There has been much talk during the past year of Fake News. Of course, Donald Trump is the reason for almost all of it and also claims to have invented the term (sorry Donald, that is just one of your thousands of lies). Republicans and, yes, the Toddler-in-Chief scream about fake news whenever someone presents an article that offers criticism or inconvenient information that doesn’t fit their narrative.
Fake news actually began to get significant attention in 2016 when word surfaced that Russian hackers and link farms were spreading fake stories about Hillary Clinton. How much influence did these lies have in the election results? We will probably never know, but it would be very naïve (let’s just say it, fake news) to suggest that they had none at all.
Of course, this may sound good on paper and seems even better if it means no country is subjected to leadership from a grotesque incompetent like Trump. Whenever a government announces that it plans to exercise a form of media control, however, there is good reason to be worried as this is a practice of just about every authoritarian power imaginable.
Who is to decide what is fake? It is easy to imagine any government slapping that label on any story that paints them in a bad light and cannot be easily dismissed. As an adult, wouldn’t you like to retain your element of choice when it comes to the news?
It’s a difficult question and until a way can be found to destroy Russia’s meddling, be prepared for more such controversies to come.
Smartphones can be incredibly handy for communication and research, but let’s face it, they also encourage a great deal of extraneous activity that does little to advance our knowledge or improve our performance. If anything, smartphones can do major damage to us in these areas.
Want to reduce your phone time? Try these tips:
Gradually Cut Back
Quitting any addiction cold turkey rarely works, so the best plan is to gradually cut back. Figure out how much time you spend using the phone each day, and then reduce that by 15 minutes. A few days later, increase that to 30 minutes. Work your way up to the amount you want to spend each day. Don’t be afraid to take a few weeks getting there.
Put Your Phone Away
If you cannot even have the phone in front of you, put it away in another room (turn off the ringer so you don’t hear it). Should that not work, ask someone else to keep it for you for a certain amount of time each day.
Leave Your Phone Behind
If you find yourself unable to be in the moment and enjoy certain group activities because of your phone, leave it behind. Chances are, if something comes up, someone else in your party will have a phone that you can use.
Engage in More Activities
Some people look repeatedly at their phones because they are bored. If you fall into that category, consider filling up your day with pursuits that you find engaging and rewarding. Chances are you will have both less time and less of a need to use your phone.
It’s plain and simple: good writing requires good concentration. You cannot produce consistent, high quality work if you are constantly battling with interferences. When a writer acquires and retains focus, they can get a lot done, and much of it will be great. This is certainly a relief when working on deadline, something most every writer has to deal with at one time or another (or every day, depending on their occupation).
Do you have trouble attaining and maintaining that level of focus for more than a brief period at a time? Here are a couple of suggestions that might help to make things easier.
Hold Off on Your Research
The internet is a wonderful tool for research, but it’s even better when it comes to providing all manner of entertainment. Just as there are countless websites that will help you learn more about a historical period, than are many, many more that exist solely to provide distraction.
And distract they do—constantly. If your current work requires you to spend a significant amount of time doing online research, write around those parts and come back to them later. That way, your work will have less of a start and stop movement, meaning less impact on your flow. Mark the skipped text with something that is easily searchable, but will not necessarily match regular words (eg. **skip**) so that it can be quickly accessed when the time comes.
Switch Your Computer Settings
Many of us have instant messaging programs activated on our computers (and phones). They are great for letting us know when something new has happened, but their real purpose is to lure us into coming back…again and again and again. That can be unbelievably distracting, so make sure you disable these before you sit down to write. Think about every application that does this and shut them all down.
Is there any more soothing sound in the world than a cat’s purring? No matter whether you are still in diapers or piloting a wheelchair at the rest home, everyone loves the relaxing sound of a purring kitten or adult feline.
While they are remarkably cute animals, some would argue that a cat’s primary appeal is that soothing sound it emits when happy. There is just something about it that is so calming and inviting, it helps tamp down your anger after the cat shreds your favorite chair.
Surprisingly, after so many centuries and scientific advancements, we are still not entirely sure just how cats purr. We know they do it when they are content, but could there also be another reason?
As it turns out, cats sometimes also purr when they are frightened, hungry, or injured. A few large species of cats, including cheetahs and cougars, can also purr as well (imagine one of these jumping in your lap for some affection!). Purring is also apparently a way for some cats to soothe themselves during periods of stress, and they also do it to comfort other feline friends when they are injured or distressed.
Purring can also be healing — literally. High frequency sound can aid in tissue and bone regeneration/repair. Domestic cats can reach a frequency of 26 Hertz when purring, which is within that sound range.
So, the next time a dog lover goes on about how wonderful a wagging tail is, counter with how a cat’s purr can easily beat it by being so helpful in other areas as well! A purring feline represents contentment in its most basic and appealing form and is the sort of selfless, uncomplicated love that prompts some people to accept cats into their families as valued members on the level of their own children.
