The 5 Steps You Must Follow To Finally Make Money With Your Blog

make money with your blog

make money with your blog

If you’re a blogger, you’re probably interested in making money.

But search online for how to monetize your blog and you’re given the same, tired advice everywhere: place ads on your site, use lots of affiliate links, look for sponsors.

While those methods might still work, they’re usually a gigantic waste of time for beginning bloggers — requiring you to aggressively promote other brands for little payoff.

There’s a better way: creating your own product.

I started with a completely unknown blog that made no money (unless you count the pennies I made with Adsense) to making just under $500 during the prelaunch of my very first product.

If I can do it, you can too.

Here are five steps you must follow to finally start making money with your blog:

Step #1: Create value consistently (and for free).

If you can’t earn people’s trust, you certainly won’t earn their money. The essential first step to having a profitable blog is creating value content for free.

Some bloggers skimp on the quality of their free posts and save the best material for people who will pay. This is wrong.

Make every post value-packed. Go out of your way to provide content that will completely wow your readers.

Inspire.

Inform.

Entertain.

Do whatever it takes to make them want to return to your blog and tell their friends about you. Don’t worry about the creative well running dry. If you cared enough about a topic to dedicate a whole blog to it, there’s plenty more where those ideas from.

Since my blog is about helping people pursue their passion in life, I took my experience as a career counselor and psychotherapist and condensed it into an 11-page illustrated PDF called Stop Dreaming and Start Doing: How to Actually Do What You Loveand gave it away on my site for free. People still write to tell me how much they enjoyed reading the guide.

Step #2: Stop talking to an empty room.

Most bloggers never gain traction with their ideas — not because they don’t have anything worth talking about — but because their message isn’t reaching enough people. In other words, they’re talking to an empty room.

I learned this the hard way. The first few blogs I started never got more than a hundred visitors a day because I was so intent on getting the word out there on my own. It wasn’t until I started leveraging bigger, well-known sites that my blog garnered more attention and took off.

The best way to leverage the popularity of other sites is to write for them. Look for well-known blogs in your niche and pitch an article that would bring tremendous value to their readers.

When you do this properly, you’ll earn new fans and followers who want to know more about you and your platform. This happened to me when I decided to pitch an article to The Huffington Post last summer. Within 48 hours, my pitch was accepted and my post was featured on the site. After successfully writing a few more articles for them, I was given contributor access. The exposure I got from writing for them brought hundreds of new subscribers to my own my blog as a result.

Step #3: Partner up with the right people.

Search sites like Bloglovin’ or Blog Search Engine to find other bloggers in your niche. What things are they doing or writing about that you admire? Find commonalities that you share with the person and then reach out to them on Twitter. Link to a specific article of theirs and list something specific you enjoyed about it, then suggest collaborating sometime in the future.

The key is to be authentic. People can sense from a mile away if you’re just looking to use them as a means to an end. Be genuine with your intentions to work together and seek to provide value for both of your audiences.

Step #4 Create a community.

Speaking to your audience through your blog is one thing, but most experts recommend having an email list so you can message them personally.

But there’s an even better way to engage with your readers: Facebook.

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you send Facebook friend requests to all of your followers. Instead, create a Facebook group of your blog/brand and invite your followers to interact with you there.

Sure, not all of your followers will have Facebook, but most will. Not only is it more personal than email, but followers can meet and engage with one another. This builds a sense of community while also taking the pressure off you to facilitate every discussion.

I grew the People Passionate Facebook community to several hundred people in just a few months simply by asking my email subscribers to join.

In the group, I kept up with everyone by asking them what things they were working on and what they most needed help with. This encouraged others to participate in discussion and also gave me a much better understanding of my followers’ biggest challenges.

#5: Create a product.

Once you’ve followed all of these steps, you’re ready to make money with your blog.

By this point, you’ve established to your community that you’re not some random internet marketer who’s just out for their money. You’ve earned their trust and they believe in what you have to offer — many of them will be more than willing to pay for you for a resource you’ve taken the time to create.

As far as what product you can offer, it can be anything — a video tutorial, an ebook, an online course, even coaching services. The beauty of having a Facebook community is it allows you to validate your idea for a product or service before you even begin creating it — all you have to do is ask if it’s something they’d be interested in buying.

I noticed that my Facebook group had a lot of aspiring bloggers who wanted to know how to grow their blogs and write for influential sites like The Huffington Post. So I asked if they’d be interested if I were to create an email course that outlined the entire process — from buying a domain to growing traffic to monetizing their platform. Thirty two people said they’d be interested in the course if I created it.

That was all the validation I needed.

I spent three weeks writing and refining the course. During my prelaunch sale, I sold eight copies, netting me a few hundred dollars profit on my very first product.

Final Thoughts

Profiting from your blog means thinking about the long-term. Aim to provide value in everything you do for your audience. Build a community that appreciates your work, survey your followers on the things they need help with the most, then use their feedback to create a resource that addresses their needs.

When you focus on finding products for your customers, and not vice versa, you give yourself the opportunity to finally make money doing what you love.

Kevin is the founder of People Passionate – a blog dedicated to helping others pursue their creative ideas. Check out his blogging course that teaches you how to grow a successful blog: The Blogging Roadmap.

Connect with him on Twitter @ppl_passionate.

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7 Mistakes People Make When Exploring Their Passions

7 Mistakes People Make When Exploring Their Passions

how to follow your passion

Does this sound familiar?

You like doing certain things but nothing you’re passionate about.

You feel as if you’re missing out on that feeling. You know, the one that makes you jump out of bed in the morning, lights you up, and makes you feel as if you aren’t working, even when you are?

Yet the last thing you want to do is live an unfulfilled, passionless life. A life where you hate your work, take the stress of a crappy job home with you each day, and bide your time until you can retire and be free of the monotony.

