The Beginners Guide to Intermittent Fasting for a Shredded Physique

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Are you familiar with the term? Do you practice this technique to lose weight and change the way your body works? If not, you’re missing out on the big trend and very efficient way to gain many health benefits while losing weight. Stick with us for a while to learn about it!   What is […]

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How To Get Out Of A Rut: 5 Ways To Move On

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You may have no idea what your reason for being is. You’re annoyed, dissatisfied and unexcited by everything. It’s monotonous, tedious and frustrating.

And if you think you’re alone, think again.

In fact, you’re part of the largest group of people on Earth. You don’t know what to do with your life and, worse, you don’t know how to find out.

People are not born knowing their role in the world. In fact, we’re all born with endless possibilities and therein lies the problem. How do you even begin and, if you begin, how do you choose?

Can you move past the idea that there must be so much more? What are the ways to move on?

The Future is Yours—You Just Can’t See It

helping others

Life has many things in store for you. Family, friends, health, work, society—all of them change considerably during your lifetime. It’s unlikely that you will enjoy all these changes as not all of them will be positive.

Know this: your life’s journey is your masterpiece.

As you work in life, your purpose unfolds in front of you and your role in the world becomes clearer. Stop trying to meticulously plan your life. Planning is the antithesis to the adventure and improvisation that life requires. You’re in charge and that’s a great thing. A little scary maybe, but still a great thing. Remember that the best way to plan your future is to go out and create it!

Your default mode should be action. Doing [things] is honest philosophy. Stay positive and avoid criticizing others. Above all else, avoid negativity. Work to be helpful and try to look for ways to help other people.

At your job, help your boss. In your community, help your neighbors. For the rest of the world, help those less fortunate. Don’t enter the ugly fray that’s become so prevalent in our society. Always be on the side of positivity.

When you approach life this way, people seek you out and opportunities find you. It’s the law of attraction.

See Also: 12 Mind-blowing Tips for Increasing Your Overall Positivity!

Don’t Do What Makes You Happy

“Do what makes you happy” is a terrible advice from well-intentioned parents and teachers.

In fact, you should embrace discomforts and frustrations and move beyond your comfort zone. This is the only way to learn. To focus only on that which makes you happy means you avoid a great deal of life and the learning that comes with it.

Every time you move outside of your comfort zone, you learn more. Your role in life and your true happiness become clearer and you have more focus. You find out who you are and everything that you can endure. Each period of great discomfort teaches you about your preferences and that your limits are probably lesser than you imagined. Push your mind and body and then adjust. Do that again and again for that is the journey.

See Also: The Call for Change: Time to Step Out of the Comfort Zone

Investment In Your Mentality

ROI or Return on Investment is when you get back what you put in.

You already know about moving beyond your comfort zone – that’s the fun, adventurous part. However, sacrifice is tougher. It is the boring and frustrating part where most people choose to stop.

Note to self: “Don’t stop here.”

You need to understand that there is a long road to travel and that life is a marathon. Chances are you’re just beginning.

Humans are hardwired to want things now. It’s called immediate gratification and it’s a very powerful force. You should be smarter than everyone else, so think! invest in your future and reap your returns as you move forward.

Creating your future most often means sacrificing time with family and friends, working for long stretches in jobs you don’t enjoy, studying and saving your money. We all have limited time, energy and funds, but you must invest those limited treasures so that you can create a future of greater abundance.

Teach Yourself

teach yourself

Stop waiting to be trained! The truth is that you can’t gain knowledge without seeking it. Nobody can teach you anything anyway. They can only help you learn so understand that going through the process alone is one of the effective ways to move on.

When you don’t know something, read about it, work at it or ask questions. Read about new places, research careers that interest you and speak to people with more experience.

The more you explore, the closer you come to understanding who you are and what you’re supposed to be doing. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty because that’s the only way to know if you’re enjoying something. Keep in mind that you are your best mentor.

Big questions that can be helpful:

  • What are you most passionate about?
  • How can you give back to the world?
  • What would you prioritize if money and time were no objects?
  • Can you speak another language?
  • Is travel important to you?
  • What professional experience do you want to gain?

Today, hundreds of companies all over the world will allow you to travel, learn and give back while you continue to explore your passions, develop new skills and discover new interests. Start by helping in disaster relief abroad through All Hands Volunteers, offering your time to provide a better future to the kids in Latin America with Maximo Nivel or help orphaned and abandoned children in Africa and Asia through Orphfund. Your role in the world and your preferences continue to evolve over time, so continue teaching yourself and keep learning!

There Is No Right Time

Time waits for no one, so utilize the time you’ve been gifted. As much as possible, avoid falling trap to time wasters, like TV, social media, people who don’t like you and being negative. Instead, try reading, traveling and being with the people who like you.

Your path in life and your role in the world are only discovered as you work at it. So, work hard! A lot of people miss the idea of fulfillment and happiness because opportunity always looks like hard work.

Instead of thinking that way, engage your mind and body in creating your life’s journey. It won’t be easy and it won’t be perfect. That’s completely fine as it’s not supposed to be.

Thinking about it, waiting, being nervous or scared—these are all personal choices. If you want to move out of a rut, move beyond those choices. You will never regret your adventures if you’re learning new things.


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50% of Marriages Ends up in Divorce, Is It That Hard to Save a Marriage?

