(We are starting October 30th!)
Yesterday as I was walking on a treadmill at the gym, reassuring myself that I would feel great after I was done, when I saw a guy wearing a bright orange t-shirt. The slogan on the t-shirt said “Procrastinators: Leaders Of Tomorrow!” When I read it I could not stop laughing, which was challenging as I was trying to keep the same walking pace and not fall off the treadmill.
I am guessing the guy’s initial plan was to persuade everyone to take it easy and relax instead of sweating it out on the exercise machines. But in any case he got a whole bunch of smiles from everyone who saw him.
For me this great little quote was a reminder of how important it is to bring fun into everything you do.
Sometimes if I feel stressed out or upset I put all my work aside and spend 10-20 minutes reading funny quotes of famous people.
Do you have your favorite funny quote(s) that makes you laugh every time you read it? Or maybe your child or your friend said something really funny the other day? What is it?Read More
I sit in my apartment in Milan, looking out of the window on a street, light with sunlight and cannot stop smiling! A long, cold winter is officially over! And everything looks and feels different. The air is fresher. The snow has melted and beautiful greens of every hue begin to shine in the sun. People look happier.
Everywhere you look, you see a transformation: days are getting longer, flowers are blooming and trees are getting new tiny leaves.
No wonder spring is considered the season of growth, renewal and love!
Spring is also the perfect time of the year to revitalize your senses and refresh your mind.
Here are tips that will help you to do just that:
1. Get rid of clutter. During the winter our homes tend to become filled with lots of bulk and piles of different things. It is both physically and emotionally healthy to simplify and de-clutter your work and living space once in a while. Right now is the perfect time to do that! Organize your desk, sort out old photos, make room in your closets by throwing or giving away anything that is unwanted, outdated, unused for 2 years or no longer fits. Let the energy flow freely.
2. Captivate your senses with aromatherapy. For thousands of years essential oils have been used by different cultures because of their health-promoting benefits. Use chamomile, bergamot, cedarwood, lavender, rose, or sandalwood to calm down your mind, ease anxiety and stress and soothe tensed muscles. Or choose citrus, peppermint, rosemary and thyme scents to energize your body and uplift your mood.
3. Take a few moments to meditate. Meditation is a great way to calm your mind, increase concentration, release negative feelings and regain your emotional strength.
4. Do nothing for a half an hour. As it turns out there are many physical benefits of doing nothing and just being lazy. Research shows that people who would rather relax in a hammock and read a book instead of working on their laptop or doing their house chores have a better chance of living into old age. Give yourself some rest!
5. Take mini-vacations during the day. You do not have to wait for a two-week vacation to feel rejuvenated and energetic. Instead you can take 15-minute mini-vacations every hour or so to regain your strengths and put some space between you and your hectic work schedule.
About two weeks ago I accidentally stumbled across one of the greatest manuscripts in Buddhist history called “Letter to a Friend”. It was written by the Indian Buddhist master Nagarjuna (1st – 2nd century A.D.) as a letter of advice to his childhood friend Gautamiputra, who later became a king.
Despite its short length (only 123 verses), it covers a variety of topics: one of them – the main qualities that a person should seek in their life partner (as well as to try to cultivate them self) in order to create strong happy relationships. These qualities are honesty, trust, desire to take care of another person and patience.
Have you noticed that “love” and “physical attraction” are not even on the list? Nagarjuna considered love, passion and physical beauty as a passing phase and, therefore, believed that they are a shaky base for long-lasting relationships.
What do you think?
What in your opinion are the main components of a strong successful relationship? What qualities are you looking for in your partner?Read More
I have probably mentioned to you that I often attend seminars and lectures given by spiritual teachers, motivational speakers and other interesting people that I can learn from.
After every lecture a speaker always asks if anyone has any questions. And most of the time just a few people raise their hands. And half those who do, end up asking some complicated or provocative question that has absolutely no other purpose than to demonstrate the intelligence of the person who asks it. Surprising isn’t it?
