express her thoughts and emotions by getting her to think about what she is thinking in her head and feeling in her heart. She may be feeling betrayal and rejection because her thoughts are saying, “All this time I thought you loved me. How could you betray me like this by denying me of what I understand to be love?” After she puts these thoughts and emotions into words to the best of her ability, you deliver comfort, not by handing over the toy, but by giving her comforting words of truth and physical affection. You assure her that you love her. You teach her your more mature definition of love. You explain to her that, although it is ok for her to communicate to others what she wants, she cannot expect to always get that from them. You also explain that, in the context of generosity and gift giving, she is not entitled to a reason when others do not give her what she wants. Therefore, in most cases, you too do not give her a reason. Help her then to accept and feel her difficult emotions. Assure her that they are only temporary and that good emotions are just around the corner. Help her practice delayed gratification by getting her to wait for some time before she gets that toy. Ideally, you do not want to choose birthdays or special occasions as that will just transfer the sense of entitlement to those specific days of the year (I am not sure if there is any way to avoid that). All of this will greatly reduce your child’s chances of developing a sense of entitlement in his or her later years.
The next scenario is one that is not as obviously connected with instant gratification and I see a lot of parents, especially in the past recent years, just “giving in.” You decide to take your family out for dinner at a restaurant. Your son gets bored. He cannot stand the waiting time for the food to arrive and the time after he finishes his own meal. He becomes restless and starts to make a scene as an attempt to create more stimulation for himself. What is the quickest way to calm him down? I see a lot of parents these days just hand over their iPhone or iPad (full of games) to their children. It works like a charm!
Child with iPad
This quick fix, however, robs your son of the opportunity to learn how to recognize and cope with the difficult feeling of boredom and understimulation. So what do you do instead? Like the example above, you get your son to identify and express in words his feelings of discomfort. You validate his experience by showing empathy. You let him know that he will be ok and then challenge him to accept and feel his difficult emotions. Assure him that they are only temporary and that good emotions are just around the corner. Help him practice delayed gratification by getting him to wait for some time before he gets his chance to play. All of this will greatly reduce your child’s chances of developing problems with inattentionimpulsivityaddiction, and escapism in his or her later years. Many gifted people struggle with these problems because, growing up, no one really stopped them from utilizing their instantly gratifying coping methods to their intense feelings of boredom and understimulation.
Finally, the last scenario is one that is least likely to be recognized by parents as instant gratification because it is often confused with something else that is very positive. Your child looks upon the condition of his own work or the work of somebody else. He sees the gap between how things are and how excellent they could be. This gap causes him intense frustration inside. In attempt to remove this difficult feeling, your child takes immediate action and tries to close that gap. From the outside, the closing of this gap just looks like your child has great work ethic. What parent would not feel even slightly proud about his or her child having this from such an early age? What you fail to notice, though, is that your child is removing his own opportunity to develop patience in this area. After years and years of taking immediate action whenever this difficult feeling of frustration arises, your child grows up to be an adult who is incapable of being OK with this gap. The most painful part of it is… this person sees this gap everywhere and all the time. This is one of the main challenges of people with OCPD. So how do you prevent this? You stay close while your child is at work. You examine his motives. Is he doing it out of pure love, joy, and curiosity or is he doing it out of frustration? If it is out of frustration, just like all the examples above, teach him how to recognize, express, accept, and feel this difficult emotion. All of this will reduce your child’s chances of developing problems with obsessive compulsivityworkaholism, and perfectionism in his or her later years.
As a result of all the instant gratification I grew up with, I am not the best at giving 100% of my attention to anything that I am not hyper-passionate about. It all began in elementary school when I experienced the frustration of having to sit still and listen to the teacher. I noticed that, out of all of the words that came out of the teacher’s mouth, only a fraction of them were relevant and interesting to me. I figured that it was pointless for me to give 100% of my attention when I could just get the meat of the lesson with only 30% of my attention. I would then allocate the remaining 70% of my attention on some other activity, usually finishing my homework (to maximize my playtime once school was over). This continued all the way into my later years. But in university, I had a laptop computer instead. During all my business classes, I could now simultaneously work on other exciting activities like video editing. Having always participated in some other stimulating activity in these times of frustration, I now cannot help but feel intensely irritated when I have no way out of others’ communication that is long-winded, uninteresting, and disorganized. One of the most excruciating settings for me is group sharing circles where it is considered very rude to do anything other than give full attention to whoever is speaking. When I share, I make the extra effort to deliver my message in a concise manner by prioritizing the juicy parts of my story and minimizing the irrelevant “filler” parts of my story. But why doesn’t everyone else do this? My frustration then turns into anger and my mind gets bombarded with extremely negative and judgemental thoughts. “Why is it that the least interesting member of this group, who ironically begins her exhausting monologue with ‘I don’t have much to say,’ takes up the most time sharing about her bland life!?” The agony gets so bad for me that my heart rate goes up, I start to sweat, my nervous ticks and compulsions(cracking my knuckles, scratching my neck, touching my face, digging my nails into my head, shaking my legs, blinking my eyes) go on hyperdrive, and I feel sick in my stomach. I feel like running full speed into a brick wall. There have been numerous times when my pain got so bad that I had to excuse myself out of the room to cool down by stepping on patterns on the floor (one of my obsessive-compulsive cooling down strategies). Although this looks very much like ADHD, it is not (ADHD is actually the most common misdiagnosis of gifted people). Nevertheless, it is an area that I really need to work on building my patience in.
Are you that child who grew up with too much instant gratification and now you have very little patience in one or more areas in your life? No problem. There is a solution! It certainly does not come in the form of a small pill that you just convenient pop into your mouth (come on now, that would just be another form of instant gratification!). The solution is to accept and experience the difficult feelings that arise every time you do not get what you want. This may be very painful at first but it will get easier with time.
FOR YOU: “Mindfulness in Plain English” by Henepola Gunaratana
FOR CHILDREN: “A Boy and a Bear: the Children’s Relaxation Book” by Lori Lite

