Category Archives: Mind

Why You Should Hire for Emotional Intelligence

 

High EQ

People with high EI are better at reading and responding to customers, for one thing. Here’s how to spot them in a lineup of potential hires.

The notion of Emotional intelligence (EI)–the ability to understand one’s own and other people’s emotions and steer behavior accordingly–has been a widely touted leadership trait in recent years. Adam Ochstein, founder and CEO of Chicago-based HR consultancy and software company Stratex, defines EI as the ability to look at a situation, analyze it and understand its objective and subjective angles. In essence, he says people with high EI are adept at reading people. “I think one of the biggest attributes of someone who has emotional intelligence is someone who can take a critical look at themselves, laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously,” he says. “They realize that what I see on the surface might not really be the whole story.”

Here’s why he says you need to hire these kinds of people and how you can spot them.

Employees with high EI are better at wooing your customers.

Regardless of the stellar nature of your product, customer service reps, receptionists and account managers who are good at reading customers and responding appropriately will be better at making them happy. “Clients connect with people, not with a product, and hiring people who have those type of innate skill sets enhances your brand,” he says.

Employees with high EI make great leaders.

These people are excellent listeners who have an ability to empathize with a myriad of personalities. Because they’re aware of other people’s feelings, they understand that their decisions–and how they communicate them–will affect everyone on a team. “People want to follow people who have a personal investment in their success, and people who have a high degree of EQ typically excel in human interaction and getting people to follow them,” he says.

Prospective employees with high EI are easy to spot in an interview.

They raise questions, own their failures without dwelling on them, and are comfortable in their own skin, meaning you can throw tough questions at them. Look for potential hires who are good listeners and think about their responses before answering honestly. They also use adjectives and adverbs generously, an indication they’re thinking more with the left side of their brain. “There’s not only the factual element to something, it’s the component of how does that make me feel and what was my reaction to it,” he says. “They’re very descriptive in their language, not only giving you X, Y and Z but how and why X, Y and Z impacted them, how it made them feel and how it impacted people around them.”

Originally posted on inc.com

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5 Aspects of Emotional Intelligence Required for Effective Leadership

Corporate success

“The ability to control my emotions and actions sets me apart from other men.” — Navy SEAL Creed

 

Emotional intelligence is widely known to be a key component of effective leadership. The ability to be perceptively in tune with yourself and your emotions, as well as having sound situational awareness can be a powerful tool for leading a team. The act of knowing, understanding, and responding to emotions, overcoming stress in the moment, and being aware of how your words and actions affect others, is described as emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence for leadership can consist of these five attributes: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, relationship management, and effective communication.

As a Navy SEAL veteran, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and leader of one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in the country, I have experienced many emotions and become very aware of how those emotions can have a positive or negative effect on my ability to inspire and lead a team. Many individuals try to shut off their feelings, but as much as we distort, deny, and bury our emotions and memories, we can’t ever eliminate them.

You can learn to be emotionally independent and gain the attributes that allow you to have emotional intelligence by connecting to core emotions, accepting them, and being aware of how they affect your decisions and actions.

Being able to relate behaviors and challenges of emotional intelligence on workplace performance is an immense advantage in building an exceptional team. One of the most common factors that leads to retention issues is communication deficiencies that create disengagement and doubt.

A leader lacking in emotional intelligence is not able to effectively gauge the needs, wants and expectations of those they lead. Leaders who react from their emotions without filtering them can create mistrust amongst their staff and can seriously jeopardize their working relationships. Reacting with erratic emotions can be detrimental to overall culture, attitudes and positive feelings toward the company and the mission. Good leaders must be self-aware and understand how their verbal and non-verbal communication can affect the team.

To help understand the emotional intelligence competencies required for effective leadership, I would recommend determining where you stand on the below elements.

Self-Assessment: This can be defined as having the ability to recognize one’s own emotions, strengths, weaknesses, values and drivers and understanding their impact on others.

Without reflection we cannot truly understand who we are, why we make certain decisions, what we are good at, and where we fall short. In order to reach your maximum potential, you must be confident in who you are, understanding the good with the bad. Those that have a strong understanding of who they are and what they want to work on, can improve themselves on a regular basis.

Self-regulation: Also known as discipline. This involves controlling or redirecting our disruptive emotions and adapting to change circumstances in order to keep the team moving in a positive direction.

Leaders can’t afford to lose their cool. Being calm is contagious, as is panic. When you take on a leadership role you can no longer afford to panic when things get stressful. When you stay calm and positive you can think and communicate more clearly with your team.

Empathy and Compassion: Empathy is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand how they may feel or react to a certain situation. When one has empathy, the capacity to feel compassion is open. The emotion that we feel in response to suffering that motivates a desire to help.

The more we can relate to others, the better we will become at understanding what motivates or upsets them.

Relationship Management: You can’t make deep connections with others if you’re distracted. Many of us have families, other obligations, and a crazy to-do list, but building and maintaining healthy and productive relationships is essential to one’s ability to gain higher emotional intelligence.

You must have the ability to communicate effectively and properly manage relationships in order to move a team of people in a desired direction.

Effective Communication: In the SEAL teams you have to do three things flawlessly to be an effective operator and team member: Move, shoot, and communicate. Communication being of the utmost importance. Studies show that effective communication is 7% the words we say and 93% tone and body language.

