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We live in a society built on efficiency and productivity. We stay busy, invent new time management strategies, and learn how to fill every second with some kind of activity so that we can “save” more time and fill it up with even more activities. But the question is – What’s the point?

What is the point of working hard and checking off all these numerous tasks on our to-do lists when we misbalance other areas of our life like health or relationships, for one single idea – the idea that we must be efficient. Efficient at what? Work? Relationships? Life?
My friend recently came back from his family trip to Europe. And when I asked him how did it go, his first response was, “Oh it was very productive! We saw everything that we had planned to see and I even met possible business partners for my new project!”
Am I the only one, who does not understand the concept of a “productive vacation”?  Vacations can be unforgettable, fun, great, amazing or terrible at worst, but not productive. Because if this is the case, a vacation loses its essence and becomes a business trip.
This got me thinking that maybe we have taken the productivity concept too far after all?
Maybe we need to take a little break from all the new fad time management strategies and turn to ancient knowledge for guidance?
Here is what ancient wisdom teaches us:

1. “What you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it.” – Egyptian Proverb

Most of us are familiar with the concept of prioritizing – you should always start with the most important and urgent task on our to-do list, leaving less important ones for later. But what if we look at it from a different perspective and instead of concentrating our efforts on the tasks that are supposed to bring us maximum result in the short run; we make learning our priority?
When you evaluate any activity from “What can I learn?” perspective, you are continuously expanding your experience, improving your skills, as a result becoming more efficient.
Action step: Look at the tasks on your to-do list. Often the most beneficial activity is not the one that seems the most important or urgent. It is the one that you learn the most while doing it!

2. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

Our present is a direct result of choices and actions that we have made in the past. And most of those choices and actions are mainly influenced by our habits. It is no different with work. Each of us has developed our own rituals like checking emails, answering friends on facebook, looking for the latest updates on the soccer world cup or eating lunch at our desk.
What we do not realize is that we perfect what we repeatedly do. We become more efficient at answering emails, we learn to carry on conversations with 5 different friends on facebook, and we become much faster at searching for the latest news on-line.
Action step: Become aware of your work “rituals” during the day. What do you repeatedly do? What are you getting better at? And is it worth excelling at these tasks? Or maybe it would be better to invest your time in something else that has a greater impact on your career and professionalism?

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I don’t know about you, but the beginning of the week is sometimes hard for me. After a worry-free and entertainment-filled weekend, it can be challenging to get back in the right mood to work.

Don’t get me wrong, I really love what I do (I can’t even call it a job, because it gives me so much satisfaction and joy), but sometimes even I feel lazy, and regret that the weekend has come to an end.

What do you do to motivate yourself every week? Is there a routine you do every week that powers your motivation?

Maybe you watch an inspirational video, read a good book, or tell yourself that it is going to be a great day? Or maybe a meditation, or prayer, helps you to regain your inner balance and motivation?

I would love to learn what helps you boost your motivation at the beginning of the workweek!

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Simplicity… Clarity… Peace of mind… When was the last time we experienced that in our lives? When was the last time we felt truly happy just being in the moment? When our thoughts were not occupied by planning, prioritizing, analyzing or worrying?

There are some days when I just want to step back, close my life, take a long deep breath, and feel tranquility and peace wash over me.

If lately you too have been yearning to bring simplicity and clarity into your life, here are 7 easy steps that will help you to do just that:

1. Get rid of clutter.

I recently stumbled across a funny picture of Albert Einstein who appeared to be looking for something on his extremely messy desk. Below the picture was a quote “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?” – Albert Einstein.

And although, Einstein’s witty comeback made me smile, an empty desk does not necessarily imply an empty mind. Very rarely does clutter help us think and be more productive (like in the case of Einstein).

Usually it is quite the opposite. Psychologists have noticed that working at a messy desk impedes concentration and noticeably decreases productivity. Just as living in a cluttered house, may drain our energy and negatively affect our mood.

