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Actually, there is a host of exciting ideas when it comes to an adventurous weekend or for the summer. Or at any time of year for that matter. Back when I was in college, I thought the greatest thrill would be going sky-diving. It was on my 12th birthday, I think, that I even thought of sailing the oceans, until I discovered I needed a sailboat to do this and that I might get sea sick! Hah! For a while, I thought sailing was just about being on a yacht , sunbathing and watching the dolphins from the deck.

But now, that I have the time, the most thrilling adventure for me would be exploring the lost world of the Indonesian jungle. Ever since I read an article about its raw untouched beauty, exotic animals and cloud-shrouded Foja mountains I have been thinking about going there.

With my limited exposure to the outdoors, this idea has surprised the people who know me well. But still, it is something I know deep within me that I want to undertake, if only to challenge myself.

Yes, I know it is kind of strange that someone who has embraced the modern world would take such a plunge. But then, what is an adventure if there is nothing new to learn, no hurdles to go through and no self-discovery to make?

What about you? What is the most thrilling adventure you would go on, if you had the time and money?

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Have you ever talked to someone and had a vague feeling that this person is not listening to you?

Yesterday I called my mom and our conversation went something like,
“Hi mom! How are you doing?”
“Very good! You?”
“I am doing fine! Yesterday I went to visit my friend, and she was telling me about her husband’s habit of responding to her 5 minutes after she asks him a question.”
“Hmmm… Really?”
“Yes. She says, it is impossible to talk to him, when he comes home he turns on the TV or browses the internet.”
“Do you know when you are trying to have a conversation and the other person pretends to listen?”
“Hmmm… right“
“And then they try to cover it up by repeating the last few words you say back to you…”
“Aha… the last few words you say…”
“ or mumbling something in agreement, like ‘yeah’ or ‘sure’!
“…right… a-huh”
“when their mind is focused on something else, like reading emails or playing computer games.”
“…computer games… terrible…”
“Mom, are you listening to me?”
“… sure, I’m listening!”
“I can hear the sound of “Zuma” in the background!” (Yes, my mom plays “Zuma” and she is actually breaking records at it)
“…What? … Sorry… Ok, I turned it off. So how was your day?
I do not think that this was the only non-conversation someone was having that evening.
In our age of distraction we are so accustomed to multitasking and dividing our attention between checking our email, chatting on facebook, and responding to our spouse that we do not think it might be strange or offensive to people, who are trying to talk to us.
So what should we do, when we need to get our message across and the other person is not listening to us? How do we get our listener’s attention back?
Here are some “communication tricks” to get people to listen to your every word:

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With Thanksgiving approaching it is about time to think of everything we are thankful for, and believe me, there are many things in our life that we take for granted.

Here is a list of 33 Things to be Grateful for that I have put together as a reminder for you and myself:

1. Your parents. I know that sometimes our parents can be controlling, stubborn, demanding, but they still love us no matter what we do and where we are. If you have your parents around, take a moment to let them know how much they mean to you. If they are not longer with you, be grateful for all the happy moments that you have shared together.

2. Having to get up early to go to work. In the morning it might not seem like a blessing, but it really is. Think of all the extra hours you get to enjoy life, while other people might be wasting them. Besides, if you have to get up before dawn, you are one of the rare people, who get to see beautiful sunrises almost every day.

3. Freedom of faith. For thousands of years people have fought for it, have died for it, and have worked towards it. So that you can freely choose your religion and believe in God, without being persecuted or treated poorly.

4. Financial security. You might worry about paying off the mortgage and saving enough to send your kids to college, but if you have a roof over your head, food in your fridge and enough money to pay your bills, you are luckier than 90% of the world’s population.

5. Chocolate. Try to picture life without chocolate – not being able to have a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day, no chocolate cake or chocolate flavored ice-cream, no pancakes with Nuttella. Terrifying, isn’t it? 🙂

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Early childhood of a little atheist

Clive Staples Lewis, commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as “Jack”, was born in Belfast, Ireland on November 29th, 1898.

Lewis's early childhood was relatively happy and carefree. Jack and his older brother Warnie (Warren) passed most of their time playing in an overgrown family garden or running around their large, gabled house.

Jack’s idyllic boyhood came to an end when he was 10 years old. It was in this year that his mother died of cancer and right after her death Jack and his brother were sent to boarding school in England.

Lewis hated it there. The strict rules of the boarding school and callous teachers made the boy miss Belfast tremendously. Fortunately for Jack, the school closed in 1910, and he returned to Ireland.

In 1913, Lewis enrolled at Malvern College where he remained for one year. It was here that, at the age of fifteen, he became an atheist, abandoning the Christian faith of his childhood. At school Jack developed a love for Greek poetry and modern languages, mastering French, German, and Italian.

Years at Oxford and a Promise to Keep

In 1916 Lewis was accepted at Oxford University. Only a year later Lewis took a break from his studies to serve in the British Army during the World War I. While in the army, Lewis became close friends with his roommate Paddy Moore, who was killed in battle in 1918. Before his friend’s death, Lewis had promised Moore to look after his family. He kept his promise and after the end of the war, Lewis moved in with Paddy's mother, Jane Moore, and her daughter, Maureen, treating them as his own family. The three of them eventually moved into “The Kilns,” which they purchased jointly along with Lewis's older brother, Warren.