But the question remains:

What is your passion?

What is that one thing you could talk about for days and not get sick of?

Well, you may be making a few mistakes in exploring this question. And once you start looking at passions in a different light, you might just realize that you have plenty of them.

Avoid the following seven mistakes when trying to find your passions:

Assuming Passions are Reserved for Experts

Who comes to mind when you think of somebody who has a passionate career?

If you’re a sports fan, maybe you think of a professional athlete.

If you’re a literature buff, maybe you think of a great writer.

If you’re a tech nerd, maybe you think of Steve Jobs.

My point is, we tend to immediately think of people who are really, really good at what they do.

It’s true that we’re more likely to enjoy doing something we’re good at, but nobody is born an expert at something, so don’t write off the interests that excite you even if you’re a novice.

If you are searching for a passion that you’re an expert in, you may be searching for a long while.

Instead, commit to becoming an expert once you do find your passion.

2. Overlooking Your Biggest Fans

Real quick: name one of your best friend’s passions.

If you’re anything like me, that was fairly easy for you. Your friend may never have told you that the thing you named was her passion, but you just knew.


Yet it’s difficult to pinpoint our own.

One huge mistake you may be making as you search for your passions is overlooking your biggest fans – the people who know and love you.

If you can’t pinpoint what you are passionate about, ask your family and friends what they think your passions are. What seems to light you up?

Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees, but our friends and family members can see us more clearly.

3. Thinking of Passion as a Verb

When you think of a passion, what do you think of?

You probably think of somebody who is passionate about something active, like painting or sports.

This is a mistake. When you’re searching for your passion to pursue work you love, you tend to get stuck on the idea that your passion has to be something that you do, rather than something you believe in, so knitting or playing hockey or painting come to mind.

This may be because we want the “find and do work we love” portion to be easy. We want to say, “I love knitting, so I knit.” Or this may be because our society most often relates passion to a hobby.

Yet most of us are more likely to be passionate about a set of ideas. Gender equality, media, religion, and whole foods can be passions too.

Your passion doesn’t have to be something you do. It can be something you believe in.

4. Believing That Passions Last a Lifetime

Close your eyes and picture yourself ten years ago.

How much have you changed between then and now? How much have you grown and evolved?

Chances are, you’re not the same person as you were back then. Yet we tend to expect that we’ll stick with the same passions throughout our entire lives.

We humans are fluid and ever-changing, and the notion that our passions are something we are passionate about for life is misguided.

Don’t become too confused if you remember having a passion for cooking a few years ago, but you just don’t feel the same about it now.

You might be wondering how your changing passions fit into finding and doing work you love.

Seth Godin proposes that our careers are a series of projects, rather than a 40-year stretch on the same path.

You’re allowed to fall out of love with your passion, and once you start doing work you love, you can pivot to maintain that rumble in your tummy for your career.

5. Rejecting Passions Because They Seem Frivolous

When I started exploring my passions, I came up against a wall.

I knew I was passionate about gender equality and nutrition because I loved to talk about these subjects. But what really excited me was lifestyle design through online entrepreneurship. I was obsessed with inspiring friends and family to start something.

Initially, though, I rejected this passion as frivolous. Next to gender equality, how could I pursue something like lifestyle design?

I tried to dig into more pressing issues, but I couldn’t keep my mind off of the concept of lifestyle design. Little did I know I was committing this silly mistake.

We want to be the type of people who pursue passions that could change the world. We’re good people, so we want to pursue passions around social causes.

And you probably are passionate about a certain social cause. But a less philanthropic passion is just as worthy, and just as you can’t pick your family, you can’t choose what lights that fire for you.

Don’t reject your passions because they don’t conform to a set of standards you’ve set.

6. Expecting Too Much from Passions

You have a specific idea of what a passion does.

Books, articles, and speeches by passionate people teach us that passions make our hearts beat faster, get us up in the morning, and consume us completely.

So you want your passions to motivate you and drive you to the finish line.

But sometimes, your passion is just something that quietly tugs at you.

We overlook passions that don’t work overtime for us because we expect too much from them.

We expect them to make us feel excited every second of the day, but sometimes your passions are things that you simply feel at ease with when you’re talking about or doing them.

7. Discounting Your Personality

Have you ever looked at somebody who was clearly so fired up about something and wondered whether you’ll ever feel the same way?

I know I have. And the answer is that you probably won’t ever feel the same way as that person.

Why? Well, because you are not that person!

You may have passions but never recognize them as passions because, in comparison to others, you just don’t get as excited about them.

We have the tendency to compare ourselves to others in almost everything, but especially people who are front and center.

We think that to be passionate about writing, we have to be like Maya Angelou. To be passionate about marketing, we have to get as excited as Derek Halpern clearly does.

When you compare yourself to others and write off your passion because you are not like them, you are disqualifying your personality.

Those people who get fired up are just gregarious people. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re not.

Go Grab Your Passions by The Horns

When you’re trying to find and pursue your passions, you can easily drown in a sea of voices louder than your own about what passion should look like.

But once you stop making these mistakes and start embracing what you love, you can start redefining what passion should look like to you.

And once you do that?

There’s no stopping you from finding and living your passions, every … single … day.

Sarah Peterson is the author of Unsettle.org, where she encourages people to never settle for careers they don’t love. Sign up for her free course to find the perfect idea for a lifestyle business so you can gain flexibility and freedom and do work you love.

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10 Instant Ways of Creating Charisma



how to be more liked

how to be more liked

Charismatic people are known to lead successful and productive lives. They charm others, light up the room and command attention wherever they go. The good news is that you too, can develop an aura of charisma about yourself as well. There are many traits that charismatic people possess which you can emulate outwardly as well.