The first step to simplifying your life and to bring peace into your soul is to simplify the space you live and work in. Everything that is old, unneeded, unused, broken or spare needs to go! Be honest with yourself about what you truly need and what you have been holding on to without much thought. You will be surprised how refreshing it feels to reclaim your space back.

2. Get rid of mental clutter.

It is not only our homes and offices that get cluttered. Our minds get overwhelmed too with new ideas, important dates that we need to remember, things we must do and all the “where did I put it?” questions. Our mind works non-stop. Processing. Prioritizing. Remembering…

In reality uncluttering our mind is not that different from organizing our office desk – you bring order into your thinking, by not trying to keep everything in your head. This is what I do to organize my thoughts:

1. Make to-do lists, where I write down important tasks or events that I am afraid to forget.
2. Keep an idea journal for all the good ideas that I might have. I just write it down and take it off my mind.
3. Have “junk-thought” sheet by my computer, where I dump all of those negative, meaningless and distracting thoughts that keep cycling over and over, junking up my mind! Sometimes I can fill up the whole page in 15 minutes, with all those random thoughts that come to my mind. But after I am done, I always feel much more focused.

For some reason writing your thoughts down works like magic when you are trying to calm an overly agitated mind and gain clarity.

3. Separate your family from your professional life.

When we have to sacrifice our family time in order to finish an important project – we feel guilty. Whenever we are spending time with our family and think about how much we need to get done – we feel anxious. In any case life gets complicated, because you are not focusing 100% on work and you are not really being with your family. Keep your professional life separate from your personal life. When you are at work – work, when you are with your family – enjoy it to the fullest! And you will see how much simpler life gets.

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Early Years and Early Ventures

John D. Rockefeller was born on July 8th , 1839, in Richford, New York, the second of six children. His father was “a pitch man”, who traded patent medicines that, he claimed could cure cancer. His mother was the complete opposite of his father’s fun-loving ways. She was very strict and religious woman. She taught her children very early to work, to save money and to give to charities.
In 1853 the Rockefeller’s family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where John successfully graduated from high school as one of the top math students.
In spring of 1855 Rockefeller spent 3 months at Folsom’s Commercial College where he learned bookkeeping, mercantile customs, banking and exchange.
Around this time a local minister challenged him to make as much money as he possibly could and then give away as much money as he could. “It was at this moment” – as Rockefeller later recalled – “that a financial plan of my life was formed”. He stopped his education to find a job. He was only 16 years old…
Only a month later young Rockefeller got a job as an assistant bookkeeper with Hewitt & Tuttle, commission merchants and produce shippers, where he surprised his employers with his seriousness, diligence and determination. Even though his salary was very low, he always gave some of his earnings to the Church and local charities.
In 1858, after working at Hewitt & Tuttle for three years Rockefeller began to engage in trading ventures on his own account.
Several months before his 20th birthday he put forward $2000 to start his first company with his neighbor Maurice Clark. In their first year of trading grain, hay, and meats, Clark & Rockefeller grossed $450,000, making a profit of $4400.  In spite of the flourishing business, Rockefeller realized that the future of the commission merchant business in Cleveland was going to be limited. He started to look for other business opportunities and soon Fortune smiled at him.

