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For a lot of people, learning another language is a herculean task. A lot of Nigerian students struggled with the French classes offered in secondary school and couldn’t wait to let go of the struggle as soon as they could.

A Nigerian born Favour Chisimdi Nwobodo has successfully achieved the feat of learning and speaking nine foreign languages  which includes Korean, Swahili, Shona, Indonesian, Filipino, Spanish, German, French and Chinese (Mandarin), all without leaving the shores of Nigeria. She also speaks English and Igbo and currently learning Yoruba.

Mind blowing right? Yes!

Favour Chisimdi Nwobodo
Meet Favour Chisimdi, the Nigerian Polyglot

You know what else is mind blowing? She is not a student of humanities. Favour Chisimdi is an undergraduate of medicine and surgery.

This is proof that you can do and be whatever you set your heart to do.

Learning a language that isn’t yours is a struggle but Favour endured and persevered through all the hurdles, nine times and that is why this is a great feat.

She is a genius, a cultural genius.

Cultural genius because a person’s language is an essential, inseparable part of their culture. So by learning their language, she has incorporated certain aspects of their culture.

Favour Chisimdi is the founder and CEO of Empress Linguistics Services, a language service provider aimed at providing linguistic solutions to Businesses, Brands, Entrepreneurs, Engineers and everyone at large.

Her services includes – Language Translation, Interpretation, Proofreading and Brand Translations Services, Advertisement in various languages, Language Tutorials and many more.

Join us celebrate this language genius!

Meet – Dr. Dambisa Moyo, inspirational and trailblazing Zambian born Global Economist, Investor, Author, Speaker, World Traveler and Marathon Runner.

She is a well respected pre-eminent thinker, who influences key decision-makers in strategic investment and public policy.

Dr. Dambisa Felicia Moyo

She has earned a strong reputation as a top-tier opinion former and trusted advisor on Macroeconomics, Geopolitics, Technology and Millennial themes.

She is a Board member of 3M and Chevron.

Dr. Dambisa Moyo holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics from the University of Oxford, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard University, MBA and Bachelor of Science in Chemistry & Finance from American University.

She is recognized for fresh and innovative ideas as the Author of four (4) New York Times Bestselling Books: 1. Edge of Chaos,

2. Winner Take All

3. How the West Was Lost and Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working

4. How There is a Better Way for Africa.

She was named to the list of Oprah Winfrey ‘O’ Power List, Time 100 Most Influential people in the world; writes for the Financial Times, WSJ, Barron’s, Harvard Business Review and has travelled to 80 countries.

Dr Dambisa Moyo is a world leading economist and one of the most influential people in the world, as named by Forbes.

She analyses macroeconomy and international affairs and proposes economic and social solutions to some of the biggest issues facing our global economy today.

In our opinion, that’s just what the world needs.

Living a simple life is about paring back, so that you have space to breathe. It’s about doing with less, because you realize that having more and doing more doesn’t lead to happiness. It’s about finding joys in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.

I’ve learned some key lessons for living a simple life, and I thought I’d share a few with you.

  • We create our own struggles.

All the stress, all the frustrations and disappointments, all the busyness and rushing … we create these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.

  • Become mindful of attachments that lead to clutter and complexity.

For example, if you are attached to sentimental items, you won’t be able to let go of clutter. If you are attached to living a certain way, you will not be able to let go of a lot of stuff. If you are attached to doing a lot of activities and messaging everyone, your life will be complex.

  • Distraction, busyness and constant switching are mental habits.

We don’t need any of these habits, but they build up over the years because they comfort us. We can live more simply by letting go of these mental habits. What would life be like without constant switching, distraction and busyness?

  • Single-task by putting your life in full-screen mode.

Imagine that everything you do — a work task, answering an email or message, washing a dish, reading an article — goes into full-screen mode, so that you don’t do or look at anything else. You just inhabit that task fully, and are fully present as you do it. What would your life be like? It’s much less stressful when you work and live this way. Things get your full attention, and you do them much better. And you can even savor them.