Build up your presence. Presence is the most primary and valuable trait, which all-charismatic people exude. It is something that is essential to making others feel appreciated and important. You cannot fake presence, however, you can increase your presence with practice. Try to focus fully on the current moment rather than your thoughts. Take a deep breath and listen to that breath. It is impossible to be fully listening to your breath and have other thoughts at that moment. Think of the life force pulsing through your body from your head down to your toes for a second and then try to focus all of your attention on the other person. Strive to give the other person your full attention. If you feel your mind start to wander, quickly focus on your breath again and then back to the other person.

Exude confidence. Truly charismatic people exude confidence. They have purpose, passion and self-confidence. Confident people stand tall, sit up straight and have excellent posture in general. Focus on speaking more slowly and slightly lower your tone of voice. Speak clearly and with conviction. This will make you come across as more authoritative.

Show warmth. People are attracted to those who they feel genuinely care about being with them. This means you should make the other person feel comfortable and validated. Resist the urge to judge and criticize. A warm sincere smile and genuine interest in others along with showing empathy can make the difference as to whether a confident or powerful person is perceived as charismatic. Without warmth, a powerful person may simply come across as arrogant.

Engage people with your eyes. Look at people in their eyes when you talk to them as well as when you listen to them. Gaze at them long enough to notice their eye color but don’t stare long enough that they feel uncomfortable. Don’t check your phone or look at your watch.

Use charismatic body language. Body language can be just as important as what you verbally say. It says a lot about you. Charismatic people stand or sit up straight with their shoulders back. They hold their head high but not so high that it comes across as they are looking down on a person. This will also help you speak more clearly and actually feel more confident. Walk with pride and keep your arms and legs uncrossed.

Use gestures. Gestures are non-verbal movements and can be as important as body language. Charismatic people usually keep their hands away from their face while they are speaking. Lightly mirror the other person’s gestures in order to make a closer connection and develop empathy for what they are feeling or expressing. Focus on using hand gestures to punctuate important words.

Listen fully. Charismatic people come across as engaging because they are fully attentive to what the other person is saying. Never interrupt another person while they are speaking. Understand what they are saying and try to empathize with them. Never look around the room and stay directed on them. Pause before you answer a question and look them in the eyes.

Show a sense of humor. Having or developing a good sense of humor will make you more likable and charismatic. Share humorous stories and be able to laugh at yourself. Never laugh about other people. Laughing at others and making jokes at other’s expense will give you the opposite effect of being charismatic.

Show a positive attitude. Charismatic personalities are optimistic and up beat. They talk about things that are positive and keep the negatives at bay. Focus on things you enjoy and never speak about the things you don’t like. People who are charismatic are people who are happy with whom they are and are pleasant to be around.

Make others feel special. We are drawn to charismatic people because we feel comfortable and special around them. They have a way of making others feel they are appreciated and understood. Respect people as your equal no matter who they are never talk down to anyone. Charismatic people are empathetic and focus the spotlight on others. Learn people’s names and give sincere and authentic compliments when the proper time arises.

——–

Author

Leesa Rowland is an author, actress and animal advocate who went from the family ranch in Texas to the bright lights in Hollywood and New York. She has had a successful career in acting, and has a vast cult following for her roles predominantly in horror movies. She has studied method acting, yoga, spirituality, charisma, Buddhism, and metaphysics for over twenty years. Leesa is now sharing her wisdom to help others discover their inner stars in her new book Discovering the It Factor within You. She invites readers on a compelling journey through her past and her contemplative path to self-discovery. She can be reached at http://discoveringtheitfactorwithinyou.com/. The book is also available at http://www.amazon.com/ and other retailers.

 

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The 3 Best Reasons To Have A Snack

The 3 Best Reasons To Have a Snack

benefits of snacking

To snack or not to snack, that is the question? For years the great debate over how to get a hold over our health has raged on – 3 big square meals? 5-6 smaller meals through out the day?

As someone who has a profound interest in both personal and general health, I have read hundreds of articles on the best ways to feel your best, but in the end, I can only really speak to my personal experience on the matter.

For me, without a question, healthy snacking is not only the more enjoyable route to go, but one of necessity. Why? Because when I really analyzed how I felt (big meals vs. small, incorporating healthy snacks) I noticed 3 really big changes for the better.

Here they are:

1. Better Weight Balance

They say 70-75% of weight loss is a result of diet (the rest exercise) – so what and how you eat are obviously crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. When I eat large meals, 2 things happen: Firstly, I feel super full – like uncomfortably full, and then a couple of hours later my blood sugar really starts to drop – taking with it, my energy. Either mid-morning or mid-afternoon healthy snacks are a great way to temper your hunger and have consistent energy throughout the day. The keys to this plan are: making sure your bigger meals of the day aren’t huge (and are packed with nutrition) and planning in advance for the snacks you’ll eat. Waiting until you’re hungry to make this decision makes bad choices a lot more common. So plan ahead to find the balance you need!

is snacking healthy

2. Stops the impulse eating

To add to the last point above, the choices we make when we’re hungry are not necessarily the best choices. Making sure you never hit the ’I’m starving!’ phase is crucial to making the right call. Think about it: ever gone to the grocery store when you’re famished? I have and by the end my shopping cart feels like a bin of junk. Here’s where healthy snacking comes in. Having a healthy snack one or a couple of times of day allows you to maintain your energy levels and control – and once you’ve got your cravings in check, you’ve got a lot more power on your side.

3. Boosts your productivity & your mood

Throughout a busy day, heavy meals (filled with carbs, fats & sugars), stress and rushing around mess with your energy levels and can really run you down. Choosing smaller sensible meals (think: lean proteins, whole grains & veggies) combined with healthy mid-day pick-me-ups in the form of healthy snacks (containing good fats – think nuts, dried fruits etc) create slow burning fuel that help give you energy throughout the day – eliminating the peak and dips that unhealthy choices create. This not only boosts your mood – more energy/less sleepy but allows you to operate at your fullest potential and get stuff done!

