A New Way to Make Hard Decisions

Do you consider yourself a decisive person? Or, do you struggle to make choices for yourself—whether they’re big or small?

Many of us (myself included!) fall into that second category, and there’s no doubt that it can be somewhat paralyzing.

Fortunately, science is here to help. According to research published by Psychological Science, there’s one super easy trick that can help you make decisions for yourself: Pretend that you’re actually making them for a friend.

It’s called self-distancing, and it totally removes you from the equation—helping you to make more sound judgments about certain situations.

As part of the research, Igor Grossman at the University of Waterloo and his team conducted a study of 100 different participants who were all in long-term relationships. One group of the subjects was asked to imagine that they had been cheated on, while another group was told to imagine that a friend had been cheated on.

At that point, all of the participants filled out a questionnaire designed to measure their “wise reasoning” skills—things like their ability to consider multiple perspectives or pursue a compromise.

The results? The study subjects who were thinking about a friend demonstrated far better judgement and sounder reasoning than those who were imagining themselves in that scenario.

While the study looked at relationships specifically, this advice holds some water in other areas of your life as well—including your career. And, it’s a tactic that I’ve already been putting to work to combat my own chronic indecisiveness.

So, the next time you feel torn over whether to quit your job, go after that career change, or toss your hat into the ring for that promotion, step outside of yourself and think about what you would tell a friend in your exact same situation. You might just be surprised with your own reasoning and wisdom.

Article by: Kat Boogaard of The Muse

4-Step Formula to Pursuing Your Dreams

When I was 26, I was fumbling through life in different jobs that were only partially fulfilling, unsure of my future but certain of only one thing:

I don’t know what my IT is, but I know IT is going to be big.

I knew very little about what I wanted out of life, but I hungered for authority and to be taken seriously. Then a good friend, Krista, introduced me to a book: “The Dream Manager,” by Matthew Kelly. The book itself generally discussed how a middle manager reduced turnover by investing himself in his employees’ personal goals, which has since become very important to me in my career. But at the time, I was more impressed with the concept of creating a “Dream List.”

Essentially, The Dream Manager explained a simple concept. Fewer than 1 percent of the world ever writes down their hopes, dreams or ambitions, and fewer ever share this list with a third party, creating accountability for their goals. But of those who do, they are much more likely to live their version of a fulfilled life.

I created my Dream List and compiled 100 dreams I hoped to accomplish before I die. Now, exactly 10 years later, I’ve accomplished more than 80 of them and have a new 100 in their place.

If you are feeling a bit lost in life or confused about how to accomplish your life goals, I encourage you to follow these four important steps:

1. Write it down.

First, open an Excel spreadsheet. Create some time categories across the top of your sheet, such as “6 months,” “5 years,” and “Lifetime.” Next, along the left side of your sheet, create as many categories of life that you can think of, including (but not limited to): Spiritual, Family, Professional, Financial, Intellectual, Community, Character and Travel.

Now, take the time to fill in at least one goal for each of the intersecting buckets you’ve created between time and category. If you can get to more than one dream per section, all the better. Write until you can write no more.

2. Notice your themes.

If you are lost in your current career, feeling strapped for cash or frustrated with dead-end relationships, it can be hard to pull yourself out of your current predicament to dream big. So start small.

If you can’t see your future in the Lifetime category, think about where you want to be in one month, and if you are feeling stuck in your professional category, focus on travel or community. Dreams can overlap categories; in fact, I encourage it.

Every once in awhile, pull back from your list to see if you can find themes, or you can build them in right from the start. For instance, if you want to complete a marathon at some point in your life, then perhaps you may want to add a half marathon to your five-year goal and a 5K to your six-month. Do you notice a theme between travel and spiritual that you are longing to spend meaningful time in India at an ashram? Perhaps that can influence your financial goals as you consider how much something like that would cost. You might even consider what professional aspirations you have: could you work at one of these places?

When you remove yourself from your everyday monotony, you can find some gems that may guide you toward a more fulfilling future.

3. Share with others.

Once you feel your list is complete, write down a person’s name next to each dream. This person should be the person in your life that is most likely to help you accomplish this particular dream. Then, share those dreams with your identified person. Ask them for help in holding you accountable to accomplishing your goals, and give yourself deadlines for reaching back out to them to report out on your progress.

By sharing your dreams and asking others for help, you allow people who care about you to invest themselves in your life, and you make it far more likely that you’ll achieve your goals.