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Time You Have (In JellyBeans) - Video

What will you do with that time? Worth a watch :)

There are 28,835 beans equivalent to the number of days an average American lives.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

8 Bad Habits That Cause Back Pain

TRy to avoid these! Thanks Discover :)

Back Pain
It is not always necessity to think about different illnesses and conditions when you have a back pain. Even healthiest individuals can experience this discomforts in everyday life. Read the article and you may be a bit surprised about some causes of your back pain.
Sleeping on an old mattress
A good mattress lasts eight to ten years. If you have not replaced yours for more than 10 years chances are that your spine is not getting the support it needs. Replace your old one with mattress that is not too hard and even not too soft. The curves of your back won’t sink in and won’t offer enough support.
Carrying a huge bag
If you are someone who likes to carry around your home, your back won’t be grateful. Carrying a heavy bag on a side of your shoulder causes your body to become imbalanced, getting your spine out of balance too. Switch to a lighter bag. Your purse with everything in it should weigh no more than ten percent of your body weight.
Wearing stilettos or flats
Heels which are too high for you force you to arch your back, putting stress on your joints. Flats can be bad for you as well, depending on your foot type. Sandals without a supportive back do damage, causing your feet to move from side to side and distributing your body weight unevenly. Everyone has an ideal heel height. Find yours.
Holding a grudge
Researchers at one university found that people who practice forgiveness experience fewer feelings of resentment, depression, anger and fewer aches and pains. Your emotions, muscle tension and thoughts can directly influence the strength of your pain signals. Not only are grudges bad for you physically, they do not do much for you emotionally either.
Sitting all day
Bad news for all of you with a desk job! It is bad for your health. Sitting around all day may feel nice, but most of you do not maintain proper posture while sitting in front of a computer all day, causing weakness of back muscles because of inactivity. Sitting also puts 50 percent more pressure on your spine than standing does. If your office does not get you a standing desk to help keep your core and back muscles engaged all the time, lean back throughout your day so you are sitting at a 130 degree angle to reduce compression of the discs in the spine. Finally, be sure your head is straight, not straining forward, when using the comp.
Stressing out
If you are stressed out, your whole body is also stressed including the muscles in your neck and back that contract and clench up. And if you keep stressing, those tight muscles do not get a chance to relax, causing pain. There are a lot of proven ways to lower your stress levels including exercise, meditation and a warm bath.
Skipping workouts
Exercise builds muscle tone that is vital for supporting your back. When you do not get enough of it, you experience stiffness, weakened muscles and your spinal discs become degenerated. Workouts that strengthen the back and abdomen are your best choice.
Eating too much junk food
Not surprisingly, an intake of high calorie and low nutrient food leads to weight gain. That weight gain can put a load on your back. Excess weight around the midsection causes the pelvis to pull forward, creating stress for the back. Overweight individuals are at an increased risk of osteoarthritis. Dropping even 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can improve your back condition.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

10 Ways To Get What You Want In Life

Thank you mind and body once again :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

My Plate

Gone are the days of the food pyramid just because it was designed to suite the economic preference.


So, say NO to it!

These days it's called 'My Plate' whereby there is an even distribution on all basic types of food.


Dairy is considered separate so you're more than welcome to have an ice cream after a meal! Haha, or perhaps milk and cookie :P

If you need or keen to know recipe ideas, or want to cook on a budget, head on to myplate for more info.

