Tuesday, January 31, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Are We Really in Control of Our Decisions?

When it comes to making decisions that affect our lives, we generally make intelligent, rational decisions and we're completely in control of our decisions, right?

Dan Ariely, New York Times bestselling author of Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions asks the question in this TED talk, "Are we in control of our decisions?"  Through interesting examples, illusions and research, he shows that we are not always in control of our decisions and we are often not nearly as rational as we believe when making decisions.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Motivation Monday: What is the Single Most Important Thing We Can Do for Our Health?

A friend of mine sent me this video this weekend.  In it, a doctor/teacher poses the question, what is the single most important thing we can do for our health?

I was totally motivated by this video, and I hope you are too!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Photo Friday: Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Sometimes when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place, 
the best thing to do is to enjoy the view.

Rock Alamy in Norway.
Source: magicalplaces.tumblr.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ricochet the SURFice Dog

This is the story of Ricochet, a champion surf dog.  She was raised to be a service dog, but found her true calling as a SURFice dog.  Ricochet is the only known dog in the world who surfs with special needs kids and people with disabilities as an assistive aid.

In this video, she surfs with quadriplegic surfer, Patrick Iveson.  She raised over $10,000 for Patrick, and has raised almost $150,000 for more than 150 human and animal causes.

Here is the link to her page.

While not nearly as impressive or inspiring as Ricochet's accomplishments, here's a 8 second video of our French Bulldog, Moxie learning to skateboard.  Who knows, with a little more training, maybe Moxie can start fundraising too!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ghandi's Top 10 Fundamentals For Changing the World

Are you on Pinterest?  
I am totally addicted.  
I find the BEST gems on that site.
Like this poster of Ghandi's top 10 fundamentals for changing the world.


(E-mail me if you want an invite to Pinterest, I'll be happy to hook you up!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Richard St. John's 8 Secrets of Success

Richard St. John spent 7 years interviewing 500 TED-sters on the real secrets of success.
He shares his results in this fast-paced 3-minute presentation.

Richard St. John's 8 Secrets of Success

1.  Passion.  Do it for love, not for money.
2.  Work.  Work hard, but have fun while you're doing it.
3.  Good.  Get good at something.  Practice and practice.
4.  Focus.  Focus yourself on one thing.
5.  Push.  Physically and mentally, push yourself beyond shyness and self doubt.
6.  Serve.  Serve others something of value.
7.  Ideas.  Listen, observe, be curious, ask questions, problem solve, make connections.
8.  Persist.  Persist through failure.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Motivation Monday: Having a Rough Morning?

Monday mornings can sometimes be rough.  
Remember, with every single heart beat, you're here for a purpose.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: How to Live to be 100+

Dan Buettner trekked the globe to find "Blue Zones," areas in the world where a signifcant portion of its people regularly live astonishingly long, healthy, full lives (often well over 100 years old!).  He discovered 9 common denominators of people in these areas.  He covers these 9 tips for living longer lives in his book, Blue Zones, and in his TED talk.

9 Tips To Living Longer
(From People Who Regularly Live to be Over 100)

1.  Just Move.  None of the world's longest living people exercise!  Well, at least in the way that we think of exercise.  Instead of going to the gym or running on a treadmill, they have lifestyles that encourage them to constantly exercise by moving naturally.  They walk to work, they have stairs in their homes, they garden.

2.  Take Time to Down Shift.  Stress sets off an inflammatory response which is associated with disease.  Having regular routines for just a few minutes a day help people de-stress and actually transforms the stress response from inflammatory to anti-inflammatory.

3.  Have a Sense of Purpose.  Blue Zones have vocabulary that literally translate into "why I wake up in the morning."  Having a clear sense of purpose for your life can add on 7 additional years.

4.  Drink a Little Alcohol Every Day.  This might be my favorite one!  Studies show that moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers.  The key is to have 1 or 2 drinks every night, not 8-10 in one night on the weekend.

5.  Eat a Plant-Based Diet.  This doesn't mean that you have to completely cut out meat altogether, but eat good quality meat, and don't eat a lot of it.  The oldest-living humans eat meals with mainly beans and vegetables.