4. Check in regularly.

This final step is the most important. You don’t serve yourself by committing to goals and then putting them on a shelf. Plus, when you accomplish a goal, it feels great to mark it off your list and replace it with a new one. You can always move your dreams to a new timeframe if they no longer meet your original parameters, but by checking back in (say, every six months), you remind yourself of what is important to you.

I am now at a point in life where I can be proud of my years of hard work, but I know that I would be only half as far had I not crafted a dream list. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to start dreaming!

Article by:  Candace Sjogren, Entrepreneur Magazine

15 Self-Care Ideas When Everything Seems Impossible

A lot of people think self-love is selfish or egotistical. I used to believe that I was unworthy of my desires and I didn’t matter. I spent a lot of time taking care of others and even more time trying to fit in and be seen, but the truth? I wasn’t seeing myself.

I was a victim of a lack of self-love and hated who I saw in the mirror. For almost three decades, I was at war with myself. I heard the term “self-love,” but it felt like a buzzword, a “wouldn’t it be nice,” but that clearly was not for me. The idea of loving myself was foreign because I was too consumed with self-hate.

I decided to go on my own personal journey to be more kind, compassionate, and loving toward myself. I called it the “Self-Love Experiment,” which turned into my new book by the same name.

What I discovered in my own experiment is that self-care is the foundation for self-love. At first, saying I love myself felt hard, so I replaced the word love with care. I would say, “I am practicing self-care,” and this led to a beautiful lifestyle where I was able to learn that I am worthy, beautiful, and enough as I am.

If you struggle with low self-esteem or lack confidence, you can turn your self-doubt into self-love by practicing more self-care. Here are fun, totally doable self-care ideas to help you ramp up your self-love quotient.

1. Celebrate the little victories.

Spend some time celebrating how far you’ve already come. The little moments along the way are special, and when you can appreciate them, you will feel more grateful.

2. Forgive yourself.

Are you holding on to anger? Maybe you feel like you should be further along or more on track. Place your hand on your heart, close your eyes, and say, “I am sorry I am so hard on you. I know you are doing the best you can. I forgive you and will be more kind and compassionate to you.”

3. Bring creativity to cooking.

Maybe you’ve been eyeballing that fancy wellness Instagram account or you have marked some pages in your favorite cookbook. Getting creative in the kitchen can help you feel more balanced. Being creative fills a need and deep desire to express yourself. When you do this in the kitchen, you also nourish your insides, and when you do this it is reflected on the outside. A more balanced, healthy, and happy you, coming right up!

4. Learn something new.

Is there a course or book you’ve been wanting to read? Keeping your mind fresh by educating yourself and learning more will help you feel more compassionate toward yourself and others.

5. Make a list of things you love about yourself.

When was the last time you said something nice about yourself to yourself? Most of us have a running dialogue of not being good enough and wanting to change things we dislike about ourselves. Instead of letting your insecurities get the best of you, start to be kind to yourself by listing things you love: whether it’s a body part, intellect, ability, or something else. Do this as often as you can, and soon enough you will feel more free and loved.

6. Do something you’ve always wanted to do.

Book that one-way ticket to Europe. Start penning that book or leave the job you hate. These are all things you might have in your heart but are afraid to act on. Following through on the dreams and desires are important for building self-trust and respect. Go for it; your future self will thank you.

7. Move the way you feel.

Don’t be afraid to have some pep in your step. Get in touch with your inner child—you know, the one who loved skipping down the street, jumping up and down, or twisting and shouting and didn’t care what people thought. Dance and sing like no one is watching!

8. Dance to an upbeat playlist.

Creating a playlist to align with your mood is a wonderful way to uplift yourself. Pick your favorite artist and dance it out for added fun.

9. Have a one-on-one with yourself.

Schedule special you time by asking yourself, “When do I feel like my best self? What am I doing and who am I with?” Schedule time each day to tap into that part of you that feels alive, joyful, and happy.

10. Write a love letter to the pain part of you.

Write a letter to the part of you that is struggling—the part you would like to change—and allow yourself to free write and address what is causing you pain. This will give you more self-compassion and understanding, which can help you heal.

11. Choose something different within your routine.

Get out of your comfort zone by doing something different today. Order something new on the menu, take a different route home, call a friend you haven’t talked to in five years, let yourself follow your heart and be amazed at what happens when you do.

12. Read a good self-love book.

There are some great fall reads and classic go-to’s from self-love authors. Pick a book you’ve always wanted to read and curl up with, even if it’s not self-help, as long as it’s uplifting and leaves you feeling better. Curl up with your favorite furry friend and tea, coffee, or green juice.