So how do I stay snacking?

snack delivery service

As mentioned, one of the keys to getting your diet right is PLANNING. A couple of months ago I discovered NatureBox – a snack subscription service that delivers, to my doorstep, incredible tasting and satisfying snacks of all varieties. Not only do I get to discover a whole new world of great food – totally nutritionist approved! – but incorporating this element into my world has dramatically helped me increase my energy while working on my health at the same time. With over 100 snacks from healthy to indulgent, there is something for everyone to get your snacking started!

2 SPECIAL OFFERS FOR PICKTHEBRAIN READERS!

1. Join NatureBox today and get a FREE sample box of some of their most loved snacks! Click here to get started!

Free trial is available for new and US and Canadian subscribers only. Not valid on gift subscriptions and may not be combined with any other offers.

2. TWO winners will each win a free 6-month subscription to NatureBox. Enter the giveaway by clicking here to browse what snacks NatureBox has to offer, and then leave a comment below, letting me know what snack you’d like to try. Please leave an email address so we can contact the winners!

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a better way to snack

*Post sponsored by NatureBox*

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Why Asking Questions is the Key To Personal Success

Why Asking Questions Leads To Personal Success

why you should ask questions

Does this sound familiar?

You’re running out the door to take your wife to the airport, only to discover you have a flat tire.  You don’t have time to wait for a taxi or the auto club.  You want to ask your neighbor for a ride, but you’re afraid it’s too much of an imposition.

Or… you see someone on the subway reading a book by your favorite author or about a topic you find fascinating.  You want to strike up a conversation, but you’re afraid of intruding on the other person’s privacy.

Or… you have a lead on a promising job opportunity, and an acquaintance has dealings with your prospective employer.  You want to ask her to make an introduction, but you don’t want to put her in an uncomfortable position.

Maybe you’re afraid of rejection; maybe you’re afraid of overstepping the bounds of the relationship; maybe you’re afraid of being a pest.

Sure, there are boundaries, and sometimes we do cross them.  So if these scenarios arise often, you might need to examine whether you’re overly needy.  

But most of us aren’t looking for such situations; they just happen.  And when they do, here’s the key:  just ask!

It feels good

There’s a reason why “it never hurts to ask” is such an enduring cliche.  Most people are more than happy to help a friend in need, to respond to polite solicitations, or to put themselves out for others. It’s a truism of human psychology that we feel better — both about ourselves and about others — when we give than when we take.  In fact, a study at Canada’s Simon Fraser University found that children as young as two-years-old experienced greater pleasure from giving than they did from getting.  The impulse to give is hardwired into our nature.

So it really is better to give than to receive.  Consequently, the greatest gift you can give someone else is the opportunity to give.

And what’s the worst that can happen?  If they say no, you’re no worse off than you were before.  And then you can offer someone else the chance to give.

It brings us closer

And if they say yes, you may find that you’ve forged a closer bond or made a new friend.  Benjamin Franklin described how, after asking to borrow a rare book from a rival in the Pennsylvania legislature, he found that his colleague’s demeanor changed from cool indifference to warm camaraderie.  

What’s more, others may actually be wanting us to reach out to them.  A University of Chicago study showed that commuters on the subway are happier to pass the time chatting with a stranger than sitting in solitude.  But most of them — most of us — sit in isolation, too worried about how people might react if we violate their space or their privacy.

It’s the way of wisdom

Gerry Spence, the exceptionally successful trial lawyer, explains it this way:  “I have learned [more] from my dogs than from all the great books I have read. The wisdom of my dog is the product of his inability to conceal his wants. There are no games. No professor told me that I might live a more successful life if I simply ask for love…when I needed it.”

Human beings are social creatures, and we’re at our best when we’re engaging others.  So why deprive others of the chance engage us?  

And why deprive yourself of the chance to get what you need?

It’s key to success

The same principle applies in the workplace.  We may be afraid that a boss or coworker will interpret a question as a sign of incompetence; in truth, the willingness to ask for help or seek counsel will lead us on the pathway to improved performance and impress others with our team spirit.

“Successful people never rest on the belief that they know everything possible,” says bestselling business author Bernard Marr. “They put a premium on investing in themselves through education and training.”  And that includes asking for advice when we need it.

He then quotes Gandhi:  “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

You never know

As she was working on Getting There:  A Book of Mentors, Gillian Zoe Segal took inspiration from Sara Blakely, who camped out in reception rooms before convincing a hosiery manufacturer to produce the prototype for Spanx, the product that launched her billion-dollar career.  Ms. Segal describes how she plucked up the courage to approach Warren Buffett at a charity event and, in 15 seconds, opened the door to an interview with the Oracle of Omaha for her book, which became a bestseller.

Does it seem insane to approach one of the world’s richest men and ask for a favor?  Of course it does.  But that doesn’t mean it might not pay off in the end.

The Talmud teaches that a bashful person will never become wise.  If we are afraid to ask, we cannot learn and grow.  And if we don’t learn and grow, chances are that we will never succeed.

So whether we are need of information, advice, assistance, or simple companionship, the solution is often as easy as asking.  And if someone says no, don’t take it personally.  There’s a whole world of people out there waiting to say yes.

All you have to do is ask.

Rabbi Yonason Goldson, a talmudic scholar and former hitchhiker, circumnavigator, and newspaper columnist, lives with his wife in St. Louis, Missouri, where he teaches, writes, and lectures.   His new book Proverbial Beauty:  Secrets for Success and Happiness from the Wisdom of the Ages is available on Amazon.

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8 Banned Books That You Must Read

the best banned books

the best banned books

These incredible banned books existed from the time of their occurrence and if you look at your book shelf, you will surely find some that for one reason or another, were censored.

