Friday, November 29, 2013

Aiming for Happiness, Missing the Mark

Jeff Woloson in Thailand. The birds atop Jeff'...
Jeff Woloson - satisfied (Wikipedia)
by Matthew J Anello

Can you pinpoint the moment when you began your quest for "lasting happiness"?

You know, that blissful state of being that all of your relationship building, hard work in your career of choice and personal self development are meant to deliver to you.

Most of us are told very early on in life that what's most important (or at least very important) is to be happy.

There are too many deeply engrained examples in our sayings and written history to mention (though "Turn that frown upside down" and "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" jump immediately to mind).

And, while it's true that happiness certainly feels good, what if we're chasing after a dream that's really a mirage?

What if chasing after the emotional state of happiness is exactly what's keeping you from experiencing happiness more often? And what if the emotion of happiness isn't actually meant to be lasting? What if there is a human experience that's much deeper and more sustainable?

Well, it turns out there is. It's called being satisfied. You'll notice I'm not referring to satisfaction solely as an emotion. I'm describing it as a state of being.

Satisfaction lasts longer than any given emotion you may be feeling. And this is because the state of being satisfied relies on more than just the emotion of being happy. It requires more because it offers more. More on that a bit later ...

Now, I don't want you to confuse satisfaction with laziness. The idea is not to get to a place where you are no longer striving, growing and evolving and instead are sitting on the couch with a full belly, surveying your domain and all the creature comforts you've collected. Quite the opposite.

Satisfied living requires your active participation and focused attention and requires you to remain hungry. Hungry for building the kind of life that involves lots of risk and lots of reward.

Why? Because being truly satisfied means having left nothing unexplored. Nothing unexamined. Nothing left undone.

So, how do we cultivate satisfaction? Well, I say there are four essential pillars for building a satisfied life.

First, we have to pay attention to our bodies. We each only get one and it's going to be our vehicle for exploring our world for the rest of our lives. This does not mean we need to train like an Olympic athlete or eat only raw, vegan, organic food. It does mean we need to learn how to discern what our body is asking for and what it's saying no to and shift what needs shifting.

Second, we have to learn how to broaden and deepen our experience of emotion. Unexpressed or not fully expressed emotions are slow poisons that sap the life and energy from our relationships and from our capacity to truly feel love (the emotion that we all yearn for most).

Some liken our emotional state to the weather because it's always changing and is seemingly random. And just as we respond by shifting our behavior depending on the weather, it's important that we learn how to first express, and then channel, emotional energy to live out it's purpose of fueling necessary changes to the situations or relationships we are in.

Third, we must develop a healthy respect for our mental power and hone our capacity to separate ourselves from the thoughts that are constantly streaming past our awareness. This involves first becoming aware of, and then developing, our mental muscle for choosing empowering thoughts and letting go of disempowering ones.

And, as we learn to direct our focused attention in ways that serve us, we then begin to be able to communicate more fully and clearly with those around us. This gives us access to shifting our life situations with power and grace.

Fourth, we must remember why we're here. Developing a strong and open relationship with our life's purpose, revealed to us through our unique skills and obvious to those around us when we combine the intensity of our heart with the focus of our intellect, is critical to developing the kind of deep satisfaction that allows us to bounce back when life knocks us down.

Now, the sequence that you bring your attention to each of these pillars and the intensity with which you engage with each them has everything to do with how quickly and how successfully you move from dissatisfaction to satisfaction in any area of life.

So, I invite you to experiment! Assess your degree of life satisfaction on a scale of 1 -10 at the beginning of a week. Or, if you like, search for and take the Dr. Oz Life Satisfaction Quiz.

Then, spend the next 7 days checking in regularly with each of the four pillars and taking some kind of action in each sphere. Finally, measure you level of life-satisfaction at the end of the week. You can do this with a buddy to make it more fun and/or ensure you stick to it!

As I mentioned above, the sequence that you bring your attention to each of these pillars and the intensity with which you engage with each them has everything to do with how quickly and how successfully you move from dissatisfaction to satisfaction in any area of life.

Learning your particular sequence and the level of intensity to apply at any given time is the subject of my upcoming book. Click here for more:

I hope you'll join me in applying these tried & true principles in your life! For more information on Matthew and his work, click here:

Article Source:,-Missing-the-Mark&id=8141412

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Find Your Passion and Change Your Life: Choosing a Business or Career You Will Love

Passion: Awakening
Passion: Awakening (Wikipedia)
by Connie Ragen Green

Are you passionate about what you're doing in your business?

I believe that this makes a huge difference in the level of success you are able to achieve.

Think about why you are doing the work you are involved in, how you can make it more fun and in alignment with your goals and dreams, and how you can slowly transition into the exact area you wish to work in over the next few months.

Most of us are working at jobs or running a business that we did not plan to be involved in.

Life happens, and we find ourselves doing something for many years that we may have originally thought of as just something we would do for a short time.

It wasn't until I was thirty years old that I went back to college to earn my teaching credential, and it took another twenty years before I realized I was no longer passionate about continuing with that work.

Take a close look at what you are doing each day and determine if that is what you want to do forever.

Depending upon your circumstances you may not be in a position to leave your work and start something new overnight. In that case, look for ways to make it more fun and fulfilling.

If I had stayed in education I would have returned to school to prepare for a more specialized position in the area of technology, something I had become quite passionate about over time.

The work you want to do might be right under your nose if you take the time to seek out alternatives to your current position and job duties.

I spent two full years making my transition from classroom teacher to online entrepreneur, even though it appears that I did it overnight. Have a family meeting to discuss the alternatives and what that would look like for you and your family. Perhaps returning to school is the answer for you.

Investigate and explore your options for starting a new local business or of becoming an online entrepreneur. Know that you can plan to change your working life completely and it will become a reality.

As you can see, caring deeply about what you do is important. Focus on your specific goals and then take the necessary steps to make it happen in your life as quickly as possible. Great success can be achieved when you move towards your passions.

Remember that the reason to start an Internet business is to give you the time and money to live the life you choose.

Download a free teleseminar on building your online business and a Special Report on 21 tips to make huge profits from a tiny list by visiting Build Your List to learn how to make huge profits with an online business through relationship marketing.

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Thankfulness, Leadership and Being Your Best at the Holidays

Holiday (Photo credit: Tax Credits)
by Kathleen Schafer

We tend to think of the Holiday's as a time away from work, commitments and responsibilities - and for many that means leadership.

That belief comes from the perception that our conduct at work is somehow disconnected from our personal lives.