By the way, this is just a guideline and it works for me. Give it a shot to see if it satisfies the cravings as our body tends to know what is missed out but our brains just can't process it some times.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

13 Alternative and Healthy Baking Ingredients

For the Avid baker like me! Lovely alternatives indeed :)

October 24, 2013
As an avid baker and someone who is passionate about nutrition, I am constantly striving to find the best healthy alternatives for my baked goods. Healthy baking doesn’t necessarily need to be gluten-free and vegan. In fact, some gluten-free options have just as much sugar and as many calories as the real deal. The same goes for vegan.
When swapping out ingredients for healthier or allergy]-free options, there are four major components of the baked good that need to be considered.
White flour alternatives
The first is white flour. This is important for people who have gluten allergies or if you are trying to control glycemic load and increase the fiber and nutrient value of a dish. Here are a few white flour swaps that work well. 
  • Black beans – If you are making brownies, try using one cup of pureed black beans (about 15 oz.) instead of one cup of flour. You won’t be able to taste the beans, and they give the brownies a terrific fudgy texture.
  • Whole wheat flour – In most recipes, whole wheat flour can be used instead of white flour. However, it will change the flavor, texture and density of the pastry. If you are making cake or muffins, or other recipes that should be light, try using whole wheat pastry flour instead.
  • Almond meal  - For a more rustic tasting pastry, try using almond flour. It is naturally gluten-free and adds protein to your pastry. I like to use it for berry cakes or tart shells.
  • Gluten free flour - If you would like to make a gluten-free option of your favorite recipe, try using a gluten free flour blend like this one from Bob’s Red Mill. You can also make your own by playing with a mixture of your favorite alternative flours like brown rice or quinoa.
Dairy alternatives
The next ingredient that you may want to substitute is dairy. In most cases, we are talking about butter in baking. To make something vegan, the butter needs to be replaced with a plant-based alternative. 
  • Coconut oil - A great fat replacement! You can use the exact same amount of coconut oil as you would butter. It will give your cookies a delicious crunch and have you well on your way to vegan baking. 
  • Avocado – This is a great replacement for butter if you are baking with chocolate, which will cover up the green color of the avocado. Pureed avocado will add some nutrients to your baked goods, as well as make them very moist and soft.
  • Banana – Bananas can be used in much the same way as avocado. However, it’s important to note that they do have a very strong flavor. It’s best to use bananas in place of butter for recipes that you want to be banana-flavored, like loaf cake or muffins.
Sugar alternatives
Sugar is a tricky ingredient to eliminate from baked goods. This is because it not only sweetens cakes and cookies, but it is also reacts with the starch to help provide structure and acts as a tenderizer by absorbing water.
  • Coconut palm sugar – This is an excellent alternative to brown sugar, as it adds a caramel flavor and color to your finished products. It can also have a slight coconut flavor, so it’s important to take that into consideration when choosing a sweetener.
  • Raw honey – Using natural honey is a really good way to sweeten your baked goods. You can use the exact same amount of honey as you would sugar, or even a bit less. Because it is a liquid it brings a lot of moisture to the finished product.
  • Stevia – This is a somewhat controversial sweetener, but if you are a stevia fan then I encourage you to use it for baking! Stevia is much sweeter than cane sugar, so it’s good to use in a recipe that doesn’t call for much sugar, or to substitute half the sugar for stevia. You could also combine stevia and honey or maple syrup.
Egg alternatives
The last ingredient that you can replace to make your recipe vegan or allergy free is eggs. Eggs also have a specific purpose in baking. They bind the other ingredients together and add moisture to the final product. When choosing an egg substitute, it is important to identify what the egg does in the recipe. For example, eggs are necessary for soufflé or cheesecake because it is a key ingredient. However, for cookies or cake, you can use a vegan alternative.
  • Flax seed – To use flax seed instead of egg, just combine 1 tablespoon ground flax with 2 or 3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg. Once it is mixed together, add to your batter just like you would an egg.
  • Chia seed – Chia can be used the same way as flax to replace eggs, except it does not need to be ground. Because chia is so gelatinous, it is a great binding agent in baking.
  • Egg replacer – If you are making a dish with a big egg emphasis, you can try using an egg replacer like Ener-G Egg Replacer. These products are usually a mix of potato starch and tapioca flour, and are often gluten-free.
What are some of your favorite alternative baking ingredients? 