After returning to the U.K., Lewis was able to continue his studies at Oxford, which he took up with great enthusiasm.
On May 20, 1925, Lewis was appointed Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University, where he served for twenty-nine years before taking up a post at Cambridge University.

At Oxford, Lewis met one of his closest friends J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings.

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Have you ever been bullied at school? Did anyone make fun of you, because you were different or because you got better grades than your classmates? Bullying is something we all hope not to deal with at all and certainly not beyond eighth grade. But, unfortunately, even as grown-ups we have to face people who try to intimidate us, who...

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I find so many things to laugh about, and it is not just jokes, movies and surprising turns of events. But I have yet to find a person who can make me laugh with all honesty, with plain humor, antics and strange ideas as much as one person I know. I am talking about my brother.
Ever since we were little I could not stay mad at him for more than 5 minutes. He would say something silly and start laughing, and I swear, you cannot keep your face straight and your expression solemn in his presence. There is just something extremely funny in the way he laughs.
Do you know how sometimes you see people laughing, and without knowing the reason, you burst into laughter as well?
Well, it is always like that with my brother!
Even though he is all grown-up and serious now, he still finds time to say something amusing about my new dress or tease my mom for her latest experiment with lobsters, when he comes home for dinner. And you just cannot help it, but laugh with him.
Is there a person who makes you laugh despite your mood?  Who is it?
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I had always been scared of living alone. I could not stand the quiet, nor the idea of being all by myself in a room or apartment, even eating out on my own was scary. Growing up, I always had my siblings and shared a room with them, and even when I finally started working, I still shared an apartment with my cousin until she moved to another city.

As I was bent on finding company, my cousin kidded that I should just keep the apartment all to myself and be on my own. “Why don’t you try it? You are not scared, are you?” To me, this came both as a challenge and as a joke, knowing very well I had not tried it before.

After much thought and financial considerations, I did as she said and that started the unending lessons in life. From getting things in order, to learning how to cook, to having independence and total freedom with decorations and arrangements. Later I found that with quiet surroundings and with no one to talk to, I actually experienced a different kind of peace. Solitude had its benefits too!

Since then I have learned to do a lot of things without being scared, like cooking a 3-course meal for 10 people (before this my brightest culinary achievement had been French toast), sleeping in a big house, and traveling on my own.

Have you had a similar experience?

What was the major “switch” in your life that led you to have greater self-belief?

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As we struggle with our doubts and daily worries, hearing the wisdom of those who have doubted, struggled, failed and got up again, can inspire us and make our journey called “life” a little bit easier and a little bit brighter!

When you feel that everyday problems are wearing you down and draining your energy, read these wonderful Uplifting quotes! They will help you to regain your mental strength, conquer self-doubts and boost your optimism and courage to move forward! Guaranteed!

1. “There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all”
– Author Unknown

2. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.Dream. Discover”
– Mark Twain

3. “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

4. “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”
– Henry David Thoreau

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“It is through cooperation, rather than conflict, that your greatest successes will be derived.”Ralph Charell

Have you ever felt that winning is not just about competing? Does the idea of winning at all costs sound foreign to you? Are you tired of competing with others for ‘your place under the sun’?

If so, this article is written for you!

My personal experience with competing!

When I was little, every winter, when the snow covered the hills by our house, we used to play one particular game, called “The king of the hill”. The rules were simple – you tried to get to the top of the hill as fast as you could, bringing down anyone who climbed in front of you. If you were lucky enough to get to the top first, your only task was to keep your champion position by fighting anyone who tried to take your place as “King of the hill”.

I never once won the battle to the top. Honestly, I did not stand a chance of winning – I was not strong, nor aggressive enough. And my brother, who was two years younger than me always ended up at the bottom of the hill as well.

One day, tired of being pushed down, we decided to join forces and climb together. I helped him and he helped me (something we had never done before). After about 25 minutes of pushing and struggling, we made it to the top! We were the “kings of the hill”! To the shock of the older boys and numerous ex-champions, we won! I won!

Why am I telling you this?

Because this game we played as children is not that different from one we play as adults. We believe the Competition Success Myth and we climb to some invisible ‘top’, seeing those who climb with us as our rivals, a threat to our success.
But this is only a myth! If you truly want to be successful, here are 3 Golden Rules that most successful people base their achievements on:

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When I was growing up, I chanced upon a saxophone player who played a rather unfamiliar tune. It had a really comforting, sweet melody and watching the street performer lost in that song was really mesmerizing. Most afternoons when the weather was fine for walking home, I would deliberately pass by the area, if only to hear the saxoponist play. The repertoire was almost the same, but I waited until he got to that song I liked the most.
One time I came home humming the melody I liked so much and asked my dad if he knew what it was. He said it was “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. I later got the lyrics and listened to an original rendition a few times on the radio. I even managed to memorize the song and found myself humming the tune whenever I felt down or stressed out.
Up until this day, the words of this song cheer me up and remind of everything wonderful in the world!
Now I wanted to ask you – What is YOUR “mantra” whenever you are stressed out?
Are there any particular words that sooth your soul and regain your peace of mind?
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