500 hundred people have a life time opportunity to ask a guru or highly successful person anything they want and get a specific answer to a specific question that can help them grow, improve their relationships, take their business to the next level, and resolve some of the challenges that they are facing. But 98% of the auditorium would rather let the opportunity pass by than to speak up, have everyone’s eyes on them and risk improbable, but very disturbing public humiliation. Believe me, I am not preaching…
I, too, have this irrational fear when it comes to speaking in public. And sometimes this fear holds me back. But sometimes I get enough courage and raise my hand.
What about you? Do you feel timid when it comes to asking personal questions? Or do you freely ask about something that is bothering you or something you do not know?
If you had the opportunity to meet one of the wisest people in the world and talk to them, what question(s) would you ask?Read More
Julius Caesar was the first person praised for his ability to do several tasks simultaneously. He could write, read and give orders at the same time, which made his contemporaries look at him in awe. Nowadays any office worker, high school student or stay-at-home mom could probably teach Caesar a trick or too about doing multiple tasks at the same time. Multitasking is not considered a rare gift anymore, rather a necessity.
We eat our breakfast, while reading a morning paper. Answer our cell phone while driving. And easily flick between checking our email, following links on Twitter and chatting on Facebook.
Many people consider multitasking the ultimate evil. I disagree. In some situations multitasking can be an efficient way of getting minor tasks out of the way ASAP (given that you do not have to do an outstanding job on any of them). I do not see anything wrong with chatting to my friend while doing grocery shopping, or cooking while listening to my favorite CD and dancing along. Multitasking can make some routine tasks more fun. It also lets us use our downtime productively (like waiting for a doctor’s appointment and planning our next week’s schedule). The true problem is not the concept of multitasking per se, but the way we use it and overuse it!
Downside of Multitasking.
In the movies we often see successful business man and business woman, scanning sales reports while talking on the phone and giving out short orders to the secretary. These people exude power, self-control and organization. Their actions are mesmerizing. They look much cooler than anyone who is able to concentrate on just one task at a time. And it is not only my personal impression. Multitaskers have convinced themselves and everyone else that they are great and highly efficient at what they do.
In fact there was a whole study conducted at Stanford University by the research team of Eyal Ophir, Anthony Wagner and Professor Nass dedicated to identifying the rare cognitive qualities mutitaskers possessed that made them so great at doing several tasks simultaneously. The study tested 100 college students rated high or low at multitasking. Results of multiple trials were shocking even to the scientists themselves.
It turned out that people who manage to juggle two-three tasks at once pay a big mental price for their “gift”: 1) Their focus suffers; 2) They are easily distracted and 3) they are weaker at shifting from one task to another, which meant that they are worse at multitasking than any person who is dreadful at multitasking!Read More
Here are 10 more simple tips that you can try to sharpen your ability to focus in just 3 days:
11. Empty your mind. Mental chatter is one of the main factors that impede our focus. Worries, strong emotions or tasks that you do not want to forget take up a lot of your working memory and tire your mind. This is why before getting to an important task that requires your full attention, take a piece of paper or open a text file on your computer and write down any task repeated thought, worry, or interesting idea that is running through your mind. This 5-minute “thought dumping” exercise will calm down your mental chatter and noticeably improve your concentration and productivity.
12. Conquer procrastination. Sometimes all the outside distractions and interruptions make it impossible to stay focused on the task at hand. But sometimes we just do not feel like concentrating and deliberately postpone an unpleasant task for later. Whenever you catch yourself procrastinating ask yourself, “Do I want to be done with this task so I will not have to worry about it in the future?” It is easy to tell yourself stories about how much more motivated you will feel tomorrow. But the truth is that delaying something that needs to be done does not make it go away. If anything it tires your mind and provokes a sense of guilt.
13. Make it anti-boring. It is amazing how long it takes to complete a task that you do not want to do in the first place. Motivating yourself into working on something that you consider boring or tiresome for an hour is easy. Motivating yourself to work on a boring task the whole day makes you qualify for the leading role in the new “Mission impossible” sequel.
Whenever, you have to work on something that you already do not enjoy doing, make sure that you introduce some fun into your schedule. Vary different activities. Do not work on the same task for more than two hours. Reward yourself by doing something that you enjoy in between your focus sessions (make yourself a yummy sandwich, order a big Caramel Frappuccino, listen to your favorite song three times in a row, dance in the corridor or plan your friend’s Birthday Party).