  • Create space between things.

Add padding to everything. Do half of what you imagine you can do. We tend to cram as much as possible into our days. And this becomes stressful, because we always underestimate how long things will take, and we forget about maintenance tasks like putting on clothes and brushing teeth and preparing meals. We never feel like we have enough time because we try to do too much. But what would it be like if we did less? What would it be like if we padded how long things took, so that we have the space to actually do them well, with full attention? What would it be like if we took a few minutes’ pause between tasks, to savor the accomplishment of the last task, to savor the space between things, to savor being alive?

  • Find joy in a few simple things.

For me, those include writing, reading/learning, walking and doing other active things, eating simple food, meditating, spending quality time with people I care about. Most of that doesn’t cost anything or require any possessions (especially if you use the library for books!). I’m not saying I have zero possessions, nor that I only do these few things. But to the extent that I remember the simple things I love doing, my life suddenly becomes simpler. When I remember, I can let go of everything else my mind has fixated on, and just find the simple joy of doing simple activities.

  • Get clear about what you want, and say no to more things.

We are rarely very clear on what we want. When we see someone post a photo of something cool, we might all of a sudden get fixed on doing that too, and suddenly the course of our lives veer off in a new direction. Same thing if we read about something cool, or watch a video of a new destination or hobby. When someone invites us to something cool, we instantly want to say yes, because our minds love saying yes to everything, to all the shiny new toys. What if we became crystal clear on what we wanted in life? If we knew what we wanted to create, how we wanted to live … we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else. Saying no to more things would simplify our lives.

  • Practice doing nothing, exquisitely.

How often do we actually do nothing? OK, technically we’re always “doing something,” but you know what I mean — just sit there and do nothing. No need to plan, no need to read, no need to watch something, no need to do a chore or eat while you do nothing. Just don’t do anything. Don’t accomplish anything, don’t take care of anything. What happens is you will start to notice your brain’s habit of wanting to get something done — it will almost itch to do something. This exposes our mental habits, which is a good thing. However, keep doing nothing. Just sit for awhile, resisting the urge to do something. After some practice, you can get good at doing nothing. And this leads to the mental habit of contentment, gratitude without complaining.

Of course, these are not the only lessons you’ll need for living a simple life. But the best ones are the ones you discover yourself. Try these and see what happens — I think you’ll find out something beautiful about yourself, and about life.

The best kind of simplicity is that which exposes the raw beauty, joy and heartbreak of life as it is.

 

Staying a shape for a lot of people can be rocket science as it seems not just impossible but difficult. For some, it is even harder because they have to work from home and are used to sedentary lifestyle.

How then do you stay in shape without doing too much?

Healthy Eating

Here are some healthy hacks for fat loss:
  • Keep tinned and preserved food in storage for emergencies, but eat fresh on the daily. Purchase or procure real food like vegetables, fruits, and meat whenever you can. A lot of people are now turning to urban homesteading. If you can’t grow your own greens, find out where you can get your fresh foods in your immediate vicinity.
  • Leave out processed food out of your grocery cart. You can’t eat something that’s not present in your home no matter your midnight cravings.
  • Follow food blogs who prepare healthy meals that you are partial to. Avoid videos about desserts and sweets.
  • Keep a journal and take photos of your healthy meals.

Not only will these improve your eating habits, these tips also double as healthy hacks for fat loss.

Movement

Coming from a day of hard work (while trying not to catch anything) or having to stay at home for days on end, especially if you work from home, it’s easy to just Netflix and chill, literally. The body’s natural response to stress is usually a surplus of sleeping or eating, or both.

To keep your health and your immune system up, make sure you are doing healthy movement everyday. And yes, this means some form of exercise. Instead of passively gaining weight, you can take this opportunity to build the body you’ve always wanted.

