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4 Simple Strategies to Build Your Mental Strength

Did you know that coconuts can travel several thousand miles, float up to 110 days, land on an island, and still be able to germinate? Palm trees have withstood the test of time, going back to the Eocene period. What’s even more fascinating about palm trees? They can endure strong hurricanes! Can we learn from palm trees and tap into this strength? Definitely. We usually like figuring out complicated answers, but it only takes looking outside at Mother Nature to see how she deals with adversity. You’ll learn how to apply 4 simple strategies to build your mental strength. Continue Reading!

19 Insightful Quotes Worth a Lifetime!

Quotes are inspiring because they have so much wisdom packed into a phrase. They’re like small reminders from free mentors of all walks of life for you to take. They can lift you up, guide you, and motivate you. A good quote can give you the worth of a lifetime! Here are 19 insightful quotes from people that one way or another have influenced and shaped our world:

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3 Simple Steps to Create a Personal Mission

How personal missions get you closer to achieve your dreams.

Imagine living several thousand years ago. There would be so many places to discover and things to learn. The maps would have blank spaces, because they were a work-in-progress. How big could the Earth be? What things would be over the horizon? The world was an undiscovered place, and the Europeans sailed out to find out. They went on missions.

16th century evangelists were going on missions. Explorers were going on missions. Conquerors, scientists, and friars set sail. All were serious about their missions. But it’s puzzling how they sailed so confidently into the unknown world. How could they know what resources they would need and how much to take? Where would they land? Did explorers have any systemic way to go about their missions? Continue Reading!

The Upside of Symbols

How to leverage symbolism.

Anywhere you look you’ll see many symbols: political, religious, social, and commercial symbols. However, today they’re used almost exclusively by marketing. Companies understand the economic value of having recognized brands and the relationship we have with them. When you think of a brand, you have an image, a perception of its quality, and its service (among other things). Here’s a thought: Symbols are necessary. Nations have all sorts of symbols like national anthems, holidays, and their coat of arms. Even States have symbols such as the State’s bird, rock, fruit, motto, etc. Do you think you are you leaving symbols behind? What happens to people without symbols? Why do you want to tap into the upside of symbolism? Continue Reading!

Math is Underrated

How math can propel action and make you a better thinker.

Math is underrated. Because of its analytical nature, we tend to perceive math as a nuisance. As a student, you might have demanded math to be more practical. Some students feel there’s little real-world applications of the math they’ve learned. On the other hand, teachers explain that math helps you become a better problem solver. But math goes beyond problem solving. Continue Reading!

How to Enable the Growth Mindset

You have probably heard of the growth mindset. It’s the mindset that helps us embrace the inevitable hurdles we face. But the reality is that sometimes we don’t—it’s elusive when we’re struggling. Can we have a growth mindset especially when we most need to? How to enable the growth mindset? There is an excess of advice to be joyful, but inevitably we must also face the struggles that come with difficult learning, creative challenges, or starting something new. To develop the skills that you want, you know it will require a lot of practice. Building new skills is challenging. Furthermore, can we expect to be joyful without a struggle? Of course you shouldn’t want to do something that you dislike overall, but setbacks are part of what makes life interesting and worthwhile. Continue Reading!

Problem Finding: How You Can Become Better At It

We go through many years of school solving all sorts of things. Math, for example, is about becoming better at problem solving. Granted, we do depend heavily on our ability to solve problems. But could it be possible to find problems as well? Nobody wants more problems, yet everyone wants opportunities. Could they go hand in hand? How do some entrepreneurs, parents, or teachers manage to find problems and benefit from them? Perhaps work is not exclusively about solving problems but finding them too. And by no means is problem finding about inviting unnecessary conflict. It’s about the creativity of discovering unaddressed problems we’re not consciously aware we have. An unaddressed problem means there’s an unaddressed opportunity, and the potential to generate value.
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The Present is a Gift (So are the Past and the Future)

Understanding time and how to benefit from it.

They say, “Don’t live in the past, or you’ll be depressed,” and “Don’t live in the future, or you’ll be anxious.” Some people say, “Live at peace in the present.” They say, “Live in the moment.” “The present is a gift”. What do you think about that? Discarding the past or the future (as much as the present) is delusional. First, we must understand that each time frame has costs and benefits. No one is better than the other. So having said that: how can we embrace the benefits of the past, present, and future? And how can we better manage the challenges in each time frame? Continue Reading!

Choose Themes Over Goals

Following through on your New Year’s resolutions

Why are theme parks so magical? And what exactly do you think triggers those feelings? They can be a source of dreams, joy, and inspiration. A theme park is a specific type of amusement park that offers attractions that can be enjoyed by large groups of people. The parks’ rides, landscape, buildings, and characters are centered on a specific theme or story. Perhaps that’s what makes it magical. Like a theme park, we can leverage the power of themes to set our own mission in this coming year. Continue Reading!