About the author

Lauren Caster is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She resides in Portland, Oregon where she enjoys cooking for friends, doing Bikram yoga, and exploring new restaurants and food carts in town. She is one part of the bloging duo behind the blog Brooklyn-Portland, she received her diploma in Baking and Pastry Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Monday, October 28, 2013

How to make Stress your friend

This is an amazing link. Stress and being compassionate have one similar trait. A hormone called Oxytocin. So we can actually transform stress into reaching out to others. Do spend some time watching.

When you choose to view your stress response as helpful, you create the biology of courage.
When you choose to connect others when under stress, you can create resilience.

Stress gives us access to our hearts.
The compassionate heart that find meaning and joy in other and yes the pounding of the heart gives us strength.

Friday, October 25, 2013


It's the new Vege!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lactic Acid, not a waste after all

In short, it does get used back in the body energy systems after all!! The 'bad guy' was actually the H+ ions that causes acidity in the body!

Have a read, if you're challenged enough :)

Lactic Acid: Friend or Foe?

It’s not uncommon to think of lactic acid as an enemy. For decades we’ve been conditioned by teachers, coaches and personal experience to think of it as some kind of useless waste product; the cause of that “burning” sensation when you run fast or pump iron to complete failure. Of course almost everyone associates lactic acid with next-day muscle soreness, fatigue and stiffness.
However, thanks to ongoing research in the field of nutritional biochemistry and exercise physiology, an entirely new perspective of lactic acid is now held. Instead of some kind of “evil Darth Vader”, scientists now recognize lactic acid as a major player in the way our bodies generate energy during exercise. Lactic acid is actually our friend.
The Benefits of Lactic Acid

Lactic acid fuels glucose and glycogen production in the liver, helps us to use dietary carbohydrates more efficiently and actually serves as a quick energy fuel preferred by the heart and muscles. Under anaerobic conditions, lactate even becomes a primary fuel for the brain. Lactic acid is enormously important to mechanisms involved with how we adapt to stress, and when correctly managed is possibly one of the most important keys to athletic success in high intensity sport.
Research with rats while swimming at high intensity has shown that lactate has a stimulatory effect on testosterone release. Lactic acid may also signal the release of human growth hormone from the pituitary. That’s good because both of theses hormones generally take a nosedive as people age. It’s not known yet whether it’s the lactate ion itself or the intense anaerobic exercise (which increases lactate ion concentration) that causes hGH to be released, but there is definitely a correlation.
The Real Cause of DOMS 

Lactic acid does not cause that dreaded burning sensation during intense exercise. When lactic acid is made it’s split into lactate ion (lactate) and hydrogen ion. Hydrogen ion is the bad guy, the acid in lactic acid that interferes with electrical signals in nerve and muscle tissue. And lactic acid is not responsible for any muscle soreness felt the next day or two after a hard workout. That is caused by muscle damage and post-exercise tissue inflammation.
Dr Fred Hatfield, author of “Hardcore Bodybuilding: A Scientific Approach”, associates delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) with hydroxyproline damage, caused by the production of superoxide free radicals, hydroperoxides, hydroxyl radicals and ammonia. Hydroxyproline is a constituent of collagen and occurs throughout connective tissue.
In “Optimum Sports Nutrition”, Dr. Michael Colgan clearly describes how both muscle damage and DOMS are caused by the accumulation of ammonia, phosphate leakage from muscle into the blood, compression hemolysis (destruction of red blood cells), reduction of cytochrome C and uncontrolled free radical pathology.
To offset this damage, which is potentially greater in large muscles such as the legs or back and rises with increased intensity, or in aerobic activity which forces a greater consumption of oxygen, athletes should take supplemental antioxidants before & after training, such as vitamin C & E, coenzyme Q10, n-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), L-glutathione, grape seed extract, beta carotene, niacin, B5, zinc and selenium.
The Lactate Shuttle

Dr. George Brooks, PhD, professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, claims that lactate can be shuttled between cells to supply additional energy for continued work. Lactate produced in fast-twitch (white) Type II explosive muscle fibers can be transported to slow-twitch (red) Type I endurance muscle fibers and throughout the entire vascular system to be used as fuel.
This is one of the reasons why I teach my clients to perform cardio AFTER the resistance exercise segment of their workout, not before. The other reasons relate to the way we oxidize fatty acids more efficiently after glycogen has been depleted and as a preparatory step for the next and final segment of my Five Step Exercise Program©, which includes a full body stretch inclusive to the combined techniques of yoga, martial arts and dance.
More on Lactic Acid 

