Investing In You

Invest in You

 If you are not investing in personal development, you may be limiting your true potential. Personal development affects your entire life, not just your work life or your personal life. It’s amazing how many people don’t try to improve themselves. These are the same people that wonder why they are not getting anywhere with their lives.

You want to use some guidelines to help you which are as follows:

Imagine How You Want to Shape Your Life

Without a vision, you won’t be able to determine what kind of life you want to live. You need to balance what kinds of changes you want professionally as well as personally. The two will ultimately overlap. If you imagine yourself being more helpful to others, this trait will become part of both. There may be certain aspects of your personal development that you believe are specific to personal life but may eventually carry over to your professional life. If you have wanted to increase your skills as a community leader, this could easily be incorporated into your professional career. The key is to identify and imagine what this new skill is going to look like.

Assess Your Current Situation

Before you make any changes in your life, determine where you stand with your life as it currently exists. Determine strengths and weaknesses to help you formulate a plan to make the necessary changes.

Set Goals

Once you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, create some goals to strive to complete. These should include high level goals as well as action steps. Most important, set milestones with firm dates for these action steps.

Consider Alternatives

There can be valid reasons why certain actions or goals can’t be met. Instead of abandoning the entire personal development plan, come up with alternatives steps. Be careful not to simply fall back on these steps because they are easier than the main goals.

Evaluate How You Are Doing

When you reach a milestone, see how you did against the plan of action steps. This is a crucial step, and it’s important to be realistic and truthful. The best way to handle this is to have someone else perform this for you. It may not be easy to hear, but the benefits will be well worth it.

Keep it Simple

If you add a bunch of unobtainable goals to your plan, you are likely setting yourself up for failure. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to push yourself. It just means being realistic about your capabilities.

Can You Use Nootropics to Get More Done in Less Time?

Can You Use Nootropics to Get More Done in Less Time?

If you work a typical 9-5 then you are going to be fixed to working for those specific hours. This means there’s no benefit to working faster and then sitting around with nothing to do for hours.

But if you have managed to set up your own business, or if you have discussed flexi-hours with your employers, then working faster means freeing up more time to get home and spend with your kids or doing the things you love!

In these scenarios then, productivity tools help you to earn back your time. And this is one reason that more and more people are now looking into ‘nootropics’ or ‘smart drugs’ to give them the edge. Should you?

What Nootropics Are and How They Work

So let’s start by looking at exactly what a nootropic is and how it works. What’s important to recognize right away is that nothing can make you ‘smarter’ as such because that is a very vague term that is almost impossible to define.

Rather then, nootropics can give you a slight cognitive boost in particular areas like focus, memory or even creativity.

And there are two separate ways that nootropics can work to do this. In the majority of cases, nootropics work by increasing the production of one or more neurotransmitters. These are the chemicals in the brain that help neurons to communicate with one another and that can trigger changes to our physiology and our mental state.

For example, if you have more dopamine in your brain then you will become more focussed and more driven. This is likely to also increase norepinephrine which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response. GABA helps us to relax by suppressing synaptic transmissions and this can also make us more creative – though it is sedative too. Serotonin puts us in a good mood but eventually converts to melatonin and makes us sleepy. Cortisol is the stress hormone and makes us hungry. Orexin is another sleep-regulating neurotransmitter. Glutamate and acetylcholine are both excitatory neurotransmitters that increase brain activity.

Generally, these nootropics that work by increasing neurotransmitters will focus on excitatory neurotransmitters and thus help to make you more alert, less tired and more focused. These include modafinil, Piracetam, Ritalin and even caffeine.

But there are many problems with these kinds of drugs as they can cause adaptations in the brain leading to potential addiction and making us groggy when not using them. Likewise, it’s not possible to raise one neurotransmitter without altering levels of many more. Ultimately, the brain is too delicate and too complex for us to tinker with it in this way.

The Other Type of Nootropic

But the other types of nootropics work differently – by providing the brain with more energy (vinpocetine, creatine, CoQ10) or by providing it with the raw nutrients needed for healthy operation (omega 3 fatty acid, vitamin B6, zinc). These types of nootropic really do trigger widespread cognitive improvement in a safe and measurable way. However, the results are relatively mild and take a while to appear – so it’s not going to turn you into a productivity king over night!