Here’s a list of my top picks that are definitely worth reading:

Ernest Hemingway “A Farewell to Arms”

This is a partially autobiographical novel about the events of the First World War in Italy. It was published in 1929 and immediately aroused controversy: in Boston it was seized from kiosks for sexual, “vulgar” content, and in Italy – for the army retreat description at the Battle of Caporetto.

Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”

This may sound surprising, but “Alice in Wonderland” was banned in China in 1931, as the governor of Hunan province has established the rule that the animals cannot use human language and threatened death to anyone who dares to equate humans and animals.

Erich Maria Remarque, “All Quiet on the Western Front”

Exciting and bleak picture of life on the German front during the First World War in his novel was seen by many critics as a major anti-war thought. It was banned, and in 1933 – 1945 years in Nazi Germany it was burned.

Bret Easton Ellis “American Psycho”

Because of the scenes of sophisticated violence the novel “American Psycho” was the obvious target for censorship. It is still prohibited in the Australian state of Queensland. It is packed and sealed with the stamp «R18» (category restrictions applied by the Australian Film Classification and literature) in the rest of Australia and New Zealand and the sale was strictly limited in Germany in 1990.

Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, “And Tango Makes Three”

Based on a true story of gay penguins from the New York Zoo, this innocent children’s book angered a multitude of organizations, libraries and individuals in all the United States. It often appears in the list of banned books for different reasons being described as “anti-family” and “unsuitable for the given age”.

George Orwell, “Animal Farm”

The allegorical story by George Orwell about corruption in Soviet Russia was banned in the Soviet Union until 1980. The story in it is carried out on behalf of the animal farm farmstead. Due to talking pigs as contradiction to Islamic values it is also banned in schools of United Arab Emirates in 2002.

Anne Frank, “The diary of a young girl”

A “Diary of a young girl” is a real diary of Anne Frank, a Jewish teenager, who hid from the Nazis with her family during World War II. She died in a concentration camp, but her diary was published posthumously. Various organizations argued about it in the United States, including members of the commission on textbooks Alabama who claimed it to be “a real downer”.

Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”

Ironically, this novel about banning books in a fantastic community leading consumer lifestyle, published in 1953, was banned itself on several occasions: in 1990 it was banned in one of the school districts in the United States for use of the word “damn” and previously it is also argued about because of “problematic issues’ (censorship, repression and religion are only some of them).

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Written by Hilda Simpson – a freelance writer for globalessays.org

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Why Hitting Rock Bottom is A Blessing

Why Hitting Rock Bottom Is a Blessing

hitting rock bottom
Feel like you’ve hit a brick wall lately?

Have you been worried about the way you’ve been feeling?

Scared that you and the life you thought you had all planned-out is falling apart before your very eyes?

Don’t be scared.

There’s no doubt that hitting rock bottom is damn scary at first, because none of us like losing control. But I’m a firm believer that losing control is something we should do on a regular basis. In losing control, in hitting rock bottom, or whatever you want to call it, we learn something brand new, every single time, and we are then able to build a much more solid foundation each time we bounce back.

J.K. Rowling said “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I built my life”.

Whether it feels like it right now or not, believe me, your rock bottom is a blessing.

Rock bottom is a chance to start over.

It’s a chance to grow.

It’s a chance to learn something new.

It’s a chance to get to know yourself better.

And it’s a chance to come back fighting.

When we hit that brick wall, when we feel like giving up, because it’s in our very human nature to want to survive, we are forced to suddenly get real, be true to ourselves and learn some powerful lessons to move forward.

We are forced to climb (or be pushed) nowhere but up, because from rock bottom things CAN only get better.

We may be out of control, we may be out of our comfort zone, and we may even be out of our bodies, but let me tell you something.

No one ever learned anything valuable; no one ever had a story worth telling, and no one ever made any life-changing decisions from inside their comfort zone.

No one great, inspiring, successful or action-taking ever said they created something amazing from a place of safety or familiarity.

We have to lose control.

It’s good to let things get messy.

We HAVE to get out of our comfort zones if we are ever to get moving and get anything worth doing DONE!

Want to create a meaningful life?

Then lose control, experiment, experience, let your hair down, say yes, do something different, FEEL uncomfortable, fail, fail again, and hit rock bottom.

Because to experience the very edges of life and truly LIVE it and be grateful for the good stuff, you HAVE to experience the darkness, the downright horrible and the completely terrifying as well.

Then you’re really living, then you’re making something of yourself, then you’re feeling fully, and then you’re more equipped for the journey to the top.

X

 

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4 Language Tips to Positively Change Your Psyche

build self esteem

build self esteem

Research has shown the language and word choices we use in our daily lives can positively or negatively impact our lives.   Yet, for most of us we often don’t pay a lot of attention to the words we choose to use to express ourselves.

What happens is when we unconsciously go about our day using language that limits our autonomy and choices, we often cause ourselves to have unnecessary self-inflicted stress.

To turn this around, you need to make a conscious effort to start listening and notice what comes out of your mouth.   

Often the unhelpful language takes the form of you referring to yourself negatively like ‘I’m an idiot’ to making innocent statements using words and self-sabotaging language that limits positive change. i.e. I should stop procrastinating.

When you catch yourself using this type of language.  Stop.  Forgive yourself. 

Re-assess the words you have used.  And then consciously choose to use language that is encouraging, empowering and positive.    

Here are some ideas to use language to get you started in a positive direction.

1. Replace ‘Busy’ with ‘Full’

In an article for The Huffington Post, Scott Dannemiller articulates how busy is a sickness and why the majority of us often overreact and “voluntarily create unnecessary stress in our lives” because we live in a society that defines our worth by our doing instead of being. 

What he decided to do is to eliminate the word “busy” from his vocabulary whenever people asks him how he is doing, and replaces it with “full”.