Lactic acid is formed from the breakdown of glucose, our body’s main source of carbohydrate. Although this process is oxygen independent, lactic acid is also formed and maintained in muscles that have plenty of oxygen available. The key issue is elevation above threshold, because when the rate of lactic acid entry into the blood exceeds our ability to remove and/or control it effectively, then those pesky hydrogen ions begin to lower the pH of muscle, which invariably interferes with how they contract and thus our ability to perform.
Thomas Fahey, PhD, professor of Exercise Science at Cal State, Chico, says the body uses lactic acid as a biochemical “middleman” for metabolizing carbohydrates. Most glucose from dietary carbohydrate bypasses the liver and enters the general circulation where it reaches muscle and converts into lactic acid. Lactic acid then goes back into the blood and returns to the liver where it’s used as a building block to make liver glycogen. This is called the “Glucose Paradox” and should remind us why it’s so important to have a healthy liver and active muscles.
Nutrients Which Improve Lactic Acid Metabolism 

The first one that comes to mind is creatine. In “Creatine, The Power Supplement”, Richard Kreider, PhD explains that increasing phosphocreatine [in the myocyte] through creatine supplementation may enhance performance by buffering acid [hydrogen ions], mitigating the formation of lactic acid and reducing the reliance on anaerobic glycolysis as a replenishment source of ATP.
HMB (ß-hydroxy-ß-methylbutyrate) is also a great asset. Steven Nissen PhD has shown that athletes taking HMB can exercise at a higher intensity and/or for a longer period of time when compared to a placebo. HMB seems to help the body burn intramuscular fatty acids preferentially over carbs. HMB improves VO2 peak, increases the time it takes to reach VO2 peak and increases lactic acid threshold. For more info and references, check out www.mettechinc.com.
Hydration is monumental to health & performance and it’s surprising how few people including athletes adequately hydrate themselves. A group of scientists in the United Kingdom examined the effects of ingesting a 6% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution on athletes (versus a placebo) during 90 minutes of intermittent high-intensity running. Serum insulin and blood glucose concentration was maintained for longer periods and blood lactate after 30 minutes of exercise was lower compared to water only (Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, September 1999).
Sodium bicarbonate and phosphate both help beat the burn. So do carnosine and carnitine. Standardized panax ginseng extract spares glycogen and increases fatty acid oxidation. When you spare glycogen as a fuel source in exercise you can usually extend the time it takes to reach your tolerance to acid as it builds up. Of course the food you eat also contributes in a powerful way. Unlike the Canadian average (20%) at least sixty percent of your dietary profile should consist of alkaline food. But that’s another whole article in itself!

Fahey, T., PhD, Don’t “Dis” Lactic Acid, Sports Science, Volume 36, Number 9, Muscular Development (September 1999)
Boettger, C., MS, “The Lactate Shuttle”, Sports Research Update, Muscle & Fitness (February 2000)
Brooks, G.A., Mammalian fuel utilization during sustained exercise. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 120 (1): 89-107 (1998)
Gladden, L., Lactate uptake by skeletal muscle. Exercise Sport Science Review 17:115-155 (1989)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Learning to Love and Live When Life Gets Hard

For those of you who are in the rough, I feel you. I know what it is, and it's uplifting to have an article wrote to remind us where our strength lies.