Here are some tips to get you moving:

  • If you like dancing, build a library of your favorite zumba or dance routines on YouTube done to your favorite songs. It’s a great way to keep motivated when you enjoy the instructor and love the songs your bopping to.
  • There is a plethora of free exercise videos on YouTube. Take your pick from gentle tai chi, heart-pounding cardio, or stretchy yoga. Mix it up every other day to keep it exciting.
  • If you prefer using an app, find a free exercise app on the App or Play Store. Even better, they have tracking features that will let you see your progress.
  • If you are blessed with a lawn or a backyard, take advantage of the warm weather by doing some gardening. Plant greens that can be harvested fast and/or regrow food from scraps. Not only will you be moving your body, you’ll also be getting sunshine and healthy greens for your meals.

Now, if your goal is weight loss, here’s something interesting. Most health experts believe that weight loss is a combination of exercise and diet. However, exercise is often said to be 20% responsible for a person’s weight loss.

Cardiovascular exercises like jogging, aerobics, and biking are excellent for circulation, heart health, and increasing lung capacity. Strength-training exercises are excellent for protecting bones and disease prevention. Once you lose weight, you still want to maintain a long, healthy lifestyle.

Hydrating

Did you know that stress and water are directly linked?

When you are undergoing stress, your heart rate goes up and you breathe more heavily. This results in the body losing more fluid. To add to that, people often forget to eat and drink when they are heavily distracted by anxiety triggers. Keeping this in mind, make sure to stay hydrated during these stressful times.

If you’re in a space where you feel a hunger pain, drink some hot water with lemon first. In many cases, people eat with the assumption that they’re hungry. In reality, the body is craving more water. If you love the fizzy, carbonated sensation, pour some carbonated water on ice.

When the body remains hydrated, you’ll give your body the foundation it needs to work efficiently. Plus, juice, lattes, and other sugar-filled drinks are loaded with calories. Decrease your intake of liquid calories by drinking lots of water instead.

 

Playing with different kinds of nail colors is fun and relaxing. But when it comes to truly making your hands beautiful, it’s not all about the color or finish of your manicure. To have beautiful nails, don’t just look at your polish. You also have to know how to find the best nail shape for you.

Each hand, finger, and nail shape is different, and we are all born with various features. However, with the right nail shape, short fingers can look longer and hands can look daintier, edgier or more sophisticated to go with a particular look.

Get the right shape that accentuates those beautiful hands with these tips on how to find the best nail shape for you:

Round

This type is the simplest and most natural look that you can do for your nails. It is effortless to maintain, especially if you have time growing your nails.

To achieve this look, simply cut your nails to create an arc similar to the arch of your cuticles. Then, file off any of the rough edges.

Round Nail
Round Nail

A round nail is best when you are after strong nails. If you have visually long nails even after cutting, this makes your hands look very feminine and beautiful. Gel manicure would look lovely over it.

Oval

This shape is quite difficult to execute. The form should be symmetrical, and the point is a little between oval and almond. If you file it too much, you could end up getting either one so it would take time to file your nails to get the perfect shape.

Oval nail shape
Oval Nail

It’s perfect for people with long fingernails who want a beautiful, sophisticated look because it creates a more feminine vibe.

Almond

Almond shape looks lovely on glamorous, eye-catching events. It looks a little like an oval, but it is more tapered on the sides to shape more like an almond. To make it noticeable, you have to have longer nails.

Almond Nails

To get the perfect shape, make sure to ask your nail salon to do it for you. It is one of the most playful designs you can get because it works for medium length nails. When you get tired, you can turn it into a squoval – a square or even an oval shape.

Square

Square nails are the easiest to make. To achieve this look, just file your nails down and make sure that ends become perpendicular to the nail. It is one of the most versatile looks because it works for either short or long nails.

Square Nails

However, if you already have short nails, the square may make your nails look even shorter. If that’s the case, go for an oval, round or squoval to make the shortness look less noticeable.

Squoval

It seems the most natural because most people are already born with this kind of nail shape. That’s why it is suitable for both long and short nails.

Squoval Nails

For the nails you currently have now, you only need to file a little bit to get the perfect squoval shape and you’re good to go. If you want the square look but hate how sharp it is around the edges, this would work best for you.

