**Become a Better Person

“Make the most of yourself….for that is all there is of you.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’ve all made mistakes throughout our lives that haven’t exactly put us in the best light–like bullying someone in school or telling what seemed like a little white lie. Chances are, however, you probably felt a little guilt and grew because of the situation.

I’m an average guy trying to become better in both my work and home life. I’ll never be perfect, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try.

If you want to continue to grow as a person, here are 15 ways to make the most of yourself.

1. Compliment Yourself
Every morning before you go on with your daily routine, take a couple of minutes to give yourself a compliment. Whether you compliment your outfit, haircut, or how you recently completed a task using your unique skill sets, giving yourself a little emotional boost will make you happy. And, when you’re happy with yourself, that emotion can be contagious to those around you. Inspirational speaker Tony Robbins has a mantra he says aloud to himself most days to put him in a peak performance state.

2. Don’t Make Excuses
Blaming your spouse, boss, or clients is fruitless and won’t get you very far. Instead of pointing fingers and making excuses about why you aren’t happy or successful in your personal or professional life, own your mistakes and learn from them. When you do this, you will become a better person. When I personally started living up to my mistakes and downfalls, my life turned itself around. I became happier and healthier, and my relationship with my wife improved. We are happier than ever.

3. Let Go of Anger
Letting go of anger is easier said than done. While anger is a perfectly normal emotion, you can’t let it fester. When this happens, you may make unwise decisions, and more important, it may affect your health. Research suggests pent up anger can cause digestive problems, difficulty sleeping, and even heart disease.

To help you let go of anger, Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD, suggests you write your feelings down, pray or meditate, or begin to manage your thoughts.

4. Practice Forgiveness
Joyce Marter, LCPC, suggests you forgive and let go of resentment. She notes, “If for no other reason than for yourself, forgive to untether yourself from the negative experiences of the past. Take time to meditate, and give thanks for the wisdom and knowledge gained from your suffering. Practice the mantra, ‘I forgive you and I release you.'”

5. Be Honest and Direct
How would you feel if a loved one or business partner lied to you? Chances are you would see that as a violation of your trust. If you want to be a better person in either your personal or professional life, you should always tell the truth and state as clearly as possible what you are trying to convey. Learn to articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in an open and honest manner.

6. Be Helpful
Whether giving up your seat to an elderly person on the subway, assisting a co-worker on a project, or carrying in the groceries when your spouse comes back from the store, being helpful is one of the easiest and most effective ways to practice becoming a better person. I find that the more I help others, the better I feel about myself and everyone around me.

7. Listen to Others
As Jeet Banerjee notes on Lifehack, “listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do.” He adds that he “got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people. Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner.”

8. Act Locally
It may not seem like a big deal, but supporting a local cause, donating clothes, or buying from local farmers’ markets or businesses are simple ways you can help your specific region. You may not be able to save the world, but you very well could make a difference in your neck of the woods. Get to know and care about your community.

9. Always Be Polite
How much effort does it take to say, “Thank you,” or to hold the elevator door open for someone? Not much at all. However, these acts of kindness can make someone’s day. I decided a few years ago that it doesn’t matter if someone is ultra rude, condescending, or worse. The way someone else behaves is not going to determine my behavior.

10. Be Yourself
Tiffany Mason has five excellent reasons on Lifehack why you should be yourself. These include being able to align yourself with your values and beliefs, establish your identity, build courage, create boundaries, and find focus and direction.

11. Be Open to Change
Whether trying a new restaurant, traveling to an unknown part of the world, or doing something that has always scared you, you should always be open to change. This allows you to grow because you experience something new. It helps you be high functioning and self-confident if you are not wary of change.

12. Be Respectful
How would you feel if you had just cleaned your home and someone came in and tracked mud everywhere? You’d probably be a little ticked that they hadn’t taken off their shoes. Take this mentality and apply it to everyday life. For example, don’t toss your trash or cigarette butts on the floor of public restrooms or sidewalks just because someone else will clean it up. Be respectful of others’ time, thoughts, ideas, lifestyles, feelings, work, and everything else. You don’t have to agree with any of it, but people have a right to their opinions and yours is not necessarily correct.

13. Don’t Show Up Empty-handed
Going to a party this weekend at your friend’s apartment? Make sure you don’t arrive empty-handed. Even if you’ve been assured that there will be plenty of food and drink, bring along a little something to show you appreciate being invited.

14. Educate Yourself
If you don’t understand why one country is invading another, take the time to educate yourself on the current event. Ask a person intimately connected with the event for his or her thoughts. Remember, we’re all interconnected, and being aware of different cultures, different people, and what their lives are like can make you a more well-rounded individual. This will also help you understand points of view different from your own.

15. Surprise People
How good does it feel to make someone smile? It feels pretty good, right? Surprise your loved ones or co-workers now and then, with a gift, a night out on the town, or by offering help when you know they could use it.