Big Opportunity and Even Bigger Risks

In 1859 the something “big” that he was looking for surfaced in Pennsylvania with the discovery of oil and the building of railroad to Cleveland. Overnight wildcat companies stripped away whole forests to put up thousands of oil derrick, hoping to strike black gold. John Rockefeller knew that drilling for oil was a very risky business. He decided it was better to invest in refining, not drilling. So he opened a new business with Samuel Andrews, who had technical knowledge in the field.
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It’s a great question, isn’t it? Most of us occasionally dream about making or, better yet, winning a few million dollars. But real life shows us that people who won or suddenly inherited huge amounts of money had no idea what to do with it, and most of them ended up losing it all in just 3-4 years!
I am sure that you would be smarter than that…
How would you spend $10,000,000? What are the first 3 things that you would do with it? What goals would you pursue if money was no longer an obstacle?
I thought about it for some time, and here are 7 things I would do with my money:
1. Donate $1,000,000 to small charities and make sure that my money really go to those, who need it
2. Build my own house
3. Give $200,000 to my parents and my uncle, so that they won’t have to worry about paying bills any more
4. Invest $7,000,000 in different ways: buy some properties, stocks, bonds, ecc
5. Organize a 3-week vacation for my family and closest friends
6. Take 3 months off and go in ashram in India
7. Attend a lot more workshops, lectures, seminars
I’d love to hear what would you do with your money. Write down any spontaneous ideas that come to your mind in the comment section below, be it travel around the world 10 times or develop a new motivational program that will inspire people to pursue their dreams and help them to stay positive.
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Usually, when we think of being in conflict, we think about our boss, who vented their frustration on us last week, about how our spouse has hurt our feelings, about our child, who is going through a difficult age or about an insolent shopping assistant, who has been plain rude to us.

But there is another type of conflict – one that is going on in our head. Inner conflicts may be less obvious than open confrontations with other people, but they are actually a lot more frequent and a lot more damaging for us in the long run.

Do you notice these inner daily contradictions about whether or not you should do or say something? Are you always sure about decisions that you have made or do you feel doubts afterwards? Have you been in a situation when your mind tells you to do one thing, while your heart ignores all the logic and tells you to do the opposite?

If yes, then you are not alone. We all sometimes feel torn between doing what we want to do and what we “ought” to be doing.

Psychologists say that there could be several different causes of our inner battles:

Preconceived Notions.

Sometimes we stubbornly hold onto our beliefs and judgments even though there is considerable evidence that they are wrong. In this case we feel torn between desire to defend our beliefs and accepting the necessity to face the facts.
It is easy, if not to avoid, then at least to minimize the number of inner conflicts caused by preconceived notions by keeping your mind open, which basically means not getting too attached to your opinions, ideas and predictions. Making a mistake or being wrong about someone or something does not make you ignorant. Being wrong and stubbornly looking for evidence that you are right – does!

Abstract social values.

It is not always easy to do the right thing. Especially when it is unclear what the right thing is. I wish that when we are taught to “be generous”, “compassionate”, “forgiving” there were specific instructions on how we should act in real life situations and detailed explanation of which moral and ethical values are more important and which ones can sometimes be “sacrificed”.

Let me explain myself…

Imagine that your friend is very upset and asks you if you can come over. The problem is that you have promised to have dinner with your family. What are you supposed to do? Tell your friend that you cannot be there for them? Cancel dinner with your family and hear the disappointment in your mother’s voice, because she has been cooking all day and was really looking forward to seeing you?

There you go! You have your inner conflict, because neither alternative is perfect.

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Summer is the perfect season to get back into shape and burn those unneeded and unwanted pounds that we have put on during the cold winter season. And the best part is that you can do it without having to spend hours on a Stairmaster or exhausting yourself with crunches and push-ups.

Here are 25 fun and easy ways that will help you to lose weight, get fit and look gorgeous in your new swimming suit:

1. Drink plenty of water

The heat outside makes it easy to drink those 8 glasses of water a day that health professionals suggest we should drink. Our body naturally craves fluid to prevent dehydration and maintain the healthy operations of almost all our internal organs. In fact, it has been shown that most of our hunger pangs are caused by dehydration of the body, not by the desire to eat something. So next time, you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and see if your hunger goes away.

2. Avoid diuretics

Most high-calorie beverages like soda, juices, sugared iced tea, coffee or alcohol instead of hydrating us and quenching our thirst during hot summer days, work as diuretics (which means that they increase the excretion of water from the body), dehydrating us even more. No matter what TV ads tell you, there is nothing better than a glass of water with lemon to quench thirst and detoxify your body.