How to Use Lifestyle Design Without Upending Your Life

How to Use Lifestyle Design Without Upending Your Life

When you hear the words ‘lifestyle design’, you will probably find yourself thinking of digital nomads. These are people who take their laptop under one arm and go travelling around the world to spend time in other countries. They work on the go and this gives them the freedom and flexibility to see amazing sights, meet new people and generally live a completely untethered life.

But there are downsides to this kind of lifestyle. Apart from anything else, it means that you don’t have a home and you don’t have the option to go back and enjoy a nice hot drink and your favorite TV show. If you have a family, then working online really isn’t an option.

So what do you do instead? Here’s how you can use lifestyle design in other ways to increase your freedom without sacrificing security or comfort.

The Halfway House

If you work online, then you can work from anywhere and you can work when you want to. This means you don’t have to be tied to anyone place but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel the world!

Think instead about all the places near you that you might like to visit. I personally live in London. Most days I just work in the coffee shops local to me and I love hearing people chat around me and go about their business while I drink in a warm and creamy Americano.

But then some days I’ll go and visit the rest of London. Sometimes I work at the amazing Madison’s roof bar where I have an amazing view of St Pauls. Sometimes I work on Southbank and watch all the commotion along the Thames. Other times I work in the British Library which has amazing facilities and a very studious feel.

And if I’m tired? Then I just work from home and enjoy the ability to work in my pyjamas.

Flexibilty and Freedom

From time to time though, I do make better use of the freedom my work affords me. Sometimes for example, I go and visit Europe using my pilot friend’s staff travel and I can stay there for a long weekend while working. If my wife is away, why not?

Other times I’ll travel to other parts of town where friends work and meet them for lunch or a beer.

I work out every morning from 9-10am because I don’t have a commute and can finish at 6pm. I have zero problem getting haircuts or visiting the bank either because I can book appointments in work hours. I can eat big meals at home, or just pop into a shop to grab lunch to enjoy with a view.

In short, you don’t need to be travelling the world to live a freer lifestyle. In fact, most of us would probably choose to stay where we are. But simply not having to commute to a busy office 5 days a week is more than enough reason to give lifestyle design a try.

21 Ways To Age Better in 2016

21 Ways To Age Better In 2016

The proportion of people considered middle or old-aged are increasing every day. The percentage of people older than the age of 65 increased by a factor of 15.1% of the population between the years of 2000 to 2010 so that now those older than 65 represent more than 13% of the population, compared to just 4.1% of the population in the year 1900.

According to the National Institute On Aging, declines in fertility and improvements in longevity across the world will cause the senior population to grow to 1.5 billion by the year 2050, versus the 524 million it was in 2010.

Fortunately, being 65 doesn’t mean the same thing as it did a century ago and we have found ever-increasing ways to improve the aging process—prolonging life and improving the quality of life. Many of the things we can do to improve our health status and age better than in years past involve lifestyle changes.

Medicine and doctors alone cannot be responsible for keeping us healthy. It takes a personal commitment and thoughtful consideration toward good health so that we can age better and live healthy lives for decades after our 65th birthday. The choice to live healthier into old age begins and ends with you and the personal decisions you make around living healthier.

 

Our attitudes toward aging also make a big difference in our overall quality of life in our older years. This is an important consideration, because in reality, if you feel old, then you will be.