Leadership is love in action, and that love and action are a part of our lives in every moment.

 No greater opportunity exists to practice leadership than with our families at the Holidays.

Our relationships to our families are not ones of choice; we choose where we want to work and our relatives are who they are by virtue of our birth. The opportunity to lead the life we want is tested in a way no other setting provides.

Every adult I know has some challenge in their family dynamic and this Thanksgiving there are three steps you can take to lead the life you want, with your family at the Holidays:

1. Know Yourself

The starting point for every leader is the authentic self. Before you arrive at the first gathering, time a few moments to center yourself in your unique talents and strengths.

No one knocks us off our game more than our relatives who have witnessed us evolving through the awkward stages of childhood or the missteps of our lives.

We all have had those experiences and those closest to us are often the ones who master the ability to point them out at our most vulnerable moments.

By rooting into our strengths we allow those comments to pass through us without sustaining the blow and with greater compassion for the one who threw it.

2. Be Clear

Holidays are the times we romanticize about the life and/or family we wish we had rather than the one we do. Just as you would at work, be realistic about the current situation and set a clear and sensible intention to progress to the logical next step.

Fanciful images of the perfect holiday surround us in the popular media and for most it is far from reality. Be a leader in creating an achievable goal for your celebration.

Taking one-step forward is how aspirations are reached, rather than expecting radical change just because it is the Holiday.

3. Lead

Lead the life you want to live by showing up as your best and acknowledging it in others. Be genuinely grateful for the people in your life, help them to see their talents and strengths and be an example of how people can grow beyond the pain of the past.

Everyone at the table has felt forgotten, unloved or hurt by someone there at some point. Use your compassion to build the connections that move people toward the joy everyone is longing to feel.

The perfect Holiday celebration is what everyone longs to experience. Leaders understand that they are created first within themselves and their ability to love who they are independent of what their families and friends feel about them. And in that example, they are able to give that gift to others.

This Thanksgiving be grateful for who you are, share it with others and inspire them to do the same - that's leadership.

Article Source:,-Leadership-and-Being-Your-Best-at-the-Holidays&id=8147369

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Five Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks

English: designed by artist SAUMYA BANDYOPADHYAY
By Saumya Bandyopadhyay (Wikipedia)
by Christine Herman

As an artist or creative entrepreneur you enjoy being a font of ideas and self expression.

Yet there are times, in spite of talent or persistence, you might find yourself unexpectedly and abruptly stuck.

That's why it's key to have a few proactive remedies on hand to ease your way back to your inspiration and passions.

Move forward with or without approval

It's in our human nature to feel buoyant when we feel the moral support as others spur us on toward our dreams.

However, when that support isn't forthcoming, you might find yourself holding back because you haven't received the accolades, enthusiastic encouragement or cheerleading you hoped for.

Doubts start to creep in as to whether your creative idea or project is worth your time and energy. You stall, procrastinate and turn to other 'more important' responsibilities to subdue your pain.

Remedy: Close your eyes for 5 minutes with the intention of releasing your disappointments, doubts or fears about what others think. Next,write a letter to your future self asking how you were faithful to your creative goals even when others didn't see the value or share in your excitement.

Connect to your why

Imagine someone asks "How's your creative project coming along"? You internally cringe and admit that it's stalled out or faltered. This may be a signal it's time to reconnect with your 'Why'. Ask yourself what inspired you in the first place.

Was it a whim or was it an idea you've pictured in your mind's eye for months? Were you excited to begin writing your book and simply got burned out from not pacing yourself? Were the steps in preparing for your solo show too rushed or too big that you got discouraged and impatient with yourself?

Remedy: Return to the reason you were chomping at the bit to bring your ideas into form. Was it for a passionate cause? Were you thrilled about collaborating with others? Were you finally going to design that spectacular product?

Keep your word

The truth is that no one else is overly concerned if you realize your goals or not. But your heart and soul care.

Remedy: Keep your word - to yourself. When you say yes to your dream and then hit the pause button, stop or bail, your creative spirit sits silently crying. This can eventually show up in several ways; feeling irritable, depressed, restless, and even physically ill.

Most of us lead harried lives and our busyness can easily swallow up our best energy with little left to fulfill the muse whispering between appointments and responsibilities. To avoid this, nurture your creative time like you would a date with a favorite friend and be devotedly committed to keeping your word.

Promise your inner muse that you'll protect her time for self expression. In turn, your reward will be that you have the joy of publishing your first book, making that memorable quilt for a family member, creating a provocative blog or wildly successful business.

Avoid feast and famine

It's common for creatives to work night and day for months, then crash and burn. Yes, sometimes deadlines need to be met. You're committed to championing a project and you've just got to get it done.

Falling into this pattern however then usually requires a prolonged or unexpected recovery period to regain momentum. Along the way you lose your spark. You might even be sick of seeing your project by then. This is unfortunate and counterproductive because it's the antithesis to the joy and juice of what's possible in the creative journey.

Remedy: Expend shorter bursts of creative energy,preferably in your time zone of brilliance. I've recently been experimenting with getting up a half hour earlier to write before I do anything else.

I know from experience that fitting in my writing during the day gets riddled with interruptions and distractions. Know your peak creative periods. Book yourself that time to get your best creative work realized and think in blocks of 30 to 45 minutes.

Call in your allies

If you've been spinning your wheels for an extended period, it's time to ask for help.

Remedy: Call in your allies. Visit a local museum, take a break alone in nature, play music, or dance. Get inspired by the work of those you look up to and ask how they stay motivated or overcome slumps. Work with a mentor or coach who can help you overcome your blocks and get you moving forward.

Finally, follow your heart, be proactive and print this list of go-to remedies to help you overcome your blocks to your creative goals.

Christine Herman helps talented women transform their doubts and blocks so they can bring their creative gifts into the world in fulfilling and prosperous ways.

As a creative breakthroughs coach, artist, and founder of Your Path on Purpose, she blends artful self-discovery and pragmatic tools to inspire her clients through retreats, speaking, workshops, private and group programs.

Get your free 'Transform Procrastination into Creative Success Kit' at

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Why Can't You Achieve Your Goals?

English: Everything starts from needs or desir...
Photo: Wikipedia
by Jim Hampton

A lot of people know and understand that goals are needed in order to be successful. They set their goals with the intention of achieving them sometime in the future. Can you already see the vagueness here?

The performance of goals that are defined need to be specific with dates and concrete steps towards the intended goal in order to believe that it will happen.

We will deal with the common problems of motivation that people have when they set goals and why they don't achieve them within this article.