Girl looking
“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.” ~Unknown
It’s when you’ve woken up with a full day ahead of you after only two hours of sleep.
It’s when there’s nothing for you to do but sit by your friends as they deal with tragedies and all the hard stuff life throws at us.
It’s when you don’t know how to handle the situations in your life that are anything but black and white.
It’s when you feel utterly helpless and powerless as you watch someone you care about aching with the deep soul wounds that only come from losing the person that comprised the other half of their heart.
It’s when your own heart feels as though it’s been crushed beyond recognition over and over again.
It’s when your path is entirely unclear and you don’t know if the next step is solid ground or off a cliff.
It’s when you’re not sure if the decisions you’ve made are the right ones.
It’s when sometimes you realize they weren’t.
It’s when it looks as though the world is irrevocably falling apart.
It’s when it seems like people are becoming more and more disconnected, lonely, and afraid.
It’s when you feel as though there’s no way you can even begin to help fix any of it.
It’s when you realize that, in spite of it all, you really are smart and strong enough to make it through step by agonizingly slow step.
It’s when you realize that just when you thought you had nothing left to give, you find you actually have everything left to give and more.
It’s when you want to give up on it all, but find that one thing that drives you to keep going.
It’s easy to love and give and feel happy and alive when things are going well, when we feel as though the world is our oyster. But what happens when life feels as though it’s caving in with a spirit crushing weight?
Over the course of 48 hours I found out a friend died, two of the people closest to me are supporting their moms as they contend with cancer, several friends are struggling with family issues, and all the while I’m attempting to balance out 14 hour work days as a counselor at a residential high school, but just wishing I was home to be with everyone.
It reminds me a lot of when I was working out and training for hours on end. There would come times when I felt exhausted, burnt out, and desperately wanted to quit. But then I remembered my goal.
I remembered that the pain and discomfort were temporary, and the strength, endurance, flexibility, and functionality I was gaining were invaluable.
While working out seems like an insignificant comparison to major life events, the psychological training is the same. What you tell yourself in moments that seem unimportant is what reemerge when things get hard. As the quote goes, “You don’t rise to the level of your expectations, you fall to the level of your training.”
You don’t grow when things are easy and effortless. You grow when you’re being challenged—sometimes beyond what you think you’re capable of handling.
We carry ideas of what we think loving and living are until something comes along and redefines how we see it all. Sometimes it redefines it by making it appear as though it’s completely broken or entirely gone.
But you know what the beautiful part of it all is?
Just because we think something is broken doesn’t mean that it can’t be mended in some way.
And just because we think we can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there. The world around us reminds us of it all the time. Even the sun, moon, and stars silently show us that they exist even when there’s too much in the way to see them.
It’s not easy. It’s really, really hard. In fact, sometimes it looks nearly impossible. How are we supposed to gather our scattered bits of resolve to rebuild the will to keep moving forward when all we really want to do is curl up and hide from the world?
It’s those times we have to step aside and heal in whatever way we can, and in that time, remember (or find) what it is that keeps us going.
It’s when we think we have no reason left to love, and sometimes when we question our veryexistence, that we have to allow ourselves to find and create a whole new beauty from what may have felt like (and maybe was) an end.
As Cormac McCarthy wrote in All the Pretty Horses, “those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength.”
If we are open to the lessons from our hardships, misfortunes, and tragedies they will inevitably build within us an increasingly unshakable compassion, understanding, and love.
Losing so much of what I’ve loved and watching as friends contend with their own losses, I’ve learned that when it seems things couldn’t be any worse, that’s when it’s most important to gather every last bit of will and heart and forge the faith to keep believing that love and life are worth every single moment.
Even those that break our hearts.
It’s in those moments when we have to learn how to love and live again.
“It’s times like these you learn to live again. It’s times like these you give and give again. It’s times like these you learn to love again.” ~Foo Fighters
Photo by Harsha K R

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Life Tips from 18 of the World’s Wealthiest

They are indeed very useful tips!

Life Tips from 18 of the World’s Wealthiest

1,000 years of wisdom in an interactive flipbook

In this handy flipbook from eBay Deals, nearly 1,000 years of wisdom are condensed into a collection of life quotes from 18 of the world’s wealthiest people. Notable figures, from the late Henry Ford, to his modern-day counterpart in transportation innovation Elon Musk, give their best pieces of timeless advice. Also featured are entrepreneurs from many walks of life-- Oprah Winfrey and Michael Dellto Bill Gates and Mark Cuban give their thoughts on everything from relationships to frugality.
To view, use the arrow buttons below the flipbook to scroll through its pages.
- See more at: http://www.success.com/article/life-tips-from-18-of-the-world%E2%80%99s-wealthiest#sthash.mkX0LGYA.dpuf

Saturday, September 21, 2013

10 Ways Happy People Prioritize Their To-Do Lists

Very useful tips! Thanks once again Marc and Angel

“What can I start doing today to make my life happier and more fulfilling?”
This is one of the most common questions readers ask us via email, blog comments, and social media.  So today I want to share some simple, actionable ways to improve your happiness and wellbeing on a daily basis.
In the seven years of this blog’s existence, Angel and I have had the pleasure of meeting, coaching and interacting with hundreds of truly inspiring, happy, prolific people.  And the more we have interacted with people like this, the more we realize the similarities in how they prioritize their lives, and how their priorities align with our own.
What becomes evident is that, to sustain happiness, we must focus our attention on the right things, in the right ways.  Every growing human being (that means all of us) has resource constraints: limited time and energy.  It is critical that we spend our resources effectively.
Here are 10 ways to prioritize your life and your to-do lists for increased happiness and fulfillment:

1.  One thing at a time, with full presence.

In other words, make the thing you have chosen to do the number one priority while you’re doing it.  Focus with your full attention.  See the value in where you are, while you’re there.  Enjoy what’s happening, while it’s happening.
In the end, you will come to realize that the best days are the days when you don’t need anything extreme or special to happen to make you smile.  You simply appreciate the moments and feel gratitude, seeking nothing else, nothing more.  That is what true happiness is all about.

2.  Family and close friends are at the top.

Nurture your important relationships in such a way that when you tell the people you care about that you care about them, you’re simply reinforcing what they already know based on how you have prioritized them into your life.
Give them your full attention.  Let them see their own beauty in your eyes.  Let them find their own voice through your listening ears.  Help them discover their own greatness in your presence.
Make the people you love a top priority, always.