Misunderstandings and lack of communication are usually the basis of problems between most people. Failing to communicate effectively in a workplace leads to frustration, bitterness, and confusion among employees. Effective communication can eliminate obstacles and encourage stronger workplace relationships. When employees know their role within a company and understand how they benefit the overall direction and vision, there is a sense of value and accomplishment. Good communication results in alignment and a shared sense of purpose.

Emotional intelligence is a powerful tool critical for exceeding goals, improving critical work relationships, and creating a healthy, productive workplace and organizational culture.

Originally posted on inc.com

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18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People

High EQ - people

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

1. You have a robust emotional vocabulary
All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

2. You’re curious about people
It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

3. You embrace change
Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

4. You know your strengths and weaknesses
Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and how to lean into and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

5. You’re a good judge of character
Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

6. You are difficult to offend
If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

7. You know how to say no (to yourself and others)
Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification and avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is a major self-control challenge for many people, but “No” is a powerful word that you should unafraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

8. You let go of mistakes
Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

9. You give and expect nothing in return
When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

10. You don’t hold grudges
The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

11. You neutralize toxic people
Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. But high-EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

12. You don’t seek perfection
Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and should have done differently instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

13. You appreciate what you have
Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (in some cases by 23 percent). Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol play a major role in this.

14. You disconnect
Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even–gulp!–turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email with the power to bring your thinking (read: stressing) back to work can drop onto your phone at any moment.

15. You limit your caffeine intake
Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, which is the primary source of a fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

16. You get enough sleep
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough–or the right kind–of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.

17. You stop negative self-talk in its tracks
The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that–thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.

18. You won’t let anyone limit your joy
When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

This article originally posted on Inc.com

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Visionary people will buy insurance!

jack_maMa is no doubt that a person has a great vision, he chose to have insurance coverage of up to 40 million.

Ma’s remarks, sharply reflects the significance of insurance, “Do not let your hard-earned money become medical expenses.”

“Buying insurance can’t change your life; instead it prevents your lifestyle from being changed. After toiling for decades, an illness can wipe out an entire family’s savings by the medical bills incurred. In times of tragedy, when faced with the possible loss of life, one is once again reminded of the purpose of the existence of insurance sales people.”

Here is his original message as posted in http://mp.weixin.qq.com/

云的一席话,一针见血反映了保险的意义,千万不要让自己赚的钱最后全成了医疗费。

他说:生了病的人想买保险,不是他认可保险了,是花自己的钱心疼了。所以,没有切肤之痛,不知道买保险的好处。总觉得买保险没有用。你没买保险没出事,那是万幸;没买保险出了事,就是悲剧;买了保险没出事,那是幸福;买了保险出了事,就是庆幸。保险能做到:不出事锦上添花,出了事能雪中送炭。

买保险不能改变生活,而是防止生活被改变!辛辛苦苦几十年,一病回到解放前,全家的几年积蓄都给医院攒的!面对灾难,面对逝去的生命,风险再次提醒保险销售人员存在的价值!

“很多人一生输就输在对新生事物的看法上:

第一,看不见;第二,看不起;第三,看不懂;第四,来不及。”

马云说:保险是后路,在春风得意时布好局,才能四面楚歌时有条路。有钱时,钱不值钱。没钱时,人不值钱。要想让人永远值钱,就必须用您现在有能力的时候,把赚到的钱拿出一部分来规划好不确定的将来。

您放在银行的钱和放在保险公司的钱都是您的钱,不同的是:银行肥在现在,瘦在未来;保险规划將赢在未来!让现在有钱的您,变成未来值钱的您,保险恰能做到这一点。提早规划,提早安心。做一个没有后顾之忧的人,才能在事业上真正做到大展拳脚。

(感言)有时候真的想说:你的全民医保,难道比央视第一主播罗京的保障还高?罗京因为高额的医疗费,放弃了让儿子美国留学的打算;

有时候也想说: 你经济条件是好,但你比影星付彪更有钱?付彪走的时候,却给老婆孩子留下的巨额的债务; 亏得一些生前好友帮助才度过难关,试问谁想家人孩子成为别人的负担!

有时候还想说: 你们家豪车,豪宅都是按揭买的,欠下银行几十万甚至上百万,你真的没有压力吗?洛桑的父母,为什么从北京豪华的别墅搬回了农村老家?是因为他们失去了会挣钱的儿子。

你的企业搞这么大,经营的这么好,这都是您的能力和价值的体显,如果您要出现任何风险了,想过企业怎么办?还会经营的这么好吗?您的家人能经营的像你这样赚钱吗?所以钱是您赚的,再没赚到钱之前先得把您自己的生命价值上个保险,这样有没有风险您的人生都不会输在意外、等任何风险上;

朋友们,我知道你们都把未来憧憬的很好,但人生有两件事情不能预测的,一个是意外的突然到来,一个是大病的不幸发生。另外,人从生下来那一刻,就在一步步走向死亡,不外乎就是两个偶然和一个必然,偶然就是意外和疾病,必然就是会老去。

还有,很多人买保险就问,现在交多少钱,到老领多少钱,试问一下,60岁以前的事情你都没有准备好,医疗你都没有准备好,还谈什么养老?难道你真的认为,温饱比高额的医疗费还难解决吗?唉!

