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Don’t Judge My Choices Without Understanding My Reasons

Life HackFri, 07/18/2014 - 01:00

Categories:

Life

Don’t judge my choices without understanding my reasons.

Some years ago I remember standing in my kitchen, staring silently at my boxes of cereal, trying to decide which to have for breakfast.  Was it a Frostie’s morning, or was it more of an Oat Crunchie’s day?  Or maybe granola?  I stood there for 5 minutes, until – utterly frustrated – I marched out of the house and went without.

5 Ways to Stop Second Guessing Yourself

The post Don’t Judge My Choices Without Understanding My Reasons appeared first on Lifehack.

Is Water Really The Best Drink For Thirsty Kids And Adults? You Might Be In For A Shock

Life HackFri, 07/18/2014 - 00:30

Categories:

Life

Choosing the right drinks is essential when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle.

Most healthy drinks are marketed for their nutritional value, but a closer look will tell you that it maybe a better idea to avoid such beverages. Sports drinks may not be filled with sugar, but they are high in sodium and pack an average of 200 calories per bottle.

Considering that an average dinner is between 500-700 calories, water (zero calories) would probably be a better option.

Juice can also be very deceiving. Companies use misleading words on the packaging such as ‘natural’ and ‘vitamins’ to lure consumers into buying their product. Most juices that come in a bottle or can are filled with high levels of sugar.

Having a cup of juice once in a while isn’t bad, just be sure not to make it a substitute for water.

Best & Worst Drinks For Thirsty Kids (Food Infographics) | Design Infographics

The post Is Water Really The Best Drink For Thirsty Kids And Adults? You Might Be In For A Shock appeared first on Lifehack.

The "Just In Time" Theory of User Behavior

Coding HorrorFri, 07/18/2014 - 00:05

Categories:

Tech

I've long believed that the design of your software has a profound impact on how users behave within your software. But there are two sides to this story:

  • Encouraging the "right" things by making those things intentionally easy to do.

  • Discouraging the "wrong" things by making those things intentionally difficult, complex, and awkward to do.

Whether the software is doing this intentionally, or completely accidentally, it's a fact of life: the path of least resistance is everyone's best friend. Learn to master this path, or others will master it for you.

For proof, consider Dan Ariely's new and amazing book, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone – Especially Ourselves.

Indeed, let's be honest: we all lie, all the time. Not because we're bad people, mind you, but because we have to regularly lie to ourselves as a survival mechanism. You think we should be completely honest all the time? Yeah. Good luck with that.

But these healthy little white lies we learn to tell ourselves have a darker side. Have you ever heard this old adage?

One day, Peter locked himself out of his house. After a spell, the locksmith pulled up in his truck and picked the lock in about a minute.

“I was amazed at how quickly and easily this guy was able to open the door,” Peter said. The locksmith told him that locks are on doors only to keep honest people honest. One percent of people will always be honest and never steal. Another 1% will always be dishonest and always try to pick your lock and steal your television; locks won’t do much to protect you from the hardened thieves, who can get into your house if they really want to.

The purpose of locks, the locksmith said, is to protect you from the 98% of mostly honest people who might be tempted to try your door if it had no lock.

I had heard this expressed less optimistically before as

10% of people will never steal, 10% of people will always steal, and for everyone else … it depends.

It's the "it depends" part which is crucial to understanding human nature, and that's what Ariely spends most of the book examining in various tests. If for most people, honesty depends, what exactly does it depend on? The experiments Ariely conducts prove again and again that most people will consistently and reliably cheat "just a little", to the extent that they can still consider themselves honest people. The gating factor isn't laws, penalties, or ethics. Turns out that stuff has virtually no effect on behavior. What does, though, is whether they can personally still feel like they are honest people.

This is because they don't even consider it cheating – they're just taking a little extra, giving themselves a tiny break, enjoying a minor boost, because well, haven't they been working extra specially hard lately and earned it? Don't they of all people deserve something nice once in a while, and who would even miss this tiny amount? There's so much!

These little white lies are the path of least resistance. They are everywhere. If laws don't work, if ethics classes don't work, if severe penalties don't work, how do you encourage people to behave in a way that "feels" honest that is actually, you know, honest? Feelings are some pretty squishy stuff.

Turns out, it's easier than you think.

My colleagues and I ran an experiment at the University of California, Los Angeles. We took a group of 450 participants, split them into two groups and set them loose on our usual matrix task. We asked half of them to recall the Ten Commandments and the other half to recall 10 books that they had read in high school.

Among the group who recalled the 10 books, we saw the typical widespread but moderate cheating. But in the group that was asked to recall the Ten Commandments, we observed no cheating whatsoever. We reran the experiment, reminding students of their schools' honor codes instead of the Ten Commandments, and we got the same result. We even reran the experiment on a group of self-declared atheists, asking them to swear on a Bible, and got the same no-cheating results yet again.