3.  Focus on importance, not urgency.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.  Sadly, most of us spend too much time on urgent things and not enough time on important things.
So do yourself a favor and implement these three action steps every time you’re building or sorting your to-do list:
  1. Think about the difference between what is urgent and what is important.
  2. Review all the obligations on your list.
  3. Do what’s important first.
Sometimes everything on your list will look important, which might be true to an extent.  But as you practice prioritizing, you will get better and better at it.  And eventually you will know, without question, when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones, like spending quality time with loved ones.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)

4.  Keep your efforts aligned with your purpose.

Getting anything worthwhile done is a matter of connecting with why you have chosen to do this thing in the first place.
Don’t allow others to confuse you.  Don’t let them convince your heart what is right for you.  Your heart already knows.  Listen to it.  Don’t let anyone else dilute the power of your inner voice.  You’ve got to stand up for something specific, on your own two legs, or you will achieve nothing worthwhile in your own mind’s eye.
Within you there is a formidable and undeniable sense of purpose.  Happiness comes from making a solid and persistent connection to that purpose.  When your intentions are supported by a “why” that has meaning, you will find the “how” to bring them to life.

5.  Play to your strengths and delegate when it makes sense.

When it comes to tackling big projects, you can try to do everything yourself, or you can reach out and find the right people to help you.  The first choice will raise your stress and blood pressure; the second choice will raise your consciousness and effectiveness.
Choosing the right perspective is so important; you CAN see life’s challenges as opportunities.  When an unexpected obstacle is suddenly standing in your way, don’t get overwhelmed.  Take a breather and regroup.  Someone else nearby knows how to get around it.  Find and engage them.
For example, if your website is suddenly having glitches with a new web browser, don’t read a giant book on web design.  Hire a professional web designer.  See the problem as an opportunity to delegate.  Life is trying to teach you that most long-term, worthy endeavors are team efforts, and so much more palatable when shared with others.  Every unexpected obstacle in life is a lesson on teamwork in disguise, solvable with the right team of people.

6.  Socialize and share with peers.

Regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s always easier if you have a group of people who understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what challenges you’re facing.  Staying in touch with these people and sharing ideas with them will accelerate your effectiveness and happiness.  Best selling author, Seth Godin, refers to these people as your tribe members.
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another via an idea, movement or common goal.  For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another.  Godin says, “A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Every single one of us craves the feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves.  By nature, we are tribal, but oftentimes we become disconnected from our tribe.  We know our people are out there – somewhere – but we feel lost and disconnected from them.  If you’re feeling disconnected, open up to your peers and initiate a conversation.  Tap into your tribe.

7.  Give what you can, as you seek what you desire.

In many ways, life is a circle – what you put in to it comes back around.  When you make a positive impact in the world, the world will have a positive impact on you.
If you want to be rich, be generous.  If you want to make friends, be friendly.  If you want to be heard, listen.  If you want to be understood by others, take the time to truly understand them.  If you want to live an interesting life, be interested in the happenings around you.
You won’t always get back exactly what you wanted or expected, but when you give what you can you almost always receive what you need.  (Read The Secret.)

8.  Leave the past behind as you plan ahead.

Let old problems remain where they belong – in the past.  No matter how many times you revisit the past, there’s nothing new to see.  Don’t let what once happened get in the way of what is happening.  Just because you’ve made mistakes doesn’t mean your mistakes get to make you.  If something important didn’t work yesterday, figure out what changes can be made today.
Tame your inner critic; let go and move on productively.  You must make a conscious effort to do this, it won’t happen automatically.  You will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is.  I don’t care how disappointed I am.  I’m not going to let yesterday’s problems get the best of me.  I’m taking the lessons and moving on with my life.”

9.  Commit to self-respect, regardless of the issue at hand.

Whenever you catch yourself in a rambling bout of negative self-talk, stop and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who spoke to me in the same way that I sometimes speak to myself, how long would I allow this person to be my friend?”
Remember, the way you treat yourself sets the standard for others, and the world at large, to follow.  Above everyone else, YOU deserve YOUR respect.  So make sure your decisions, behaviors and actions reflect your self-respect as you carry out your plans.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

10.  Leave room to breathe.

Things don’t always go as planned.  Good things can’t always be planned.  Be flexible and open to life’s twists and turns.
Organize, but don’t agonize.  Keep your space and time ordered, but your schedule underbooked.  Create a foundation with a soft place to land, a wide margin of error, and room to think and breathe…
Freeing yourself from an overbooked schedule lets you experience more of life’s good surprises, and also provides you with flexibility when the unforeseen disrupts your foresight.