有时候真的想说:朋友们!你,有点儿家庭责任感可以吗?没有人因为买保险而倾家荡产,但有没买保险因为高额医疗费倾家荡产的人,的确有很多。

小编有话说:保险你可以不买,但你一定不要拒绝了解保险,朋友,你真的了解保险在人的一生起到一个什么作用吗?

你不理财,财不理你!上(www.shuchanghai.com)理财网,了解最新理财资讯,守住你的血汗钱,保过去!留未来!

 

 

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Billionaire Jack Ma, the founder and ex-CEO of Alibaba Group, as well as one of the most successful Chinese Internet entrepreneurs, shares his wealth of experiences.

 

Jack Ma: The mistake I regretted the most

In 2001, I made a mistake. I told 18 of my fellow comrades whom embarked on the entrepreneurship journey with me that the highest positions they could go was a managerial role. To fill all our Vice President and Senior Executive positions, we would have to hire from external parties.

Years later, those I hired were gone, but those whom I doubted their abilities became Vice Presidents or Directors.

I believe in two principles: Your attitude is more important than your capabilities. Similarly, your decision is more important than your capabilities!

Jack Ma: You cannot unify everyone’s thoughts, but you can unify everyone through a common goal.

  1. Don’t even trust that you are able to unify what everyone is thinking; it is impossible.
  2. 30% of all people will never believe you. Do not allow your colleagues and employees to work for you. Instead, let them work for a common goal.
  3. It is a lot easier to unite the company under a common goal rather than uniting the company around a particular person.

jack ma alibaba

Jack Ma: What does a leader have that an employee doesn’t?

A leader should never compare his technical skills with his employee’s. Your employee should have superior technical skills than you. If he doesn’t, it means you have hired the wrong person.

What, then, makes the leader stands out?

  1. A leader should be a visionary and have more foresight than an employee.
  2. A leader should have higher grit and tenacity, and be able to endure what the employees can’t.
  3. A leader should have higher endurance and ability to accept and embrace failure.

The quality of a good leader therefore is his vision, tenacity, and his capability.

Jack Ma: Don’t be involved in politics

  1. One should always understand that money and political power can never go hand in hand. Once you are in politics, don’t ever think about money anymore. Once you are running a business, don’t ever think of being involved in politics.
  2. When money meets political power, it is similar to a match meeting an explosive- waiting to go off.

Jack Ma: The 4 main questions the young generation must ponder on

  1. What is failure: Giving up is the greatest failure.
  2. What is resilience: Once you have been through hardships, grievances and disappointments, only then will you understand what is resilience.
  3. What your duties are: To be more diligent, hardworking, and ambitious than others.
  4. Only fools use their mouth to speak. A smart man uses his brain, and a wise man uses his heart.

jack ma serious

Jack Ma: We are born to live and experience life.

I always tell myself that we are born here not to work, but to enjoy life. We are here to make things better for one another, and not to work. If you are spending your whole life working, you will certainly regret it.

No matter how successful you are in your career, you must always remember that we are here to live. If you keep yourself busy working, you will surely regret it.

Jack Ma on competing and competition

  1. Those that compete aggressively with one another are the foolish ones.
  2. If you view everyone as your enemies, everyone around you will be your enemies.
  3. When you are competing with one another, don’t bring hatred along. Hatred will take you down.
  4. Competition is similar to playing a board of chess. If you lose, we can always have another round. Both players should never fight.
  5. A real businessman or entrepreneur has no enemies. Once he understand this, the sky’s the limit.

Jack Ma: Don’t make complaining and whining a habit

If you complain or whine once in a while, it is not a big deal.

However, if it becomes habitual, it will be similar to drinking: the more you drink, the stronger the thirst. On the path to success, you will notice that the successful ones are not whiners, nor do they complain often.

The world will not remember what you say, but it will certainly not forget what you have done.

Jack Ma’s advice to entrepreneurs

  1. The opportunities that everyone cannot see are the real opportunities.
  2. Always let your employees come to work with a smile.
  3. Customers should be number 1, Employees number 2, and then only your Shareholders come at number 3.
  4. Adopt and change before any major trends or changes.
  5. Forget the money; Forget about earning money.
  6. Rather than having small smart tricks to get by, focus on holding on and persevering.
  7. Your attitude determines your altitude.

Jack Ma on entrepreneurship

  1. A great opportunity is often hard to be explained clearly; things that can be explained clearly are often not the best opportunities.
  2. You should find someone who has complementary skills to start a company with. You shouldn’t necessarily look for someone successful. Find the right people, not the best people.
  3. The most unreliable thing in this world is human relationships.
  4. “Free” is the most expensive word.
  5. Today is cruel, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be beautiful.

Jack-Ma-Forbes

Jack Ma: The 4 don’ts of entrepreneurship

  1. The scariest things about starting up is the inability to see, to be snobbish, to be unable to understand what is going on, as well as to be unable to keep up with pace.
  2. If you do not know where your competitor is, or overconfident and snobbish about your competitor, or are unable to comprehend how your competitor became a real threat, you will surely fall behind him. Don’t be the “they” in this idiom: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
  3. Even if your competitor is still small in size or weak, you should take him seriously and treat him as a giant. Likewise, even if your competitor is massive in size, you shouldn’t regard yourself as a weakling.