Ballerina

As the name suggests, the ballerina is a nail shaped like a ballerina’s pointed shoes. It is a longer version of a square, but it is a little more convex with a straight tip. It is slightly tapered like the oval. Instead of an arc, the tip is flat.

Ballerina Nails

The ballerina works best for people who love growing their nails long or for people who love going to nail salons. It’s ideal for people who love putting on gel manicures or acrylics to achieve a longer nail and avoid damage to the natural nail.

Stiletto

Stiletto nail design looks intimidating and deadly. Both sides are tapered to create a pointy end. It’s very dramatic, edgy, and can be best left in the hands of professional nail salons.

Stiletto Nails

For this, you need the help of nail extensions or gel overlays to create the look. Your nail techs will shape and design your overlays to create the pointed tip for each nail. It also works best for gel manicure because the polish makes the design look more prominent.

Lipstick

Going for an out of the box look for special avant-garde events? Choose the lipstick.

Lipstick Nails

The lipstick is like a simple square nail but only longer and asymmetrical, meaning it is just tapered at one side of the nail. It creates an uneven look that is too risky, eye-catching, and highly unusual. It works best for an equally experimental or innovative fashion style.

There are plenty of options for you to choose from, but what would be best would totally be up to you. This guide on how to find the best nail shape for you is just here to help you out.

If you want feminine looks, you can make your hand look dainty and slender by choosing rounder nails shapes like round, oval, almond or squoval. If you want strong, intimidating nails, you can choose between the square, ballerina and stiletto.

Take a minute to think about how much information you process every day. If you’re like me and a lot of other people, you get a lot of your news on the Internet, and you also read a lot of blogs. You might also read books and magazines and newspapers. You probably also watch a lot of TV, where you get entertainment and news. You might watch a lot of movies and listen to the radio on your way to work.

At work, you might get memos and emails and a billion other pieces of information coming at you. You might be a part of an online forum, or social site, or newsgroup, or mailing list (or several!).

It’s information overload.

Our brains are not made to process this much information. We can do it, but it gives us a lot of stress, and we cannot think about any of the information long enough for it to give us real value. We are in the middle of a vast river of information, and it just flows by us constantly.

And then there’s all the time we spend on all this media.

Take a minute to think about how much time you spend online (typically a few hours), watching TV (typically a few more hours), and reading all the other stuff mentioned above (another hour or two). Now think about how many goals you could accomplish if you cut those activities out of your life. The time you would gain would be tremendous.

So what do you do about it? Sometimes it’s good to get drastic. Try a media fast. But is it even possible?

Yes, it is. Here are some ideas:

  • If you’re feeling bold, cut out everything for a week. Well, everything that isn’t completely essential — you might need things like email for work, but can you really say that reading your blogs is essential? Is TV essential? Most likely not. Cut it out and see if you can make it a week.
  • Fast for a day. Can’t hack a week? Try one day. Cutting all Internet, TV, radio, and reading (other than fiction) for a day would be pretty drastic for most of us. See if you can last.
  • Fast on specific media, and take turns. Instead of cutting out everything, try cutting out only TV for a week. Then try cutting out newspapers and magazines. Then … if you dare … try cutting out your blogs. Then your favorite websites.
  • When you fast, work on specific goals. Don’t replace one media with another, or with another time-waster. Have a goal that you’d like to accomplish for that day, or week. See if you can use the time you’d normally spend on media to accomplish actions that further your goals.
  • If you’re not sold, track your time. Try logging your time spent on media for one day, without actually cutting back. Add it up in a spreadsheet at the end of the day. See how many minutes you devote to each type of media. It might be an eye-opener.
  • Once your fast is over, re-think your media intake. You may discover that cutting out TV, for example, wasn’t as hard as you thought, and that you were able to get a lot done. Maybe you want to stay off TV for good, or at least cut back on it drastically. Instead of launching right back into your old media habits, use your media more thoughtfully from now on. See if you can live with less, and work on your personal goals more.

