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“Nothing in all creation is so like God as silence.” – Meister Eckhart

Imagine hiking in beautiful mountains surrounded by century old trees and breathtaking views. Or picture waking up in a little bungalow at sunrise and being the first one to leave your footprints on white powder sand. This is what silence feels like to me – being away from civilization, traffic, huge crowds and never-ending phone calls. And the best part is that I do not have to travel all the way to Himalayas or Bora-Bora to feel this way.

When the world gets to you, you can simply turn off your cell phone, pause your iPod, shut the door behind you, close your eyes, take a few relaxing breaths and spend a few minutes in your ‘sanctuary’ of silence and solitude.

Believe me, there are many Benefits of Silence and Solitude to consider:

1. Silence provides inner peace.

Can you remember the last time you sat in silence and heard the sound of your breathing and felt the stillness of your soul? Moments like these are rare, but we need them, like water or like the air that we breathe. Take a few minutes a day to quieten your mind, let go of all the insignificant issues that you can not control and just allow yourself to let be. Feel inner peace washing through your body. Feel the healing benefits of silence and solitude.

2. Silence helps to communicate on a different level.

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Four years ago, my answer to this question would be to locate and reach my alarm clock snooze button and enjoy an extra five minutes of hibernation. But now I have changed this. It always feels good to wake up to a brand new day, smell the fresh morning air and thank heaven for all the wonderful blessings you have. I am blessed with living in an apartment on the upper floor where I can have a glimpse of the horizon and the sunrise. This would be the first thing I would like to see upon waking up. The Sunrise.

Knowing that today is another day, another endeavor, another trial, another little pursuit of happiness, another chance to do something differently, to learn new lessons.

I am a firm believer that how we start our day has a huge impact on how we spend it.

So how would you like to start your ideal morning?

What is the first thing you like to see upon waking up?

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Have you ever asked yourself why do some people succeed? Is it because they are so smart? Or because they just happened to be in the right time in the right place? This was the question Richard St. John was asked by a girl on a plane. And while he was very successful businessman himself, he still could not really explain...

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We view food as a source of energy, and sometimes when what we eat tastes particularly delicious – a source of guilty pleasure. But we rarely see a connection between the food we eat and the mood we are in throughout the day.

Yet if you think about it whenever we feel bored, sad, heartbroken or stressed out we automatically head to the kitchen in search of a tub of ice-cream or a bag of potato chips, instead of turning for comfort to foods that can actually help to boost our mood, improve our motivation and noticeably increase our energy (and I am not talking about coffee or ‘Red Bull’ here).

If lately you have been a little cranky, spacey and quick to snap at friends, co-workers and your family members, a better eating plan may be just the thing you need to restore balance in your personal and professional life.

Below are the Top 10 Foods that will help you to do just that:

1. Bananas

With so many exotic fruits on the market, good ol’ bananas are often overlooked and undervalued. However, by all definitions a banana is one of the super fruits that can help you cope with stress, feel happier and noticeably improve your mood. Bananas and the potassium they contain not only keep blood pressure in check, but also help to improve memory and brain power. So instead of grabbing a chocolate chip cookie to relax, savor the deliciousness of golden bananas.

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I thought about this question often when I was a teenager, partly because I went to a ‘privileged school’ where you could get in either by passing numerous tests or by having the right connections and making generous donation for school improvements. Consequently, I had classmates from very poor families and those who had everything a teenager could ever ask for (from the latest gadgets to fancy designer clothes).

At times it seemed cool having rich parents, who gave you expensive gifts and took you on the exotic vacations during summer holidays. Who would not want to be the offspring of a well-to-do family and have a top-quality education in a prestigious university or a new shiny car just handed to you?

However, the more I thought about it the more I realized that behind the gleam of luxury of my rich classmates often laid loneliness and self-consciousness. Their parents never had time for them. Their future had been planned out since they were little. And deep down they were intimidated by their parent's success and struggling to live up to someone else’s unrealistic expectations. Of course, it is not always the case as each family and each situation is different.

There are many families that are successful in a monetary sense, whose children grow up to be hard-working, generous, compassionate and bright individuals.

Although, I personally consider it a blessing, not to have been born into a wealthy family and having had to work hard to achieve my goals. I am not sure I would have graduate so fast if I had not had to pay for my studies. Or that I would have developed the drive and determination to succeed without having had to face a few failures and making a few sacrifices.

What about you?

Did you grow up in a well-to-do family? Would you have wanted to?

And do you want your children to have everything they desire?

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overcome obstacles“When life gives you lemons, Make Lemonade.” – Author Unknown

We would all like our life to be smooth and problem-free, but the truth is this it is not how it is. And, honestly, it is better this way. If not for the challenges, problems, issues, and road blocks along the way, we would not have learned half of what we know. We probably would not improve our character or find the courage to step out of our comfort zone. We would not learn to appreciate what we already have or become more tolerant and understanding towards other people’s mistakes.

You might not see it like this the moment you face these difficulties, but take it from me anything worth achieving comes with a neatly packed bundle of obstacles and problems to resolve. You can look at them as a bad karma from your past lives. You can view them as God’s way of guiding you in the right direction. Or you can simply view them as bad luck. It really does not matter that much.

What makes a difference is what YOU do about the challenging situations you encounter?

How do you prepare for them? How do you overcome them with dignity, efficiency and even gratitude? And more importantly, how do you turn these road blocks into the stepping stones of your future success?