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The pic everybody is familiarised with, but so few braves dare to recognise: couples counseling. By acknowledging that a range between 42-50% of marriages in the US ends up in divorce – ratio that alarmingly increases for second-time married people, there is a vast field for psychologists to operate in what regards to helping couples to sort their differences. Then why is widely accepted that bringing couples counseling to the table is the beginning of the end-phase of most marriages?

Contrary to popular belief, in the 40-50s age group, women are the ones that take the initiative to apply for divorce, being the divorce ratio a 5,2% higher as recent studies hosted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show . Sociologists credit this situation not only to an increased tendency for women seeking higher education degrees and better-paid jobs[1] but also to a mindset change on what used to be the 1950s society and the views on domestic violence (either physical or psychological). Divorcees are not stigmatised by society as it used to be, though many people still believe there’s room for improvement, and take as a final countermeasure the chance that professional help brings to us.

Seeking couples counseling services is giving your relationship another chance.

A fact is that the age gap between 40-50s is the largest pool of divorces for any community, and that factor is strictly linked to reaching a certain position in life where routine becomes a killer, children seek their lives as full grown-ups, and those minor “inconveniences” that were left under the carpet now seem to be impossible to disguise. Of course, there is a huge difference between seeking couple counseling services for domestic quarrels than infidelity, so these are the signs that can tell you maybe it’s time to consider asking for help:

  • When communication is, overall, negative: You don’t talk, you just spend half your time arguing over the weather, finance, kids, your broken car, your work troubles and even your neighbors’ new lawn mower. Everything seems to become an excuse to start a heated argument.
  • When you start losing trust: Relationships are built on trust, and when that delicate balance starts to quake, you start to question even the stupidest things that can come across your mind, like what your couple did with its payment rise, if he/she is paying taxes in time, how and when did this new friend showed up, since when this new hobby started to take that much interest, etc.
  • When you feel the need to keep secrets: Of course we all have our personal stuff that we would prefer not to talk about, but when you feel you need to keep things from your partner over and over, then it’s a sign things aren’t working the way they should.
  • When there are severe financial differences: Some of the essential aspects of marriages relies on good financial management. If one wants to start saving money for retirement and the other spends more from what’s making in a month’s salary, and the tendency doesn’t change over months (or even years), then probably it’s time to seek advice someplace else.
  • When there is no intimacy: No one expects marriage to be like the first year over time [2] , as people change, responsibilities show up, and we tend to get accustomed to the same things – meaning that initial spark might get lost. But if now you don’t even kiss goodbye, then something else is going on here.
  • When you live separate lives: To put this in few words, you share a roof, that’s all. Even your roommate in college was more aware of your routine and things that went on your life than your spouse.

If you can relate to 1-2 of this topics, then it’s time to sit down and talk about the things that are going on at the moment [3] . In case you identify your marriage with over 4 of these points, then book a session asap! There is still time to fix things if you still love each other.

To save your relationship, let the counselor help you. But your effort counts too.

Pick a therapist that really suits you and your partner.

Referrals are the best way to find a professional for a sensitive matter as this one. Either friend who went through the same as you are at the moment, or their parents, a co-worker you trust, your doctor, etc. can give a helping hand to find that person that can set a middle-ground to your constant quarrels or lack of affection.

First of all, be sure your therapist’s opinion isn’t biased towards marriage above all problems, as sometimes there is no viable way to make a relationship to work if differences are way too pronounced. Then, another factor you need to consider is that the professional itself must be a neutral one: a friend of one of the spouses isn’t a choice, as you need to consider you are willing to share your personal problems and your spouses’ as well – once again, you don’t want a biased opinion that can make the result a worse one than the initial problem.

Remember the good times.

One does simply get married to another person just because they saw each other at the mall, exchanged glances and tie the knot; there is a story behind [4] ! Think of the first date you two had, a memorable moment while you were dating, a gift you loved , and bring that to therapy.

Sometimes, the sole reason why therapy works is because counselors help us to talk [5] – yes, talk – without being afraid of what our spouse may say: the counselor is there to help, to make the other half of your marriage to understand your feelings and to help you to understand what your spouse thinks about your relationship.

Commitment is the key.

As marriages are a thing of two,[6] nothing is going to change if both parties aren’t willing to cooperate. By this we mean there’s no such thing as we see in movies or soap operas where one spouse drags the other to counseling, and miraculously things start to get clear, he or she gets familiarized with an old trauma of the spouse’s childhood, and you know the rest of the story.

If you get to the point that one believes seeking therapy for the trouble you are having is a waste of time, then it’s probably best to move on with your life someplace else[7].

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via


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Calm Your Mind Without Sitting to Meditate

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“Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time.” ~Shunryu Suzuki

Sitting meditation has always been challenging for me; practicing mindfulness, even harder.

As a self-confessed worrywart who has contended with constant ruminations, flashbacks, and nightmares for most of my life (more on this later), all prior attempts at being fully present and not thinking merely served as reminders of how little control I had over my mind. Then I took up hiking and stumbled upon a form of meditation that literally transformed my life.

Initially, just being out in nature on scenic trails cultivated calmness and cleared my head. Almost immediately, I realized that hiking provided a respite from intrusive thoughts that have plagued me since I was a tyke.

They include flashbacks of my mother’s numerous suicide attempts in our decrepit Chinatown apartment, my father’s drunken rages, and recurring images of shootings, savage beatings, and other gory crime scenes from my gangbanging days.