Jack Ma on starting your own company

What starting your company means: you will lose your stable income, your right to apply for a leave of absence, and your right to get a bonus.

However, it also means your income will no longer be limited, you will use your time more effectively, and you will no longer need to beg for favours from people anymore.

If you have a different mindset, you will have a different outcome: if you make different choices from your peers, your life will then be different from your peers.

Jack Ma on opportunities

If there are over 90% of the crowd saying “Yes” to approving a proposal, I will surely dispose the proposal into the bin. The reason is simple: if there are so many people who thinks that the proposal is good, surely there will be many people who would have been working on it, and the opportunity no longer belongs to us.

The article is originally published in Chinese, and is translated into English. If you think this was helpful, feel free to share it with your friends.

About Jack Ma: Jack Ma is a Chinese Internet entrepreneur. He is the Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, a family of highly successful Internet-based businesses. He is also the first mainland Chinese entrepreneur to appear on the cover of Forbes Magazine and ranks as one of the world’s billionaires.Ma was named the Financial Times’ 2013 Person of the Year because he personifies the Chinese internet, referring to him as the “godfather of China’s scrappy entrepreneurial spirit.”.

Source : vulcanpost.com

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Have You Said These 6 Things About Your Credit Card Recently?

blog_ai_lg_broken_up_with_credit_cards

It’s the cold, hard truth: Credit cards enable people to go into debt faster than ever before.

That’s partly because it’s never been easier to get a credit card. In fact, 70% of American adults have at least one card, and the average credit card holder in America has 3.7 in their wallet. One report tells the story of a man who has nearly 1,500 valid credit cards and a line of credit that reaches $1.7 million!

A few decades ago, we didn’t have this problem. Before the 1950s, when modern credit cards were introduced, people pretty much bought just what they could pay for in cash. Fast-forward to today: Americans are facing more than $900 billion in credit card debt, and the average U.S. household with debt owes $15,355 on credit cards alone. Yikes!

While lots of people are determined to take control of their money in every otherway, they can’t seem to quit their credit cards. For those folks, credit cards are the last thing to go.

Here are some reasons behind the credit card obsession, and our proof that no reason is good enough to keep that plastic around.

1. “They’re so easy to use compared to cash.”

That’s true! They don’t require as much space in our wallets, and we don’t have to think about actual dollars in our account when we swipe. Unfortunately, that also means it’s easier to overspend.

A study by Carnegie Mellon, Stanford and MIT even showed a difference in brain activity when we use credit cards instead of cash. Using cash activates pain receptors in our brains, creating an emotional response that keeps us from making the purchase. Credit cards don’t do that, so we don’t feel the pain of spending.

Suddenly, that $2 coffee turns into a $10 mid-morning meal.

2. “They’re great in case of an emergency.”

Lots of people say they keep a credit card around “in case of an emergency.” It’s a simple fix to a stressful situation, right? But then Christmas becomes an emergency. And your takeout. And that new smartphone. Before you know it, your “emergencies” become debt.

Don’t tempt yourself. Instead of using a credit card, build up an emergency fund of 3–6 months of living expenses and rely on that the next time a true emergency happens. Then it becomes just a minor inconvenience. Crisis averted.

3. “They give us rewards, points, miles, or cash back!”

Credit card companies are marketing geniuses. With rewards systems that appeal to just about anyone, they know exactly how to tempt you to sign up. But no one ever got rich off a rewards program.

You also have to use the card a lot to earn the perks. And that just equals more spending you might otherwise have avoided if you weren’t trying to reach the next reward level. Your risk of debt has just increased. Stick to cash and spend only what you have. Eventually, you’ll see the rewards that come with building real wealth.

4. “They’re easy to pay off every month.”

Maybe. But we’ve heard more than a few stories of people who planned to pay off their balances each month but fell into a trap along the way. Little by little their spending increased until those minimum payments didn’t seem so bad. From there, their debt swelled faster than Violet Beauregarde after she chomped Willy Wonka’s chewing gum. Don’t let your debt turn into a larger-than-life blueberry.

5. “They’re necessary to build a credit score.”

A high credit score means just one thing: You’ve interacted with debt a lot. It doesnot mean that you’re winning with money. In fact, it measures nothing about your relationship with money other than how much you like to borrow. So why would you want a high credit score? Because it allows you to take on even moredebt in the future? No way, José!

You can qualify for a mortgage and rent an apartment with zero credit (which will happen eventually if you stop borrowing altogether). And for everything else—even cars—pay cash. No credit score needed. Then you can focus on building wealth instead of worshiping your FICO score. The Bible says, “The borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 NIV). Don’t let your credit cards enslave you.

6. “They make our dreams reality.”

Credit cards give us opportunities that we otherwise would never have. Instant gratification, right? If our only way to those opportunities is going into debt, we might need to reexamine our hearts. That’s because overspending often signals a deeper problem. When we constantly hunger for stuff, we’re suffering from discontentment and materialism. We compare ourselves to the Joneses (who are probably in debt themselves!), and we feel shame and inadequacy when we don’t measure up.