Here are 12 Practical Actions to Overcome Obstacles to Success:

1. Get up and start over.

Moments of self-pity and grief help you to liberate your negative emotions and give you time to reflect on what went wrong, but these moments should not last too long, as they do not help to improve the situation in any way. The only difference between our successes and failures lies in the number of times we are willing to get up and start over.

2. Concentrate on the lesson.

As Tony Robinson once said, “We like the surprises we want. The ones we don't want we call problems, but we need them.” Challenging situations have not been given to us just to ruin our day. They have been given to us, so we can learn a lesson. The faster we do, the sooner the situation will resolve itself.

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Our work takes up about one third of our life and people we work with have a huge impact on how we feel and the attitude we maintain. In general the vast majority of people we work with are nice, considerate and upbeat people. They go out of their way to be polite, they gladly help us if they can and they encourage us whenever we have a bad day, without being too invasive.

As I said this is the vast majority. But at times we have to deal with people that are annoying, inconsiderate, spiteful and plain negative about everything and everyone. Like black holes these people suck out our energy and bring out worst in us.

And the worst thing is that there is not much you can do to avoid them. Outside of work you can walk away. If a stranger steps on your foot without saying sorry – you can get irritated, but your chances of seeing them again are almost inexistent. If a guy sitting next to you at a bar is obnoxious and rude you can get up and leave.

At work it is not that easy, as we still have to face the same people day in and day out.

So my question to you is How do YOU handle emotional setbacks brought on by people you work with?

What do you do to stay positive and not let the negativity and criticism rub off on you?

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“When the eyes say one thing, and the tongue another, a practiced man relies on the language of the first.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a reason why eyes are often called “windows of the soul”. While we can choose our words and control certain facial expressions, our eyes never lie. They portray our thoughts, reflect the lightest shades of emotions, express interest, boredom, surprise, approval, or disbelief. Without words ever being spoken, our eyes have the power to attract, to judge, to frighten and to caress. You have probably witnessed yourself how often a parent can hush playful children just by giving them ‘the look’. Or how a young couple can flirt with each other across the table without ever saying a single word.

The language of our eyes is one of the most powerful and effective tools of non-verbal communication. And many times our success at a job interview, during business negotiations or on a first date depends on our ability to convey the right messages with our eyes. This is why it is so important to learn how to read the body language of the eyes and interpret it correctly.

Here are the 10 Most Important Eye Expressions that we witness every day:

1. Smiling eyes.

Psychologists have long noticed that a sincere smile starts with our eyes. When we are genuinely happy the skin around the corners of our eyes crinkles (the crow’s feet), while a ‘socially polite’ inauthentic smile touches only our lips. Have you ever been in a situation when a shop assistant smiled at you, offering help and you immediately got the feeling that they were just trying to sell you something? Well, now you know why. The smile you had been given was not in the eyes.

2. Shy eyes.

People who avoid eye contact during a conversation are often perceived as insincere, deceptive and untrustworthy. Practice shows that this is not always the case.

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Raised in a meat-eating family, at the age of 14 after watching a program on the ugly truths of the meat industry, I finally decided to become a vegetarian. Changing my meat-loving ways was not as hard as I believed it would be. Surprisingly, the biggest challenge I had to face was my own, normally understanding and supportive parents. They tried everything in their power – from reasoning to trickery – to make me give up my crazy idea of becoming a vegetarian.

Now after having been a vegetarian for years (though, I still eat dairy products and occasionally pastries that contain eggs), my parents have finally made peace with the fact that their daughter will not be seduced by crispy chicken wings or tender pork chops with onion-mushroom sauce.

I am happy to tell you that in all these years of not eating meat I have never developed anemia or any other disease which is attributed to vegetarianism. I am absolutely healthy, feel great and I cannot remember the last time I left the table, feeling stuffed to the point where I can hardly breathe or think.

All that said, I want to tell you up front – the purpose of this article is not to convert you into becoming a vegetarian as well. If you love meat, by all means – eat it. It is your personal choice.

The only thing I ask of you is to keep your mind opened to the idea of reducing the amount of meat you consume daily.

Because there are some convincing health reasons to do it:

1. Lower fat consumption.

Modern farm animals are deliberately fattened up to increase profits. Consequently, the meat we buy in the grocery stores is very high in cholesterol and saturated fats. That is why eating less of it is one of the simplest ways to lower blood cholesterol levels, decrease high blood pressure, and even prevent the risk of stroke – which is, by the way, the second leading cause of death in the world.

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While difficulties often drive us to the lowest points in life, it is a test to bring out the best of who we are and what we can be. Many people would see it differently but challenges are the ones that force me to rethink my life’s direction.

Often, when trials come my way, it’s followed by a profound period of reevaluating the steps taken in the past. It’s also about looking deeper into decisions made, relationships built and the values held or compromised. It is my belief that that challenges, while mostly beyond our control, could be dealt with positively and get to a happy end.

Be it about not having the expected economic stability despite hours of hard work, or having to uproot myself from the security and warmth of home to pay for my own studies and gain independence – such challenges have become my blessings in disguise.

Trials and difficulties, loss and errors… they are challenges. They, too, are actually just stepping stones to finally getting to where we need to be. Others would use these stones to sit on and wallow in self pity, often seated opposite from their direction. But for me, I’ve used these stones to elevate my being. So now I’m looking at a better view, with a wiser perspective and healthier supply of positive air.

What about you?

Do You See Blessings in Your Challenges?

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