Ruminations include the sound of gunfire along with the replaying in my head of toxic utterances in Cantonese that translate to “Giving birth to you was my biggest mistake,” “I wish you were never born,” and my own father yelling “You bastard!”

Somehow, walking in nature enabled my mind to slow down and rest, which felt liberating.

Unfortunately, the novelty soon wore out. Merely walking and hiking wasn’t enough to prevent symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress from returning. I reverted to rehashing the past and worrying obsessively about the future.

However, I had gotten a taste of the benefits of mindfulness meditation and discovered that it can be practiced while engaging in an activity I enjoyed. These revelations motivated me to keep at it.

After reading what was available on walking meditation, which typically advise focusing on the flow of our “in” and “out” breaths, I developed my own techniques for practicing mindful walking and hiking.

My favorite is to look ahead and select a destination point or object and stay focused on it. It can be a shadow on the ground, boulder, bush, tree, manhole cover, light pole, store awning, mailbox, and so on. Once I reached it, I chose another landmark or object, usually a little further away.

Rough or uneven trails forced me to concentrate on each step for safety reasons. My brain automatically blocked out discursive thoughts; otherwise I could slip, trip, or fall. Other techniques I came up with include fully feeling the ground of each step, following the flight pattern of birds and insects, observing cloud patterns, and being conscious of sounds and scents—moment to moment.

Zen monk Thich Nhat Hanh, often called “Thay,” which means “teacher” in Vietnamese, is revered throughout the world for his teachings and writings on mindfulness and peace.

He has brought the practice into institutions, including maximum-security prisons, helping inmates attain calmness and inner peace while being confined up to twenty-four hours daily. Many of them have professed that mindfulness meditation is the most difficult endeavor they have ever engaged in.

We live in a culture where many of us want quick results with as little effort as possible. This applies to how we approach our work, health, pastimes, social interactions, and problems. This mindset is the antithesis of mindfulness.

In my opinion, it is virtually impossible to tackle mindfulness meditation without patience and discipline. Fortunately, these attributes can be enhanced by engaging in the art itself.

When I started mindful walking and hiking, my ability to stay present was measured in feet and seconds.

As a highly competitive, emotionally undisciplined, and impatient person, I could have easily succumbed to my frustrations and given up. But the short periods of calmness and inner peace I attained—supplemented by my stubbornness—provided the necessary resolve for me to stick with the program.

As I continued my mindfulness “training,” catching my mind when it wandered occurred sooner, and the ability to refocus took less effort. Using kind, positive messages such as “rest” and “focus” was more effective than phrases such as “don’t wander” and “don’t think.”

Insight and mindfulness meditation are usually practiced separately. Personally, when I am procrastinating about something or seeking a solution to a problem, ideas and answers usually emerge effortlessly during or immediately following my walks and hikes.

These epiphanies and aha moments tend to be inspired by kindness and compassion, as opposed to ego.

I was severely beaten by a rival gang member as a teen. For over forty years, I suffered nightmares, flashbacks, and ruminations of the attack. Both conventional and unconventional modalities of therapy failed to provide much relief.

One morning, I was enjoying a relaxing hike when the familiar image of my attacker suddenly appeared. For the very first time, I remained calm and found myself viewing my lifelong enemy as a kindred spirit. I saw him as someone like me, most likely abused as a child, who desperately sought empowerment by joining gangs.

This awakening, along with my spiritual practice, enabled me to cultivate compassion and forgiveness. The nightmares and flashes of the attack ceased at that point and have not returned.

Mindfulness can be practiced pretty much anywhere and at any time. I do it first thing in the morning when I wake up while still lying in bed, in the kitchen, in the shower, at my desk, and most recently while getting dental work done.

Whether I devote a few seconds by pausing and taking a deep belly breath—or hiking for several hours—benefits are reaped.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, practicing mindfulness has transformed my life. With a family history of mental illness and a violent upbringing, I have been diagnosed and treated for multiple mood disorders, including manic depression, post-traumatic stress, addiction, and rage.

My mindfulness practice has empowered me to rest and calm my mind, as well as intercept and suppress negative thoughts. It serves as a powerful coping mechanism for me.

For the majority of my life, I was at the mercy of gambling urges and other cravings. When I encounter them now, I pause, acknowledge what is happening, take a few deep breaths, focus on my surroundings, and allow the urges to pass.

Staying relaxed enables me to respond instead of react, which places me in a better position to reflect and gain insight into the underlying issues that triggered the desire to self-medicate.

My mood is much more stable and I have better control of my emotions. The benefits I received from mindful walking and hiking has inspired me to practice it throughout the day.

I used to loathe driving because of my road rage. I was terrified of myself, often wondering when I left the house if I would end up in jail or the morgue. My level of stress rose in proportion to the amount of traffic I encountered.

Practicing mindfulness meditation in the car keeps me mellow as well as alert. I have become a patient and compassionate driver, smiling at other motorists and limiting use of the horn for safety purposes. Another insight I gained is that my past aggressive behavior on and off the road attracted like-minded people.

The mental discipline I gained also enabled me to embrace Buddhism, which has interested, yet eluded me for many years. All of this empowers me to attain and maintain equanimity. Now, I can even sit and meditate for long periods without feeling restless or irritable.

So for those who find sitting meditation challenging, or for individuals seeking different ways to practice mindfulness, I recommend mindful walking and hiking.