6.  80% Rule.  "Hara Hachi Bu" is an Okinawan saying that means to stop eating when you are 80% full.  People who live in Blue Zones have strategies to keep from overeating.

7.  Belong.  Most of the people interviewed in his studies belonged to some sort of faith-based community.  Attending some type of faith-based service four times a month can add 4-14 years of additional life expectancy.

8.  Put Your Loved Ones First.  People that live to be over 100 in these studies put their families first.  They take care of their children and their aging parents.

9.  Belong to the Right Tribe.  There is a saying that you are the sum total of the five people that you hang out with the most.  Citizens of Blue Zones were born into or proactively chose circles that supported healthy living.  One of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with the right people.

Here's his TED talk.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Motivation Monday: Don't Wait for Perfect Conditions

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am a recovering perfectionist.
I have never, ever liked to try things that I didn't know I would succeed at.
One of the things that holds me back the most is that I tend to wait for the "perfect conditions" before I jump into things.

Which is why I lovelovelove this:

The truth is that idea of the perfect condition is a myth.
There will never be the right time.
You may never feel prepared enough.
There will always be something that holds you back (mostly yourself).

Waiting to find the right time, or the right situation, or until you have enough in your bank account, or when the kids are done with school - these are all excuses that paralyze us from action and sabotage our potential.  Sometimes you just have to stop waiting for the right circumstances and jump in with both feet!

I actually started this blog to help me get over my own perfectionist issues.

I wanted to get back into writing for a long time.  I would get these bursts of inspiration where I would get all gung-ho to write.  I would buy a beautiful new journal, create a place in my office just for writing, and schedule time every day to write.  I would write for a few days, but then life would slowly creep in and the excuses would flow.
     "I'm working late tonight, I'll try to write tomorrow."
     "I need to come up with a great idea for a book before I can start."
     "My desk is a mess, I can't write until I clean it off."
     "I must wait until the spirit moves me to write."
     "I'm too tired today."
     "My writing isn't good enough, maybe I should take a class first."
Skipping one day would lead to a few days in a row, and pretty soon I stopped writing altogether.

I realized that without accountability, real or perceived, I would never maintain a consistent practice.  So I set up this blog, and promised myself to publish a post every. single. day.  Busy or not, inspired or not, crappy writing or not, just WRITE!  As a recovering perfectionist, do I look at some of my blog posts and wish they were better?  Definitely.  But am I glad I published all 54 of them so far?  Abso-freakin-lutely!
What have you been putting off, waiting for the perfect conditions?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Question of the Day: If Your House Burned Down...

I found this great site today, Thought Questions.  They post an illustrated thought-provoking question daily.

Since my week has consumed with moving and my thoughts have been preoccupied with clutter, stuff and possessions, I thought this question from their site was appropriate:

What three things would you miss most?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Simple Tip for Keeping Your House (and Mind) Uncluttered

In honor of yesterday's TED Talk on Less Stuff, More Happiness, I found this quote by William Morris:

As I'm packing and purging, this is my new mantra!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Less Stuff, More Happiness

For someone who really hates moving, I seem to do a lot of it.
There was a nomadic stretch of my twenties that I moved 9 times in 6 years.
No matter how often I move, I invariably end up saying to myself at some point during the packing process,
"Why do I have so much stuff?!"
When I move into the new place, I have this little game I play with myself.  I vow to keep things pared down, and I promise that this time I will keep my desk neat.  That I will have a place for everything, so things don't end up cluttered.  This time will be different.

But a few months later, and I'm back to my shopping, accumulating, buying ways.  And then a few years later when it's time to move, I'm in an all too familiar place- staring at a mountain of boxes, asking myself,
"Why do I have so much stuff?!"

Here We Go Again

The interesting thing is, when I think of the times that I was the happiest, it's usually times when I barely had any stuff at all: backpacking through Europe, being dirt poor in college, traveling the world.  I had less stuff, but I was more happy, more free, and more ME.

In today's TED Talk, Graham Hill makes the case that editing your life and taking less space can actually make you happier.

Here are his three rules for living little:

Check out his TED talk here:

In what way can you edit your own life today?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Motivation Monday: Rocky Quote

Today's Motivation Monday is a clip from the last Rocky movie.