We use credit cards to satisfy that endless desire for more, bigger, newer and nicer stuff. The problem is, as soon as the newness wears off, we’re on to the next best thing. Nothing ever satisfies.

A credit card can’t fill the emptiness in our hearts. True joy comes from a sense of contentment. A heart full of gratitude for everything we already have leaves no room for discontentment, and it leaves no place for credit cards in our lives. Our best plan is to be content in every situation.

Sometimes we don’t realize how easily credit cards can harm our finances and our hearts until we step back and really look at the root cause of our addiction to them. When we understand how dangerous they are—and the lies that we’ve been told about them—we can break up with these pesky pieces of plastic more easily.

As posted in http://www.daveramsey.com/

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20 Things Only Those Who Are Neither Introverts Nor Extroverts Understand

Are we like others? Do we exhibit the same traits as our peers, can we be put in a neat little box, or are we unique? Not to get too existential right at the start – but although you’ll find that all people have certain very specific traits that make them who they are, most of us can relate on some level. We all like to belong, to have a group that understands us and shares our interests. This is why you’ll see so many articles online detailing the good and the bad sides of being either an introvert or an extrovert. But what if I told you that you don’t have to identify with one or the other?


MorpheusThere are actually a lot of people out there who can exhibit some textbook introvert behavior, but at other times they seem like a true extrovert. We are often called ambiverts, but I’m not that big on names, so I just see myself as an in-betweener. It can be a bit weird when you can see eye to eye with both people who like to keep to themselves and people who are always out making friends, yet can’t truly be understood by those living either extreme. There are some things that only those who fall somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert will understand, things like…

1. We are only an extrovert as long as we need to break the monotony

BoredIf you live the life of an introvert (e.g. doing things on your own or being passive during conversations) and yet are not a true introvert, it’s easy to get into a rut. When I get into a routine I start to get nervous, and start planning fun activities with my friends and family. However, I’m only going to party for as long as I need to spend most of that extra energy, and then it’s back to the Fortress of Solitude.

2. We sometimes wish to be all by our lonesome, but still have plans for later

aloneIt’s easier than ever to just focus on yourself and have some quality alone time. Just one look at the online shopping statistics is enough to show you that a lot of people prefer sitting at their computer than driving around town and interacting with other people. While I personally enjoy having a quiet day to myself once a week – ordering food and doing my shopping online, listening to music, doing a little dance as I brew a fresh cup of coffee – I still make sure that I’ve got something interesting planed for tomorrow. I know I’ll recharge my batteries and want to have fun with others in a day or two.

3. We hear about introverts and extroverts, and realize that we can’t choose a side

something in commonDid you ever get the feeling that you might have a lot in common with a person, only to say to yourself “Nope, you lost me there buddy,” half way through the conversation? Well, that’s how I feel most of the time. I’ll be there talking to someone who seems to like some of the things I like, but then they go off the rails. Yes I might enjoy hiking – but camping out in the woods for several days with a group of people, followed by other “fun group activities” is really not my thing. At this point an introvert might chime in with “Yeah, it’s much more relaxing to go running by yourself and then read some good books”, at which point you’re just going to have to give up.

4. We are able to relate to nearly everyone, which is a double edged sword

double edged swordAnother fun thing about being able to relate to the vast majority of people (at least to some extent) is that nearly everyone you meet will want to be your friend. “Hey, you’re a really cool guy, we’ve got so much in common, let’s hang out” – they’ll all chirp happily, but the truth is you simply don’t want or need hundreds of friends. Your introvert side will start panicking and tell you to run for the hills, but your extrovert side will keep getting you into these situations because it’s fun to meet new people.


5. We don’t mind spending long hours learning something new or developing a skill

working hardWhen not out meeting new people and making friends through no fault of my own, I tend to spend a decent amount of time hiding from the friends I do enjoy being around, simply because I want to focus on a hobby. You’d be surprised at all the things you can learn if you put in the time and the effort. Chances are you’ve lied about being sick so you can spend a couple of extra hours working on a DIY project or learning French.

6. We lose focus if we become too isolated

stupid brainWhile there are times when I will happily go for a run or work on my skills instead of sitting around talking to people, if I go too long without human contact my brain tends to wonder off. I keep thinking about all the fun people are having without me, and I start to miss the long random conversations I have with my best friends over a couple of beers. At some point you can’t really get anything done, because it becomes impossible to focus on the task at hand, and you end up reaching for the phone.

7. We can sometimes spend 48 hours partying, then go back to quietly sipping coffee with friends

party hardI’ve mentioned the need for partying that you get after spending a long time on your own, but the truth is that sometimes you just feel full of life and want to do as many exciting things as you can, all at once. Now that I’m a bit more mature and happily married, a nice vacation or a fun weekend out of town with the Missus and our daughter is enough, but when I was younger I’d party for two or three days straight. People who met me during the party phase tended to be surprised at how relaxed and quiet I was when they saw me mere days later.

8. We tend to be quite intuitive and can sense how people feel, but sometimes we just don’t care

feelingsHaving spent a lot of time talking to a wide range of different people, I can tell you that being an ambivert makes it a lot easier to sense how people feel, as you can put yourself in their shoes for the most part. However, being able to understand others and being emphatic are not the same thing, and while the tendency is to make an effort to comfort people or hear them out, there are just some times where you can be focused entirely on yourself and not really care.