With this simple switch in word, he has empowered himself to create a new habit.  Instead of letting busyness control him, he is taking back his control and is choosing what he enjoys and wants to put on his happiness plate.   

2. Remove The Should, Must, Have Factor

I should spend more time with my family, I have to lose weight, I must pick up groceries tonight.  Should, must and have are words that limit your choices and autonomy.   

‘Shoulds’ can go on and on.  Instead of focusing on the should, focus on thinking, is it something I want to do? Is it something that allows me to spend time with people that matter? Is it something that enhances my well-being?  Your time and energy is valuable, so if it is something you have no desire in doing that brings little fulfillment in your life, it’s time to cut it out of your schedule.

If it turns out whatever you are ‘should’ing is something that will have a positive impact on your life, then change ‘should’ to ‘I get to’ or ‘I’m going to’, ‘I want to’, ‘I‘d really like to’, ‘I will’, ‘I can’.  You get the gist.  These terms implies positive action.  It gives you a sense that YOU made the decision to do it and thus, converts the experience of what you’ll be doing into something productive.

Similarly, you can also apply the suggested phrases mentioned above to replace ‘I have to’ and ‘I must’.

3. Use words to shift your perception to possibility

Let’s get straight to an example.  Instead of “I haven’t found my ideal partner.”  Add ‘yet’.  Or use the phrase, “‘I’m in process’ of finding my ideal partner.”     

In doing so it can help soothe anxiety and the feeling of ‘lack’ or being ‘not enough’, as ‘yet’ and ‘I’m in the process’ suggests that at a future time it will happen.  Thus, it creates a sense of hopefulness and a space of allowance that opens your mind to considering possibilities.

4. Change tenses

We often let our past stories dictate our future, with the ‘I can’t…’, ‘I don’t know how to..’ get in the way.

When you have an ‘a-ha’ and realize you can, it’s time to turn this around.  Add the words ‘before now’ or ‘until now’ at the end of the disempowering statements we make.

  

This sets the tone that going forward you are ready. You can. You will.  You have what you need to carry out whatever it is you want to do successfully.

i.e. “I can’t get my act together” to “I haven’t been able to get my act together until now.” 

Over to you.

How have you used language to elicit more positive effect on your psyche and change your experience of life.

BIO- Theresa Ho is a life coach and the founder of Rejuvenate Your Essence.  Get your free 10 Part manifesto series to live life on your own terms.  If you like this article, check out 4 Relationship Lessons to Overcome Breakup Blues.

 

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How To Turn Your Depression From Life-Crushing to Life-Enhancing

How To Turn Your Depression From Life-Crushing To Life-Enhancing

how to feel better depression

The alarm rings and you face the day with dread. Youre sorry you woke up.

There is nothing you look forward to, no light in the bleak darkness.

Friends are tired of hearing you moan and complain. Unless, of course, youve kept up the cheery demeanor expected of you and no one really knows what youre experiencing.

Either way, youre desperately lonely.

You dream of pressing some delete button on your life to simply no longer exist. Suicide is not the option you want, but sometimes you wonder. And that thought scares you sometimes.

Its bad. Its really bad.

Depression is a powerful energy lodged in your body. It can control your thoughts, moods and actions. It can control your life.

Yet you are the one holding this energy. That takes effort and stamina. As depression threatens your existence, can you actually use it to enhance your life? Can that same effort and stamina be used to observe your depression and let it guide you to see what changes in your life are needed?

Consider taking one week – 7 days – and consciously take on your depression with gentle compassion. While this involves some effort, the intention is to take baby steps. You will use a set amount of time to bolster your body, your mind and your spirit – 17 minutes a day max. During the rest of the time, you will be consciously observing the relationship you have with your depression.

A week may not completely change your life, but you can take baby steps to start the process.

MAKE A DECISION NOW TO TAKE ON YOUR DEPRESSION

This is a huge decision to make, the hardest step. Maybe youve made this decision before and it didnt work. You had big plans and a marathon schedule of self-improvement. But the reality of implementing all of it was too much.

Maybe you decided on a new approach of being strong, disciplined and happy. The New Improved You would go on forever. That only lasted a short while. It was a great idea, but perhaps lacking some support systems to ensure its success.

Thats ok.

This time, take it slowly, in small steps. Try a finite moment in your life – one week. Put some support systems in place. Set small goals and take baby steps.

See what happens.

FOCUS ON YOUR DEPRESSION

Dont avoid it or ignore it.

Get to know it. Be really – really – curious about it.

Where in your body do you feel pain or discomfort when you experience depression? Direct your awareness to what is going on inside your body. Do you get headaches, shoulder tension or stomach issues?

Now you know where youre feeling depression in your body. How does it feel? Leaden, trapped? Perhaps there is alternating anxiety, that caffeine overdose in the veins feeling?

What triggers the feelings of depression? Events, people, that inner damning voice we all have?

With gentle curiosity, listen to your internal dialogue (The Voice). Notice how The Voice in your mind creates your emotions. Watch how your emotions alter your moods. See how your moods affect your actions. Watch yourself going through the day and develop a conscious awareness of your depression.

The more you can describe your depression – what it feels like, where you experience it, what The Voice is saying, how that affects you – the more you can separate it as an entity which has entered your life. It is not you.

If you like to write these details, do it. Or record it into your phone. Or draw it. At the very least, make a mental note of your relationship with depression.

BOOST THE BODY (7-10 minutes max daily)

Depression is exhausting. It sucks the life out of you and clouds your judgment.

Below are some points to consider for supporting your body:

First of all go to sleep.

You may know the amount you need. If you dont, start with 7-8 uninterrupted hours. Lack of sleep is a huge contributing factor to depression.

Schedule eating times.

Look at your weeks calendar and schedule in when you eat – 3 meals a day is great, at regular times. Eat as healthy as you can – without going to extremes. This is baby steps week.

Schedule a few minutes of daily exercise.