Do yourself a favor.
Take the next 46 seconds out of your life and play the video.
Trust me, It is the swift kick in the butt to get you motivated this Monday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Photo Friday: A Dog's Loyalty

This image was one of Buzzfeed's 45 Most Powerful Images of 2011.

It's a photo of "Hawkeye," the dog of slain Navy SEAL, John Tumlison.

Tumlison was part of the Navy SEAL team that was killed by enemy fire when their Chinook helicopter was gunned down in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011.

During the funeral, the Chocolate Lab wandered over to his owner's casket and lay next to it through the service, refusing to leave his side.

As a huge dog lover, this image makes me tear up every time I see it.  Dogs are the physical embodiment to unconditional love and unyielding loyalty.  We have a lot that we can learn from dogs.

Here are the two fuzzy loves of my life!
Moxie and Rocco

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Mugging of Julio Diaz: A Story About Remarkable Generosity

Today's Inspiration Cupcake is one of the most unbelievable stories of generosity I've ever heard.

One evening, Julio Diaz stepped off the subway onto an empty platform in the Bronx and was approached by a teenage boy with a knife demanding his wallet.

Julio handed over his wallet, and as the boy started walking away, Julio stopped him.  He said, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm."  

The boy stopped dead in his tracks and asked, "Why are you doing this?"

Julio responded, "If you're willing to risk your freedom for a few dollars, then I guess you must really need the money. I mean, all I wanted to do was get dinner and if you really want to join me ... hey, you're more than welcome."  The boy took him up on his offer and they ate dinner at Julio's favorite diner. 

When the waitress left the bill, Julio said to the boy, "Look, I guess you're going to have to pay for this bill 'cause you have my money and I can't pay for this. So if you give me my wallet back, I'll gladly treat you."  The boy returned the wallet and Julio gave him $20.  Julio asked for something in return — the knife.  The boy gave it to him.  

Listen to Julio's story in his own words on NPR's Storycorps here:

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quote of the Day: This is Your Life

I just love this.  It's hanging on my bulletin board and I am inspired by it every single day.
Hope you enjoy it too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

TED Talk Tuesday: Sleep Your Way to the Top

Want to be more productive?
More inspired?
More joyful?

Arianna Huffington has a simple but revolutionary idea to help you achieve all those goals:
Get more sleep!

In her short (4-minute) TED talk, she argues that getting more sleep is the key to a better life.

I have to admit, the first time I heard this talk, I resisted the idea that getting enough sleep was that important.  After all, I am #1 a perpetual night owl (if it were up to me, I'd stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. every night) and #2 one of those people who like to brag about how few hours of sleep I had last night.  It's almost like a masochistic badge of honor.

But then I think about how I function when I'm sleep-deprived.  Even after a couple cups of coffee or a Red Bull, my mind is still crawling through cobwebs, and even if I convince myself that my performance didn't suffer (yeah, right), the bigger issue is that when I'm that tired, it's impossible to truly be in the moment.

Beyond that, it's downright dangerous.  Studies show that sleep deprivation is actually as bad as being drunk.

Plus, the crazy thing is - I really LOVE sleep.  I love waking up after a really great night's sleep.  I love drifting off to snooze-land when it's super cold out with a mountain of blankets piled on top of me.  I love the cool underside of my pillow on a mid-day nap.  So why do I deprive myself of sleep?

My theory is its our culture's preoccupation with activity.  We are constantly doing something.  Even when we're lounging at the beach on vacation, we're still on our smartphones posting on Facebook or checking our stocks.  We are obsessed with cramming activity into every single minute, that sleep feels unproductive.

But Arianna is right.  Sleep can actually make us more productive.

Check out her quick TED talk.
I'm off to take a nap ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Motivation Monday: What You Should Focus On

It's the first Monday of 2012!
It's the first day back to work after the holidays.
It's also the start of many, many New Year's Resolutions.

That's a little stressful!

It's really easy to get overwhelmed right now.
There are so many things that pull for our attention.
Here's a quick diagram from BehaviorGap.com that helps simplify what we should focus on.
It really is that easy.

Happy Monday!