Not only is it a fun way to quiet the mind while getting some exercise, but it can be life-changing—helping us let go of worries, stress, tension, and even the most painful memories from the past.

About Bill Lee

Bill Lee is a second-generation Chinese American who grew up in the Chinese underworld. He is the author of three memoirs. In his new book, Born-Again Buddhist: My Path to Living Mindfully and Compassionately with Mood Disorders, he describes in detail the positive impact that mindful walking and hiking has made in his life. Visit

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27 Voltaire Quotes

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    27 Voltaire Quotes 1. “Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” – Voltaire 2. “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire 3. “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” – Voltaire […]

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Simple and Efficient Exercises You Can Do To Get Rid Of a Double Chin!

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Looking in the mirror and seeing a double chin can be disheartening. It’s even more frustrating if you’re trying your best to get rid of it, but to no avail. While many double chins are put down to being overweight, unfortunately sometimes it can just be because of aging or genetics.

But understanding what a double chin is and what you can do to prevent or get rid of one will allow you to get rid of a double chin efficiently.

What Is A Double Chin And What Causes It?

A double chin is essentially an extra layer of fat that forms around your neck and sags down below your chin. This causes a noticeable crease and bulge that can become more prominent if weight is gained.

Although fat is usually the main culprit, it can be due to excess water being retained in that area, and many people have this as a hereditary trait, making it difficult to get rid of.

Alternatively, the aging process means our skin is susceptible to sagging, especially in the chin and neck area where the skin is delicate. The muscles in your chin can slacken over time adding to the development of a double chin.

How Can I Get Rid Of A Double Chin?

If your double chin is making you feel insecure, then along with a general good diet and exercise regime, there are target-specific exercises you can do. Making these a daily habit can work the two main muscles found in the neck (sternocleidomastoid and platysma) enough to help prevent the double chin from forming.

Neck Rolls

This exercise can be done standing up or sitting down but it’s important to keep your back and spine straight while doing this exercise.

  • Start with moving your chin over to your right shoulder.
  • Keeping your head down, slowly move to a central position
  • Move your chin over to the left shoulder. You should feel the tension in your neck and chin.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

Working the Platysma Muscle

This muscle connects from your jawline to your shoulder, and is the best muscle to target when getting rid of a double chin.

  • Open up your mouth nice and wide.
  • Pull your bottom lip tight over your bottom teeth.
  • Move your jaw up and down.
  • Repeat this 10-15 times.

Sky Pout

This exercise tones the muscles in the chin, neck, and jaw.

  • Keeping your back and spine straight, slowly tilt back your head so you are looking skyward.
  • Pucker your lips so that they form a pout.
  • Hold this position for 5 seconds and then release.
  • Repeat 10-15 times.

Can I Prevent A Double Chin Long Term?

There are several daily habits you can adopt in order to get rid of a double chin alongside exercises. Doing these can help with the problem, depending on what is causing it.

Losing Weight Through Exercise And Good Nutrition

The most obvious solution, if your double chin is due to excess weight, is to go on a healthy eating and exercise regime. Losing overall body fat will result in your double chin reducing in proportion to the rest of your body. Avoiding foods high in saturated fats and processed sugar will not only help with your weight, but also your skin.

In addition, drinking plenty of water will not only help with the quality of your skin, but it will help speed up and regulate your metabolism; this means fat will be burned overall, including the double chin area.

Vitamin E to Supplement The Skin

Increasing your intake of vitamin E could help prevent sagging of the skin under the chin. This is because vitamin E plays an important role in slowing down the aging process for our skin, due to fighting off free radicals. While it won’t target your double chin, it will give your skin a fighting chance to prevent it.

Foods such as fruits, nuts, brown rice, legumes, olive oil, and dairy products all contain good amounts of vitamin E, so get these incorporated into your diet. If you find this hard to do, you can also consider taking a vitamin E supplement, but make sure not to exceed 540mg a day.

Chewing Gum To Help Tone Muscles

Chewing gum doesn’t just have to be about fresh breath. The movements we make when chewing are constantly using the small muscles in and around the face and jaw. By chewing gum regularly, you’re toning these muscles, which will go toward lessening a double chin. Just make sure it’s sugar free gum, and you’ll be doing a favor to your oral health too.

So, don’t fret over your double chin. Doing daily exercises and making sure you’re eating a good nutritional diet, along with general regular exercise, will go towards reducing the amount of double chin you have.

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Unstoppable You – How To Tap Into Your Awesome Learning Power

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You're reading Unstoppable You – How To Tap Into Your Awesome Learning Power, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