9. We catch ourselves sitting quietly and observing others every now and then

watching silentlyDuring those times when I feel especially introspective I often catch myself just kind of sitting there, with a bunch of friends who are chatting over a cup of coffee. It’s not as if you’re not listening to what is being said or that you’re in a bad mood, it’s just that you get contemplative and start observing the whole situation like an outsider gathering information. You can feel warm and cozy in your own head, and really not have much to say, although you actually enjoy the company.

10. We can also get excited and become the life of the party in the right circumstances

life of the partyIt always amazed me how fast I could go from quiet and somewhat distracted to chatty and witty when the mood struck. For me it was always about having the right kind of people around, and I usually needed someone to give me a push in the right direction by bringing up a topic I am passionate about. It is a wonderful transformation, but that euphoric feeling can dye down slowly if there is no-one to keep feeding the fire.

11. We sometimes spend time among people we don’t know, and we tend to get really shy

shyYou see, one of the biggest triggers that pushes most ambiverts into “fun and talkative mode” is the presence of good friends. As long as you have someone you know well with you, you can relax because you know you can switch between casually talking to a friend and telling a few interesting stories to a few people that were part of the extended group. However, once you’re among strangers, you become shy and somewhat clumsy.

12. We will still get quite talkative among good friends

talking with friendsAh, those rare moments of pure bliss when you get a little drunk with a few good friends and start blabbing about random little things, jumping from topic to topic and barely even stopping for breath. These are great opportunities for those who only know you as the quiet and mysterious one to see your other side.

13. We have clear spikes and lulls in our activity levels throughout the week

activity lulls and spikesIf my life was presented in graph form, it would probably look something like the lines on a heart monitor. Oh sure, there are strong heartbeats in there, and during those periods we are larger than life. Our phone won’t stop ringing, we keep looking for people to hang out with on social media and there is always someone at our house having a coffee or a beer. However, there is a noticeable silence in between beats, with plenty of missed calls and quiet nights in front of the TV with significant others.


14. We surprise our close friends when they see us being reserved during social occasions

reserved gentlemanBecause of all that talking that we ambiverts tend to do around close friends, they envision us as a social butterfly. They think that we are talkative and relaxed in all other occasions, because that is what they have experience with. My friends would experience shock and confusion when they saw me, the quirky chatty guy, just smiling politely and exchanging a few words here and there during big social gatherings.

15. We often find that we just want to leave a party and spend the rest of the night alone

so long farewellThis one is very difficult to explain to people – I actually like hanging out with friends and a bunch of people I don’t know, as long as I am in a good mood and the atmosphere is stimulating. I have a specific taste and there are several things that I find fun, and if none of these elements is present then I simply leave. It might have been a good party at the start, but it’s not uncommon for me to start thinking that I’d have a much better time watching a movie at home or scrolling around social media.

16. We find it’s easy to get confused about what we really want

i do not know what i wantGiven the fact that ambiverts can be all over the place when it comes to their energy levels and general mood, we often find ourselves confused about what we want. I’ve had friends get mad at me because they thought I was messing with them when I would change my mind about whether I wanted to go out about 6-7 times in 10 minutes. The switch between introvert and extrovert is not always a smooth and easy one, and it pays to have patient and understanding friends.

17. We like to talk for hours on some subjects, but small talk bores us out of our mind

small talkI’ve already mentioned that my friends tend to see me as a chatty person, and I’ve been known to be quite interesting when meeting new people if the conversation steers towards something I find interesting – however simple social interactions where people keep up the pretense that they respect and enjoy each other’s company can drive you mad. I never likedtalking about the weather or asking arbitrary questions like “How’s the wife?” or “So, what have you been up to?” just to kill the time or because I bumped into someone I haven’t seen in a while in the street.

18. We never feel truly bored, but we can get a bit lonely at times

lonelyI’ll be the first one to say that you can be your own company as long as you have a little bit of imagination, a sense of humor and a positive attitude. However, while I won’t necessarily run out of things to do on my own or with a few close friends, I can get definitely get lonely and start missing the chatter and laughter you get with a group. This is why we can’t stay passive and closed in our own heads for too long.

19. We don’t spend too much time socializing because it can drain our mental energy

Just as sitting around the house and going to the same few coffee shops with one or two close friends tends to eventually push ambiverts into a more active phase, so too does being overly friendly, going to all the big events and being around other people on a daily basis cause us to eventually go into hibernation. It’s all about a balance between being open to the world and having some privacy, and too much human contact can be rather mentally exhausting. If I’m energetic and ready to hit the town one day, and then I keep giving excuses so I can stay at home the next, it’s not because I don’t like a person very much – I just need a break from people in general every now and again.

20. We struggle to find a partner that can get used to both sides of our character

quirky characterWith all these complex emotions, mood changes and character traits from both ends of the spectrum, it can be difficult to pin an ambivert down. What I found most challenging is the fact that when I start dating someone it can be quite the challenge for them to get used to both sides of my emotional coin. Again, I’ve been lucky enough to find myself a beautiful wife who, being an ambivert herself and as emotional and stubborn as I am, learned to understand me. It can take some time before you find someone you can be yourself around, both when you feel like closing up and staying silent, and when you want to sing at the top of your lungs, act silly or go out and have fun.