That's the good news: a simple reminder at the time of the temptation is usually all it takes for people to suddenly "remember" their honesty.

The bad news is Clippy was right.

In my experience, nobody reads manuals, nobody reads FAQs, and nobody reads tutorials. I am exaggerating a little here for effect, of course. Some A+ students will go out of their way to read these things. That's how they became A+ students, by naturally going the extra mile, and generally being the kind of users who teach themselves perfectly well without needing special resources to get there. When I say "nobody" I mean the vast overwhelming massive majority of people you would really, really want to read things like that. People who don't have the time or inclination to expend any effort at all other than the absolute minimum required, people who are most definitely not going to go the extra mile.

In other words, the whole world.

So how do you help people who, like us, just never seem to have the time to figure this stuff out becase they're, like, suuuuper busy and stuff?

You do it by showing them …

  • the minumum helpful reminder
  • at exactly the right time

This is what I've called the "Just In Time" theory of user behavior for years. Sure, FAQs and tutorials and help centers are great and all, but who has the time for that? We're all perpetual intermediates here, at best.

The closer you can get your software to practical, useful "Just In Time" reminders, the better you can help the users who are most in need. Not the A+ students who already read the FAQ, and studied the help center intently, but those users who never read anything. And now, thanks to Dan Ariely, I have the science to back this up. Even something as simple as putting your name on the top of a form to report auto insurance milage, rather than the bottom, resulted in a mysterious 10% increase in average miles reported. Having that little reminder right at the start that hey, your name is here on this form, inspired additional honesty. It works.

Did we use this technique on Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange? Indeed we did. Do I use this technique on Discourse? You bet, in even more places, because this is social discussion, not technical Q&A. We are rather big on civility, so we like to remind people when they post on Discourse they aren't talking to a computer or a robot, but a real person, a lot like you.

When's the natural time to remind someone of this? Not when they sign up, not when they're reading, but at the very moment they begin typing their first words in their first post. This is the moment of temptation when you might be super mega convinced that someone is Wrong on the Internet. So we put up a gentle little reminder Just In Time, right above where they are typing:

Then hopefully, as Dan Ariely showed us with honesty, this little reminder will tap into people's natural reserves of friendliness and civility, so cooler heads will prevail – and a few people are inspired to get along a little better than they did yesterday. Just because you're on the Internet doesn't mean you need to be yelling at folks 24/7.

We use this same technique a bunch of other places: if you are posting a lot but haven't set an avatar, if you are adding a new post to a particularly old conversation, if you are replying a bunch of times in the same topic, and so forth. Wherever we feel a gentle nudge might help, at the exact time the behavior is occurring.

It's important to understand that we use these reminders in Discourse not because we believe people are dumb; quite the contrary, we use them because we believe people are smart, civil, and interesting. Turns out everyone just needs to be reminded of that once in a while for it to continue to be true.

[advertisement] Stack Overflow Careers matches the best developers (you!) with the best employers. You can search our job listings or create a profile and even let employers find you.

The Trick to Using Natural Sweeteners in Baking

Life HackFri, 07/18/2014 - 00:00

Categories:

Life

It’s great fun to make your own baked goods. Your family and guests are impressed, and you’re saving money by cooking at home rather than buying cakes and tarts at the store. The only problem is the health concerns that arise when you’re eating these scrumptious goodies.

I’m always looking for new techniques to make my baking healthier. To date, the simplest way I’ve found is to replace the sugar with a good-quality, natural sweetener. Just try it with your favorite recipe such as the banana bread below, and you’ll be surprised at the results! However, the trick is finding the right natural sweetener.

Which natural sweeteners should you use?

When it comes to choosing the best natural sweetener, you’ll likely find the most success with a blend of both erythritol and stevia.

Erythritol is a sugar alcohol that provides the physical properties of sugar, but it isn’t as sweet. It occurs naturally in small amounts in some fruits, and in larger amounts in certain mushrooms and other fungi and in fermented foods such as wine and soy sauce. Stevia is an extract from a herb, and is much sweeter than sugar. The thing to note with stevia is that a little goes a long way! It is often used to sweeten smoothies, sauces, frostings, icings and glazes.

How much should you use?

The ideal amount will vary from recipe to recipe. I’ve had the most success by replacing half the sugar by weight with an erythritol/stevia blend.

For example, in the banana bread recipe below, I’d use 7oz (200g) sugar or 3.5oz (100g) erythritol/stevia blend.