Learning is like breathing. Something we do because we are alive. Something we usually take for granted. But should we? We were primed for learning in the womb – every hour our brains added 250,000 neurons so that we could process the world when we arrived. Then, as a child, our default programming (let’s call it Learning 1.0) shaped the basic structure and wiring of our brains as we learned through trial and error and imitation. We upgraded our learning capability again when, through experiences in school we upgraded to Learning 2.0 – internalizing society’s knowledge and more structured learning approaches (e.g., how to study). Once on our own, we cobbled together our own way of dealing with life’s challenges at work, at home, as a citizen. We crafted a personalized approach – enter the next version of our internal learning software -- Learning 3.0. But Learning 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 are not good enough today. This world is changing very rapidly and presenting us with many complex conditions and challenges that require a new learning paradigm.Of course, there is an increasing array of support we can access – in apps, online courses, blogs, or by cruising Google, Cable TV, social media (caveat: beware of biases!), and more. We truly live in an accelerating and often confusing knowledge era. And it will only get more complex and diverse as information expands and technology provides new tools for learning, outsourcing our memories, and connecting with others in novel ways. It’s a new learning landscape, and we need a new way of thinking about and approaching learning. I call this new way, Learning 4.0. It’s 21st Century learning that you do on your own and with others. It’s a framework to use when you help others learn – your children, people you lead, people who want you to share your expertise for any reason. And, Learning 4.0 is a framework to guide your learning in the moment (out of curiosity or opportunism), extracting learning from past experience (think of the learning locked up in those experiences you regret or remember with pride), and when you have a learning goal that may take some time to reach. Learning 4.0 builds on the strengths of 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. But there is a lot more. Think about yourself as a 4.0 Learner. For example, with Learning 4.0 you use and expand your imaginative capabilities – your ability to dream, create a virtual reality future, and then to draw on the energy of that imagined reality to help you move into a desirable future (Here’s a simple tip: before you dive into any learning experience do a 3-minute trip into your future. See and feel yourself with a new competency in a situation that matters to you. Make this vision as visceral – physical and mental – as you can. It will then act like a magnet, pulling you toward the future you desire). Learning 4.0 also engages your whole brain/body – reflecting new insights from neuroscience, enlisting your conscious and unconscious learning processes, and tuning your body to support you with positive learning chemicals, brain waves, and optimal neural activity as you learn. A third way Learning 4.0 works is by equipping you for the increasingly manipulative information world. Everybody wants your attention, information and money. But with Learning 4.0, you approach information in a smart way – detecting bias and manipulation and deciding what to accept and reject or ignore. Another quality that defines you as a 4.0 learner is resource versatility. As a 4.0 learner, you aren’t fazed by the variety of resource and learning formats out there. You know how to get the information you need from reading, listening, online apps and courses, meetings and conversations, even games and simulations… and more. There are other important qualities in 4.0 Learning. And learners can tap into these super-learning qualities by developing skills in seven important 4.0 Learning practice areas:
  1. Hear the Call. 4.0 learners detect learning opportunities long before others. They are tuned to learn, so they hear calls to learn from the world around and inside them before these calls become crises and problems.
  2. Create Future Pull. 4.0 learners imagine compelling futures that then pull them in the direction of their goals. Think about it: when you have an image of where you want to be, it seems the world is filled with help to get there. Some call this the law of attraction, others call it serendipity. It is actually imagination and your unconscious learning processes at work.
  3. Search Far and Wide. You can’t deal with the crowded information world alone. You need help in the form of search engines and other scanners to find what you need. 4.0 learners know how to access services and people who can help find what they need.
  4. Connect the Dots. It may not be possible to develop fixed learning plans, but 4.0 learners know how to chart a learning path and equip themselves for the journey -- balancing a commitment to the vision with new insights that might alter the course.
  5. Mine for Gold. 4.0 learners find the gold in any learning resource – knowing that learning is a partnership with the learning tools they use and that, as the learner in charge, they determine what to pay attention to and ultimately use.
  6. Learn to Last. 4.0 learners know how to turn ideas and short term memories into lasting knowledge, skills, new ways of thinking, and even creative ideas.
  7. Transfer to Life. 4.0 learners take powerful steps to change their own habits (i.e., they go beyond New Year’s resolutions) and to influence the environment around them so that they can bring learning to life at home and at work.
It’s time for a new consciousness about learning – for a new mindset and practices. 21st Century challenges demand and invite us into a new learning framework. Fortunately, new knowledge about how we learn -- plus a plethora of new tools to help us learn – make it possible to launch a new version of our internal learning software: to upgrade to Learning 4.0. Learning is no longer a process to take for granted. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pat McLagan is a global leader in the learning and development field with top awards from major adult learning associations. Her new book, Unstoppable You: Adopt the New Learning 4.0 Mindset and Change Your Life is available on Amazon. You can test your 4.0 capabilities at And you can build your 4.0 capabilities little by little every day with the iTunes app, Brighter Every Day. 

You've read Unstoppable You – How To Tap Into Your Awesome Learning Power, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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How to Create a Custom Post Type for Affiliate Links

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Depending on the type of web site that you are creating, and the desired content structure, it’s sometimes very powerful to create custom post types with custom fields.

Some of the time, you may want 100% control over the fields for your custom post type.

At a minimum, you may want to keep the post title, although you actually don’t have to.

Keeping the title is handy though for when viewing the content within the Admin and for generating a default post slug.

The title doesn’t actually have to be used on the front end if it’s not needed.

Let’s explore creating a custom post type for affiliate links, which can be expanded on at anytime.

Today, you will simply create an interface to store the affiliate URL, give it a name for easy reference, and to keep track of how many times the affiliate URL was visited.

Upon visiting the domain-branded & friendlier custom post URL, as opposed to the ugly affiliate URL, the counter will increment by one, and the browser will redirect to the affiliate URL.

Future upgrades for this application can involve creating country specific versions for each affiliate link, and redirecting to the appropriate URL based on the country of the visitor. This feature is handy if you are an Amazon affiliate.

Also, it can be expanded upon to pass data to the Custom Post, which can then pass the data along dynamically within the affiliate URL for tracking purposes.

Beyond that, for cleaner admin management, you can use the Admin Columns plugin so that you can display the Custom Post URL and Click Count in the Custom Posts list.