Goals are created to enhance people's lives. If they are too general in nature then the results will reflect the same perception.

A general goal will result in a general result. That is not what people want. I know it and you know it. The more specific that a goal is stated the more specific the results will be.

For example making a statement to the effect that I want to be in shape is not the same as I want to lose 20 lbs. in the next 2 months. Specific activities statements start the mind working on what needs to be done in order to accomplish that goal.

You need to be accountable to someone about your goals. If no one knows about your goals then no one will care. Without telling anyone about your intentions on what you want to accomplish no one would be the wiser on whether or not you have achieved your goal.

You need to be proud that you achieved your goal. You need to tell the world what you did and how you did it. This is another common factor why people do not achieve their goals. They don't tell anyone about it.

Finding and correcting the problems with goal setting can be an exhilarating experience for a person. Having experienced success in achieving your goals through a support group or a program that supports you needs to be cherished.

Understanding the proper way to write your goals and the steps needed to achieve them can change your life the moment you write it down.

Meaningful goals are sometimes difficult to achieve. They were not meant to be easy but they were created to stretch your imagination and to be disciplined in your work efforts. There will be obstacles that will test your resourcefulness but they will show up in your life for a purpose.

They are there to test your resolve to see if you really want to achieve that goal. How bad do you want it will be the key phrase that you need to understand.

Clicking here will challenge you to finally achieve that goal. If you haven't met up to your expectations, then this information just might help you out.

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The Language of Success: How the Way You Think Determines the Results You Get

Carlsen (blancas) vs. Aronian (negras)
Carlsen vs. Aronian (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Stuart Doughty

Do you know how to succeed? Really know, so that anything you imagined that you wanted to do you KNEW you could achieve it?

Million dollars? Know how to get that; climb Mount Everest? I can do that. Run a marathon? Tick it off. Find perfect love? Become a movie star, write a best-selling novel?

What would you have to know, feel or believe to be able to tell yourself, yes I can do that.

Not to tell others, who have no way of knowing whether you can achieve your goals, but to say to yourself, this is an idea I want to pursue, and I will do it? And know, deep down, that you will succeed.

Well Magnus Carlsen, the Norwegian chess prodigy who became the world champion at 22 last week is an extraordinary example of how.

At 13 he told a TV interviewer his goal was to become the world champion. Of course, it's every child's dream to become the best in the world at something, but what he said was more startling than the size of his dream. "I will do what it takes to become world champion."

Well, nine years later he became the second-youngest world champion ever, since Garry Kasparov was crowned king of chess in 1985.

The first clue to achieving our ultimate goals, to live the dream we have dreamed, is to "declare and decide". Declare that this is our goal, so that others know, and to decide that we shall pursue it. Until we reach it.

Bob Proctor likes to tell the story of how the late Sir Edmund Hillary declared he would reach the top of Mt. Everest when no one had ever done it and most who thought they knew said it could not be done.

Despite failures by previous expeditions, Hillary accomplished the feat with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, and fulfilled the Everest of goals he set himself.

Hillary once described himself as "just an enthusiastic mountaineer of modest abilities who was willing to work quite hard and had the necessary imagination and determination."

But deciding to do something and being determined are no guarantees of success. That requires something more: Belief and imagination, plus a particular way of thinking.

When Carlsen beat India's Viswanathan Anand in the championship without losing a game to become only the second world chess champion from the West in the modern era, he epitomized what it takes to succeed in any venture.

It requires more than study, or knowledge, more than effort or a 'feel' for the game, and more even than talent. It requires being inside the paradigm of chess.

In a documentary shot before the championship, one of the Carlsen's sisters unwittingly reveals this other key. Magnus, she says "speaks chess as a language."

She means he's always talking and thinking chess. The reason he was able to become world champion is because he speaks the language of chess. He doesn't 'play' chess. He is chess. He exists inside of a paradigm, or mental-physical awareness, where everything else is secondary.

Chess does not occur as something extra inside his life, like a job. His life occurs inside the idea 'chess.' He speaks it, thinks it, dreams, relates to life from chess. It is his way of thinking.

This is evident from a clip in the documentary in which he plays 10 lawyers at Harvard University simultaneously, while blindfolded, following each game only in his mind. And wins them all.

His father says "It's a mystery why he is so good." But to those understand the power of the paradigm within the subconscious mind, there is no mystery.

Perhaps the only puzzle was that Carlsen had a gift of concentration as a child, and ability to think in pictures, to visualize a chess board so clearly he could play the game in his mind as easily as on a physical board.

But it is a willingness to concentrate and focus on a goal that manifests a desired result in life. And we can all train ourselves to do that.

When we are passionate about a subject, immerse ourselves in it, when it is the first thing we think of when we wake, the energy of that entity merges with us and seeks expression through us.

We cannot fail when we become one with the object of our focus, when we are intertwined with the subject of our destiny.

This is what it takes to succeed at the highest level; to achieve our biggest goals and live our dreams. To become one with the dream. To live from the goal instead of striving to reach it.

If there is a burning desire within you to achieve a thing; to live inside of your dream, you must step inside of its world and live from the inside out. Then you will know what to do, or be guided how to reach your Everest, to become the champion of your dream.

Do you know how to build your paradigm of success?

"Thinking Into Results", the 12-step program of personal transformation shows you how to master the language of success that you want to speak.

The Norwegian documentary, in English, can be seen here:!/video/73427/magnus-carlsen-39-s-last-big-title

Stuart Doughty is a Life Coach and 'Thinking Into Results' consultant working with Bob Proctor, and an expert in transformational coaching. He works with individuals and businesses, helping them understand how to master the power of the mind so they can achieve the results they desire.

If you want to learn how to think into results to achieve your goals and live your dreams, contact him at or

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Creative Philanthropy: Finding Creative Ways to Make a Difference in Our Communities

Number 1 (2013) Christian Williams
Number 1 (2013) by Christian Williams
by Christian Williams, UTNE Reader:

Christian Williams is editor in chief of Utne Reader, and he also paints and makes music. 

View and listen to his work at, and follow him on Twitter: @cwwilliams.

Putting together a magazine like Utne Reader is, by far, the best job I’ve ever had.

For the first time in my career, exploring my fascinations and interests is more than just an after-work activity; it’s one of my primary responsibilities as editor.

The process of curating articles for this kind of magazine also means daily exposure to new ideas, fresh perspectives, and highly-motivated agents of social change.

When you’re constantly meeting people who are so interested in trying to make the world a better place, you start asking yourself what role you can play in that noble pursuit.