Do not go all-out and engage in an exercise marathon!  7-10 minutes is fine. (Remember baby steps.)

Schedule in Bodywork

At the beginning of the week, see if you can get a session of body work. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic whatever you choose. It will help jump-start this process like taking your car in for maintenance before a trip.

MIND THE MIND (3-7 minutes max daily)

Give the mind a chance to quiet down, for at least a few minutes daily. This makes it possible to hear yourself think about what you want to feel.

Start slowly, in small increments. Consistent short periods, daily, at regularly-scheduled sessions will bolster your self confidence and clear your brain.

ONE minute of non-thinking is an incredible and attainable goal! Later on when your mind is bombarded with a million thoughts you can take a breath and simply remember that feeling of clarity.  This will start to shift the overwhelm.

Try the following 3-7 Minute meditation practice:

1. Turn your phone on airplane mode and set an alarm for 3-7 minutes. Set the alarm to a soothing sound, rather than hard beeps.

2. Close your eyes and listen to your breathing. Notice how your body feels sitting in your chair. When you exhale, imagine yourself exhaling the tension.

3. End your meditation when the alarm rings and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Dont worry about your mind wandering during meditation. It happens. Just gently bring your focus back to your breathing when it does. If youre a beginner, you might try these guided meditations to get a hang of it:

http://www.yogajournal.com/category/meditation/meditation-classes/meditation-length/

These may be the only minutes in your busy day when there is nothing you are obliged to do. Savor them. Breathe.

SUPPORT YOUR SPIRIT (you choose the amount of time)

Supporting your spirit elevates your moods, affecting your thoughts and even your body symptoms.

One way to do this is to connect with nature.

The beauty of nature soothes the spirit. Nature is alive and living, reminding us that life is in a constant cycle. Change is – literally – in the air.

Even if you live in an urban environment, you can take a few moments as you walk to your car, subway or bus. Look around you. There are clouds above you. There are plants and trees, which give off oxygen. Oxygen increases brain flow which helps move depression.

Again, make this a daily routine this week consciously schedule it in.

Consider doing your daily exercise in nature.

Another way to support your spirit is to schedule in some joy

Engage in at least one activity each day that brings you joy. It could be as simple as eating an ice cream cone, mindfully, savoring every last lick.

Maybe anonymously surprise someone – put a flower on a co-workers desk.  Leave a big tip for a small cup of coffee. You are doing this with no expectation of their response. You just want to notice how it feels to bring pleasure to someone else.

CONSIDER OUTSIDE SUPPORT

Do you want a friend to keep you focused? Or a therapist to help make sense of the issues that contribute to your depression? Or a coach to spur you on to accomplish some of your goals?

Open up to friends and colleagues (whom you trust and respect) for some referrals. Think about what that may look like – frequency during the week, time allotments. Consider what you want to address, and ways in which these sessions may be helpful.

This may not be the week to get outside support, but it is a time to check in and see what you need. However – if you are feeling strong urges that it is necessary to get outside help, do it now.

WHAT TO DO AFTER THE 7 DAYS

Be pleased with any and all accomplishments you have made. Be patient with yourself if you fell off your schedule.

Consider these questions:

What have you observed about your relationship with depression?

When did you feel your depression lift (even if only a little)

What can you do differently with this relationship that will ease its effects on you?

What do you want to add to your life and what do you want to decrease or eliminate?

How do you want to continue supporting your body, your mind and your spirit?

Do you want support with this?

The questions are key. Know that they will guide you to making changes that will diminish the effects your depression has on you.

GREAT CHANGES CAN START WITH SMALL STEPS

You are sensitive, you are intuitive, you are caring and insightful. The fact that you experience depression means that you are evolved enough to understand the dimensions of the human condition.

You are a finely-tuned instrument tuning into frequencies that more obtuse people cannot comprehend.

Be gentle with yourself.

And know this – the minute you decide to un-do some of the effects depression has on you, your entire world will change.

For the better.

And isnt that what you really want?

*******

THERESE SIBON is a blogger and alchemical acupuncturist with a busy practice in Manhattan and upstate NY.  She believes suffering can be optional.

www.TransformYourShit.com

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5 Proven Ways That Being Healthier Makes You More Successful

5 Proven Ways That Being Healthier Brings You More Success

success and health

When asked for his #1 productivity tip, Richard Branson paused for a moment, leaned back and said, “Work out.” By his estimate, it added about four hours of productivity to his day.

As entrepreneurs, we often have the burning desire to make our venture succeed, no matter the cost.

We’ll stay up later, work longer, go further and push ourselves more than anyone else. We know we need to spend a few years living like most people won’t so that we can ultimately spend the rest of our life living like most people can’t.

We’ve read all the “Create Your Own Success” books and have seen all of the motivational quotes, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes.

Unfortunately all too often, “whatever it takes” means sacrificing our personal relationships, our happiness, and our health in order to succeed.

What we sometimes forget is that it’s easy to earn more money, no matter what our age.

However, when our health is neglected, it can be difficult – sometimes even impossible – to reverse the ill effects.

Neglecting our health in order to be successful in our careers leads to infinitely more downside than upside – like having a massive heart attack before the age of forty.

But what many of us may not know is that being healthy and staying fit infinitely improves our ability to earn money: it boosts productivity and energy; it accelerates how fast the brain can think and make decisions; it lets us rest and sleep better; and, most importantly, it prevents us from dying from self-inflicted illnesses of neglect.

Here’s how eating healthier and exercising more will make you richer and more successful, all while being one of the fittest people at the office.

#1 It Increases Productivity And Energy – A Lot

Entrepreneurs are obsessed with getting more done in less time. Picture this: let’s say you need to consume around 2,200 calories a day to maintain your body weight.

The brain uses up approximately 20% of your caloric intake, which in this scenario means your brain is actually using around 450 of those daily calories to function.