That way, it’s quicker to grab the Custom Post’s URL whenever you want to use the affiliate link, as it will be available at a glance instead of having to go into the Editor for the custom post, or having to get it from the View Link.

In this tutorial, you will be introduced to:

  • How to create a custom post type for affiliate links.
  • How to add custom fields to the custom post type for the affiliate URL, and for a click counter.
  • How to create a custom plugin to handle the incrementing of the click counter, and for redirecting the visitor to the affiliate URL.

Let’s create the custom post type now.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, click on Plugins, then Add New.
  2. Do a search for ‘Custom Post Type UI’.
  3. Click Install Now, then Activate.
  4. Under the newly created CPT UI menu, click on Add Post Type.
  5. Enter affiliate_links for the Post Type Slug.
  6. Enter Affiliate Links for the Plural Label.
  7. Enter Affiliate Link for the Singular Label.
  8. Scroll down to Settings, and change Public to False.
  9. Change Show in Nav Menus to False.
  10. Change Exclude From Search to True.
  11. Remove Editor and Featured Image from the Supports box.
  12. Finally, click the Add Post Type button.

You will now see on the left side, a new menu option called Affiliate Links.

If you have a peek inside the Add New screen for Affiliate Links, you will see that Title, Slug, Status, Visibility, and Publish Date are the only editable settings.

Let’s now add a field for the URL, and another for the counter.

Follow along below to add custom fields to the custom post type.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, click on Plugins, then Add New.
  2. Do a search for ‘Advanced Custom Fields’.
  3. Click Install Now, then Activate.
  4. Click on the newly created Custom Fields menu.
  5. Click the Add New button.
  6. Give it a Title, such as: Affiliate Link Custom Fields.
  7. In the Location box, choose Post Type is equal to: affiliate_links
  8. In the Options box, choose Standard for Style.
  9. Go back up to the top, and click the Add Field button.
  10. In the Field Label box, type: Affiliate URL.
  11. Change the Field Name to: my_custom_affiliate_url or something similar, to keep it unique from custom fields used in other plugins and tools that may find their way into your WordPress site down the line. Please make note of the name you use because we will be referencing it within the plugin.
  12. Leave the Field Type as Text, as we lack the URL type in the Free version of Advanced Custom Fields.
  13. Change Required to Yes.
  14. Click the Close Field button.
  15. Click the Add Field button again.
  16. For Field Label put: Click Counter.
  17. Change the Field Name to: my_custom_click_counter or something similar, to keep it unique. Again, please make note of the name you use because we will be referencing it within the plugin.
  18. Change the Field Type to Number.
  19. Change the Default Value to the number zero.
  20. Click the Publish button on the right side of the screen.

Now, let’s create a new Affiliate Link that we can use for testing purposes after we create the plugin.

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, click on Affiliate Links, then Add New.
  2. Give the link a name. For testing, just enter: Amazon Home Page
  3. In the Affiliate URL box, enter:
  4. Click the Publish button.
  5. Click on Screen Options, put a check next to Slug if not already selected, and click Update on the post. That way, you can modify the URL from the default that was created based on the title, if desired.

Now, if you view this Affiliate Link Post right now, you will see that it simply displays a page on your site with the Title.

That’s not the desired effect however.

We want it to redirect to the affiliate URL, but not before silently incrementing the hit counter.

Let’s create a quick plugin to accomplish these tasks.

To follow along, please be sure that you have the Pluginception plugin installed, as that is the approach we will be using to create a new plugin.

The video above shows how to set it up.

Finally, with Pluginception ready, follow these steps to create your custom plugin:

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, go to Plugins, then Create a New Plugin.
  2. Give it a name such as: My Affiliate Link Redirect Plugin.
  3. Click the Create a Blank Plugin button.
  4. Copy in the code shown in the video or below these steps if you are following along within the written tutorial. Please make certain that you use the appropriate field names if you didn’t use the names I suggested in the previous steps.
  5. Click the Update File button.

To test your work, follow along with these quick steps:

  1. From within your WordPress Dashboard, click on Affiliate Links. On a side note, as you can see in this screen, using a tool like Admin Columns could be handy because it would allow you to add your custom fields and other fields such as the Post URL in the columns. Either way, you can right click the View link to get the Affiliate Link or Post URL to use whenever you want to display your affiliate link somewhere.
  2. Right click the View link, and click Open in a New Tab.
  3. Visit the Tab and you will see that it redirected to the home page as expected.
  4. Now, head back to your Affiliate Links list.
  5. Click on the Edit link for your Amazon test link, and see that the Click Counter is now a 1.

A few extra things worth mentioning here.

  • One, be sure to always use your Custom Post Type’s URL when wanting to link to your affiliate link. If you use your actual affiliate link, this whole process will have been for nothing. The Custom Post Type URL is more attractive, has your domain branded in it, and keeps track of clicks. And perhaps in the future, it can also geo-target and do other wonderful things.
  • Secondly, since these are affiliate links, be certain to nofollow them whenever used.
  • Also, keep in mind that these links technically can be used on other sites, not just the site you are managing them with. Do so only with permission of course.
  • Lastly, there is a rule that you must be transparent about the use of affiliate links. Be sure to look up the rules and requirements governing the use of affiliate links. There are general rules, and probably specific rules for the merchant you are an affiliate for. Please do your homework before using this new tool on your Live site.