13. Create a vision board for your future.

Use Pinterest, vision board apps, or cutup images from magazines to create a vision board, a creative way to dream about the life you want. Vision boards are great for manifesting and attracting whatever you desire because they invite you to actually visualize your lifestyle, focus on what you want, and think about what it takes to get there.

14. Center yourself.

Do you ever get nervous or overwhelmed with self-doubt? Chances are your ego is acting up and in overdrive. To realign with your heart center, the balanced part of you that knows all is well, place your hand on your heart and repeat the mantra, “I am safe and loved. All is well,” or a version of this that resonates with you.

15. Kick-start your day with gratitude.

Start your day with things you appreciate. List them out or simply go through them in your mind. Being in gratitude will help you feel more focused and balanced.

These tips are inspired by Shannon Kaiser’s new book, The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Accepting of Yourself.

 

 

Why We Push Ourselves Too Hard and How to Work Less

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” ~Unknown

I was sitting on the beach with my wonderful girlfriend, trying to relax on our vacation in Florida, yet I was racked with anxiety.

We were lying under a large umbrella, taking in the beautiful waves and swaying palm trees, attempting to recover from the past months (and years) of overwork and overstress. But all I could think about was a marketing initiative I was working on for a client.

The more I tried to chill, the more nervous I became. My girlfriend lay peacefully, dozing off occasionally, while I was busy fending off a full-blown panic attack.

Did I hurry back from our beach session to get back to work? That would be crazy, right? Well, it was worse. I pulled out my laptop and went to work right there on the beach.

I was so addicted to my computer and so stretched thin with commitments that I couldn’t even enjoy this highly anticipated vacation with the love of my life. In fact, the only thing I can remember when I look back on this trip is my stress. I don’t remember enjoying the beach or ever feeling present.

When, I got back from Florida, I didn’t feel refreshed at all. I more desperately need a vacation after it than I did before it. Not only had my over-commitment to work prevented me from enjoying my vacation, it led me to operating at below my best for many months following.

Why did I do this to myself? It was a combination of things. I was insecure and using money to mask it. I was correlating my self-worth with the amount of money I had in the bank. I worked more to distract myself from my own anxieties. But most of all, I was working myself to death because of how the human brain works.

The Psychology of Over-Working

The benefits of working less are counterintuitive, but well documented. There are the obvious benefits—such as having more time for hobbies, friends, family, health, or even working on bigger and better projects—and then there are the less obvious benefits, such as improving creativity and productivity.

Tim Ferriss’ proposition of a “four-hour work week” is attractive to our rational thinking brains, but in practice, it’s surprisingly difficult to work less.

The reason we work more than we need to—sometimes to the extent of actually hurting our productivity, health, or personal relationships—may lie in how humans have evolved.

In their book “Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire–Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do,” Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa postulate that our brains are shaped by evolutionary pressures to survive and reproduce. We’ve adapted to recurring problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

“Our human nature is the cumulative product of the experience of our ancestors in the past, and it affects how we think, feel, and behave today,” Miller and Kanazawa write. People who showed no anxiety to threats would not have taken the appropriate steps to solve the problems and therefore may not have survived.

In his book “Evolutionary Psychology: Neuroscience Perspectives Concerning Human Behavior and Experience,” William J. Ray, describes how these evolutionary adaptations can actually hinder us from properly interpreting reality:

“Consciousness is just the tip of the iceberg; most of what goes on in your mind is hidden from you. As a result, your conscious experience can mislead you into thinking that our circuitry is simpler than it really is…our modern skulls house a Stone Age mind.”

In the context of work-life balance, our brains didn’t evolve to determine exactly how much we need to work. Our brains simply want us to survive and reproduce, and working more seems to contribute to those end goals. Our brain’s anxiety about survival and reproduction motivates us to work more, even though it’s not usually in our best interest over the long-term.

Similarly, our brains crave sugar because in the past, calories were scarce and we needed to eat as much as possible to account for extended periods without food.

Sugar has a high calorie density, so it was very economical for our ancestors. As a result, many people today have a tendency to overeat unhealthy foods, even though we don’t face a problem of the scarcity of food like we did before the agricultural revolution. Unfortunately, sugar contributes to a number of health problems over the long-term, but our brains don’t understand that.

Our brains think working excessively to gather resources contributes to survival and reproduction. But it doesn’t know how to moderate. More work doesn’t always lead to more money, let alone a more fulfilling life. At its worst, excessive work can lead to burnout, depression, panic attacks, and a lack of meaningful relationships.