That’s 20% of your entire caloric intake fueling the super computer that we call your brain. As an entrepreneur or business owner, your brain is your most priceless asset.

So why neglect it?

Picture the day of the average stressed-out CEO: We wake up early, usually after a poor night of sleep.

We grab a breakfast to go, along with a coffee or a double shot of espresso. The morning is spent working or in meetings, and lunch might be a quick meal out (or we might skip it due to stress or looming deadlines).

The afternoon is spent with more meetings, working, drinking coffee, and the evenings are often more of the same. Skipping meals or eating nutrient-poor meals is depriving our brain of glucose, the energy it needs to function and work optimally.

Sticking with the right foods that contain lean proteins and low GI carbs gives us a steady release of energy and glucose, which in turn benefits the brain and ensures it’s firing on all cylinders without getting fatigued.

Of course, watching our diets isn’t the only thing we can do to keep our minds sharp: Exercising also improves brain function.

If you’re an older entrepreneur worried about losing your edge, getting your body in motion has been shown to slow down the loss of neurons and brain power.

Exercise has also been shown to boost your productivity (alertness, mood) in the hours immediately after it.

What’s more, people that regularly exercise show a permanent increases in their baseline level of energy that sticks over time, even after as little as a ten minute walk done regularly.

#2 It Punches Stress In the Face

One of the biggest, most detrimental side effects of entrepreneurship is the near-constant stress and anxiety we sometimes feel when we’re building something for the first time, wondering where our next dollar might be coming from.

Once the lizard brain takes over, it’s game over. Poor decisions are made as soon as emotions begin to enter the picture, leaving us no time to meditate on the decision or consider logical consequences.

The irony is that when we resort to drinking stimulants like coffee in excess, it increases the stress hormone cortisol.

Obviously this increases our stress levels, but there are serious health consequences ranging from increased belly fat, decreased immune function, poor quality sleep, full-on burnout, adrenal fatigue, and even hospitalization.

We’ve all heard the story of a burnt-out entrepreneur that landed themselves in the hospital with a serious health complication (typically GI-related) due to untreated stress.

Jonathan Fields, author of Uncertainty,wrote in a Huffington Post article that after several weeks of hitting deadlines while trying to prove himself as “the rookie,” – which involved drinking way too many double espressos and sleeping under his desk a couple hours a night – his immune system collapsed, and he had a perforated intestine with a baseball-sized mass that required immediate surgery.

Here’s the kicker: It all apparently occurred in less than a month.

Exercise and eating nutrient-dense foods also helps lower the anxiety, depression and stress levels that we can feel due to constant time crunches, deadlines and board meetings.

Another bonus: If you’re dealing with failures or wildly fluctuating moods, regular exercise has been shown to be more effective at perking you up than the antidepressant Zoloft.

#3 It Improves Your Memory

An unfortunate side effect of always been frazzled is that it kills your memory. In one study, aerobic exercise was shown to actually increase the volume of the hippocampus – the part of the brain dealing with memory and learning skills.

Regular exercise will not only decrease inflammation throughout the body and your brain, but it also will stimulate the release of growth factors that help protect the brain and keep it young.

This doesn’t mean spending hours in the gym: Just taking a ten minute walk in between projects or before lunch has actually been shown to boost mood, energy, productivity and more.

The above study done that actually increased certain parts of the brain was done on people walking 120 minutes a week – about 15 minutes per day.

#4 It Helps You Make Smarter, Faster Decisions

Picture this: You’re grinding it out one Tuesday morning, and you’re getting a bit foggy so you decide to take a break. You hop on over to Hacker News, look back up at the clock and realize it’s been an hour. “I need to be more focused and disciplined,” we tell ourselves. Well, being healthy and exercising can help with that too.

One study done on adolescents and young adults found that physical exercise dramatically improved executive functions (self control, memory, decision making, learning, etc.).

Why and how it works is simple: Moving more increases the heart rate and blood flow, which increases oxygenation of the brain. Sitting fourteen hours a day at your desk staring at a computer doesn’t help.

Multiple studies have found that after 30 minutes of doing an easy half hour bike ride, subjects performed much better (and faster) on a series of cognitive tests. Maybe the fact that working out (along with meditation) isone of the two most common daily health habits of millionaires says something?

#5 It Prevents You From Dying Young (Seriously)

Consider the life of the average start-up founder, solo-preneur or new business owner. Lack of sleep? Check. Constant reliance on stimulants (either legal or illegal?) Check. An ever-present feeling of stress and anxiety? Check.

Skipping meals or eating quick meals that aren’t exactly calorie-dense? Check. All four of these are serious risk factors for metabolic syndrome, the precursor to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more.

In other words, when you get fat and out of shape, your risk of developing pretty much every disease and negative health condition increases – that doesn’t exactly make your life as an entrepreneur easier.

And if the other four reasons weren’t a compelling reason to eat healthier and move more, hopefully death is.

Even the symptoms leading up to metabolic syndrome impair your ability to perform at your absolute best. As your weight increases, energy decreases.

Men will have higher levels of female hormones, women will have very high levels of female hormones. Productivity decreases, sleep worsens, stress levels elevate.

Fighting the cult of productivity isn’t easy though. Thinking that we should cut corners to save an hour here and there to devote to building our empire can seem like a logical decision, but unfortunately it’s a shortsighted one.

Not only will being healthy actually boost your productivity, energy, happiness, mood and more, you’ll also look and feel much better and avoid an early grave. What’s more? It’ll make you a lot more money – with your sanity intact.

What’s worked for you? Share it below.

Bio: Alexander is the founder of Modern Health Monk, an integrative health site that shows busy professionals & parents how to lose weight and feel better in a healthy way using the power of tiny habits. You can get his free starter’s guide: 5 daily habits for healthy weight loss here.

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