Imagine the peace of mind that could come from shutting off the river of information that comes at you daily. Imagine the focus you could find without all the distractions.

Imagine that your life can be changed for the better with this one little edit. It may seem difficult to quit an addition, but don’t you think it might be worth it? At least give it a try.

Even though many assign a portion of their success to waking up early, many find it difficult to make the switch. While most people know what needs to happen to change their life, they find then difficult to implement consistently. To understand how to wake up early, you need to tap into the wisdom of those already doing it.

Here are the 6 things early risers do:

1. Stop Procrastinating

The first thing you need to do when you want to learn how to wake up early is to go to sleep earlier. You will find it much easier to wake up when you are getting the proper amount of sleep. Set a bedtime that allows you to get 8-hours of sleep and hold yourself accountable.

The problem most of you will have at first is how tired you will feel. If you are someone who goes to sleep after midnight, waking up by 6 a.m. will not be easy. The reason you need to push through that initial difficulty is that you are going to be very tired at the end of the day. Realistically, you probably would fall asleep at your desk or doze off on your lunch break. Either way, waking up early no matter how you feel will motivate you to go sleep at the proper time that night.

Force yourself to wake up early no matter what time you went to sleep. You are going to promise yourself you will go to bed at the right time.

2. Pace Yourself

If you want to start waking up a couple of hours earlier each day, you may not be able to make that change all at once. It stands to reason the more drastic the shift, the more difficult it will be.

So, instead of trying to adjust your sleep pattern by several hours, start in 15-minute or 30-minute intervals. If you wake up 30 minutes earlier each week, you will be a morning person by the end of the month. This may feel like you are drawing out your goal but in reality, you are accomplishing it much quicker than most. Most people who are naturally night owls find it difficult to completely change their sleep habits overnight.

3. Watch Your Lighting Before Bedtime

Light reduces your body’s production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. In practical terms, your body naturally wants to be awake when the sun is up and go to sleep when the sun is down. This is called your circadian rhythm.

In the technology-driven world we currently live in, you likely look at a screen or two before bed. Studies show television and phone screens trick your body into thinking the sun is up. As a result, your body starts producing less melatonin. To help you fall asleep, you should stop looking at screens at least an hour before bed.

This can also mean that if you want to wake up before the sun, looking at your screen when you wake up can help you to stay awake.

4. Make It Worth Your Time

Have you ever woken up early but went back to sleep because you didn’t have a reason to stay up? To put it another way, have you ever fallen asleep because you didn’t have anything better to do?

If you want to be excited about going to sleep and waking up early, then you need to give yourself a reason to be excited. You can accomplish this by listing the three things you want to accomplish the next morning. Notice I said “want” and not “need” to accomplish. You don’t want to be dragging yourself into the next morning kicking and screaming.

Your list should not only include what you want to accomplish but also why you want to accomplish it.

5. Avoid Binging

There is a difference between sleeping and getting a good night’s sleep. Sure, you can drink alcohol and fall asleep, but you will not be getting quality rest. You will wake up feeling as though you slept for only a couple hours.

It is best to stop drinking at least 4 hours before bedtime. Binge drinking is known to impact your sleep-inducing melatonin hormone levels for up to a week. The same holds true with eating a large meal right before bed. It is not that your body can’t process food and sleep at the same time. The main concern has more to do with the possibility of indigestion or heartburn than anything else.

If you find yourself dealing with either of these symptoms, then you may want to stop eating at least two hours before bed.

6. Get the Blood Flowing

Your first movement is to get out of bed. To help you get out of bed, have your alarm far enough away that you need to get up and turn it off. Before you allow yourself to contemplate going back to sleep, take a moment, and do 10 push-ups or 10 jumping jacks. Think of each exercise as you taking one step further from being able to go back to sleep.

You decide for yourself how you want to get your blood flowing. Whether you want to go on a walk, workout at the gym, or do something at home, make sure you are scheduling time to exercise.