So, in summary…
Focus on your priorities, but take things in stride.  Make decisions, not excuses.  Live one moment at a time.  Count your blessings, not your troubles.  Let the wrong things go.  Look for lessons in unforeseen obstacles.  Ask for help.  Give as much as you take.  Make time for those who matter.  Laugh when you can.  Cry when you need to.  And always stay true to your values.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Hmm, just a ponder

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On

How I love marc and Angel!


5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On

5 Life Skills You Should Exercise Until You Die
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think
I have ended up where I needed to be.
―Douglas Adams
Life has no purpose; you have a purpose and you bring it to life.  There isn’t one big cosmic purpose for everyone either; there is only the one you give to yourself – a personal purpose, an individual meaning, a distinct plot to the story that is your life.  Often this plot is difficult to follow; yet it is never impossible to follow and it is worth every bit of effort you can muster.
Each moment, each situation, each turn of events presents you with an opportunity to build the self you are capable of being.  It’s just a matter of accepting opportunities, implementing ideas, taking action, and actively expressing the purpose that is uniquely YOU.
You are stronger than any barrier standing in your way, because you have a purpose that cannot be denied.  You can be adaptable, innovative, hard working and tenacious.  You can imagine the possibilities and then work to make them real.
Here are five life skills that will help you do just that – the real fundamentals of being an empowered, self-directed human being:

1.  Curiosity

Joy comes easy to us in our youth because we haven’t become set too firmly in our ways.  Our willingness to curiously assess new things and varying perspectives allows us to experience flashes of insight and beauty wherever we go.  Those of us who fight the draw of our comfort zones as we age, who sustain our curiosity into our later years, learn a lot more and see far more beauty throughout our lifetime.
Curiosity, after all, is the foundation of lifelong growth.  It allows us to retain a beginner’s mind even as our wisdom expands.  In this way, an enduring curiositypermits our hearts and minds to grow younger, not older every day.
Always remain curious and teachable.  Keep an open mind and do not stop questioning and learning.  Look forward, open new doors and experience new things.  Do so because you’re curious, and because you know that today’s journey is always just beginning.

2.  Creativity

When it comes to human growth, if curiosity is the engine, creativity is the steering wheel.  Creativity is the most powerful instrument of progress – a mindset that endows resources with a new capacity to create possibility and growth.
The world is moving so fast these days that those who say something can’t be done are often interrupted by those who are doing it.  This is precisely why it’s important to exercise your creative mind on a regular basis.  Ultimately, the creative learners inherit the world while the doubters and complacent minds find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.  (Read The War of Art.)

3.  Resilience

Except for your own thoughts, there’s nothing that’s absolutely in your power.  Knowing and accepting this gives you the ability to cope proficiently with life’s constant little inconveniences – a vital life skill we called resilience.
Resilience is accepting reality, even if it’s less than the fantasy you had in your mind or the reality that was once yours.  You can fight it, you can do nothing but complain about what you’re missing, or you can accept what you have and try to put it together to create something good.
As you progress, life will inevitably challenge you on a regular basis.  No matter how much falls on you, keep your head up and plow ahead.  That’s the only way to keep the road to your dreams clear.  It won’t get any more forgiving, but it will get easier and easier to deal with, because over time you will grow stronger and more resilient.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

4.  Patience

In the sweetest little voice Winnie-the-Pooh once said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day.”  This is the power of patience.
Patience is not sitting still.  Rather, it’s mastering your time by applying the right principles in the right way to attain a long-term desired result.  It’s moving forward steadily for as long as it takes to get where you want to go.  Enduring the time between your departure and arrival requires a great deal of will.  But no matter how tedious these moments of waiting are, you have to get used to the feeling, knowing that what you’re working toward is coming your way, even though it’s not with you at the moment.
Ultimately the two hardest tests on the road to personal growth are the patience to wait for what you want and the courage not to be disappointed when it doesn’t arrive as soon as you had expected.  Patience can be bitter, but the seeds you plant now will bear sweet fruit.  These fruits are worth waiting for.  There’s no advantage to hurrying through life and never tasting their sweetness.

5.  Self-reliance

Self-reliance is the most important of all life skills, because without it you can’t practice any other life skill consistently.  It’s honestly a virtue that brings all the rest together.
Quite simply, self-reliance is the unswerving willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward, regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now.  It’s taking control of your life, finding your true self by thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to live your way.  It’s being the hero of your life, not the victim.
Life constantly invites you to be who you are capable of being.  Choosing to be self-reliant is accepting life’s invitation.  (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the Growth and Success chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)