Below is the code used in this tutorial:

function my_affiliate_link_redirect() {
  if( is_singular( 'affiliate_links' ) ) {
    $count = (int) get_field( 'my_custom_click_counter', get_the_id() );
    update_field( 'my_custom_click_counter', $count, get_the_id() );
    wp_redirect( get_field( 'my_custom_affiliate_url', get_the_id() ) );
add_action( 'template_redirect', 'my_affiliate_link_redirect' );

By |May 29th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

20 Things I Did In My 20’s

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1. Got into a sound engineering course without meeting the pre-requisite of being eighteen and having finished high school.

Lesson: you make the rules when it comes to education. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t study your passion.


2. Met a girl in high school that I thought I would be with for a long time. It turns out, I had a lot to learn and didn’t deserve a girl like this

Lesson: breakups allow you to work on your flaws and come back bigger and better.


3. Started a bunch of businesses with my brother. They all went nowhere except for one. I eventually parted ways, as I was not passionate about what I was doing. Working with family also stressed me out.

Lesson: working with family can be challenging and it’s not for everybody. Try it and see if it’s right for you before going in too deep like I did.


4. Brought a luxury car to show everybody how cool I was. It ended up costing a fortune and only shallow people I didn’t like, cared about it.

Lesson: don’t buy things to impress other people. No one cares about how much money you have. What they care about is who you are, and who you’re becoming.


5. Got depressed and stressed out after the business side of my life collapsed. I felt like a total idiot. There were days when I couldn’t face anybody. I was embarrassed. I felt sick. My doctor told me I would die from stress if I didn’t take a chill pill and relax.

I did what I thought was impossible. I went back and followed my original dream. I decided to start again and put all the toxic people of the past behind me.

Lesson: No one was there to help me because I had to help myself. I rebuilt me and that’s what makes me so proud today. When you take ownership of your challenges and then overcome them, you feel bloody fantastic!


6. Through the rebuilding phase, I discovered a giant named Tony Robbins and fell in love with personal development. I committed to making a change and being better each day. I stopped making excuses and started taking action. I surrounded myself with positive people and read books.
I hadn’t read a book since high school, but I didn’t let that stop me. I took in every positive resource I could find

Lesson: what you feed your mind has a long-term effect. It’s possible to retrain your brain with the right resources.


7. Read Think And Grow Rich.

Lesson: it changed the way I thought. I got to see what successful people do. READ IT!


8. I gave up on the news. I realized I was living in this false world of fear and scarcity. I realized the news made me think everyone was going to harm me and the Earth could cave in at any moment. These thoughts only represented 1% of the actual information out there.

Lesson: turns out the world is a great place. It turns out not every Muslim is holding a bomb or wanting to kill people (I’ve met some good ones).


9. I gave up on racism. Instead, I became a global citizen. Now I’m not fussed where people are from and prefer to see them for who they are above all else.

Lesson: we can easily become biased towards someone’s race because of how ingrained it is in our culture. Choose love, not war. Choose peace, not violence.


10. Went to a Tony Robbins seminar in Sydney. I had no idea what to expect and I really didn’t like flying at that point in my life. I decided to suck it up and overcome my fear.

11. Made a list of every fear I’d overcome. I made a game of it. Pretty soon I was doing some wild stuff.

12. Brought a pair of very expensive Italian leather shoes. They felt amazing and smelt like the leather seats in a brand new Bentley.

Lesson: sometimes it’s okay to do things just for you. These shoes made me feel good every time I wore them and they gave me confidence in my career defining moments. Little reminders of things that make you happy can be a good thing. Just don’t overdo it.


13. Did something crazy and met a man on the other side of Australia. He got me into blogging. I had no meeting booked and no agenda for seeing him. He saw I was real. I saw he was real. That started the whole transformation from fixing myself, to helping other people with their own challenges.

Lesson: the vehicle you use to help people doesn’t matter. It might be blogging or it might be selling bottles of water. All that matters is that you serve people beyond yourself.


14. Said goodbye to my childhood best friend. Drugs consumed the poor man and he refused to change. Sometimes we have to eliminate people from our lives to reach the next level. At the same time, always have it in your heart to forgive if that person does change.

15. Broke up with a girl after nearly three years. I just didn’t enjoy being spoken down to. We ended up being friends and it allowed me to start the search for a woman more my style.

Lesson: you take “you” to every relationship. You must fix you before you can start again with someone new.


16. Jumped on a plane to San Fran with no meeting booked to meet a man that I admired. That one bold decision opened up so many opportunities. When I look back, I have to pinch myself that so much could happen in a short space of time.

I didn’t even have anything in his calendar and then a few hours before the scheduled time, he accepted the meeting.

Lesson: take a chance. Sometimes we know we have to do something and we don’t know why. Our intuition screams at us until we learn to listen to it. Do something crazy once in a while. Almost always, you’ll get a benefit out of it.


17. Took a beautiful woman to a charity ball with no hidden agenda because the event required me not to go solo. She ended up becoming my girlfriend and I always thought she would be way out of my league.

Lesson: Treat everyone nicely and if you are a guy, be a gentleman. You never know who you might end up dating as a result.


18. Broke up with a beautiful woman because I didn’t share the same religious values. It was very tough, but a relationship is about two people. If the other person is going to be disappointed, then it’s up to you to do the right thing no matter how hard it is to do.