Here are four signs you may be working to the point of your own demise:

  • Working far beyond what is needed despite the risk of negative consequences
  • After reaching a goal, you immediately set another more ambitious one
  • Refusing to delegate work, despite the opportunity cost of doing the work yourself
  • Creating more work that doesn’t add value in order to avoid feelings of guilt, anxiety, insecurity, or depression

To be clear, there are benefits to working hard. Working more can help you get more done, and, assuming you are doing the right work, that can help you make more money. And there are times when anxiety is rational and you legitimately need to work more in order to survive. But more often than not, working too much can do more harm than good.

The counterintuitive reality is that working more does not always mean working productively if it means you’re going to burn out.

Simple But Hard Choices

We have a choice about how to deal with working too much. Like so many other challenges, there is the simple but hard solution, and a complex but easy solution.

For your health, the simple but hard solution is to eat more healthy food and less unhealthy food. This solution requires discipline, but it doesn’t cost money, and it’s proven to work. The complex but easy solution is to pay for the latest diet products.

The simple but hard solution to workaholism is to work less. This means saying “no” to unnecessary projects and responsibilities. However, I call this the hard solution for a reason. First, it would be a bruise to your ego to admit you can’t handle something. Second, it requires introspection and change in order to address underlying anxieties or insecurities that may be the impetus for pathological working habits.

Fear or frustration with executing on the simple solution incentivizes us to change course. So we add complexity.

These complex but easy solutions include productivity apps, time management processes, or even prescription drugs. They can help us eek out a couple more units of productivity on a given day, but they often have negative side effects over the long term, and more notably, they enable us to avoid blaming ourselves or putting in the hard work of conquering our anxieties and insecurities.

These solutions are like playing whack-a-mole—they only solve the surface level symptoms. James Altucher provided an apt analogy in writing about the power of saying “no” to bad opportunities:

“When you have a tiny tiny piece of sh*t in the soup it doesn’t matter how much more water you pour in and how many more spices you put on top. There’s sh*t in the soup.”

Often times, continuing to work excessively, even while using the latest and greatest productivity apps, only leads to burnout, which results in an extended period of low productivity, or, worse, an unfulfilling life, void of meaningful relationships or even physical and mental health problems.

How to Work Less, Survive, and Prosper

Your brain doesn’t know or care that working less won’t prevent you from surviving or reproducing in modern times.

It doesn’t know how much money you have in your bank account or how many hours you need to work in order to retire in thirty years.

It definitely doesn’t care about helping you achieve higher ambitions like finding love or having fun on weekends.

You feel anxious about working less because your brain only cares about surviving and reproducing.

But we’re not slaves to our lizard brains. The idea that working less can help you accomplish more requires some critical thinking. However, with awareness of how our brains work, we can make decisions that are healthier and more productive.

So, how you can you counteract your brain’s adaptive impulses? I’ll share two strategies that have worked for me.

First, know your priorities. Every time you say “yes” to more work you’re saying “no” to the other aspects of your life that you value. By taking inventory of your list of priorities, and where work lies on that list, you can make decisions that will help you live a more fulfilling life.

Second, address the underlying issues. Oftentimes we work to avoid thinking about our insecurities or shortcomings. Or, we think we need to have more money in order to be loved. I’ve been guilty of both of these.

Once I gained awareness of these issues, it was easier to make healthier decisions about my work. I worked to conquer my anxiety instead of making it worse by burying it in work, and I’ve dispelled the myth that I’m not worthy of love unless I have massive amounts of wealth.

Since doing this work, I’ve said no to many great opportunities in order to keep my life in balance. It’s difficult at the time, but I’m healthier and happier for it.

It may sound idealistic to work less, but if it can help your health, productivity, and life isn’t it worth a shot? If it doesn’t work for you, keep in mind that there will always be more work to do!

Article by:  Michael Fishbein of Tiny Buddha

Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass…

Whatever you’re feeling, it will eventually pass. You won’t feel sad forever. At some point, you will feel happy again. You won’t feel anxious forever. In time, you will feel calm again. You don’t have to fight your feelings or feel guilty for having them. You just have to accept them and be good to yourself while you ride this out. Resisting your emotions and shaming yourself will only cause you more pain, and you don’t deserve that. You deserve your own love, acceptance, and compassion.

          Lori Deschene

Learning How to Confront Someone When You Are a People Pleaser

“The more room you give yourself to express your true thoughts and feelings, the more room there is for your wisdom to emerge.” ~Marianne Williamson

I have always been a people-pleaser, a trait that on the surface seems positive. Like many of us, I want people to like me, and I do my best to make them feel loved. But when someone is angry with me or feels I’ve hurt them in some way, no matter how insignificant or fleeting that anger or pain is, it crushes me.