Final Thoughts

The key to understanding how to wake up early is to recognize that it is heavily driven by the actions you take the night before. You will wake up early if you go to bed at a good time and get the proper amount of sleep.

By taking the time to prepare yourself both mentally and physically each night, you can ensure you are positioned for success the next morning. Once you have taken the proper actions the night before, make sure you use that momentum to start your day, on time.

The goal is to make the actions you want to take as easy as possible. The key to changing your life is to discover a way to have the wind at your back, going in the direction you want.

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf!

The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.

Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

When it comes to our physical and mental health, friendship may truly be the best medicine. strong social networks may lengthen survival in elderly men and women, with good friends being even more likely to increase longevity than close family members. 

“Friends are the family we choose for ourselves.”

A good friendship is indeed something to savor and protect. Yet, like any human relationship, even the closest of friendships can unravel in moments of weakness.

The closer we get to someone, the more invested we become in their emotions and behavior. We are far more likely to be reactive to our best friends. When they aren’t feeling or acting quite themselves, they can incite feelings of frustration, judgment, competitiveness, or hurt in us.

How can you avoid a falling out with someone you’ve long trusted and cared about? Start by accepting the fact that you can only change yourself. And, almost always, fixing a friendship is a matter of fixing yourself.

Think about what kind of friend you want to be as you consider these five tips for keeping your friendships strong throughout the years:

1. Be Honest

Relationships built on false build-ups or phony facades are only as good as their foundation. Superficial relationships often fizzle over time. To achieve a solid friendship, you have to be honest with each other. Being able to offer and receive feedback from someone you trust is a gift that can easily be overlooked.

Setting aside your ego and being willing to let someone know you and ask questions of you is invaluable. Friends are likely to ask the tough questions—“Why do you think you’re attracted to that person?” or, “Do you think you might be feeling jealous or hurt in this situation?” Having a friend who can tell it to you straight will help you know yourself better. Being able to reciprocate further challenges you to live with honesty, directness, and integrity.

There is no way to feel more connected to someone than to open yourself up to them. Plus, keeping an honest dialogue helps prevent you from building up cynicism and boiling over in a moment when you feel triggered.

2. Repair Misattunements

When you know someone well, you’re familiar with their strengths as well as with their weaknesses. And so, just as you know how to cheer them up, you know exactly how to tear them down. In moments of tension, we can let things slip out that are far more hurtful to our closest friends because they come from us.

No one is perfect. We are all sure to mess up at times, but when we do, we have to set pride aside and repair the situation. Being honest shouldn’t be about being cruel. Finding a balance where you can say what you think without being parental, defining, or judgmental is important for keeping a level of trust between you and a friend.

When you make a mistake, apologize for it. Make sure the friend understands that your intention is not to hurt or punish. Explain where you went wrong and what you mean by saying sorry. And don’t be afraid to be the one who reaches out; we all have either been part of, or known pairs of friends who’ve stopped speaking for months, because neither individual would come forward to admit fault. Time is precious and not worth wasting, especially when it comes to the people who make us happy.

3. Make Time and Show Appreciation

The familiarity and comfort we feel with another person can sometimes leave us crossing lines or forgetting to show gratitude. As with a spouse, partner, children, or family, we have to find time to make real contact with friends in order for the relationship to flourish. Slipping into a routine can leave us more likely to take friends for granted.

Make sure to express how you feel, and take actions that show how well you know and care for them. Generosity is the key to happiness. A good friend shows interest in who we are and what we struggle with, but it is important not to let the relationship become one-sided or to become self-centered in your focus.

Be sure to engage in acts of kindness and consideration that are focused on your friends. Do the things that they would perceive as caring. Consider their interests and passions when planning a way to say thank you.

4. Alter Your Expectations and Don’t Make Assumptions

In any relationship, we can start to impose certain expectations on others that set us up to feel hurt or disappointed. Don’t be quick to pick apart your friends. Accept that they are human and that they will make mistakes.