As an ambivert you’ll go between wanting nothing more than to be left alone and have limited interaction with others, and being around plenty of people and having a great time. People will find it weird, some may get a bit frustrated, but on the plus side you get the best of both worlds and may even have an edge when it comes to achieving success, so just be honest to yourself about who you are and enjoy the ride.

Featured photo credit: Hipster man with a fixie bike and smartphone in a park outdoors via shutterstock.com

Originally posted on www.lifehack.org

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10 Surprising Benefits Of Fasting

 

Image Source:http://lifehopeandtruth.com/uploads/images/fasting.jpg

Is it a good thing to ‘starve’ yourself each day, or a few days of the week? Well, a tonne of evidence indicates that timed periods of fasting are a good thing.

Fasting has become increasingly popular over the years, especially among the health community. Whilst most health practitioners are afraid to recommend eating less due to the stigma involved, it still doesn’t alleviate the incredible benefits of fasting when used sensibly.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 benefits of fasting that will surprise you, and how you can incorporate them into your own life.

1. Fasting Helps Weight Loss

Fasting can be a safe way to lose weight as many studies have shown that intermittent fasting – fasting that is controlled within a set number of hours – allows the body to burn through fat cells more effectively than just regular dieting.




Intermittent fasting allows the body to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of sugar. Many athletes now use fasting as means to hitting low body fat percentages for competitions.

2. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.

3. Fasting Speeds Up The Metabolism

Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a rest, and this can energise your metabolism to burn through calories more efficiently. If your digestion is poor, this can effect your ability to metabolise food and burn fat. Intermittent fasts can regulate your digestion and promote healthy bowel function, thus improving your metabolic function.

4. Fasting Promotes Longevity

Believe it or not, the less you eat the longer you will live. Studies have shown how the lifespan of people in certain cultures increased due to their diets. However, we don’t need to live amongst a foreign community to reap the benefits of fasting. One of the primary effects of ageing is a slower metabolism, the younger your body is, the faster and more efficient your metabolism. The less you eat, the less toll it takes on your digestive system.

5. Fasting Improves Hunger





Just think about this, can you actually experience real hunger if you eat a meal every 3-4 hours? Of course you can’t. In fact, to experience the true nature of hunger, this would take anything from 12 to even 24 hours.

Fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is. We know that obese individuals do not receive the correct signals to let them know they are full due excessive eating patterns.

Think of fasting as a reset button: the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself to release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is. Not to mention, when your hormones are working correctly, you get full quicker.

6. Fasting Improves Your Eating Patterns

Fasting can be a helpful practice for those who suffer with binge eating disorders, and for those who find it difficult to establish a correct eating pattern due to work and other priorities.

With intermittent fasting going all afternoon without a meal is okay and it can allow you to eat at a set time that fits your lifestyle. Also, for anyone who wants to prevent binge eating, you can establish a set time in where you allow yourself to eat your daily amount of calories in one sitting, and then not eat till the following day.

7. Fasting Improves Your Brain Function

Fasting has shown to improve brain function, because it boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.)

BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

8. Fasting Improves Your Immune System

Intermittent fasting improves the immune system because it reduces free radical damage, regulates inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.

In nature, when animals get sick they stop eating and instead focus on resting. This is a primal instinct to reduce stress on their internal system so their body can fight off infection. We humans are the only species who look for food when we are ill, even when we do not need it.

9. Fasting Contributes To Self-Enlightenment

Fasting has helped many people feel more connected to life during the practices reading, meditation, yoga and martial arts etc. With no food in the digestive system, this makes room for more energy in the body – the digestive is one of the most energy absorbing systems in the body.




Fasting for self-enlightenment, allows us to feel better both consciously and physically. With a lighter body and a clearer mind we become more aware and grateful for the things around us.

10. Fasting Helps Clear The Skin And Prevent Acne

Fasting can help clear the skin because with the body temporarily freed from digestion, it’s able to focus its regenerative energies on other systems.

Not eating anything for just one day has shown to help the body clean up the toxins and regulate the functioning of other organs of the body like liver, kidneys and other parts.

Originally posted on www.lifehack.org

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Why Chores are Important for Your Children

Image source: www.familycorner.com

If you have children, you know the deep, abiding bond that develops between parents and kids. Because you love them, you want them to be happy. A parenting conundrum that often arises in light of this is whether to assign jobs around the house to your kids.

Most child and family experts believe that requiring your children to do chores is beneficial to both of you, as long as tasks are age-appropriate and not too physically challenging.


How are chores beneficial to your kids?

Top 10 Benefits of Chores:

1. Facilitate physical development. Having chores from a young age helps to develop gross and fine motor skills and coordination.

2. Provide learning experiences. Kids learn something when they perform household tasks. Whether it’s why the chore needs to be done or how it’s carried out, knowledge will be gained and retained.

Image source: www.families.com
Image source: www.families.com

3. Help kids feel they belong. Chores help kids feel like an important part of the family. It’s especially helpful when you and your other family members take notice and positively comment when children complete their tasks.




4. Keep kids busy and out of trouble. There’s some truth to the idea that when kids are doing a household task, you know they’re engaged in a positive behavior that could benefit them in the future.