Some of us on staff have become involved in the local branch of Food Not Bombs (associate editor Sam Ross-Brown), while others are maintaining a permaculture-focused community garden that donates produce to local food banks (associate editor Suzanne Lindgren).

In both of those examples, I realized that a personal passion is being put into action, and it got me thinking about activism and volunteering in a whole new light.

In addition to our time and money, every one of us has a set of skills and talents that we can be using to better the communities we live in.

So when I thought a little harder about how I could contribute to the greater good, I considered my passion for creativity.

I’ve been painting abstract pictures for a little over a year, and just recently started to display them in my office at work. One particular piece caught the eye of our publisher and editorial director, Bryan Welch, and he asked if he could buy one like it.

My abstract pictures are spontaneously produced and never alike, so I decided to give him the piece that originally caught his eye (pictured above). As I finished the piece with a handmade frame, I realized I’d stumbled on a way to make a difference - a concept I’m calling “creative philanthropy.”

I’ve come to believe that creativity is an essential human expression that can both allow us to revel in the beauty of our mysterious universe as well as teach us how to respond to and recover from the inevitable difficulties we face in our lives.

My aim is to use my art to spread that message to young people whose access to creativity is limited by budget cuts in their schools, and to everyone - young and old - who has bought into the misconception that the only valid creative expressions are the ones that come out of formal education and training.

I’m hoping that displaying my work publicly will inspire others to pick up a paintbrush themselves, but I’m also aware that the simple act of looking at a piece of original art is enough to make a difference in one’s life.

For that reason, I’m selling my work at an accessible price (the above piece was priced at $200).

Most importantly, 100 percent of the proceeds are being donated to Van Go, Inc., a Lawrence, Kansas-based social service that provides job training for at-risk youth, and uses art as the vehicle for encouraging self-confidence and self-expression.

Van Go does outstanding work in my community, and if you’re an artist or know one, I hope you’ll share this idea and support the organizations in your community that do similar work.

I know I’ll be learning a lot through this project, and I’ll be documenting it all through this blog. I hope you’ll follow along as well as share the creative ways you’re trying to make a difference in your communities.

Creativity of the Artist: Observe

Creativity of the Artist: Observeby Jeffrey Baumgartner, Innovation Excellence:

Jeffrey Baumgartner is the author of the book, The Way of the Innovation Master; the author/editor of Report 103, a popular newsletter on creativity and innovation in business. 

He is currently developing and running workshops around the world on Anticonventional Thinking, a radical new approach to achieving goals through creativity - and an alternative to brainstorming.

Welcome to the first in a series of articles about the creativity of the artist.

In the series, we will look at how artists use creativity in order to create original art - and we’ll look at how you (assuming you are not an artist. If you are, I apologise) can apply the creativity of the artist in your work and life.

For what it’s worth, I am an artist by training and inclination - but I got caught up in the world of business for about 20 years. I am now making a move back towards doing art. Frankly, it’s way more fun! 

Observe Everything

Probably the biggest way that artists differ from non-artists is in how the former observe things.

For instance, on a sunny, windy day in the countryside, have you ever watched the wind blow across the trees? It is fascinating to watch. As the leaves flutter in the wind, they reflect and deflect the sunlight rapidly, causing them to flicker and dance in a flow of changing colour and tone.

The other day, in a wheat field near my home, sat a rusty blue tractor. The faded blue against the rich golden corn and the green trees behind was truly beautiful. Indeed, I went to get my camera. Sadly, the farmer was faster than me! By the time I returned, the tractor was gone.

Wherever you go, make it a point not just to look, but to observe your surroundings. Better still, go out for regular walks and leisurely bike rides in order to observe the world around you. 

Admire Ugliness

It is a myth that artists seek out the beautiful. A good artist will look as intently at ugly things as she will at beautiful things. I am as fascinated by an ugly, obese person as I am a slender, beautiful person.

Abandoned, dilapidated buildings are incredible to look at. Sometimes the line between beauty and ugly is very fine. A ruined building against a bright blue sky can be stunningly beautiful or a blot on the landscape.

Even when something is unquestionably ugly, it is worth observing in order to understand its ugliness; in order to appreciate the beauty of other things; in order to understand what beauty and ugliness are.

And even within the ugliest of ugly, there is often beauty. A soldiers helping his hideously wounded colleagues in a bloody battle is both ugly and beautiful. Of course, that’s not something most of us observe on a regular basis! 

Seek Out Incongruity

In particular, watch for incongruity and absurdity. A building with no windows. A woman wearing a winter coat on a warm summer’s day. A man in bright coloured clothes on a train full of men wearing grey business suits. A machine in a cage. Look at these things and question them in your mind.

Why does the building have no windows? Was the architect incompetent? Do the owners hate their neighbours? Why is the machine in a cage? Is it a wild machine? Might it attack people if it was not caged? And so on. You get the picture, I hope. 

Applying to Business

“This is all well and good,” I can hear the businessperson say, “But how does it apply to me? I’ve got a business to run!” Assuming creativity and innovation are important to you, there is a lot you to learn here!

Firstly, getting in the habit of viewing your surroundings and looking for the beautiful, the ugly and the incongruous, will provide your brain with more raw material for building unique ideas.

Likewise, taking walks while thinking of business problems and observing the scenery you pass, will make it easier for your mind to bring together disparate elements in new ways - and that results in creative ideas. 

Observe Your Business in Action

Learning to observe more completely your surroundings will teach you to observe more completely the processes and actions in your business. Indeed, learn to look for the beautiful, the ugly and the incongruous.

Admire what is beautiful in your business activities and think about how you can apply that beauty elsewhere.

And note, beauty need not be limited to flowers, lovely paintings in the reception area and a nifty view from the CEOs office. Processes that run efficiently and elegantly can be beautiful. Building quality products can be beautiful. Making your customers happy is certainly beautiful!

Look also for the ugly. Poor quality control on finished products, unhappy employees and dangerous working conditions are all ugly and need to be changed. But ugly can sometimes be good.

The Volkswagen Beatle and Citroen 2CV are two examples of ugly cars that sold very well, in part because of their ugliness.

Ryan Air, a prominent discount airline in Europe, seems almost to emphasise the ugliness of flying with them, presumably because this also emphasises their very low air fairs. Sometimes emphasising the ugliness of one aspect of your business can highlight other qualities that appeal to customers.

Incongruity in your processes and actions often indicates a need for innovation - or at least improvement.

For example, years ago, I worked with a company that had a ridiculously complex process for invoicing their clients. The process was probably designed by a French bureaucrat. Invoices were sent weeks, and sometimes months, after a project was completed.