  1. Build and strengthen your muscles. Older people are at risk for muscle atrophy from inactivity. Muscle mass and strength decreases as we age. The more you can do with even mild weight lifting, weight lifting machines and muscle strengthening, the better balance and stability you will have so you can avoid falls and other injuries.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. Even if you are only overweight and not obese, you run the risk of these diseases that are directly attributable to lifestyle. It means eating less and exercising more.
  3. Walk more. A trip around the block or on a treadmill every day can keep your balance and lower body strength up. Walking is also good for your heart and peripheral vascular system.
  4. Practice “functional fitness.” This means doing squats, reaching and bending exercises to increase flexibility. These exercises mimic the everyday activities you do as part of everyday life. Practicing them through exercise will keep you functional for a longer period of time.
  5. Spend time with friends. Consider having a regular gathering with one or more friends to decrease isolation and give you something to look forward to each week. Keeping close ties to friends, helps improve mood and will improve your outlook on life.
  6. Practice puzzles and games. Things like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other puzzles will keep your mind sharp so that you don’t lose your mental fitness. Research has shown that older people who continue to challenge their brain will stay mentally sharper—even staving off signs and symptoms of dementia.
  7. Get preventative medical examinations. Many diseases, such as prostate cancer, diabetes, and breast cancer increase with age. Having a personal medical doctor who can remind you to be screened for these diseases can be helpful when it comes to preventing complications and detecting diseases when they are too far advanced to treat.
  8. Check your blood pressure regularly. As one ages, the arteries “harden,” raising the top number or systolic number of the blood pressure over time. This needs to be treated like any other type of high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked at the local pharmacy regularly so you can inform your doctor if the blood pressure readings are increasing.
  9. Keep the faith. Keeping up with whatever religious beliefs and practices you have been enjoying through much of your life will give you a sense of serenity that will carry you forward in your older years and can increase your social contacts.
  10. Eat a diet high in plant-based foods. Foods that come from plants such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes are high in protein and complex carbohydrates, as well as antioxidants, which help beat the aging process. Limit the amount of meat you eat to lean cuts only and make sure that most of your diet is from non-meat sources.
  11. Take vitamin supplements. Vitamins specifically made for older adults vital contain antioxidants and nutrients that promote eye and cardiovascular health. A one a day vitamin is usually enough and you can be assured that, even if your diet slips a bit, your vitamin will help make up the difference in nutrition.
  12. Practice yoga. Yoga is an East Asian exercise form that involves doing different poses while meditating and focusing on breathing along with the poses. Yoga is known to increase flexibility and muscle strength. It gives you a sense of peacefulness and serenity to reduce health-harming stress. Yoga also provides about another 100 more benefits for physical, mental, and emotional health.
  13. Practice Tai chi. This ancient Chinese martial art form that has gained in popularity in the US, especially for its health benefits. Tai chi involves performing graceful movements in tune with breathing exercises that can improve mental focus, overall health, flexibility, and muscle strength.
  14. Practice Qigong. This is another ancient Chinese martial art form that is tamer and more health-focused than Tai chi. The goal of qigong is to increase the energy flow of qi (life sustaining energy) in the body so that natural healing of disease can take place. It can be adapted to be used in patients who are not able to walk or even get out of bed.
  15. Use meditative practices. Meditation can be done anywhere and by anyone. It involves progressive muscle relaxation and focusing on the breath. It can involve speaking a mantra, which is a calming syllable that aids the meditative process. It can also involve the use of guided imagery, in which you imagine yourself at a peaceful location of your choice, which facilitates a relaxed state of mind and improves mental and emotional health.
  1. Read more books or newspapers. Reading books will keep your mind sharp because you are doing something interesting and informative. If books aren’t your thing, try reading magazines or newspapers, which can also keep you up to date on things going on in the world or in your areas of interest.
  2. Go to the movies. Movies can be a great escape that can get you out of the house, enjoying the latest in movie entertainment. Popcorn without added butter can be healthy for you and you can enjoy a few handfuls while being entertained, relaxing and reducing stress.
  3. Keep a Journal. Keeping a journal of your life experiences will keep your writing mind sharp and will give you something to look forward to every day. Add to that the fact that it’s a nice memoir to leave for your descendants.
  4. Try a vegan diet. Vegans eat only foods that come from plants and do not eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products. This is a diet high in nutrients and low in calories. Take fish oil supplements as a way to get essential fatty acids not found in most vegan foods.
  5. Quit smoking. Smoking is not only linked to lung cancer but to other cancers, such as bladder cancer, and cardiovascular disorders. It is never too late to quit smoking and prolong your life as a result.
  6. Cut down on alcohol. The latest recommendations are to have no more than one alcoholic beverage per day for women and two alcoholic beverages for men. Try to drink more red wine, which contains antioxidants to help prolong life.

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