Over the years, I learned to value other people’s happiness and expectations over my own. To be honest, I didn’t know how to speak up for myself, I’d been trying to be “likable” for so long. This was especially true at work. If my boss criticized me, I felt I was letting her down, and worked diligently to earn praise.

I became dependent on accolades to feel worthy, but this meant I also plummeted into despair when I didn’t measure up to expectations.
A couple of years ago, I was working at a non-profit with a group of people I truly respected and admired. It was my dream job—I was a publicist for a company that was doing good things in the world, not just trying to make money. I loved this job, and worked hard.

Eventually, I was offered a promotion—a management position, overseeing staff and developing strategy. I was thrilled! This was a tangible acknowledgement of how hard I’d worked, how valuable I’d become.

There were strings attached. The department heads wanted me to continue doing my old job since they didn’t have the budget to hire another person.

I was flattered that my bosses wanted to give me more responsibilities (proving my worth). But I also knew the organization was taking advantage of me by not hiring someone to help, and this was difficult for me to accept and address directly. If they really liked and respected me, how could they think this was a fair offer? I was asked to do two jobs for the price of one.

It gutted me. After all my hard work, I knew I deserved more.
But these are good people, I reminded myself. Surely there’s something I’m overlooking. Am I unworthy of more?

I felt my self-esteem plummet.

It took a few days for me to realize I had to stand up for myself. Nobody else was going to do it. My bosses, who I’d come to see as friends, were taking advantage of me and my people-pleasing approach.

To make things worse, this job was my livelihood. I didn’t know how quickly I could get another job, so it was frightening to think about confronting them. How would it end? Would they fire me if I turned them down? How could I support myself?

I was terrified, but I knew I had to say something. Even if I struggled to find another job, I knew this was a test of my self-esteem. I couldn’t live with myself if I’d just gone along with their plans, pretending it was okay. I had to rise to the occasion no matter how uncomfortable I felt.

I was trembling as I met with my supervisors, the four of us sitting around a table in a sterile conference room. I thought these familiar faces were my advocates, but now I saw that I had to advocate for myself.

I talked about my responsibilities, how hard I’d worked, how much I loved the organization and the people. I asked that they hire another person and offer me a decent raise, or I wouldn’t accept the new position.

“I suggest you reconsider,” one of them said. “It’s a great opportunity for you.”

I was shocked. An opportunity?

“I need more help if you want me to stay,” I insisted.

“We’re offering you a great career move. Are you saying you don’t want a promotion?”
I felt numb. They were trying to wear me down, to make me feel like this was a positive. But I knew better. I didn’t want to work two jobs when the hours were long enough, and they refused to negotiate.

When I realized I’d have to accept their terms or quit, the fear kicked into high gear. Would I be able to get another job in this economy? How would I support myself? It was my ego shouting, trying to take control and remind me that I needed this job, and this paycheck. But my gut knew better. I didn’t “need” to stay, and a paycheck wasn’t worth my sense of self. I knew that it might take a while, but I could find another job.

When our meeting ended, I walked back to my desk and typed up my resignation. Nobody stopped me or tried to convince me to stay when I announced my departure.

Strangely, I was relieved. By deciding to confront the situation and my supervisors directly, I’d let go of my burning desire to live up to their unreasonable expectations. Instead, I saw myself and the situation more clearly.

If they weren’t willing to see my value, I had to honor it myself, even if it meant confronting people I liked and admired. I learned that confrontation, though still difficult for me to do, was just as healthy as being kind.

Soon after I quit, I was able to find work. In fact, leaving that job opened up opportunities I wasn’t aware of, because I hadn’t been looking. I now have a steady stream of freelance assignments, as well as more time to dedicate to other passions of mine, like traveling, hiking, and writing a novel.

Here’s what I’ve learned about dealing with conflict:

Asserting myself is a healthy practice.

We all deserve an equal playing field. When I speak up for myself, it means I’m honoring my needs, too. When I’m going to extremes trying to please others, I get resentful, whether I realize it in the moment or not. Over time, this resentment interferes with my relationships. When I create healthy boundaries with someone in my life, I’m doing both of us a favor.

It might be uncomfortable in the moment.

Confronting someone is never easy, especially a friend, family member, or someone in a position of power over you (like a boss). It might make me squirm and feel terrible in the moment, but in the long run, I have felt such relief. I’ve taken the silent burden off of me, so I can feel more peaceful. The positives outweigh the negatives.

I must look past my fear.

When we face big risks in life like potential unemployment or the end of a relationship, fear kicks into high gear. When fear overwhelms me, I like to step back and look at the situation from an outsider’s perspective.
If a good friend told me she was going through the same experience, what would I say? No doubt I’d support her in advocating for herself, so I should take my own advice. No matter the result, it’s worth the risk to honor ourselves.