3. Start your day with a nutritiously-delicious breakfast

If you are one of those people, who regularly rush out of the house without eating breakfast, you might want to reconsider. In fact, there are some very compelling reasons to make breakfast the most important meal of the day.

Research has shown that in the morning our levels of blood sugar are seriously low and skipping breakfast can backfire on us later in the day with lack of energy, poor concentration, headaches and dizziness. However, starting your day with doughnuts, chocolate bars, pancakes, Sausage McMuffin (or almost any other dish from a fast food menu) is not particularly healthy either. While all these items may increase your blood sugar, they contain plenty of fat and very little nutrients, which lead to weight gain, decrease in energy and a foul mood. Therefore, to feel great, incorporate fresh fruits, berries, nuts, yogurt, oatmeal and natural juices into your breakfast menu.

4. Get more sun to get fit

There is some scientific evidence that says serotonin plays an important role in regulating appetite and mood. It means that boosting your levels of serotonin can leave you feeling happier and noticeably lower your appetite, especially by reducing cravings for foods that are high in carbohydrates. The production of serotonin, in turn, is closely linked with the amount of natural sun that we receive. This is one of the reasons why we eat more during the cold winter months and less in summer.

There are also a number of foods that help to increase the serotonin levels in our blood. Some of the most popular ones are bananas, wheat germ, cottage cheese, turkey, flaxseed oil, and dark chocolate! So in order to lose those extra pounds, grab a banana and hit the beach.

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When I think about it, there are many people who have inspired and touched me in some way:

  • my mom, who taught me to not be quick to judge other people
  • my dad, who taught me to be honest no matter what
  • my mentors, who have helped me to grow and who have never let me get away with any excuses
  • my wonderful friends, who have always been there for me no matter if I needed a shoulder to cry on or some moral support and motivation
  • spiritual leaders, who with their personal example showed me what true love, compassion and forgiveness was
  • great writers, whose words have touched my heart and motivated me to change
  • successful people, who have encouraged me to follow their footsteps and work harder toward my dreams
  • my readers, who have inspired me to start this blog and continue to inspire me every single day

Is there ever been person in your life who has inspired you the most?

Someone who has pushed you beyond your limits? Someone who has encouraged you when you doubted your own abilities? Someone who would not let you quit just because it got hard? Someone who has inspired you to pursue your dreams, to grow, to become a little better in some way?

Who is he/she?

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“Most people think resources or the lack thereof hold them back. In fact it is not lack of resources but rather lack of resourcefulness that truly prevents people from achieving their dreams” -Anthony Robbins

Usually when we do not reach our goals there are several key factors that we name to explain our “failures”: lack of money, lack of experience, lack of time, lack of necessary technology, and lack of support. This is true. Many of us may lack all these things, BUT! There is a “but”…

We can acquire anything we want, given a little bit of creativity and determination.

If you think about it, there is plenty of money to go around. Ask Bill Gates if you have doubts about it. He will tell you.
There is also no such thing as lack of time. We have all been given the same number of hours a day. And it is up to us to decide how to use these 24 hours. Take Barak Obama, for example. He is a very busy person. There is no doubt about it. And, yet, he finds the time to exercise regularly. After this it becomes almost embarrassing to use lack of time as an excuse to postpone our health goals. Because let’s face it, neither of us can claim that we are busier or have more important tasks on our to-do list than the president of the United States.

We may believe that we lack resources, but I tend to agree with Antony Robbins -lack of resources is not a defining factor to whether or not we will accomplish anything in life. The defining factor is our resourcefulness. If you are creative, determined and resourceful enough, you will find a way to achieve your goals no matter what.

However, there are several obstacles that can stop us from being resourceful:

1. Fear.

Fear’s main function is to protect us from harm and help to escape dangerous situations. However, this protection mechanism that helped our ancestors to survive in the past has become one of the main blocks to resourcefulness for most of us.