Becoming a better person doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. Believe in yourself and know that it is possible!

What other tips have you found useful for becoming a better person?

Random Thoughts We Have In The Shower!!!

We think of a lot of really random stuff in the shower, don’t we?

It used to be you’d just think it and then ignore it. Maybe you’d decide to tell a friend or two.

Well thanks to the Shower Thoughts Reddit, we are now able to share these incredibly dumb, yet insanely brilliant, eye-openers with the rest of the world.

Here are some of the best shower thoughts to ever make their way online.

Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple
Keep It Simple

Being Alone & Loneliness, they are two very different things…

Since the late 1980s, scientists have been tracking a whale across the Pacific Ocean.

It sings at a sonic frequency higher than any other species of whale: at 52 Hertz, just above the lowest note on a tuba.

The whale calls out; no one answers.

It’s been nicknamed the loneliest animal in the world.

Keep It Simple

Loneliness.

It’s become a dirty word, loaded with shame and stigma. No one admits to feeling it.

Scientists diagnose ‘loneliness epidemics’ as if it’s an infectious disease. We fear hearing the word spoken aloud in case we catch it.

It terrifies us.

Perhaps that’s why children are sent to their rooms to be alone as punishment. Adults without families are automatically pitied.

But wait — isn’t there a difference between solitude and loneliness?

We use the two interchangeably because we’ve been conditioned to think of them as the same state; someone who spends time alone must, naturally, be lonely.

But that’s not the case.

Loneliness is being alone — and not liking it. It’s a feeling.

Solitude is being alone — and content. It’s a choice.

This brings us to an interesting paradox: if you can master solitude, you’ll never feel lonely again.

Keep It Simple

Connected but alone

From the telegram to the phone to the mobile to the internet, all major cultural inventions have served the same purpose: to bring us closer together.

Today, we’ve reached peak hyper-connectivity. We can cross oceans at the touch of the button, speak to someone, anywhere, 24/7.

We’ve never been so connected — superficially, at least.

And yet, statistics report that we’ve never felt so lonely.

The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a loneliness minister.

Australia organized a Coalition to End Loneliness.

One in five Americans reports rarely or never feeling close to others.

And a recent study of over 20,000 people found that nearly half of respondents sometimes or always felt lonely.

The technologies connecting us are isolating us.

Keep It Simple

Here’s the truth about loneliness

Loneliness is an internal state that doesn’t — as most people assume — depend on external factors.

In fact, it’s largely unrelated to what’s going on around us.

You can be surrounded by people, lying in bed next to your partner, at a party, or in the office, and still feel lonely to your core.

And you can be alone, millions of miles away from any human contact, and still feel joyfully connected to the world.

It’s less about our circumstances, more about how we react to them.

Keep It Simple

Our fear of solitude is really fear of boredom

We read our phones while we brush our teeth. We listen to Podcasts on the subway.

We can’t simply be. We feel compelled to always do.

We can’t allow ourselves a moment of self-inflicted boredom.

We’re scared of where this boredom will take us.

Of what we will hear in our heads if we lapse into true silence: hopes, dreams, shame, embarrassment… Fear of failure.

We want to be entertained, constantly. The alternative — introspection — intimidates us.

And so, we drown out our discomfort with distractions.

But that doesn’t mean the discomfort will go away.

Connected yet lonely

Keep It Simple

The Western world promotes two glaring contradictions:

1. Know yourself.

2. The human species is born to be social.

We’re told happiness comes from within.

And yet, we’re never taught how to be alone with ourselves.

We put enormous effort into training children in how to be social.

We send them to playgroups and playdates.

We tell them not to fight, not to swear, to be polite.

But we deprive them of one thing: the capacity to be alone, and content.

We celebrate self-esteem. But we stigmatize spending time with the person we should know, and like, the best: ourselves.

Keep It Simple

The joy of being alone

Real solitude is almost impossible to experience in the modern world.

And for some, this makes it the ultimate privilege.

Being sent to your room as punishment?

It should be a reward,” says Sara Maitland, author of How To Be Alone.

“It should be: ‘You’ve been so good that now you can go to your room to be by yourself and do anything you like!’”

Some people choose a life of complete solitude. Others know they can harness times of stillness to find answers to questions, solutions to problems.

After a certain amount of time by myself, I’d begin to panic.

But others, I’d push through that initial discomfort. And it was on those days that my most original ideas came to me. Boredom is the most important emotion that helped me to grow JotForm to almost 4 million users.

Solitude deprives you. It stretches you. It illuminates. And this breeds creativity.

Zat Rana describes this process perfectly:

When you surround yourself with moments of solitude and stillness, you become intimately familiar with your environment in a way that forced stimulation doesn’t allow.

The world becomes richer, the layers start to peel back, and you see things for what they really are, in all their wholeness, in all their contradictions, and in all their unfamiliarity. You learn that there are other things you are capable of paying attention to than just what makes the most noise on the surface.