It is impossible to please everyone anyway.

This is a hard lesson for me. I have a deep desire for people to understand who I am; that what I do and say comes from a good place. However, this isn’t realistic. There are always going to be people who don’t like me, who misunderstand me. It is not my job to make them feel differently about me; that is completely up to them. What I can do is treat people with respect and kindness, and let go of the outcome.

Confrontation isn’t about hurting someone else; it’s about standing in my power.

The ability to confront ultimately comes down to an issue of self-esteem. Because I was trying to gain acceptance and love, I was at the mercy of external circumstances to feel worthy. Now I see that I have to accept my own worthiness no matter what.

We are all worthy. We are all lovable. And we are all responsible for creating boundaries to honor our worth. This I know is true.

Article by:  Kelly Seal of Tiny Buddha

What Are You Waiting For?

“Before someone’s tomorrow has been taken away, cherish those you love, appreciate them today.” ~Michelle C. Ustaszeski

Most of us are really good at finding reasons to wait.

We wait to call good friends we miss because we assume we’ll have plenty of time.

We wait to tell people how we really feel because we hope it will someday feel safer.

We wait to forgive the people who’ve hurt us because we believe they should reach out first.

We wait to apologize for the things we’ve done because we feel too stubborn or ashamed to admit fault.

If we’re not careful, we can spend our whole lives making excuses, holding off until a better time, only to eventually realize that time never came.

It sounds morbid to acknowledge that our days here limited, and it’s scary to realize that none of us can ever know how many we have.

But we can know that in our final moments, it’s unlikely we’ll say, “I wish I waited longer,” or “I wish I stayed angry longer,” or “I wish I played it safe longer.”

Most of us will get to the end of our lives and say, “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” Or, “I love you.”

Of course, there’s another option: We can say those things right now.

We can appreciate the people we love in action instead of distracting ourselves with everyday worries. We can be brave in expressing our thoughts and feelings instead of over-analyzing and talking ourselves out of it. We can decide for ourselves what truly matters and honor it while we have the chance.

This is our chance to live and love. This moment is our only guaranteed opportunity to be thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, forgiving, and kind to the people we value.

It might be terrifying. It might require humility. It might seem like it’s not a priority.

We owe it to ourselves to acknowledge it is, and to do something about it instead of building up reasons to regret.

What have you been meaning to do or say—and what are you waiting for?

Article by:  Julie Deschene of Tiny Buddha

A 5 Minute Test That Will Reveal Your Innermost Thoughts

I read a great article over at Oliver Pemberton’s Blog He wrote an article about how to reveal your innermost thoughts in the space of 5 minutes.

I think this game highlights just how much we live in our subconscious minds and how the subconscious controls us without us ever realising it.  However there are ways to reach the subconscious mind, which I’ll discuss over the coming weeks.

I thought this was really interesting and would be great to share here on the blog, so here goes with this interesting game:

The 5 Minute Game

I want you to imagine a desert, stretching out as far as your eyes can see. In this desert is a cube.

Your first task is to describe the cube. What does it look like? How large is it? What is it made of? Where exactly is it?

There are no right answers here, only your answers.  Take a moment before you continue – the detail is important.

Now imagine that in the scene there is a horse. (Yes, horse. I didn’t say this desert made sense). Your third task: describe the horse. Most importantly: where is the horse, and what is it doing? Where, if anywhere, is it going?

We’re nearly there now. In the scene before you are flowers. Your penultimate task: describe the flowers. How many are there? What do they look like? Where are they, in relation to the horse, cube, ladder and sand?

Final question. In the desert there is a storm. Describe the storm. What type of storm is it? Is it near, or far? What direction is it headed? Does it affect the horse, flowers, cube or ladder?

If you’ve been playing along, this is going to be fun. If you didn’t, I must warn you: the next part ruins your ability to play this game ever again. If you won’t want to ruin it forever, go back now. Trust me.

Ready? There’s no going back.

What the symbols represent

The Cube – Your Ego

The size is ostensibly your ego: a large cube means you’re pretty sure of yourself, a small cube less so.

The vertical placement of the cube is how grounded you are. Resting on the sand? You’re probably pretty down to earth. Floating in the sky? Your head is in the clouds.

The cube’s material conveys how open you are: transparent cubes belong to transparent people, opaque cubes are more protective of their minds. Glowing? You’re likely a positive person, who aims to raise the spirits of others. Made of granite? You’re likely protective and resilient.