With summer now over and fall soon coming to an end, it can be easy to forget that walking at night can be more of a concern. Nights this time of year tend to be darker and the days shorter, so extra care is required of the public when walking or jogging near roads.
It is important to make sure that oncoming traffic can clearly see you well in advance and adjust their position on the road accordingly. This danger made headlines recently in Hamilton, when a group of people walking along a road at night were almost hit by a car that swerved out of the way at the last second.
Cyclists often have reflectors or flashing lights attached to their helmets as a way of making their presence known to cars. Pedestrians and joggers can adopt such safety measures, too, by putting these attention getting embellishments on their jackets or shoes.
However, you can also start by taking some more basic precautions. If you plan on walking during low-light periods, be sure to wear light colored clothing. When visibility is low and a person is clad in darker shades, a driver may not notice them until it is too late to get out of the way.
Also, if you plan on walking or running, be aware of the hours when the sun is out. Days are shorter, and so is daylight, so think about how long your walk will take and when you should start in order to ensure you are done and home safe before dark. Parents need to impress the importance of this upon their children, and double check that they are complying.
Drivers also need to do their part by making sure to have their headlights on well before the sun has set. Be seen and avoid an unfortunate tragedy.
A friend of mine once joked to me that his business would be 100% perfect if he just did not have to deal with clients. Of course, clients are the lifeblood of almost any company, and you will not be in business long if you do not know how to keep them happy. That can often be more difficult than it sounds at times. Are you having trouble with your clients? Here are some suggestions you can try that will help to smooth things over:
Know your stuff
A sure way to mess things up and lose a client’s confidence is to not do your homework. If you are not willing to take the time to know the things you need to in order for your business relationship to work, then it is doomed from the start. Make sure that you understand everything necessary to keep things moving along and also be able to answer any questions the client might have about procedure and other basic steps.
Done something wrong? Admit it
No one wants to make a mistake in a business relationship of any kind, but when it happens, and it is your fault, you need to own up to any and all mistakes. Lying to a client and trying to pass off the blame is a foolish and fatal error that will come back to haunt you.
No matter what your business, you will inevitably end up with a client that is more trouble than they are worth. However, if you want to sever the business relationship, you should be careful about it. Going scorched earth may feel very satisfying at the time, but it may lead to unanticipated problems that end up being far worse than the ones the client caused you in the first place. Take a few deep breaths and then do the right thing.
No two people are the same and that applies to many aspects of life, including one’s level of optimism. Some people are able to find a silver lining in every cloud, and never regard the glass as being half-empty. Others, meanwhile, tend to be more cynical about the future and have trouble seeing the good things in life.
Are you having trouble keeping your chin up? If so, the following tips can help you to feel better and more optimistic about the future:
Are there certain people and situations that tend to make you feel sad and hopeless? If so, do your best to avoid them. This may lead to some awkward situations, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Keep your mind focused on the positive
Do you have anything coming up in the near future that will make you happy? For example, a trip or a visit with friends? Even though it might still be a few days away, try to keep this at the forefront of your mind. That will help you to make you feel happier in the present moment.
Get some exercise
Physical activity is not only good for your body, it is good for your brain. When you exercise, the body produces endorphins. These are the so-called “feel-good” chemicals that help to improve mood. So by getting out there and doing something physical, you will not only be helping your body, but also making yourself feel better in the process.
Think about tough times from the past that you have survived
Another way to deal with potentially unpleasant situations is to remember that you are a survivor and you have made it through such times before. As a result, the chances are very good that you will do so again quite successfully.
Retirement is something that most of us will enjoy at some point in our golden years. However, to make the most of it, retirement does require a certain degree of planning. That includes finances, but there are many articles out there about that aspect, so it will be beyond the scope of this posting.
You have probably heard about someone who was 100% dedicated to their job and lost their identity upon heading into retirement. In some cases, these people may have even died prematurely.
Never underestimate the importance of a sense of purpose in life. Without that, we are simply going through the motions. You might be thinking, “Well, fine, but I’m retiring. What purpose could I still have?” There are plenty of ways to have a sense of purpose in our retirement years by serving others. Many volunteer opportunities likely exist in your area; choose one that speaks to your interests and the type of people you wish to be dealing with. You can also consider a part-time job, though once again, make sure it something that is of interest and not just a chore.
Did you not have much time to go where you wished back in your working days? Well, here is your chance to visit all of those wonderful spots you have dreamed about for years.
Make New Friends
Get out there any meet new people by trying new things, attending events, etc. Don’t spend your golden years in front of the TV; experience the fun and fulfillment that comes from sharing quality time with good people.
Don’t Stress Out
Problems come in different forms at different stages of life; your senior years won’t be any different. However, stress can be harder on mind and body when you are older. Remember that you have conquered adversity throughout your life and this stage will be no different.