Alone but not lonely: how to utilize solitude

Keep It Simple

Solitude is scary because it reminds us of how small we are. We realize that the world has, and will, continue turning on its axis without us.

We are insignificant. In some ways, it’s a preview of death. That’s why it requires great inner strength to be alone. To know that you are not going to disappear into thin air without human contact.

That strength is a muscle we can exercise through deliberate practice.

And like any fear, the only way to overcome solitude is to face it. Ease yourself in, with 10 minutes, then 20, then 30, of solitude a day, or week, or month.

As I’ve written before, there’s great power in doing nothing at all.

Letting your boredom take you will be uncomfortable at first. It might be painful — even profoundly so — but before long, this will ease.

The interesting thing about the 52 Hertz whale isn’t its loneliness. After all, it can’t be lonely; loneliness is a man-made condition.

No. What sets the 52 Hertz whale apart from other species is its self-reliance. Its strength.

It’s so powerful that it can survive for decades completely by itself.

Luckily for us, solitude will always be a choice, not an existence. It’s true that humans are born to be social.

But when we find strength — rather than fear — in solitude, we will live far richer lives: with others, and with ourselves.

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed…

Keep It Simple

In the movie Creed, boxer Adonis Creed takes a brutal punch in the fight of his life, and gets knocked to the ground. He hits the floor hard. The people in his corner are shouting, “Get up! Get up!” His opponent is on the ropes celebrating, thinking it’s over.

But while Creed is out, his mind is scrolling through all he’s been through up until that point, and all the people who love and motivate him. Like a jolt, he’s up before the count of ten — and is back in the fight.

Creed’s boxing life may seem to bear little resemblance to our lives as believers. Though we encounter battles, we don’t train intensely for them, with dedicated professionals to put us through our paces and shore up our weaknesses. We don’t know the time, date, and location of our next bout, such that we can show up prepared. Our battles are spiritual, seemingly upending the comparison.

But as the apostle Paul showed, boxing (like running) provides a vivid metaphor for the Christian life (1 Corinthians 9:26).

Keep It Simple

You Will Get Hit

We often don’t see it coming. It could be a health crisis, loss of a loved one, an employment shake-up, betrayal, or some form of persecution. Or maybe it’s something we’re aware of, something we thought was mild or temporary, but it “hits” when it morphs from hill to mountain.

The question is not whether we will find ourselves in a battle, but when. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” (James 1:2). Paul likewise says it’s part of our privilege as believers. “It has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Philippians 1:29). We remember vividly the times we have been hit. Many of us are still recovering.

Moreover, we have an enemy who specializes in sucker punches. He schemes how he will execute, watching for opportune times, hitting when he thinks it will connect with force. Nothing touches us apart from the sovereign sanction of the Lord. The Lord uses it for his purposes and for our good. But there’s a reason he tells us to remain fully clothed in his armor. Forces are arrayed against us, shooting fiery arrows. There are times we will get hit.

Keep It Simple

You Will Go Down

Sometimes we are hit with such force that we are knocked down. Life takes a hard tilt, and the effect is tantamount to being thrown face down to the ground. The circumstance is devastating, the pain excruciating. Try as we might, in that moment it is difficult to grab hold of any semblance of joy or hope.

The apostle Paul wrote, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8–9). We rejoice that, because of Christ, we are not crushed, despairing, forsaken, or destroyed.

But the other words are true, as well. For the sake of Christ, we may find ourselves afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down.

Peter drives home this reality as well when he says, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). The ordeal is fiery, and it does come upon you. It packs a knockout punch.

The enemy’s goal is to devour (1 Peter 5:8). The Lord’s goal is to grow us in faith, trust, and endurance.

Keep It Simple

You Can Get Up

When we are hit hard and knocked to the ground, it feels as if our strength is gone. The bruises of hurt, heartache, and pain keep us pinned. As in Creed, the enemy celebrates, thinking it’s over. But the Lord is faithful. He has given us powerful truths to hold onto when we are down — truths that help us get up, again.

“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ” (Romans 8:39). God himself will perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish us after we’ve suffered for a little while (1 Peter 5:10). Even this — being hit so hard that we are knocked to the ground — will work together for good (Romans 8:28).

We remember that Jesus was once down, crucified, and buried and, for a time, the enemy surely rejoiced. But Jesus rose on the third day, and the same power that raised him from the dead is at work in us who believe. We get up because we’ve been graciously given eternal life, and what we endure in this life cannot compare to the glory to come (2 Corinthians 4:17).

We never stand alone, (though, at times, you may feel alone), toe-to-toe with the enemy, in our battles. Our God, mighty in power, fights for us. Shod in his armor, we stand firm. And even if we’re knocked down, the truth is that he is upholding us with his hand (Psalm 37:24).