Indeed, clients sometimes called up and begged for their invoices! Needless-to-say, this process meant that cashflow was slowed down and that’s not a good thing for any business.

However, incongruity can also help define special qualities in your product. For instance, making it difficult to buy your product would, in most cases, be considered a negative incongruity that demands innovative action to make your product more widely available.

However, if your product is marketed as being exotic and exclusive, making it difficult to buy could help emphasise its exclusivity or specialness. 

Peace of Mind

The idea of observing the world around you is also a part of mindfulness and a key notion in Buddhism. Aside from the benefits it brings in terms of enhanced creativity - learning to observe and appreciate the world around you can only be good for your emotional and mental well being.

image credit: magnifying image from bigstock

Does Perfectionism Impede Your Life Experience?

English: perfectionist measuring and cutting grass
Perfectionist measuring & cutting grass (Wikipedia)
by Joyce Shafer

Perfectionists believe their value or worth (especially self-worth) as individuals is arrived at by virtue of what they do perfectly or by being seen as perfect or always right, rather than by who they are at their core (like the rest of us) or what they can contribute.

They may apply this philosophy to others, as well.

When they or others don't perform to their standards - even if those standards are unrealistic, which perfectionism always is - they seldom, if ever, pause to ask what is working right, and why, and how they can expand this into areas that would benefit from improvements.

A perfectionist - and proud of it - boss I worked for once said he didn't want to focus on what was working right, only on what was wrong. You can imagine how much fun he was to work with.

A favorite thought or saying of someone affected by perfectionism might be: "If everyone would just do what they are supposed to, everything would be the way it is supposed to be," as though life has a strict blueprint to be followed by everyone.

These types "should" on people quite often. We might wish this blueprint concept were so at times, both for ourselves and for those we interact with, so life could seem easier and clear-cut, but that's just not the way it is.

Thinking this way is actually more about how the perfectionist feels about himself or herself than it is about the others they aim this thought at. I've even known perfectionists who believe others should be mind-readers so they know what the perfectionist expects, without having to be told.

Sometimes, anticipating what another expects or needs works out or is a good idea, but most of the time, we're a bit busy focusing on other things, including our own issues, desires, and needs. Mind-reading shouldn't be a requirement placed on anyone.

During life empowerment coach training, we learned that all of us must start where we are, acknowledge what is in the moment, and then move forward from there.

Over the course of our lives, most of us have witnessed scenarios where someone insisted on nothing less than perfection from themselves and others. Perhaps we've even done this, to some extent, ourselves.

Not only is perfectionism not realistic, it isn't a goal - really, it isn't, though many try to make it so for themselves and others.

If you practice perfectionism, how can you accept where you are right now in order to influence where you intend to go and how you will experience your journey along the way, in a manner that cuts out a lot of the frustration and stress perfectionism causes?

And if you can't accept and allow this about yourself, how can you practice compassion, understanding, support, and encouragement with others?

Perfectionists, in my experience at least, do not have a tendency to focus on conscious awareness or personal growth-or if they do, they feel their inner work is deep when it's actually shallow. This is because they are too focused on being perceived as right and unflawed.

What an exhausting and frustrating way to live, for the perfectionist and those they live or interact with. Someone who is always right or unflawed (or, rather, deeply craves to be seen as such so they can believe this about themselves) can't afford to demonstrate a need to do the inner work.

That would mean something was "wrong" with them. Their egos don't set to that place on their life and personal development dial. There's either growth or there's stagnation: the choice is ours.

What would a person's experiences, and the world as a whole, look like if we understood that life is an ever-changing process and that we process life and influence our reality through the thoughts, feelings, and actions we choose each moment to accommodate the changes we encounter?

People who strive for perfection often have difficulty making decisions and moving forward, or when they do make decisions or move forward, it isn't as enjoyable or fulfilling for them as it might be - or, likely, for others involved. It's no wonder they have trouble doing so!

Take a moment to think about their energy and where that energy is focused. It's all about the individual and their ego-aspect's demanding needs. It's constrictive rather than creative and or collaborative. It's about doing for the sake of approval, not being for the sake of having a fulfilling life experience.

Empowerment comes from embracing the perfection inherent in what is seemingly imperfect, as well as the imperfection in what is seemingly perfect. Who cannot recall having an experience that appeared, at first, to be negative only to discover a valuable purpose in it or for it at some later time?

Or maybe the opposite happened and what seemed ideal turned out not to be. Why did this realization happen, if it's happened to you? Because you processed the experience at an inner and outer level, no matter how long it took for that to happen.

When we actively, consciously engage in process, we waste nothing that comes to us as an experience to help us expand conscious awareness and grow from there.

Perfectionists are not interested in process, as a rule, because of what I mentioned earlier: it may mean there's something about them they need to work on or balance, and that can be a too-painful realization for them.

Process allows us to discover more of what we can about ourselves in relation to everyone and every situation that enters our lives. It is our opportunity to decide how to move forward, how to grow. Perfectionism stops us where we stand, even if we appear to move forward in our outer lives.

It is an illusion, and it traps and constricts us because the life experience is not authentic and flowing, but forced. Illusions eventually get revealed as what they are. You want a stronger inner foundation and outer experience than this.

Perfection has rigid rules and is, as I said, not realistic. Excellence, however, is doable, attainable, and realistic. Excellence allows for creative expression and for us to move forward to the next level as we move along in our lives.

Perfectionists believe there is only one level: perfection, which is an enervating path to follow. Those who aim at excellence realize there's always a next level to aim for and go to, that we do learn from missteps, which is an innovative and life-affirming path to follow.

Every moment and experience provides us with an opportunity to assess what we want to glean from it, how we want to use it, and how we can grow from it. It's a good practice, one you'll appreciate. Practice makes progress.

Joyce Shafer

Joyce Shafer is a Life Empowerment Coach dedicated to helping people feel, be, and live their true inner power. She's author of "I Don't Want to be Your Guru" and other books/ebooks, and publishes a free weekly online newsletter that offers empowering articles and free downloads.

See all that's offered by Joyce and on her site at

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Teen Balancing Act: Finding the Optimal Level of Physical Activity

Working Out
Working Out (Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
by Daniel Horsley, The Conversation and Aneeka Simonis, The Conversation

Young people who exercise too much are just as much at risk of poor mental and physical health as those who work out too little.

According to the study published today in the Archives of Disease in Childhood adolescents benefit the most from physical activity when exercising between 10 and 17 hours per week.

Researchers followed the physical activity of more than 1,200 adolescents aged between 16 and 20 from Switzerland for over a year.

Their physical and mental wellbeing was assessed using scoring criteria from the World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the well-being scale, ranging from 0 to 25, a participant scoring under 13 has poor mental and/or physical health. Weekly sports participation was categorised as low (0-3.5 hours), average (3.6-10.5 hours), high (10.6-17.5) and very high (17.5+ hours).

Adolescents with low or very high exercise levels were more than twice as likely to score below 13 than those with an average level of sports participation.

Researchers believe this shows the optimal amount of exercise for adolescent wellbeing is around 14 hours a week, double the current recommendation for this age group.

Dr Erika Borkoles, an exercise and sport science lecturer at Victoria University, said the study’s findings were concerning.

She said increasing the average number of hours an adolescent spends exercising is important, but it is a fine balancing act as there are a host of mental risks associated with high-pressure sporting activity.

“Children are more stressed at higher levels of activity, especially when there is a problem with getting ambiguous messages about their potential”, she said.

The University of Melbourne Chair of Adolescent Health Susan Sawyer said the study raised questions over the influence of physical activity on adolescent well-being.

“Those who exercise excessively might be driven to exercise because of an underlying mental disorder, such as anorexia nervosa. An alternative explanation is that such high frequency sport might of itself lead to poorer well-being as a result of, for example, disappointment about unrealistic performance expectations.”

But Sawyer also questioned the way the study authors gathered data. “There is a real question about whether the association they describe is real,” she said.

Although it was “innovative” to access participants through online and social networking services, participants were then asked by researchers to recruit their peers for the study. This practice may have compromised the quality of the data, as the participants may not have been from a diverse social spread.

Sawyer noted the data was not adjusted to appropriately reflect this. Of the study overall, she said, “Tantalising? Yes. Definitive? No.”
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Food for Fitness: Is it Better to Eat Before or After Exercise?

Stretching Out
Stretching Out (Photo credit: Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums)
by David Bentley

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding food intake and exercise - is it better to eat beforehand or afterwards? And what type of exercise benefits most from eating?

Eating before exercising is important for preparing to and recovering from exercise, especially in athletic competitions.

Food contains potential energy or fuel that helps muscles continue to contract during exercise, especially exercise of long duration (more than 60 minutes).

But it’s common for people to not eat before exercise because they tend to be concerned it will make them feel sluggish, or cause cramps or an upset stomach.

This is a common misconception. The fact is most nutritional guidelines recommend people eat some form of food in the hours before exercise, especially carbohydrate or sugar.

Simple sugars or carbohydrates can be broken down by your body quickly to provide energy that will keep muscles functioning during exercise.

There are a number of things you should consider when thinking about food and exercise, including the type of food, how much, what type of exercise is being performed (and for how long), as well as your health or sporting objectives.

What to eat

In order to make use of the fuel in food, it must be broken down, absorbed and moved to the muscles by the blood. So the food you eat before exercise is really only useful once it’s been digested and absorbed.

It takes time for the potential energy to become available for the body. During exercise, blood shifts away from the digestive track to the muscles, leaving less blood to aid digestion.

So if you’re going to eat before exercise and want that energy to be available to you when you work out, be sure to eat an hour or two beforehand.

The time needed for food to be processed and energy to become available depends on the type and quantity of what you eat.

Fatty food, protein, and fibre tend to take longer to digest than other foods. And eating food high in fat or fibre (fibre is higher in fruit and grains) may increase the risk of stomach discomfort during exercise because it remains in your stomach and isn’t absorbed.

Bigger portions of food will also obviously take longer to digest than smaller quantities. So if you’re going to eat immediately before exercise, it’s best to go for a small amount of carbohydrate foods, such a glass of sports drink.

When to eat

Generally, food eaten before exercise is better tolerated before an easier work out. Or in types of exercise where the body is supported, such as cycling, compared to running or swimming where there’s considerable motion of the stomach and contents.

So unless you accustomed to it, it’s probably best not to eat before running or swimming. Or when you intend to exercise quite hard.

One of the reasons why we eat before exercise is to provide fuel for the muscles. But the body already has a stored fuel source (muscle glycogen) that can be used in short-term, hard activities.

So it’s not necessarily beneficial to eat something prior to a short, hard bout of exercise. Indeed, it’s probably better to eat after such exercise to recover from it.

In these instances, replace muscle glycogen stores using simple sugars such as fruit and sports drinks.

The most important nutritional strategy after working out is fluid replacement. Drink water, juice, or carbohydrate-rich sports drinks to replace fluid lost during exercise through sweat.

Other things to keep in mind

Many people “train” themselves to eat before exercise. This takes time and experience. Only practice eating before exercise if your purpose is performance, that is to be competitive in an event. If you’re exercising for health reasons, eating before exercise may not even be necessary.

And people who are exercising for weight loss may be best served to not eat. But in all cases, seek specific advice from a dietitian or exercise physiologist on specific requirements.

Exercise expends energy. Stored energy is also in body fat or adipose tissue. When we exercise we can potentially use some of the this stored energy, which is why exercise is used to improve body fat loss.

Maintaining a normal diet is probably all that’s required to prepare yourself for between 30 and 60 minutes of exercise.

It’s only when longer, more demanding exercise or a sporting competition is involved that you should pay much closer attention to your nutrition. In those instances, eating simple carbohydrates one or two hours beforehand is recommended.

David Bentley does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.
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7 Best Books on Business and Entrepreneurship

Cover of "Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Ri...
Cover via Amazon
by Gabriela Motroc, 21st Century News:

Business may be difficult to grasp for many of us, but with all the bestsellers that teach us how to succeed in this domain, diving into this specialty has become a pleasure.

We are used to reading books since early childhood, but as time passes, we only change their covers.

Now, those who want to make it in the business world should be prepared and a theoretical understanding is the first step towards success.

There are plenty books on business and entrepreneurship, but only some shine through and offer valuable lessons that best fit the current trends.

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

This book is the cornerstone of business and Robert Kiyosaki teaches us how to be financially independent and build an empire through investing. However, the reason why Rich Dad Poor Dad has become a true phenomenon is because it aims at boosting our financial intelligence.

The book is based on Robert Kiyosaki’s story, a self-made millionaire who sold over 26 million copies by using his life as an example. Oprah Winfrey has endorsed this book and celebrity Will Smith is teaching his son the values of financial responsibility by reading Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is a self-help author, a life coach and a motivational speaker. His book, Awaken the Giant Within may have been written two decades ago, but it tackles topics that are, for all intents and purposes, immortal.

The author talks about emotions, body, relationships, finances and basically life itself. He shows us that taking control of our financial destiny has never been so easy.

What’s more, Tony Robbins has just launched the improved version of his bestseller and it can be downloaded for free, just in time for Christmas. Re-Awaken the Giant Within is a reiteration of the original version, but with more relevant and trendy advice that can help an entrepreneur put his life in order and finances to good use.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Norman Vincent Peale is the father of positive thinking and his book, The Power of Positive Thinking is his most popular work. It was first published in 1952 and it quickly became New York Times’ bestseller for 186 consecutive weeks. Five million copies of his book were sold and his wisdom is still highly treasured.

In short, Peale’s book teaches us that being optimistic will not only make us happier and healthier, but it will also help us succeed. Therefore, this motivational book is a must when trying to become an outstanding entrepreneur.

Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business by Michael Parrish DuDell

Michael Parrish DuDell is a speaker, entrepreneur and author of Shark Tank Jump Start Your Business. If you haven’t heard of Shark Tank- it is ABC’s hit show and includes business pitches from ambitious entrepreneurs to a panel of prospective investors.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this book is filled with practical advice from the so-called Sharks and this book you will help you learn how to launch a business and transform it into a genuine success that generates revenue.

Go Pro by Eric Worre

Eric Worre is a successful businessman who has been leading Network Marketing Profession for more than a quarter of a century. Along the years, he has become an expert in training and he gladly shares the stage with Tony Robbins.

In his book, Eric Worre teaches us how to become a Network Marketing Professional, a great opportunity for all entrepreneurs who want to present their product and help others become customers or distributors.

Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder

Alexander Osterwalder is a speaker, entrepreneur and business model innovator. With the help of Professor Yves Pigner, Osterwalder invented the Business Model Canvas, an essential tool that promises to challenge and reinvent business models. The Canvas is used by leading organizations like Ericsson, P&G and GE.

His book is for the game changers and visionaries who want to design successful enterprises. In short, Business Model Generation teaches us how to come up with a strategy that will put us ahead of our competitors.

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman

Reid Hoffman is LinkedIn’s billionaire co-founder and even though it took him 15 years to figure out what he wanted to do after graduating from Stanford, he ended up becoming a potent businessman.

In The Start-Up of You, Hoffman teaches us how to speed up our careers while taking into consideration today’s competitive society. In short, LinkedIn’s co-founder explains how to adapt career plans, take risks and find your own unique selling proposition.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No-Nonsense Approach to Thinking

Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)
by Joe T. White

1. No one knows for sure where the 10% brain usage ideas came into play.

We do know that Albert Einstein referred to it.

Harvard Psychologist William James taught that the average human being only used a small percentage of the brain.

The Scientific American and several respected publications refute that idea and show that nearly 100% of the brain used in some form or fashion, with 45% being a regular activity.

Even sleeping, as much as 10% of the brain is functioning.

2. What is thinking can be answered in various ways. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as; "A way of reasoning; judgment." Thinking is something that all of us do in our own way.

Unfortunately, many people react rather than think. It is easier to respond to a situation than to stop and think about it. When faced with a situation we can respond or think about it. If we think about it, we can usually find a solution. If we respond, we often act irresponsibly.

3. When do we think? Unfortunately, not enough! There are many different times that we can think. If we are in a classroom, that is an opportune time to listen AND think. If we are facing a life-threatening situation, there may not be time to think.

If we are facing a choice of what car to buy, we should think about BEFORE we go shopping, then stop and think about it BEFORE we sign the papers. Contrary to popular belief, thinking while driving is not a smart plan as your attention should be on driving.

4. Where to think is one of the most essential things about thinking. It is best if you can get a quiet place. Perhaps in the office with the door closed. Maybe a walk in a peaceful park.

I usually turn on smooth, instrumental music, sit with my laptop, and think. The where is as essential as the when or how.

5. How to think does not require rocket science. For the most part, it means shutting out distractions. It may require a pencil and paper to make notes. It may require you to close your brain down to reflect on the problem before actually thinking about it.

Far too few of us spend quality time in thinking. I always think about an issue before I write about it. I make notes and ponder ideas, giving myself time to think about the people who will be reading what I am going to write.

Thinking should become a way of life for us, but it should be "No Nonsense," or not rocket science.

I have suffered heartbreaking setbacks and have had some wonderful successes as well. I have written over 25 books and over 100 E-Zines. From life experience, schools, and research I have gained a wealth of knowledge that I like to share. My personal website is:

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How To Know What You Want In Your Life

Worry (Photo credit: StormKatt)
by Jason Jeter

Today we are going to talk about how to know what you want in your life.

At this point in your life you have an opportunity to really look back and forward.

To see where you are right now and where you want to be in the future.

Now is your chance to take a look at what you would really like to do with your life.

But, before you find out how to achieve your goals, you have to know what your goals really are. You have to be super specific. For example, some goals could be:

I will earn $1million a per year in my online business. I will have a great social life filled with great friends. I will drive a brand new Mercedes S Class. Things like that.

For your goals to be real, you have to be specific. If you are not specific you do not have a clear cut goal.

For example, one of the goals I want to achieve in the next couple months is to own a 2014 pearl white Audi S5. I set this goal about two months ago. I made my goal very specific so I know exactly what I'm working towards.

I wanted to use a personal example to demonstrate that you have to be very specific. I know exactly what I wanted it to be.

Whatever goal you might have, keep this in mind, whatever you can dream of, you can achieve! There are no limits unless you put them on yourself.

Go ahead and sit down and write down everything you want from your life, your biggest goals. Then you want to break these down into smaller periods of time. 10 years from now, 5 years from now, 1 year from now, 6 months from, etc. You get the picture.

You won't be able to achieve your ultimate goals without setting short term goals to make your dreams a reality. This is where so many people go wrong. You have to set goals on a daily, weekly and yearly basis to achieve your long term objectives.

The reason for goal setting is very simple. Without goals, you just exist. You don't truly start to live until you set real goals for yourself.

You will just end up in a crappy relationship, horrible job, and spend the rest of your life looking at successful people, wondering how they have it all. And I know this is not the life you want to live.

Goal setting is very powerful and it can and will improve all areas of your life. The process of setting goals allows you to choose what you want and where you want to go in life. Goal setting gives you exactly what you must have to move forward in life, right now!

If you would like to learn more about this, check this out

Jason Jeter is the Founder and CEO of The Dream Big Team. Created with the sole purpose of inspiring and changing the lives of 1 million people.