Image source: www.thebrunettediaries.com
Image source: www.thebrunettediaries.com

5. Kids contribute to the home. Doing chores provides kids with ways to contribute to the household. As children feel like they’re contributing in some way, they begin to develop and build pride. “I can dust the tables all by myself” is a powerful message for a 7-year-old.

6. Build self-esteem. Consistently giving chores to kids builds their sense of their own abilities. After all, think of all the things they’ve learned how to do over the years.

• From cleaning up after themselves to making their beds and sweeping the floors, chores assigned by parents greatly contribute to children’s positive self-esteem.

7. Demonstrate the importance of taking care of personal items and one’s home. The best way to show a child how important it is to take care of his own property and the house is to assign him chores. This way, your child observes and experiences how life is lived and discovers first-hand the necessities of doing certain chores.




8. Teach kids responsibility. When a child is solely responsible for a job getting done in the home, he learns to take responsibility for that task. As they mature, children learn that people in the home depend on them to complete their chores properly and in a timely fashion.

Image source: www.theparentreport.com
Image source: www.theparentreport.com

9. Children discover the value of cooperation. When large chores, like raking leaves, are shared by the whole family, kids see how integral it is to cooperate with one another.

• For example, two people can rake the leaves and then help each other with bagging them. Then, a third family member can move the bags to the curb.

• Taking part in these “live-action teaching moments” impresses on your kids the value of working cheerfully with one another. Also, it instills the idea that in many instances, cooperation is vital to getting the job done.

10. Introduce children to the world of work. Assigning chores in your home will be your children’s first introduction to working.

• One of the most important things you can do for your kids is to teach them about what it’s like to have a job and have people counting on them to carry it through. Plus, children will learn how to enjoy and look forward to working.

Source: www.easyreadsystem.com
Source: www.easyreadsystem.com

Giving chores to your kids will teach them crucial lessons about life, cooperation, and work. Commit today to consistently assign chores to your children and watch as they reap the benefits now and later.

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Teaching Children to Make Mistakes

Source: Imgur.com
Source: Imgur.com

 

We all learn from our mistakes. Every situation is an opportunity for growth. Obviously there are certain mistakes you want to protect your kids from, such as playing on a busy road or sticking their hand on a hot burner. But in other situations, they’ll learn more if left to discover the consequences themselves.




 

You probably remember a time as a kid when you were corrected by an authority figure and wondered what the big deal was. After all, wouldn’t you have figured out the situation on your own? As a parent, you can learn from this and assess when to step in and when to stand back.

 

Consider these points to help you be more patient and accepting of your children’s mistakes:

 

  1. Children are children. Because of a child’s age, coordination, lack of judgment, or simplified thought processes, kids are not going to be able to perform a task the way a teen or adult can.

    Source: eureka.org.uk
    Source: eureka.org.uk
  2. Children are works in progress. Because children are developing, learning and growing every day, each new day provides them with opportunities for success.

 

  • Children grow and mature at their own speeds. One child may be able to make his own bed when he’s 5 years old, while another will struggle with this at age 7.
  • Depending on the task, a child might be unable to do a job one day, but can do it successfully the next. For this reason, a parent’s patience is required when a child is attempting to complete an assigned job.
  1. Sometimes when children err, they have a natural tendency to want to try again. Because this behavior shows perseverance and great effort, parents can reinforce these positive characteristics by simply allowing them to try the task again.

 

  • Showing that you recognize they want to perform goes a long way toward building your child’s sense of self. Applaud your child’s perseverance in this case and tell him he can try again later.
  1. Learning from trial and error is still learning. If you observe your child trying a task over and over again without frustration, he’s probably learning something on each try.





 

  • Think about your own experiences of trying to tie shoes or learning to ride a bike without training wheels. The more you did it, the better you got at it.
  1. There are other things more important than doing a job “right.” So what if, when your child is done making the bed, the bedspread is crooked? If you consider what matters most, you’ll come up with some characteristics your child demonstrates that you can be proud of.

    Source: rightchoiceforkids.com
    Source: rightchoiceforkids.com
  2. Your child’s self-esteem depends on your reactions. How you react when your child makes a misstep shows him what you think and believe about him.





 

  • When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, allowing him to err at something while at the same time, accepting him the way he is, sends powerful messages of unconditional acceptance and love to your child.
  1. Provide encouragement when your child struggles to perform. Since most tasks have various parts to them, look for the portion of the task that your child did well. Tell him he did a good job on that aspect. Acknowledge the task is difficult and that he’ll eventually catch on and do the whole task well.

    Source: www.easyreadsystem.com
    Source: www.easyreadsystem.com
  2. Avoid generating or expressing strong emotions related to your child’s blunder. It’s wise to remain neutral and objective when speaking to a child about his performance of a task.

 


  • If you find yourself feeling frustration or anger about your child’s mistakes, it’s best to give yourself a “time out.”
  • Later on, it will be helpful to examine within yourself why you’re experiencing such strong, negative feelings about your child’s actions.

Making it okay for your child to err will go a long way toward solidifying his sense of self and building his self-esteem.

 

If you consider and apply these ideas when parenting, you and your child will be more comfortable when they experience errors. Because of your approach, they’ll embrace life with optimism, perseverance and feelings of confidence.

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