There are three different options for finding an erythritol/stevia blend:

  1. Your local supermarket or health food store. Check the ingredients list to make sure it contains erythritol and stevia.
  2. Online. A quick search on the internet should help you locate a blend you can purchase easily.
  3. Make your own. This is the most cost-effective option. Just buy erythritol and stevia separately either online or at the store. Then combine 6 1/3oz (180g) or 1 cup of erythritol with half a teaspoon of stevia.
Are there any negatives?

Be careful with the natural sweetener agave syrup or nectar. Although it’s a natural product made from cactus, it contains high levels of fructose. This means it is like a more natural form of high-fructose corn syrup – not the healthy alternative sweetener it initially appears to be!

You may, however, find that the only downside to using natural sweeteners is the cost. With sugar so cheap, stevia/erythritol blends are rather expensive by comparison. But remember, you’ll only be using half as much, so it’s not as drastic as it seems! If you think about the long-term savings to your health, you’ll see that it will really pay off.

‘Paleo’ Banana Bread Recipe

Makes about 8 slices

This banana bread is super moist and really more at the cake end of the spectrum – but don’t let that stop you having a slice toasted with fresh ricotta for breakfast.

The brand of natural sweetener I’ve been using is called Natvia and it’s a blend of stevia and erythritol. If you can’t find, it you could use plain erythritol and a few drops of liquid stevia.

Ingredients:

2 bananas

5oz (150g) butter, melted

6 eggs

3.5oz (100g) erythritol/stevia blend

2.25oz (65g) coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line a small loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Peel and mash bananas. Combine with butter, eggs and the erythritol/stevia blend.
  3. Whisk in the coconut flour and baking powder. Transfer to your prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until the ‘bread’ is well browned and feels firm and springy.

Featured photo credit: Jules Clancy via flic.kr

The post The Trick to Using Natural Sweeteners in Baking appeared first on Lifehack.

How Note-Taking Helps You Learn and Organize

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 23:30

Categories:

Life

We’ve all heard great note-taking skills are a huge benefit to learning and being organized, but what exactly is the science behind it? Does it matter if you use a laptop vs. pen and paper? What are the best note-taking methods? What percentage of people take notes? Turns out, there’s more than one answer. (Yes, it’s totally fine to use your laptop if your teacher allows it.)

Course Hero breaks down the science of note-taking from real research studies and proven methods to give you the low-down on writing it down. Learn why note-taking is better than just listening, how learning is being digitized, and how to take notes like a pro.

The post How Note-Taking Helps You Learn and Organize appeared first on Lifehack.

Scikit-learn 0.15 release

Another word for itThu, 07/17/2014 - 23:16

Categories:

Topic Maps

Scikit-learn 0.15 release by Gaël Varoquaux.

From the post:

Highlights:

Quality— Looking at the commit log, there has been a huge amount of work to fix minor annoying issues.

Speed— There has been a huge effort put in making many parts of scikit-learn faster. Little details all over the codebase. We do hope that you’ll find that your applications run faster. For instance, we find that the worst case speed of Ward clustering is 1.5 times faster in 0.15 than 0.14. K-means clustering is often 1.1 times faster. KNN, when used in brute-force mode, got faster by a factor of 2 or 3.

Random Forest and various tree methods— The random forest and various tree methods are much much faster, use parallel computing much better, and use less memory. For instance, the picture on the right shows the scikit-learn random forest running in parallel on a fat Amazon node, and nicely using all the CPUs with little RAM usage.

Hierarchical aglomerative clusteringComplete linkage and average linkage clustering have been added. The benefit of these approach compared to the existing Ward clustering is that they can take an arbitrary distance matrix.

Robust linear models— Scikit-learn now includes RANSAC for robust linear regression.

HMM are deprecated— We have been discussing for a long time removing HMMs, that do not fit in the focus of scikit-learn on predictive modeling. We have created a separate hmmlearn repository for the HMM code. It is looking for maintainers.

And much more— plenty of “minor things”, such as better support for sparse data, better support for multi-label data…

Get thee to Scikit-learn!

Turning Wishes into Goals in 3 Easy Steps

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 23:00

Categories:

Life

“When you wish upon a star, Makes no difference who you are, Anything your heart desires will come to you.” – “Pinocchio,” Walt Disney Pictures, lyrics by Ned Washington

Well, maybe it’s not quite as simple as merely wishing our dreams to come true but this life we lead comprises a series of wishes that are transformed into goals. Think of every step taken as inching us a bit closer to our desired results. Each step connects and builds upon the other. But you never set out on any course until you know where you want to go. If you did, who knows where you might end up! You have to have some vision of where you want the journey to flow. Your personal vision lays that foundation and will illuminate the path before you.

And what is a personal vision? It describes what you want in the future. Your vision signifies your dreams and starts to scratch the surface of your life purpose. When you build a vision that makes you feel happier, healthier, more successful, purpose driven, and filled with passion, you are more likely to set a plan into motion to make that vision become reality.