Do it with care, grace and understanding. Always be there for them and never talk badly about them. Remember they have feelings and treat their beliefs with respect.

Lesson: values in life are important. Religion is something that can split couples apart if it’s not spoken about early on.


19. Got back on the horse and tried the whole dating thing again. It was terrible at the start. Now, it’s not so bad.

Lesson: You’ve got to love yourself first before someone else can love you. Stop doubting yourself and realize you are better than you think you are. Confidence is important (not ego).


20. Published a bunch of articles online until one day I hit the tipping point. I thought no one was reading, but they were. The constant letters and messages every day inspire me. They have given me a reason to exist and a platform in which to build from.

Lesson: always be humble and stay patient.

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on

By |May 28th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

5 Important Tips Before Traveling Overseas

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Flying overseas, particularly if it’s your first time, can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Regardless of which country you are traveling to, there are things you can do and prepare to make the trip not only hassle-free but safe, too. To give you an idea, here’s the best international travel checklist you’ll ever need.

Tip #1 Check Your Passport And Other Travel Documents


Before making any travel plans, you must first know where your passport is. Although you don’t necessarily have to memorize every detail (but that could sure help), you should, at least, check its expiration date.

Your passport should be valid for at least six months before you travel overseas. There are countries that deny travelers if their passports expire in less than six months so check beforehand. If you get stuck for some reason in one of those countries, you’d want to make sure they’ll let you get away with no problems. If possible, try to renew your passport about 9 months prior to its expiration date.

Tip #2 Know How You’ll Get Cash

One of the easiest ways to get money is through an ATM. However, making withdrawals from ATMs that are outside the network of your US bank can mean very steep fees. To cut the cost, you can withdraw a certain amount of money from the ATM at the airport so you’ll only have to pay once for the fees.

This, however, isn’t really advisable since you’ll be carrying a big sum of cash while traveling. There’s also the chance that you’ll be left with too much local currency after your trip. A checking account with no minimum balance is a better option.

Before you actually leave, you should also give your bank a call to tell them which country you’re going to. If your bank sees any unusual foreign charges without any prior notice, it can put your cards on hold which can be quite annoying if you’re in the middle of your shopping.

Tip #3 Prepare Your Devices

Electrical outlets aren’t the same in all countries so make sure you have adapters that can work with foreign sockets. Apart from that, you should also know the strength of the electrical current of the country you are going to and make sure that it’s compatible with your devices.

You can invest in a transformer or just leave any incompatible devices at home. For convenience, you should also pack extra batteries and portable chargers.

Tip #4 Pack Your Things

packing things

Packing is probably one of the most tedious things you need to do before going out for a trip. Aside from what to carry, you also need to know how much you can bring.

If your trip is short, consider packing lightly. Invest in the best carry on duffel bags for traveling, especially if your trip involves switching airports or walking in lots of terrains. They are easy to carry and can fit so many items inside.

Once you have selected your luggage, it’s time to pack your things. Organization isn’t the only thing you need to consider when packing; accessibility matters, too. Remember, airport authorities will still inspect your bag.

Instead of folding, roll your clothes along the length of your luggage. When they are organized in rows, they are easier to check and inspect. It’s a good way to maximize space, too.

Liquids, aerosols, and gels that measure beyond 3.4 oz should be packed in your checked luggage. If the total volume of your liquids and gels is below that weight, store them in clear, zip top bags. Tools, sharp objects and sports equipment go into the same luggage.

The first layer of your luggage should be the heavier items. Spread them evenly to distribute the weight. Your shoes, for example, should be at the bottom of your bag. Pack as many socks as you can in your shoes.

Your jeans and sweaters go over your shoes. Roll and pack them in tightly to prevent them from getting undone while traveling. For fragile items, place them in the middle of your bag, on top of the heavier rolled items.

The next layer should be the lighter clothes, like your shirts and undergarments. Over this layer, place your folded items so you can easily get them out and hang them upon arrival. To prevent wrinkling, you can put them inside a dry cleaner bag.

For additional items, like your belt, fit them in any available nook. For your toiletry bag, you can place them on top of your folder layer.

See Also: How to Pack Your Suitcase Like George Clooney

Tip #5 Prep Your Home For Your Vacation


There are a million things that can happen at home when you’re on a vacation, so it’s only right that you keep your home security as part of your international travel checklist. Before you actually leave the house and go straight to the airport, make sure you’ve secured your property.

Avoid advertising that you’ll be out of the house, especially on your social media accounts. Burglars and criminals can use the Internet to spy on potential victims.

As much as possible, make it look like there’s someone at home. Unoccupied houses are vulnerable to attacks since they pose less threat of confrontation.

Do not leave your spare keys at your front door or under your door mat. Instead, leave them with a trusted relative or consider upgrading to smart locks. They are convenient to have whether you’re a frequent traveler or you’re away most of the time for work.

Don’t close the blinds in every room. Just keep things as they normally are.

Put the newspaper and mail delivery on hold while you are gone. If they pile up, it’s a sure sign that no one is at home.

If your house is monitored by a security company, don’t forget to notify them. Arm your alarms, too and make sure that every device is working. Check and replace batteries as necessary.

Unplug all small appliances. They can still suck up power even when not in use.

You can leave your lights on to deter burglars. However, lights that are constantly turned on won’t trick any attackers. Instead, leave your lights on a timer and set them to turn on and off at the same time each night.

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By |May 28th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments