How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

How Much Water Should You Drink In A Day

We all know that water is important to general health and well-being. But are you actually drinking the right amount of water? Perhaps you suspect that some of your health issues are related to dehydration or over-hydration? Getting the right amount of daily water is important because your body needs this to function properly.

  • How much water should you drink each day

    For a long time, conventional wisdom suggested that we drink 8 glasses of water a day. However, this figure does not have any basis in scientific evidence.[1]

    Experts instead advise that each person should drink the right amount of water for their body weight, level of physical activity and the climate.

    So if not 8 glasses, how much?

    The scientific answer that most healthcare professionals and experts agree on comes from the IoM (Institute of Medicine). The IoM is an independent, non-profit scientific organization and they recommend 2.7 liters of water a day for adult women and the figure of 3.7 liters for adult men. This is generally applicable to adults who have reasonably good health and live a sedentary lifestyle in a temperate climate.

    However, there are instances where you may need to drink more water. For example, if you are in a hot climate or take part in demanding physical activity. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, you should aim to add 12 ounces of water to your daily intake for every 30 minutes of demanding physical activity.[2]

    Why human beings need that much water

    To put it simply, your body cannot function well without the right amount of hydration. This makes sense when you consider that water makes up around 60% of our body weight.

    The human body has many important functions to perform and needs water to do most of them. For example, your blood needs to carry oxygen to all the cells in your body but it can only do this with water.[3]

    Are you drinking the right amount of water?

    If you are not drinking the right amount of water, then you are either dehydrated or over-hydrated.

    Signs of drinking too little water

    Here are some simple things to look out for if you are dehydrated:

    • Your mouth is dry
    • The color of your urine is dark
    • You feel dizzy or have headaches
    • You generally feel tired or lethargic

    Signs of drinking too much water

    On the other hand, over-hydration or hyponatremia is usually caused by the over consumption of water in a short amount of time. This can lead to water intoxication and early symptoms of water intoxication can look like the symptoms of exhaustion and heatstroke.

    Here are some common symptoms to check for if you are worried about over-hydration:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea

    Watch this video to find out what happen when you drink too much water:

    Quick ways to adjust your water intake

    The sad truth is that most people are likely to be dehydrated instead of over-hydrated. In fact, some estimate that as many as 75% of Americans are dehydrated.[4]

    If you are not drinking enough water then you can remedy this by knowing what your correct daily water intake is and drinking up to that amount.

    Here are some quick ideas to get more water into your diet:

    Now that you have an idea of how much water you should drink in a day according to scientists, it’s time to adjust your water intake accordingly.

    While reading this article, you might have discovered that you need to drink less water. However, if you’ve learned that you need more water, then you can do this simply by flavoring water with herbs, keeping track with an app and eating water-rich fruits like watermelons.

    Getting the right amount of daily hydration into your diet will not just benefit your health but also your well-being.

    Featured photo credit: Luke George via


    [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: “Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.” Really? Is there scientific evidence for “8 x 8”?
    [2] American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Information On Selecting and Effectively Using Hydration for Fitness
    [3] University of Rochester Medical Center: Overview of Blood and Blood Components
    [4] University of Florida Health Podcasts: Studies Show Most Americans Are Dehydrated

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    How to Explain Anything to Anyone Easily: 8 Spontaneous Speaking Structures

    Do you get in your own way during a job interview or while giving a presentation? If so, you might be wondering:

    “What can I do to quickly explain something when in the moment?”

    Thankfully, there are ways to do this and they are very simple ways. Author of Speaking Up without Freaking Out: 50 Techniques for Confident and Compelling Presenting, Matthew Abrahams informs us, “When you are in a spontaneous speaking situation, you have to do two things simultaneously,”

    1. Figure out what to say.
    2. Figure out how to say it.

    Let’s examine 8 spontaneous speaking structures that allow you to become comfortable and respond immediately to any speaking situation.

    What are Spontaneous Speaking Structures?

    A spontaneous speaking structure is a way to tell a story. It is a way to explain anything quickly by using simple structures to frame a story.

    “Structure sets you free.” – Matthew Abrahams

    Here’s why structures set you free:

    Speaking structures help you explain anything ad lib. They provide an easy way to structure our thinking and prevent us from freezing in the moment.

    Abrahams informs us,

    “You need to set expectations and structures do that.”

    I highly recommend watching the following video (the video is long so I recommend you skip to 41 minutes in where spontaneous speaking structures are discussed in more detail):

    8 Spontaneous Speaking Structures

    Let’s now examine 8 spontaneous speaking structures:

    1. What? So What? Now What?

    Terry Borton’s Development Framework was constructed in 1970 and is a simple approach involving only three questions: What? So What? Now What? [1] I recently wrote about this framework in Razor-Sharp Thinking: the What-Why Method. This framework provides us a formula for answering questions.

    • What? What happened or what is emerging?
    • So What? Why is it important or what lessons can we learn from it?
    • Now What? What are we going to do next or what should we do moving forward?

    2. Who? Why? What?

    Abrahams provides an easy way for us to use Borton’s Development Framework when introducing someone by simply changing the What to Who.

    • Who? Who they are.
    • Why? Why the person is important.
    • What? What we are going to do next (i.e. listen to their presentation).

    3. Problem/Opportunity – Solution – Benefit

    Another powerful, yet extremely simple technique is the Problem (or Opportunity) – Solution – Benefit structure. Abrahams explains that this is a great technique to use when pitching or persuading someone.

    • Problem/Opportunity. What do you want to solve or what do you want to capture?
    • Solution. What are the steps to achieve it?
    • Benefit. What is the benefit to their organization?

    4. ADD

    Abrahams illustrates a simple approach to use during a question and answer period of a speech, presentation, or interview.

    • A: Answer questions concisely (condense your information into a few succinct words).
    • D: Detail the answer through an example (illustrate an example through the use of a metaphor or analogy).
    • D: Describe the value of your answer to the asker.

    5. TAKE

    Yet another example of a simple speaking structure offered by Abrahams is TAKE. This is a great approach to use when accepting recognition.

    • T: Thank your audience.
    • A: Acknowledge the award/accomplishment.
    • K: Keep the momentum going.
    • E: End with impact.

    6. 1-3-1 Speech Structure

    The authors of The Secret Memory Booster in Public Speaking offer a powerfully simple approach to learn, remember, and present information using the 1-3-1 approach.

    • 1: Idea The first step is to structure your idea through Prep (get their attention with questions, a story, a quote, or a startling statistic), Promise (specifically the benefits to your audience), and Path (indicate how they will get the promise or preview the main points).
    • 3: Themes or Main Points Next, outline your main points through the use of the following: SHARP, Power Phrase, Reflection, Application, Power Phrase, then Transition. SHARP = Story (anecdote, metaphor, or analogy), Humor, Activity, Reference/Quote, Photo/Prop
    • 1: Conclusion or Call to Action In your conclusion, use the following: Summary (call back to the main points), Q&A, Memorable (tie to the intro).

    7. STAR

    This next technique is perfect to use when answering the typical behavioral interviewing questions asked during a job interview. Behavioral interviewing is an approach used to assess a candidate’s past experience and to judge the response to similar situation on a future job; thus, it is used a predictor of future performance. [2] For example, say you are interviewing for a job and the interviewer asks,

    “Describe a time when you had to…”

    • Instead of rambling through the question with an incoherent reply, try the STAR technique:
    • S: Situation Detail the background. Provide a context. Where? When?
    • T: Task Describe the challenge and expectations. What needed to be done? Why?
    • A: Action Elaborate your specific action. What did you do? How? What tools did you use?
    • R: Results Explain (quantify) the results: accomplishments, recognition, savings, etc.

    8. What – Why – How Feedback

    Lastly, the perfect structure for growing from feedback is the What – Why – How structure. Pay attention to the feedback you receive (from all around you – people, environment, etc.). Then ask the following:

    • What? What is going on? Which leads to an understanding of the Why.
    • Why? Why is this happening? Which leads us to invent new things (the How).
    • How? How can things get better? This then leads us to change our actions; thus, leading back to the What (for which the cycle never ends).

    By following these 8 simple spontaneous speaking structures, you will find you can easily explain anything off the cuff. Each one of these speaking structures helps you structure your thinking and allows you to respond confidently in any situation.

    They allow you to tell a story, set expectations for your audience, provide you a way to figure out what to say and figure out how to say it. Thus, a spontaneous speaking structure sets you free.

    Featured photo credit: unsplash via


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    How to Attain Self-Realization (a Guide to Become a Better You)

    Chances are, you’re busy hustling between the 40 hours a week you need to work, the family you need to provide for, and the bills that need to be paid.

    As the years pass by, you’ve begun to feel the burnout from all the needs and expectations required of you. You don’t feel like you are in control over your own life. In fact, it feels like the circumstances in your life are controlling you.

    What if there was a way for you to be able to have better control of your life and create all the positive changes you’ve been aching for?

    This can be done through self-realization.

    You’ve probably heard of this concept before, but you’re not really sure what it really is or how it can help you.

    I’m going to dive into what exactly self-realization is and the exact steps you can take to attain it for yourself. Read on if you want to learn how to unlock your potential and find a way to decrease your stress and anxiety, and gain crystal clear clarity about who you are and what you’re capable of.

  • What self-realization really is

    Self-realization has a few big definitions.

    In the Western world, it’s generally defined as the activation of one’s full potential of talents and abilities.

    How psychologists see self-realization

    Humanistic psychology also follows a similar train of thought about self-realization.

    Psychologist Abraham Maslow has named people he considered to have reached self-realization such as Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt to name a few. His famous hierarchy of needs theory states in order to achieve self-realization (or in this case, Maslow uses the term “self-actualization”),[1] one needs to have a certain set of needs met before achieving it:[2]

    For example, self-realization cannot be achieved if you are struggling financially and too caught up in worrying about how to pay for the rent and provide food for your family. Unfortunately, this is usually the case for many people, which leaves little opportunity for them to maximize their abilities.

    How religions see self-realization

    In religions, the concept of self-realization is taken from a different perspective altogether. Connecting with your truest self has a lot to do with transcending your own mind and body. This self is often considered as an eternal being that is not confined to the physical space that your mind and body take up. Many recognize this part of yourself as the soul.

    To put all of these definitions together, self-realization is ultimately learning the answer to the foundational question, “Who am I?”

    The answer lies from understanding that you are not your emotions or your thoughts. Who you really are is not even your body or your mind. These are all things you as a self experience, but they are not you.

    And when you are too caught up in these things that are not yours, that’s when you fall victim to and get stuck in your negative experiences such as stress, anxiety and fear.

    While your thoughts, feelings, and physical body always changes, you do not.

    I know this concept can be a bit confusing to understand, so here’s a great video that explores who you really are explained by Prince EA. It was a video made in response to a bizarre interview session with Comedian Jim Carrey at the red carpet interview at the 2017 New York Fashion Week.

    Here’s the video:

    Why self-realization matters to you

    How often are you distracted, lost in your thoughts, or overwhelmed by difficult emotions?

    Being in the present is more difficult than ever with the technology today. People are often buried in their smartphones or laptops while others around are craving their attention.

    Most people spend so little time in the present. They’re usually either hurt and having trouble letting go of their past, or busy worrying about their futures:[3]

    “People spend 46.9 percent of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re doing, and this mind-wandering typically makes them unhappy.”

    Here are some amazing benefits to self-realization:

    • The ability to monitor your emotions. Rather than being controlled by your emotions, you can now use your observations about them during the experience to learn how to effectively handle things like fear, anxiety and stress. Self-realizations helps you do this by giving you the skill of letting go of debilitating feelings and taking hold of the empowering ones instead.
    • Improved focus and concentration. Guided by your own inner goals and values, self-realization helps you easily identify when you are entering into distractions and eliminate them. By getting rid of the meaningless things in your life, you stay committed to what matters most and you begin to see real results as you reach your fullest potential.
    • Increased confidence, self-awareness and self-esteem. By being connected deeply to your truest self, self-realization frees you from any insecurities, worries, and low sense of self worth that you feel tangled up in by helping you really grasp the truth that you are not defined by them.
    • Becoming more accepting of yourself and of other people. You are able to be more authentic and express emotions freely and clearly. As a result, you are able to form deeper relationships and spend more time connecting with people rather than trying to impress them.

    When people don’t have a strong sense of their own self, they get easily swayed to live life the way other people tell them to live it.

    The truth of this has been shown through Bronnie Ware’s famous work, which has shown that one of the top regrets of people who are dying was:[4]

    “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

    There can be tons of pressure whether it’s from work, society, and even friends and family for you to be a certain way. Maybe your rough upbringing instilled a strong need for other’s approval in you so you do what others expect of you. Maybe you’ve stopped trusting people because of your struggles with letting go of the thoughts and experiences that hurt you.

    Whatever the situation, self-realization gives you the safe space you need to heal and grow.

    How to achieve self realization (the easier way)

    Start meditating regularly. Aside from all the scientific evidence that shows the health benefits of meditation, it is also a prime way to achieve self-realization.

    One of my favorite apps that guide you through meditation is Headspace.

    I particularly love this app because it is very straightforward without all the woo-woo types of things you normally associate with meditation. It does a great job of demystifying what meditation really is and how it can benefit you to achieving self-realization.

    Here’s a great explanation of what meditation does for you:

    You can get the basic meditation guidance for free or pay for a premium version for access to more specific meditations that improve things like self esteem, creativity and relationships.

    In case you don’t want to download the app, here is the simple meditation practice you can do right now:

    1. Sit comfortably on a chair.
    2. Start by leaving your eyes open with a relaxed soft focus.
    3. Take about a minute to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
    4. After a few deep breaths, gently close your eyes while you are breathing out.
    5. Resume normal breathing.
    6. Take a moment to pause and enjoy being present in the moment with having nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to check.
    7. Take a moment to feel the pressure of your body on the chair beneath you, the feet on the floor and the hands and the arms just resting on the legs.
    8. Gently bring the focus back to your breathing.
    9. As you sit there beginning to notice the breath and the body with its rising and falling sensation, don’t try and stop your thoughts. Simply allow them to just come and go.
    10. At this point, the only thing you need to do is when you’ve realized your mind has wandered, gently bring the focus back to your breath again.
    11. Gently bring the attention back to your body, back to that feeling of contact to your chair and the space around you and when ready, gently open your eyes again.

    Even if it’s only 5-10 minutes a day, learning to train your mind to be present is so important to your journey towards self-realization. You need to take a step back from the craziness of life and recompose yourself to be present for the things that matter most.

    Another great method that can be used to achieve self-realization that involves a bit more body strength is yoga. While there are many variations of yoga and has also become a very popular form of exercise in western culture, its original purpose served as a meditative practice to achieve the higher level of consciousness that comes from self-realization.

    You can access plenty of free Yoga channels on Youtube or join a gym to get started.

    How to make time for self-realization every day

    I know what you’re thinking.

    “I don’t have time for this!”

    I beg to differ.

    About 40 percent of the things you do in a day don’t involve you actively making a decision. Instead, it is actually a habit.

    Out of all of your habits, there are probably a handful of bad ones. If you can observe your daily routines, there is a simple way to change a bad habit into a good one, which is to start making changes to your environment to make it easier for you to change your habits.

    The idea is rather than trying to squeeze in more time to do something, simply alter a daily habit you have into something else.

    For example, let’s say you start your morning by brewing your coffee and sitting down on the dining table for 20 minutes to browse the internet to catch up on the news.

    The news is usually full of negative information, so why not spend those 20 minutes in meditation instead?

    One easy way to make this change is to change your environment up by keeping your laptop and phone in a different room so you don’t have immediate access to it when you sit down on the dining table. You make it easier on yourself to spend time meditating rather than staring at a screen.

    Want some more great tips on breaking bad habits? You can try out Lifehack CEO’s secret Control Alternate Delete method, which was the method he used to break 3 bad habits in less than 2 months.

    Self-realization doesn’t happen overnight. It will take some time and practice, but if you turn the practices into a habit, you’ll be guaranteed to get there. Once you do, you’ll finally feel like you are in more control over your life and be able to get yourself to the next level.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the importance and benefits of self-realization, why not take a moment to put everything down and give it a try?


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    How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    Today is your lucky day, as I’m going to reveal to you how I helped my team get more things done in less time through the power of correct prioritization.

    A few minutes spent reading this article could literally save you thousands of hours over the long term. So, let’s get started.

    Everyone of my team members has a bucketload of tasks that they need to deal with every working day. On top of that, most of their tasks are related to creativity as we’re a content publisher.

    Despite having loads of tasks to handle, our team is consistently able to stay creative and work towards our goals.

    How do we manage that? Through the Scales Method – a productivity method I created several years ago.

    How to prioritize and work 10X faster with the Scales Method

    One of our new editors came to me the other day and told me how she was struggling to keep up with the many tasks she needed to handle and the deadlines she constantly needed to stick to.

    At the end of each day, she felt like she had done a lot of things but often failed to come up with creative ideas and to get articles successfully published. From what she told me, it was obvious that she felt overwhelmed and was growing increasingly frustrated about failing to achieve her targets despite putting in extra hours most days.

    After she listened to my advice – and I introduced her to the Scales Method – she immediately experienced a dramatic rise in productivity, which looked like this:

    • She could produce three times more creative ideas for blog articles
    • She could publish all her articles on time
    • And she could finish all her work on time every day (no more overtime!)

    Curious to find out how she did it? Read on for the step-by-step guide:

    1. Set aside 10 minutes for planning

    When it comes to tackling productivity issues, it makes sense to plan before taking action. However, don’t become so involved in planning that you become trapped in it and never move beyond first base.

    My recommendation is to give yourself a specific time period for planning – but keep it short. Ideally, 10 or 15 minutes. This should be adequate to think about your plan.

    Use this time to:

    • Look at the big picture.
    • Think about the current goal and target that you need/want to achieve.
    • Lay out all the tasks you need to do.

    2. Align your tasks with your goal

    This is the core component that makes the Scales Method effective.

    It works like this:

    Take a look at all the tasks you’re doing, and review the importance of each of them. Specifically, measure a task’s importance by its cost and benefit.

    By cost, I am referring to the effort needed per task (including time, money and other resources). The benefit is how closely the task can contribute to your goal.

    To make this easier for you, I’ve listed below four combinations that will enable you to quickly and easily determine the priority of each of your tasks:

    Low cost + High benefit

    Do these tasks first because they’re the simple ones to complete, yet help you get closer to your goal.

    Approving artwork created for a sales brochure would likely fit this category. You could easily decide on whether you liked the artwork/layout, but your decision to approve would trigger the production of the leaflet and the subsequent sales benefits of sending it out to potential customers.

    High cost + High benefit

    Break the high cost task down into smaller ones. In other words, break the big task into mini ones that take less than an hour to complete. And then re-evaluate these small tasks and set their correct priority level.

    Imagine if you were asked to write a product launch plan for a new diary-free protein powder supplement. Instead of trying to write the plan in one sitting – aim to write the different sections at different times (e.g., spend 30 minutes writing the introduction, one hour writing the body text, and 30 minutes writing the conclusion).

    Low cost + Low benefit

    This combination should be your lowest priority. Either give yourself 10-15 minutes to handle this task, or put these kind of tasks in between valuable tasks as a useful break.

    These are probably necessary tasks (e.g., routine tasks like checking emails) but they don’t contribute much towards reaching your desired goal. Keep them way down your priority list.

    High cost + Low benefit

    Review if these tasks are really necessary. Think of ways to reduce the cost if you decide that the completion of the task is required.

    For instance, can any tools or systems help to speed up doing the task? In this category, you’re likely to find things like checking and updating sales contacts spreadsheets. This can be a fiddly and time-consuming thing to do without making mistakes. However, there are plenty of apps out there they can make this process instant and seamless.

    Now, coming back to the editor who I referred to earlier, let’s take a look at her typical daily task list:

    After listening to my advice, she broke down the High cost+ High benefit task into smaller ones. Her tasks then looked like this (in order of priority):

    And for the task about promoting articles to different platforms, after reviewing its benefits, we decided to focus on the most effective platform only – thereby significantly lowering the associated time cost.

    3. BONUS TIP: Tackling tasks with deadlines

    Once you’ve evaluated your tasks, you’ll know the importance of each of them. This will immediately give you a crystal-clear picture on which tasks would help you to achieve more (in terms of achieving your goals). Sometimes, however, you won’t be able to decide every task’s priority because there’ll be deadlines set by external parties such as managers and agencies.

    What to do in these cases?

    Well, I suggest that after considering the importance and values of your current tasks, align the list with the deadlines and adjust the priorities accordingly.

    For example, let’s dip into the editor’s world again.

    Some of the articles she edited needed to be published by specific dates. The Scales Method allows for this, and in this case, her amended task list would look something like this:

    Hopefully, you can now see how easy it is to evaluate the importance of tasks and how to order them in lists of priority.

    The Scales Method is different from anything else you’ve tried

    By adopting the Scales Method, you’ll begin to correctly prioritize your work, and most importantly – boost your productivity by up to 10 times!

    And unlike other methods that don’t really explain how to decide the importance of a task, my method will help you break down each of your tasks into two parts: cost and benefits. My method will also help you to take follow-up action based on different cost and benefits combinations.

    Start right now by spending 10 minutes to evaluate your common daily tasks and how they align with your goal(s). Once you have this information, it’ll be super-easy to put your tasks into a priority list. All that remains, is that you kick off your next working day by following your new list.

    Trust me, once you begin using the Scales Method – you’ll never want to go back to your old ways of working.

    Featured photo credit: Vector Stock via

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    How Traveling Can Drastically Improve Your Interpersonal Skills

    Inherently, the seasoned traveler doubles as a social butterfly. They can strike up a conversation on a whim and somehow manage to find common ground with individuals from all walks of life.

    Traveling on its own can be incredibly eye opening and enriching, but it will also equip us with skills that are necessary to be successful. Communication and interpersonal skills are attributes that can be learned and honed. These skills are applicable in everyday life and can be translated into professional environments.

    We are inherently closed off

    For my first lone traveling experience, I had just arrived to San Francisco for an externship. There was an issue with our train and we had to switch to a new train at the next platform. A gentleman who had been making polite conversation decided that it was now his mission to help me move my stuff to the next train.

    Although well intentioned, I was appalled. I was not accustomed to the kindness of strangers, in fact I thought that he was trying to rob me or worse. Kindness is somewhat regional. And growing up in the tristate area, I had been conditioned to be extremely skeptical. Interaction with strangers seemed incredibly taboo.

    It’s shameful to admit, but social skills have fallen by the wayside. We’ve forgotten how to speak to one another. The idea of striking up a conversation with a stranger is borderline terrifying. But more terrifying still, the lack of effective communication will ultimately lead to a lonely life.

    Keeping the passion alive

    A very wise man once said that before fully committing to someone, take them on a trip. This wise man is Bill Murray- and he speaks the truth. Traveling can be a very vulnerable time for many, often times it can bring out the worst in people.

    But if you are able to overcome the inevitable hurdles that will arise during your trip, traveling has been proven to strengthen relationships.[1] It gives yourself and your partner an opportunity to share in a common goal.

    Just being in a different environment[2], free of all of your day to day obligations that tend to get in the way will help to reignite romance and intimacy. It will give you both the chance to revisit some issues that would normally initiate an argument- in a safe, romantic setting.

    Couples who regularly travel together have reported having more effective communication with one another than those who don’t. [3]

    You will never see the world the same

    The greatest epiphany one can experience as they submerge themselves into the travel lifestyle is the realization that not everyone thinks the way that you do. Not everyone lives the same way that you do. Different cultures harbor different philosophies and priorities.

    Breathe, relax, enjoy

    Growing up in a place where results are expected instantaneously, I didn’t take well to the idea of waiting. I mean, what’s the hold up? I placed my order and I want it now. Clearly impatience was smeared all over my face. The server who took my order asked me ever so innocently, “Why do you look upset? You have a few extra moments to just enjoy life before you receive your food.” He was so right. Why was I getting upset? I didn’t have anywhere to be. So I took his advice. I drew in a deep breath, taking in all of the beauty that surrounded me.

    Patience is a virtue. And when you’re traveling, you have no choice but to be patient.

    Learn to roll with the punches

    Not everything works out as planned, things are bound to go wrong. When you are traveling, you are exceptionally vulnerable to these mishaps, with very little security if things happen to not go your way. This can be incredibly unnerving the first few times around. This can even deter some from deciding to continue. But if you can hack it and take the hits as they come, you will ultimately develop the patience of the Saint. Bad things are going to happen; let them. You’ll find another way.

    When things don’t work out, not only do you have to be patient, but adaptable as well[4]. You must be able to recollect and strategize, or at least accept the situation at hand and roll with it.

    It’s not the situation- it’s your reaction

    In a landslide of positive effects, your increase in patience and adaptability will in turn make you a kinder, less skeptical person. Because at this point, you get it. We’re all human, doing our best to get by. So just stay cool.

    Conflicts are going to arise, and how you choose to handle them will determine the outcome.

    Alternate forms of communication

    Everything that is new and unfamiliar can seem terrifying. Especially when you are traveling abroad, specifically if you are traveling alone.

    If you’re anything like me, you relish in the somewhat abrasive blow of culture shock. Everything is so foreign, so unbelievably different.

    This can make communication difficult. I literally don’t speak their language. Chances are, I’m not going to become fluent overnight or anywhere in the near future. But I can still ease my struggle by learning a few key phrases in the language of where I am visiting in order to get by in daily life.

    More likely than not, I will butcher the pronunciation. The average person will get the gist of what I am trying to say and appreciate the effort-regardless of the poor execution.

    Non-verbal communication will become your saving grace. You will develop the ability to convey your meaning without words. Without realizing, you may start to mirror the behavior of those around you to establish a foundation of common ground.

    Just in this short time, you are evolving. You’ve picked up new mannerisms that will channel into your existing personality and habits.

    This experience literally becomes a part of you, altering how you think and how you behave.

    Featured photo credit: VideoHive via


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    How to Be More Confident (the Definitive Step-By-Step Guide)

    Confidence. It’s a powerful word and an even more powerful feeling. Can you remember a time in your life when you felt confident? A time when you felt unstoppable… on top of the world? Now imagine you could feel that way more often. What impact would that have on your health and well-being, your career, your relationships?

    Not only does being confident feel good, it helps you seize potential opportunities, take more chances and make that big change or take the next step in your life and career. Life is crazy, busy and beautiful. Figuring out how to be more confident is just part of the journey.

    The great news is, there are steps to building confidence that you can take wherever – and whenever you feel you’re lacking it. Often, it’s already within you and you just need a few strategies to uncover it – and I’m going to reveal these strategies to you.

  • Why some people lack confidence

    Lack of confidence can stem from many places.

    Perhaps, growing up, your parents said a certain career was outside your reach and you could ‘never do that’. Or maybe you have a belief system that says ‘I could never start my own business, I’m not entrepreneurial’.

    Perhaps you had a bad experience which opened the door for self-doubt to creep in. Or maybe your inner self-critic is telling you ‘you can’t’ or ‘you’re not good enough’. Maybe (ok, likely) you’re comparing yourself to someone else – a friend, colleague or spouse.

    Or perhaps you feel there is something missing in your life – a relationship, the dream job, kids, a degree or title.

    In my work with thousands of clients, it seems most (if not all) of us struggle with confidence in some area, or at some point in our lives. Whether that be confidence in our appearance, abilities, relationships, careers, decision making, and social situations.

    We all have crises of confidence. Times we are self-conscious and moments of self-doubt. And, if your lack of confidence is keeping you in a bad job or poor relationship — or keeping you from moving forward in your life or career, you’re not alone.

    What makes confident people different from others

    Confident people believe in themselves and have a positive mindset. People lack confidence feel insecure about themselves and their decisions.

    Let’s take a look at this infographic which illustrates the differences between a confident person and an insecure person:

    How to be more confident (a step-by-step guide)

    So, how can you be more confident? Here’s your complete, step-by-step guide:

    1. Be specific

    First things first, let’s get specific.

    In order to tame the demon, you’ve got to name the demon. Where do you lack confidence? When do you feel self-doubt creeping in? Where do you feel your skills or abilities are limiting you? Where would you like to have more confidence?

    Once you get specific, it won’t feel so overwhelming as you’ll have something tangible to tackle.

    Maybe you want the confidence to go out on your own and start a new business? Or maybe you’d like to go back to school to get the degree you’ve always wanted? Perhaps you’d like the confidence to go on an adventure or take a trip you’ve been thinking about for some time.

    Take a moment now, identify and put into a complete statement: Where do you specifically want to have more confidence?

    2. Uncover what gives you confidence

    This is personal, so it will vary from person to person. There’s no one size fits all approach to confidence and what works for one, won’t always work for another.

    How can you figure out what gives you confidence? Think about a couple times in your life when you felt most confident.

    Now, think about what was it about those times that made you feel so empowered.

    Was it the environment you were in? Something you were doing? A feeling you had? The more you get clear about this for yourself, the easier it will be to tap into when you need it.

    3. Be true to you

    One of the surest ways to lose confidence is try to be someone else. One of the best ways to build your confidence? Be true to yourself.

    When you’re trying to be someone you’re not, every part of you resists it. You are not everyone else. You are you. And the more you can understand who you are and what you value the stronger you will be.

    When you stray away from who you are, you lose confidence because it’s ‘just not you’.

    Think about what makes you, uniquely you. Write it down. Think about what you value and what’s important to you. Write that down, too.

    4. Remember, you are 100% smart

    When one of my daughters was in 4th grade, her teacher gave an assignment called 100% smart. In this activity, the kids had to make a pie chart and identify what percentage smart they were in each of the following areas; people, self, body, math, word, music, art.

    For example, my daughter was 25% body smart, but only 5% art smart. This was such an insightful exercise for her and something I have shared with many clients over the years. She realized that even though she lacked confidence in art, there were so many other areas where she excelled.

    This is true for everyone. So, maybe you’re not the best public speaker, but are you a great parent, smart with your money, or creative?

    Too many people spend way too much time trying to improve, change, be more of this or less of that. Instead, what if you spent more time acknowledging your talents, skills and successes?

    Try this for one week: at the end of each day, write down at least 3 things that you did well, felt good about, or were proud of yourself for. Know your strengths, know your talents and know you’re 100% smart.

    5. Stop comparing yourself

    Nothing zaps your confidence more than comparing yourself to others. Especially now, with social media and the wonderful opportunity to judge yourself against so many others! Lack of confidence comes from a gap in where you see yourself and where you think you should be.

    Imagine you are preparing to give a big presentation or speech. So you do your research, which includes watching some of the best speakers in the world doing their Ted Talks. Of course you are going to feel inferior.

    Stop comparing yourself to others. Just stop. If you still feel a compelling need to compare – compare yourself to yourself. Measure how far you’ve come. See how much improvement you’ve made. Acknowledge your wins and successes.

    6. Realize you are enough

    This may sound a little bit corny, but try it. This positive affirmation will resonate at a deep level and have a powerful effect on your subconscious.

    Every day for the next 21 days repeat this mantra. “I am enough”. Don’t just say it, but feel it, deeply, at the core of who you are.

    Want to get more specific? Replace ‘enough’ with whatever word you’d like to ‘be’. What would give you the most confidence? I am brave. I am strong. I am smart. I am beautiful. I am confident. I got this.

    7. Acquire new skills

    Since confidence is often directly linked to abilities, one of the best ways to build your confidence is to get new skills or experience.

    Growing your skills will in turn grow your confidence. And please, as you work on building your skills and expertise, don’t mistake a lack of perfection for a lack of ability. No one is perfect. But if you’ve got a perfectionist bone in your body (like I do), it can make you think that just because you’re not the best, that you’re not good at all.

    Make sure to check yourself – am I really not good at this, or am I not good as I want to be just yet?

    Ask yourself: Is there a specific area where you are lacking confidence? How can you expand your expertise in this area?

    8. Change your state

    Changing your physical and mental ‘state’ is one of the quickest ways to access a feeling of confidence. To do this, you need to know what the state of ‘confidence’ looks, feels and sounds like for you.

    Here are a few strategies you can use to access that:

    • Remember – Think of a specific time, associated with feeling confident. Sink into that feeling deeply and moment by moment relive every detail.
    • Imagine – Imagine how you would feel if you were confident. How would you act? Feel? Be?
    • Modelling – Think about someone you know who exudes confidence. Imagine what that person would do.

    9. Find yourself a cheerleader

    Yes, while I understand confidence is a state from within, you can also boost your confidence by the people you choose to spend your time with.

    Make a concerted effort to surround yourself with others who provide encouragement, positivity, and inspiration. Spend more time with people who ‘get you’ and see all of your greatness – and less time with those that zap your confidence or cause you to feel self-doubt.

    10. Just do it

    When Nike came up with this slogan in the late 80’s, they knew just how to get the general population off their butts and moving. Turns out, this is a great strategy for being more confident too.

    When you stand at the edge of the water; waiting, wondering, worrying if you can do something, you lose confidence. Your fears creep in and you begin to doubt yourself. But when you take a leap of faith, jump in and get started, your confidence immediately builds.

    Action builds confidence and each step you take builds it further.

    Think of one step you could take right now that would get you moving in the right direction. Then Just Do It and see what happens. An incredible thing about human brain is that once it realizes something is working, it will keep that momentum going!

    Being more confident starts with one thing — YOU.

    YOU making the decision to take action. And when all else fails, YOU can make a choice.

    YOU can choose to be confident. YOU can choose confidence over fear and self-doubt.

    Your mind believes what you tell it. If you continue to tell yourself the story that you are not confident, you will believe it and your self-doubt will continue. But if you tell yourself you can do it, that you got this, your mind will believe that too.

    Remember, fostering a strong sense of confidence is critical to experiencing overall levels of health, happiness and success.

    And once you get started you’ll be unstoppable. Be brave. Be confident. You got this.

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via

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    How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    Until you know how to focus, you’ll never be able to think clearly, solve problems, make decisions, or remember things. Being focused is important but staying on a task is becoming harder and harder. A symphony of notifications can draw you out of whatever you’re doing at a moment’s notice.

    Every time your mind wanders from your work, you have to waste time and energy getting back on track. A recent study from the University of California calculated that it took people an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get back to work after an interruption.[1] This means that every time something takes your attention off your work, you lose nearly half an hour of your precious time.

    Interruptions are bound to happen, but when they happen several times per day, you’ll waste lots of time and energy. In this guide, you’ll learn more about why it’s so hard to stay focused and what you can do to reduce distractions, be more productive, and increase your focus.

  • What makes staying focused difficult

    Physically unfit

    Everything is more difficult when you feel sick or tired. If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, your mind is bound to wander.

    Human bodies are meant to be in motion, many of us lead sedentary lifestyles. Not getting enough exercise is another common reason you might lose focus quickly. Exercised helps your body regulate hormones and process insulin. It also alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety.[2] A British study found that people’s work performance were better on the days they exercised:

    What you eat and drink can play a major role in your ability to settle into your work, too. Start by staying properly hydrated. About 60% of your body is water. If you’re dehydrated you’re going to feel sluggish, and your brain won’t be able to work as well.

    Digestive upsets and imbalanced gut bacteria are disruptive no matter what you’re doing. An upset digestive system is uncomfortable, but it also prevents you from making use of all the nutrients in your food. This means that even if you are eating well, you may not be getting the nutrition that helps you focus.

    For example, B Vitamins are essential for digestion and we deplete them rapidly when exposed to stress. A lack of B Vitamins will almost certainly leave you feeling foggy-headed.[3]

    An emotional brain

    You know how hard it can be to focus when you’re worried about something else. Your limbic system, the epicenter for all your emotions and memories, attaches feelings to everything. Based on a study conducted by Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher, there are some common emotions at work shown to shape performance:[4]

    The way you feel about your work can destroy your productivity and focus if you have a negative point of view. It’s worthwhile to take some time to get to know yourself so that you can figure out what triggers emotional reactions and loss of focus.

    One of the best things you can do is infuse your life with positivity. When your work triggers positive emotions, you’ll be more interested in what you’re doing, and it’ll be easier to stay on task.[5]

    Too many distractions

    We’re fortunate to have so much technology at our fingertips, but these advances are a double-edged sword. As you work, phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media notifications threaten to derail your focus.

    A 2012 study from the McKinsey Global Institute found that people spend around 13 hours or 28% of their workweek managing emails.[6] That’s not to say that all time spent on technology is non-productive. It’s just that most of us have a hard time compartmentalizing our inboxes and notifications so that they don’t pull us from other tasks. As mentioned, it takes a whopping 25 minutes and 26 seconds to regain focus on average. Distractions are costly.

    Multitasking through the day

    You may think you’re being more efficient when you multitask, but only about 2% of the population can effectively multitask.[7] James Clear’s illustration has best described the myth of multitasking:

    For the other 98%, they mutitask in three different ways:[8]

    • Do two things at the same time.
    • Switch to a new task without completing the original thing we were working on.
    • Rapidly cycle back and forth between tasks, which gives us the illusion that we are among the 2% of effective multitaskers.

    Human brains aren’t designed to do that kind of cognitive shuffling. People end up with a nasty build up of “attention residue” when they switch between tasks.[9]

    If you’ve ever been distracted by thinking about something else you have to do while you’re working on another project, you’ve experienced the effects of attention residue. Constantly shifting between tasks can cost you about 40% or 16 hours of your workweek. That’s like tossing two days out of every workweek in the trash. [10]

    Multitasking can cause you to perform as though you’ve lost 10-15 points on your IQ score. No matter how smart you are, that’s a significant drop in your effectiveness. A study from the University of London likened this to missing an entire night of sleep.[11]

    You’ll thrive if you can learn how to focus and carve out time for deep work. You’ll need to create windows of time that are completely free of distractions like emails if you want to be most effective.[12]

    How to find focus in a distracted world

    Tricks to tackle distractions

    1. Block out time for uninterrupted work

    Make sure you schedule important time for yourself where you can focus on your tasks in uninterrupted silence. Let people know that you won’t be responding unless absolutely necessary. Think of this as scheduling a meeting with yourself and treat it the same as you would when scheduling a meeting with others.

    Put your status as “busy” on your messaging apps and shared calendars. Wear headphones (even if you aren’t listening to anything) to make yourself appear that you’re focusing on your work. Intentionally carving out this block of time will help you focus and cause others to be more hesitant about distracting you.

    2. Email batching

    Emails can come into our inbox continuously through the day and it’s tempting to respond to them as and when we receive them. Similar to blocking out specific time for focus, carve out time to deal with emails in one go.

    Doing this will create more productivity and keep you in the flow of dealing with emails one after the other. If you find you still get distracted easily by every new email, you can install a Chrome extension called Block Site which allows you to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times.

    3. Turn technology from distraction to a useful tool

    These days, many people feel controlled by technology and their phones to some extent so make use of the disabling options it gives you. Turn off email alerts, app notifications, set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages.

    There are also some really cool apps that encourage you to be more productive and less distracted by your phone. Forrest is an app that rewards you each time you focus well, motivating you in a fun way and encourages you to leave your phone well alone.

    4. Schedule a distraction time

    Just as important as scheduling focus time is scheduling distraction time.

    A study conducted by the social networking company Draugiem Group, found that regular breaks was the key to productivity. More specifically, the most productive employees spent 52 minutes working followed by a 17 minute break each time.

    This is down to the brain’s ability to stay motivated – it just can’t sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this, distractions become more powerful and we become less motivated. So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes the brain more efficient towards a task.

    Techniques to train a more focused mind

    5. Anticipate your internal needs

    You may think it’s the outside physical distractions that cause us to be unproductive but actually 44 percent of distractions are also internal. Think about it – hunger, boredom, stress and lack of sleep have probably played a part in your demotivation many times.

    The good news is, you can control these factors by understanding your patterns and planning ahead. Do you always feel sleepy late-afternoon? Does the hunger set in around 11am? Do you start to get bored towards the end of the day? Taking note of these patterns and counteracting them is a brilliant way to become less distracted by them.

    Mix up your tasks so you alternate the boring and interesting ones more frequently. Keep a snack close when you know your stomach starts to rumble. Go for a quick run up and down the stairs to perk you up.

    6. Practice mindfulness

    Mindfulness trains your mind to identify thoughts that arise throughout your day. When it comes to distraction, understanding and noticing these moments can help you deal with them more quickly and increase your attention span.

    Meditation and mindfulness practice can be done at any time. While you eat your food, notice the taste, texture and how it looks and feels. When reading, really take in every word or while out walking notice how your body feels and the details of your surroundings. Doing this on a regular basis will eventually train your mind when it comes to other areas where distracting thoughts pop up like a work task.

    Watch this 20-minute guided mindfulness exercise guide if you want to learn how to practice mindfulness:

    7. Exercise regularly

    Not only is exercise good for the body but it’s also good for the brain. Physical exercise fires up the neurons in the brain making you more alert and willing to concentrate. This means it increases your ability to ignore distractions and get on with the task at hand.

    You can do an exercise routine in the morning and head straight into work making sure your block of focus time is carved out first thing. You’ll be surprised at how much motivation you have and how much you get done. If you think you’re too busy to do any exercises, here’s how to find time for exercises.

    8. Create a willpower workout

    Just like your muscles need a workout, so does your willpower in order to build up its strength.

    Setting daily self-control habits can train our mind in the art of control in many other areas. In the book Willpower  by John Tierny and Roy Baumeister, Tierny cites a study in which students were asked to watch their posture for a week. At the end of that week, these students performed better on self-control tasks (tasks that were unrelated to sitting up straight) than another group who weren’t asked to be mindful of their posture.

    A good willpower practice is to watch the way you speak. Make an effort not to use contractions i.e. try saying ‘I am’ instead of ‘I’m’. Speak in complete sentences and refrain from saying ‘nah’ instead of ‘no’ or ‘yeah’ instead of ‘yes’.

    Alternatively, try using your opposite hand in tasks. The aim is to get your brain used to mental effort and the more it uses mental effort, the more it builds up your willpower muscle. Find out more ways to help you increase your willpower here: 10 Simple But Powerful Tricks to Boost Willpower

    A solid routine to stay focused

    You don’t have to wonder how to focus if you set a routine. Having excellent habits leads to a productive routine that saves you tons of time and helps you focus.

    Finding and adopting the right daily routine will help you regain wasted time. Your mind and body will thank you for the decreased anxiety and your productivity will be super-boosted.

    If you’re looking for inspiration about habits you should incorporate into your day, check out my post about how to create your own powerful routine:

    A Powerful Daily Routine that Will Upgrade Your Life (With Exact Steps to Follow)

    Now you know why it’s hard to stay focused and what steps you can take to stay on-task.

    Start by addressing your physical health and emotional needs. Identify what’s distracting you and compartmentalize tasks like managing email to specific times in your day. If you’re a chronic multi-tasker, it’s time to hang up that hat and focus on one thing at a time.

    Above all, develop productive habits that lead to efficient routines so that deep focus becomes the norm for you. You have all the tools you need to figure out how to focus on the things that matter most to you. It’s time to give your work your undivided attention.

    Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via


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