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Rich vs. Poor: 5 Things Rich People Do That Others Don’t

Success (Photo credit: teamstickergiant)
by Gabriela Motroc, 21st Century News:

When you want to change your life for the better, take a look at rich people’s habits and follow their path.

Starting with Dave Ramsey and including Thomas Corley, there are many who offer people the chance to think like a rich person and then become one.

Thomas Corley’s book, Rich Habits includes ten principles that have been gathered throughout a period of five years.

The author interviewed 223 rich people and 128 poor ones with regard to 200 activities each group participated in and his conclusion is clear: both change and success are directly proportional to certain habits that keep both-the mind and body healthy.

Thomas Corley concludes that his findings revealed “a difference a lot like Grand Canyon between daily activities of the wealthy and the daily activities of the poor people”, a statement which could be heard at Talk Credit Radio.

Although there are as many as twenty things the rich do every day, there are five habits that they never skip.

Rich people eat healthy

According to Thomas Corley, 97% of the poor rely on junk food and while this kind of alimentation is very accessible, eating unhealthy food affects not only your weight, but also your health.

Junk food is like a snowball which ultimately leads to heart disease and diabetes, therefore leaving you unable to make money. Moreover, medical expenses are also a natural consequence of an unbalanced diet, so your finances will be damaged.

Corley found out that 70% of the rich do not eat junk food, because an unhealthy diet will slow down not only their pace but also their finances.

Rich people exercise more

It is not because they have more time to lose, but according to Corley 76% of the rich exercise at least four times a week, while only 23% of the poor take up aerobics or any other sport that can help them stay active.

When speaking to Gerri Detweiler on Talk Credit Radio, Corley also admitted that rich people treasure health and their physical wellness walks hand in hand with their ability to work longer and have more energy.

Being healthy also means they don’t get sick very easily thus boosting their productivity. Ultimately, staying healthy and exercising is “driven by their desire to be successful”, Corley says.

Rich people do not procrastinate

In his book, Thomas Corley says that the wealthy are “goal-oriented and accomplish things”, which makes them not only proactive, but also morally obligated to not delay their chores.Once you realize that you should never put off until tomorrow what you can do today, you will think like a rich person.

Rich people are more educated

Although some poor people are also educated, what makes the rich have the right attitude towards work and success is the fact that they read a lot of books that motivate and help them keep an eye on the final prize, namely accomplishment.

Corley found that 76% of the rich read at least two books per month that helps them boost their vocabulary, knowledge and motivation. On the other hand, only 2% of the poor read career-related books.

Rich people cherish relationships

Corley states that “successful people are students of relationship building”, which means that they cherish the connections they have with people that are part of their network.

A rich person knows that connections are everything, so they made a make it a habit to return phone calls and look for methods to boost their relationships. Rich people always remember birthdays and keep networking.

Thomas Corley found that 79% of the rich spend approximately five hours networking whereas only 16% of the poor consider socializing necessary.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Blame Overshadows Ugly Truth of Obesity and Chronic Disease

Look at it a different way (Subcommandanta)
by Kyle Turner, University of Oxford

What image pops into your head when you hear the words: non-communicable diseases?

The name probably tells you a bit about the type of diseases that fall into this category, even if you may not be familiar with the term.

Are you more familiar with obesity, diabetes or stroke?

These are more likely to hit closer to home - you may have friends and relatives who suffer from one or more of these problems or associated complications such as heart attacks - but the term NCDs can hardly be called catchy.

Infectious diseases on the other hand have a certain je ne sais quoi. We see headlines for HIV or Malaria and dread their call.

But when it comes to obesity, are we more likely to picture a fat, lazy, middle-aged white guy nursing a beer on the couch who shoulders much of the blame for his situation.

Public enemy #1

I don’t imagine that guy. I’m haunted by the shadowy outline of the world’s number one serial killer, which is more insidious because he’s usually dressed up in advertising. But the ugly truth is that the average Joe doesn’t worry too much about NCDs.

NCDs are the leading cause of premature death across the globe. Historically thought to be a group of diseases from within high-income countries, NCDs are a leading cause of death in most low or middle income countries.

Heart disease alone, for example, is the second biggest killer on the African continent and number one for those aged over 30. Sadly the poorer you are, the more likely you will suffer from an NCD.

Despite the huge impact on everyone’s lives (including the costs of treating these diseases), in my experience, many of these so-called “lifestyle” diseases are received as either “a result of modern society” or “gluttonous behaviour” or “what is an NCD again?”

Or to phrase it another way: too hard, too bad or too inexplicable. And this is probably why we don’t treat them with the respect they deserve, instead opting for indifference or blame.

It’s too hard, I might hear you say. But imagine how hard it’s going to become if we don’t act? Premature death, huge pressures on our healthcare system and extraordinary economic burden.

Instead of failing to act, governments should include “healthy living” as a central pillar of all policy. The World Health Organization also has gold standard, innovative strategies that are ready and waiting for governments to adopt.

Women bear the the brunt

But it’s just too bad. Is it? Four out of five NCD deaths are in low or middle income countries and kill twice as many globally as from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, combined.

Worse still, 80% are preventable and underprivileged people are more likely than rich people to develop chronic diseases, and much more likely to die as a result.

Sadly, it’s impoverished women that tend to bear the brunt.

NCDs are the biggest direct threat to women’s health worldwide, increasingly impacting on women in developing countries in their most productive years. It’s clearly a far cry from the picture of a fat, lazy guy on a sofa with a can of beer - and has far reaching consequences.

And finally, too inexplicable? NCDs pose a greater threat to global economic development than any fiscal crisis, natural disaster or pandemic flu. NCDs are a barrier to development and you’ll save a fortune by investing in NCD prevention.

In 2009, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described the global NCD epidemic as a “public health emergency in slow motion" - but like the tale of the frog in boiling water that hasn’t realised because the temperature has only slowly been rising, it doesn’t mean the worst won’t happen if we don’t jump out.

Too hard, too bad, too inexplicable. These are the big three barriers we must first confront and apply effort to fixing if we’re to live in an NCD-free world.

AIDS faced a similar test in the 1980s. Yet thanks to relentless work by early activists and public health leaders (and the odd rock star), they made certain that this terrible disease wouldn’t be ignored.

It feels to me that NCDs are currently facing up to the same tribulations. We need to ensure that we, and our public health leaders (and the next generation), keep fighting the good fight for the tide to eventually turn.

Saying it’s too challenging, someone else’s fault, or too much a part of 21st century living, only hurts us all in the end.

Kyle Turner does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.