The trick here is that when asked to describe a blank, abstract entity – a cube – your imagination will tend to project its own identity onto it. This trick is as old as time, but it’s about to get more interesting.

The Ladder – Your Friends

Are your friends leaning on the cube? Your friends depend on you, and are close. Is the ladder frail, or robust? Tall or short? Does it lead inside the cube? Or is it cast to one side, lying unloved on the sand? By now you should be able to draw your own conclusions.

The Horse – Your Dream Partner

The type of horse reveals a lot about what you yearn for in a partner. Some people see a steady brown workhorse, others a shining pegasus or unicorn. Make of these people what you will.

Is your horse nuzzling your cube affectionately, or taking a bite out of it? Is it far from your cube, or walking away? This can represent a current partner, or an aspirational one, but the results are often a mix of touching and hilarious.

The Flowers – Your Children

The number of flowers relates to how many you imagine having. Some people see just a single, withered daisy; others a resplendent garden covering the cube and desert beneath. (Guys: watch out for those).

The colour and vitality of the flowers can speak to their health and presumed prosperity. The placement – particularly in relation to the cube – can reveal interesting relations; I met one woman whose horse was eating their flowers.

The Storm – Threat

This speaks to the current state of the person, and how they perceive risk in their life. Some may see a distant storm, on the lip of the horizon, fading from sight. Others may view themselves in the midst of a thunderous apocalypse, hailstones the size of tennis balls pelting their fragile cube and horse. Chances are those people have some immediate trauma in their life.

Obviously this is just a little bit of fun and is not a true psychological tests, but it is interesting nonetheless.

Article by: Steve Aitchison

Find The Best Career Quizzes to Help You Find Your Dream Job

If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably been a little too sucked into the BuzzFeed quiz sensation. And while those goofy little tests are a fun distraction, what if we told you that you could spend your time taking quizzes that are actually beneficial to your career?

We’ve gathered some of the best career assessments and personality quizzes on the web. Whether you need help finding the right path for you or want to learn a little more about your working style to help you improve the job you already have, there’s sure to be a career quiz for you. And while no test is likely to be able to tell you exactly what your dream career might be, these can certainly help point you in the right direction.

1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Cost: $49.95 or free online knock-off

Applicable across all areas of your life, the MBTI is probably one of the most used assessments by career centers and managers alike. The MBTI gives you a sense of your personality preferences: where you get your energy, how you like to take in information, how you make decisions, and what kind of structure you like in the world around you. While these preferences can certainly point to careers that might suit you well, they can also give you a lot of valuable information about what kind of workplaces might be best for you, what your working preferences are, and how you can best relate to others at the office. If you don’t want to pay to take the official test, you can take a pretty good and free online version here.

2. Self-Directed Search

Cost: $9.95

The Self-Directed Search (SDS) is built with the idea that people and jobs can be categorized into six different types: realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, or conventional. After answering questions about your aspirations, activities, interests, and the like, you’ll receive the three types that best fit you, along with a list of careers that generally fit people with a mix of those types.

3. My Next Move O*Net Interests Profiler

Cost: Free

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, this tool uses a method similar to Self-Directed Search to help you identify where your career interests lie, then points you towards career paths that might feed those interests. The results section even has the option to search different careers by how much preparation is necessary to get into them, meaning you can find options that are a fit to your current skill level.

4. MyPlan.com

Cost: Free – $19.95

MyPlan.com offers a suite of four different tests to help you find your perfect career and measure your career personality (similar to the MBTI), interests, skills, and desired values (the only free test on the site). You can learn things from each test individually (for example, the career values test will give you a sense of what to look for in a new position in order to find meaning), but the site also offers a service that takes the results of all the tests you take to help you find a job that matches your profile.

5. Pymetrics

Cost: Free

Pymetrics uses a series of simple (yet surprisingly challenging) mind games to measure different cognitive and social traits (think your level of risk aversion or your attention span). The results detail your strengths and weaknesses, which can give you some hints into what kinds of roles you might excel in.

6. The MAPP Career Assessment

Cost: Free sample, $89.95+ for full results

The MAPP test is perhaps one of the most comprehensive career assessments out there, giving you a narrative report talking about what sorts of tasks you like best, how you like to perform them, and how you deal with people, data, things, reasoning, and language. The assessment also provides a list of 20 possible career areas for you. As part of the free sample, you’ll receive information about your top trait in each category, as well as 10 possible career areas, so even if you don’t feel like paying, you can still get some valuable insights.

7. Career Strengths Test

Cost: Free

This collection of activities, developed by Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation for Oprah, will test your strength level in a variety of different skills, from inductive reasoning to structural visualization. If you do well, you can see which jobs require that skill—and get a sense of what types of careers might be a fit for your abilities.