9 Chess Principles You Can Apply to Your Life

Chess is a beautiful game that is considered by many an art and a sport. It’s also one of the oldest games in human history. As chess players learn and refine their chess principles through time, certain patterns begin to emerge. Chess principles often mimic life and offer valuable insights. Consider the following for a more strategic lifestyle:
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The Fourth Degree of Gratitude

In the Three Degrees of Gratitude, we explored how to engage in different levels of appreciation. The first degree of gratitude is about developing a habit of saying thank you. The second degree is a state of being in which we express gratitude with a kind gesture. The third degree is about finding gratitude where it’s hard. We especially need to be grateful in difficult times. But is there a more active way we can exercise gratitude?
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How to Discover (and Use) Your Values

If I asked you what your values were, what would you say? If you knew them, would you know what to do with them? Say your value is love, or honesty: how does that help you? Values are indispensable in determining how you live, and how you can live differently. They become more valuable as you clarify what they are and resolve to exercise them. Values are our unspoken standards of the life that we want. We can learn to ignite our values if we invest time and effort to recognize and connect with them.
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How to Seek an Imperfect Life

In 10 Empowering Principles to Live by, we explored that a set of beliefs is what we use to make sense of our world. We feel or think about something, and then our brain compares it to our cognitive map to understand the situation or generate meaning out of it. With time, we adjust those inner rules so that we can navigate our lives more effectively and with more clarity. But what does this have to do with seeking an imperfect life? What does that really mean? Why would we want to seek an imperfect life and how do we live it? Continue Reading!

10 Empowering Principles to Live by

Deep down we all have a set of beliefs that we rely on to navigate our lives. These principles dictate how we process incoming stimuli, what it means, and how to feel about it. They determine our decisions, our attitudes, roles, strategies, and methods we live by. Here’s the thing: is your belief system helping to bring out the best in you? Continue Reading!

Three Degrees of Gratitude

The first degree of gratitude:

This is when you say: “thanks,” “thank you,” or “I appreciate it,” and you really mean it. It can be a habit. And honestly, we can’t say thank you enough. It’s so easy and yet so powerful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

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How Playing More Can Make You More Successful

Start, Stick, and Stay at Anything!

I was destroyed in a chess game. It was Halloween 1998 when I saw some friends playing chess over a bench by the courtyard. They asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes! I thought that I was going to beat them through my natural intelligence. Then I lost. The following summer, I was determined to learn how to play. I don’t know why, but I was motivated to keep playing (and losing) for about 200 games. That translated to about 60 hours of practice before I could finally win a game! I’ve played thousands of games since. Today I wonder: what happened that made me start, stick, and stay at it? Let’s look at how playing more can make you more successful. Continue Reading!

How to Be Your Best Self

You, yourself, and chocolate cake.

Discovering who you are is fun. Becoming your best self, necessary. With the baking elements of a dark chocolate cake, we’ll find out just that. When baking, you’ll learn two things are essential: you need the ingredients that provide the structure (eggs, flour) and those that provide the moisture (fat, sugar). However, the ingredients alone won’t turn into a cake just by themselves—we need to stick them in an oven and bake them. The structure of the cake is what holds it together, but the moisture is what makes you want to eat it! How to be your best self is about structure, moisture, and a baking process. Continue Reading!

How to Be Grounded in the Moment

Lessons from the Douglas-fir tree.

Trees are captivating. They spark wonder with their willpower to reach to the stars and withstand high winds. When established, they are able to survive forest fires and they can live for centuries! And all of this is possible in a single spot where the resilient seed once landed. You probably already know the Douglas-fir. It is the preferred Christmas tree because of its elegant conical shape.  They’re also a Pacific NW favorite. They dress up mountains beautifully with their vivid evergreen needles that contrast with the snow at the timber line. Most importantly, what can you learn from the Douglas fir? Can it help you learn how to be grounded in the moment? How does a little seed become a tree that can rise to towering heights of over 300 feet? Continue Reading!

How to Use Labels to Empower Yourself

The upside of labels.

Labeling is one of the first things we do as babies. Our brain associates certain objects with words. We label the iconic red-round-sweet fruit as an apple. And after that it will be hard to think of it as anything other than an apple. Once we have enough associations stored in our memory, we begin to develop language. We start with one word. Then we move to a two-word sentence and so on. At some point in our lives, we begin to develop our sense of self.  As young adults we seek to develop our identity by labeling what we like and don’t like, if we are a morning person or a night owl. This becomes more complex in our teenage years when we seek to both fit in and explore. As we grow up we try to understand ourselves better, seek outside approval and constantly label ourselves to construct our personalities. Much of this happens by reacting to different situations. How to use labels to empower yourself is not only important, but necessary. Continue Reading!

How You can Be More Authentic

3 Steps you can take to become a more authentic person.

Did you know Galileo Galilei opposed the Geocentric view that Earth was at the center of the universe? He believed that Earth revolved around the Sun. In his time though, most educated people (including astronomers) didn’t think so. The Roman Inquisition revised his work, and accused him to be a heretic! His work arouse controversy. Fortunately for humanity, he followed through with his ideas defending his views. He was eventually tried by the Inquisition, found guilty of heresy, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Would you say he was being authentic to his profession? How often do you find yourself doing things you don’t want to do? Let’s see how you can be more authentic. Continue Reading!

Life Is like Coffee

How your life can benefit from coffee

Imagine yourself as a musical conductor. Picture yourself signaling at the symphony of coffee notes as you pour the ground coffee into the French press—awaiting the steaming water. Soon the kettle starts to whistle. Down the water goes, orchestrating fine earthy notes that dance around your living room at the beat of the baton. And only then does the coffee meet with the hazelnut cream—tempos of cocoa finish as you drink the warmth of this art. Life is like coffee! Continue Reading!

Being Unusual: The Art of a Flying Duck

Have you ever paid attention to a flying duck? I get to observe ducks a lot since they fly around my suburb quite frequently. What caught my attention though, is how sloppy they look when they fly. With their short body-to-wingspan ratio ducks try really hard when they fly! And if you have seen a duck land, you know it’s not easy for them either. But they still do fly—they’re successful and playful. Do you think we could learn anything of significance from a flying duck? Could ducks have something to teach us about being unusual?

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