We may show our friendship in one way, whether through affection, favors, or gifts, but we shouldn’t necessarily expect the same from them. Don’t assume what your friends are thinking; Check it out instead. And accept that you could be wrong about their viewpoint—every individual possesses a sovereign mind and their own perceptions of the world. They may, in turn, have a very different way of expressing their feelings or showing that they care.

5. Choose Compassion Over Cynicism

A good rule of thumb when it comes to our relationships is to care more about doing what’s right than being right. When you get to know a person, you get to know their worst traits, and it’s easy to become cynical toward those negative aspects of their personality. It’s far more preferable to be compassionate. Compassion keeps us vulnerable instead of tough and guarded, or seeing the world through a negative lens.

Compassion, then, is its own reward, as it leaves us feeling good within ourselves regardless of how a friend may be behaving. Being honest and straightforward without being cynical is perhaps the most important quality of a good friend.

Why It Matters

Keeping close friends is an essential part of life that gives us meaning and fulfillment.

Holding yourself to these five standards will help you develop within yourself and expand your potential to grow meaningful friendships throughout your life. It’s no surprise that those people who are most giving of themselves are the most liked. Thus, keeping a realistic, yet compassionate outlook on the world will inherently expand your own world, attracting others along the way.

All of these characteristics are contagious: By being the kind of person you respect, you encourage others to do the same.

 

We’ve all had that sinking feeling on a Sunday night, when you remember it’s Monday and the weekend is over. It can be tricky trying to launch ourselves back into work-mode, but with the right motivation and mentality, you can get your week off to the perfect start. Read on for our 12 top tips:

1. Prepare on Friday

Monday is often a busy day – catching up after the weekend and preparing for another full working week. On the Friday before, make sure any work you started has been finished, meaning there will be no unfinished business to deal with when you start back on Monday.

2. Avoid looking at work emails on the weekends

Enjoy your weekends, turn your notifications off and be work-free. Looking at emails will just cause unnecessary stress which can only be dealt with in the office. Weekends are for family or ‘me’ time, so spend it doing things you enjoy – you’ll be amazed at how much of a positive impact this can have on the following week!

3. Have enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep can really have an impact on your mood and productivity levels, so it’s best you get a good amount of shut-eye. And if that means having to record one of your favourite programmes then so be it, you can catch up another time.

4. Get your body moving

This might not be for everyone, but an early morning workout is effectively an all-natural cup of coffee that can boost your energy level by 20% and release happy endorphins to get you in a good mood. Even just a quick five-minute routine will help!

5. Dress for success.

Make Mondays the day you wear your favourite outfit or your newest purchase. There’s a direct correlation between how you feel and how you present yourself, so looking good will give your confidence a lift.

6. Don’t skip breakfast

It really is the most important meal of the day. Whether it’s an on-the-go smoothie, satisfying porridge or jam on toast, get your metabolism up and running and avoid your stomach growling come 9.30am.

7. Pick your playlist

Music can instantly enhance your mood through evocative lyrics or positive associations. So, before you let the dread of Monday kick in, listen to your favourite songs or podcasts during your commute to help you set your mind in the right direction.

8. Review your week ahead

A top tip for a productive working week is to know what you’ve got on. So, first thing on a Monday morning, prioritise your tasks and make a list of things you want to achieve for the week to ensure maximum productivity.

9. Go out for lunch

Break up your day by leaving the office for lunch, you could even arrange to meet a friend or family at a restaurant or coffee shop. The change in scenery can be refreshing and can help clear your mind.

10. Make midweek plans

Get through Monday by planning something to look forward to, arrange catch-ups with friends, date nights with your partner, or family time.

11. Avoid watching the clock

It’s true what they say you know, if you watch a clock it does take longer. Avoid constantly checking the time, it will make your day drag. Keep yourself busy with activities and the day will run quicker.

12. Don’t live for the weekend

Mondays can be a drag if all you’re doing is waiting for the weekend to come around again. Make fun plans during the week to help break it up and give you something to look forward to.