8. StrengthsQuest

Cost: $9.95

StrengthsQuest gives college students a sense of what you’re already great at—and how you can use those skills to better your career. After taking the test, you’ll get a customized report that lists your top five talent themes, along with action items using those talents to your advantage and suggestions about how you can achieve academic, career, and personal success.

9. The Big Five Personality Test

Cost: Free

Learn more about how you work and relate to others with this quick test. You’ll get information on how open to new experiences you are, how self-disciplined you are, how extraverted you are, how agreeable you are, and how you handle stressful situations.

10. Riso-Hudson Enneagram Type Indicator

Cost: $12

This test tells you which of the eight Enneagram types you are most like: the reformer, the helper, the achiever, the individualist, the investigator, the loyalist, the enthusiast, the challenger, or the peacemaker. Understanding more about your type can not only help you get along better with your co-workers, but can also give you hints about characteristics you need in a career in order for it to be fulfilling.

11. What Career Should You Actually Have?

Cost: Free

Okay, this BuzzFeed career quiz probably won’t give you many real insights. But if you only have a few minutes and need a break from the workday? It’s the perfect “productive” distraction.

Article By:  The Daily Muse Editor

5 Truths To Remember When You Feel Like You Are Not Enough

We all live with moments, days or weeks of self-doubt.

These are times that make us feel inadequate and over-conscious of our long list of flaws. They’re occasions that make us question our purpose, our image or our identity, forcing us to wonder if we just aren’t enough.

The frequency in my moments of self-doubt has increased since putting my thoughts out into the world in writing. If I did not receive the feedback I desired, I immediately started questioning my purpose and my goals and harping on whether or not people were just perceiving me as strange. I started a negative spiral of focusing too much on where I fell short while comparing that list to where others seemed to flourish.

I quickly realized that these emerging insecurities would break me down if I didn’t stand up to them.

I recently read my results on a personality inventory. It told me that I am sensitive (I knew this) and that I often base my perceptions of myself through how I feel others perceive me. This hit home not because I felt it was unique to me, but because I hadn’t realized before the power of the key word: perception.

Since then I have identified a simple fact: it is my own negative thinking that hinders me. I am the one who attaches meaning to a rejection, a comment or a lack of traffic on my articles. I am the one who keeps taking things personally. I am the one attacking myself for not succeeding as quickly as I would like.

Since realizing this, I have learned how to replace that negativity with self-encouragement, a dash of harsh reality and words of kindness.

Here are some things I have told myself to snap out of it:

1.  If we believe that we are only on this Earth for a limited time, then who cares if people think we are weird?

At the end of the day, what are we living for if we aren’t fighting to be the best version of ourselves, if we aren’t pushing the envelope and shoving ourselves into situations where discomfort is all encompassing? I am not going to get buried 6 feet under or have my ashes thrown out to sea without knowing that I made some kind of name for myself. It’s not happening. If death is the biggest thing to fear, someone thinking I’m weird pales in comparison.

 2. F*&k it.

If I’m living authentically, if I’m riding my train straight into a place that feels right for me, I’m going to keep riding. There are going to be people or places or moments along the way that make me feel like I’m not good enough and that is okay. As long as I stay true to who I am, as long as I keep working to grow and learn and try— I will be ahead of the game.

3. So what if someone seems to be having a better time than me?

I have gone through periods of comparing myself to others. Individuals who appear to be living a life I would rather have, who are chasing their dreams with fearless relentlessness and trekking out into the unknown to vibe with whatever comes up. I now fight this with a blunt, ‘make more of your time then!’ or a ‘keep pushing until this life feels like the blessing it is supposed to be.’

4. I count my own blessings.

I remember that it could be so, so, so much worse. I snap myself out of it because I am pretty damn lucky. I remind myself of my talents, accomplishments, loved ones and life experiences. I fight against drowning in my weaknesses by soaring with my strengths.

5. I remind myself that I am enough.

I will continue to be enough no matter what I am pursuing, who I am with, where I am going, or what I am fighting for. I am enough because I say so. I have power over my thoughts and my self-image and that is enough.

I will continue to remind myself of these things when those moments of doubt inevitably creep back in again. But they won’t stay around for long—they have no place in my happy heart. They have no place in yours either.

Live your authentic life, pursue your dreams and remind yourself over and over again that you are enough just the way you are. You rock out at things I could only be in awe of and the same goes for me. Use your talents, find your voice, grab the reigns and take off.

Written by: Via Alissa Lastras