• Every time we have doubts about starting our own business or learning a new skill, because it may prove not to be a worthy investment, we act out of fear.
• Every time we turn down a new opportunity, because there is some risk involved, we act out of fear.
• Every time we do not ask for help, because we are afraid to look “weak”, “foolish” or “inadequate”, we act out of fear.

I wish I could tell you that there is a hidden “fear switch” that you can turn on and off whenever you wish.

Unfortunately, there is only one effective method to overcome our fears – do more of what we fear.

You might have started something in the past and it did not work out the way you initially planned. This happens to the best of us. Every person has their own personal baggage of failures, mistakes and set-backs. But it is not a good enough reason to stop trying!

2. Social conditioning.

It is hard to be resourceful and believe that everything is possible, when we are constantly told what we can or cannot do, when we are politely pointed out our shortcomings and past failures, or when we are taught that success is for the very few, who have been born under a lucky star, or more specifically into a wealthy family. All this negative social conditioning creates our inner blocks that hold us back, even when we could have been moving forward.

Do not accept blindly everything that you are told. There is a huge difference between constructive feedback and negative conditioning. The first one motivates you into improving something about yourself or your life. The second one makes you feel unworthy, helpless and inadequate.

3. Lack of self-confidence.

There are plenty of resources up there. The problem is that many people do not believe that they deserve them. They dream about what they love to do, but when it comes to planning or going after those dreams, they do not even bother. A little voice inside of them says “There is no way YOU can do it”. You might be telling yourself that you do not deserve success, because you lack talent, self-confidence, education or will power.

But the truth is that success is not some kind of reward given for being a “perfect son/daughter”, an “A” student or “employee of the month”. Success is a result of aligning your passion, energy and your goals together. It starts with finding out what you want to do and gathering courage to go after your dreams.

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If you, like me, spend a lot of time working on a computer, reading or watching TV you are putting a lot of strain on your eyes. In fact, optometrists point out that people who spend hours in front of the computer are more likely to suffer from myopia (become short-sighted).

This happens for three main reasons:

1. Repeated small eye movements while you are reading something or watching TV noticeably strain and disables eye function.
2. Because most of the time our eyes are focused on objects at arms’-length they become accustomed to seeing close objects, which weakens eye muscles and makes it harder for us to see things in the distance clearly.
3. When using the computer our blink rate decreases by 70 %! It means that instead of blinking an average of 18 times per minute, we are blinking only 4 times per minute, which puts an enormous strain on our vision.
Fortunately, there are few things that you can do in order to improve your vision and help your eyes cope with the work strain better:

1. Become aware of your posture.

A slumped, sitting position restricts blood circulation to the head, neck and eyes, which often causes tension headaches and weakens our vision. Notice your sitting position as you are reading this post. Are you slouching? Are you comfortable in your chair? Do your bones crack every time you stretch your body? Start paying attention to your posture and every time you catch yourself crouching over computer – sit up straight!

2. Refocus.

Every 40-50 minutes look away from your computer screen and shift your focus to any distant object (e.g. look out of the window or focus on something on the other side of the room).

Another great exercise for improving the focusing ability of your eyes:

• Hold your thumb in front of your face about six inches from your nose.
• Focus on your thumb.
• Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
• Then focus on an object about 10 feet away.
• Take another deep breath and slowly exhale.
• Repeat back and forth 20 times

3. Relax your eyes.

There are two great ways to immediately take the strain off your tired eyes and help them to relax.
• Blink rapidly for about 30 seconds.

• Palming. This a great ayurvedic exercise that is now widely used by many vision improvement programs.
Here is how to do it correctly.

1) First, rub your hands together until they feel warm (about 15 to 20 seconds). Then place your cupped hands over your closed eyes, being careful not to touch your eyes with the palms of your hands (if you do it correctly, you should see pitch darkness even when you open your eyes). The fingers of each hand should overlap and rest gently on the center of your forehead. Rest your elbows on a table.
2) Sit quietly for one to two minutes with your hands over your eyes.
3) After you are done slowly open your eyes.

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