And what’s the difference between vision versus wishes? Living your life without a vision is like walking in the darkness. You’re going to bump into a lot of things. When you have a vision, it gives you a clear and positive direction. But remember, a vision without goals is just a wish.

3 Easy Steps to Turn Your Vision into Goals

Here’s the million dollar question: What if your life stayed the same over the next five years with no new changes? Do you like that idea, or does it scare the bejesus out of you? If you don’t have a warm and fuzzy feeling about that, don’t think you are stuck with that reality.

Today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality and here’s how you make that happen:

1. Imagine without limitations

Stephen Covey said, “All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation of all things.” So, here’s how to start the mental creation or vision. Grab a pen and paper. Find a peaceful place without distractions, perhaps pour a glass of wine, put on some music and think … just think.

Imagine that you are 80 years old. You’re happy and healthy. You are sitting on your porch watching an amazing sunset. As the sun dips for the evening, you start thinking about your life, the ideal life that you have led. What does that ideal life look like?

Answer these questions:

  • Who are you as a person? What is it about you that people value?
  • What are your values?
  • What have you achieved? Where did you work? Where did you live?
  • What added meaning to your life and gave you a sense of fulfillment?
  • How did your life unfold in these areas: family, friends, significant other, career, health, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing?
  • Where did you travel? What did you do for fun?
  • What advice would you pass on to a younger generation?
  • What is your life story? What kind of life did you lead?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • What is your favorite memory in life?
2. The Current Reality

Once you have answered all of the questions above, take a look at the questions again and answer them. This time answer them just as it is in the present day. Describe your life now. This is not an exercise to make you feel bad or inadequate. You simply need a starting point. You have to know where you are so you can get to where you want to be. This helps you chart that course.

3. Fill in the Gaps and Make Your Vision Successful

After you conduct your assessment, the areas between the reality and the vision are the gap areas. The only way to be successful in your vision is to continually visualize it, set goals, and develop a plan of action to reach your vision. Have both short-term and long-term goals so that over time you start to see more parts of your vision coming true. Then, one day, you will wake up and find that you are living your vision in real-time.

It’s not as hard as you might think to close the gap. Start with a plan that covers the next three to five years. For example, if you have envisioned obtaining your master’s degree, you have to diagram out a way to do that. How much money will it take? Which school? How long will it take? What type of schedule adjustments will you need to make? What will you study?

You have to plot out all of the action plans — or the step-by-step process — you will need to go through to meet this goal. For each of the envisioned goals, you will have to devise a plan. Once you do that, you are ready to go. It’s one step at a time. One goal at a time.

Be inspired today. Find a quiet setting where you have a few moments alone and start imagining without limitations!

The post Turning Wishes into Goals in 3 Easy Steps appeared first on Lifehack.

Feeling Uninspired? These Imaginative Photos of Everyday Objects Might Help

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 22:30

Categories:

Life

Inspiration can be found in the most common places and easily missed in the lull of day-to-day life. Artist Tanaka Tatsuya’s miniature calendar will lead you to look for inspiration everywhere. He posts a daily picture of miniatures posed in interesting, creative ways with household objects to make adorable scenes. He frequently uses things like food items, office supplies, and iPhones to show the incredible potential of commonplace objects. Join his 84,000 followers on Instagram to reinvigorate your imagination. He also published a photo book featuring some of his most well-received posts, available only in Japan for now.

See a few highlights from his extensive collection of pictures below.

 

The post Feeling Uninspired? These Imaginative Photos of Everyday Objects Might Help appeared first on Lifehack.

Workshop on Evaluation and Usability of Programming Languages and Tools (PLATEAU)

Lambda the UltimateThu, 07/17/2014 - 22:19

Categories:

Engineering

We are having another PLATEAU workshop at SPLASH 2014. We have a new category for "Hypotheses Papers" and thought this would be particularly appealing to the LTU community.

http://2014.splashcon.org/track/plateau2014

Programming languages exist to enable programmers to develop software effectively. But how efficiently programmers can write software depends on the usability of the languages and tools that they develop with. The aim of this workshop is to discuss methods, metrics and techniques for evaluating the usability of languages and language tools. The supposed benefits of such languages and tools cover a large space, including making programs easier to read, write, and maintain; allowing programmers to write more flexible and powerful programs; and restricting programs to make them more safe and secure.

PLATEAU gathers the intersection of researchers in the programming language, programming tool, and human-computer interaction communities to share their research and discuss the future of evaluation and usability of programming languages and tools.

Some particular areas of interest are:
- empirical studies of programming languages
- methodologies and philosophies behind language and tool evaluation
- software design metrics and their relations to the underlying language
- user studies of language features and software engineering tools
- visual techniques for understanding programming languages
- critical comparisons of programming paradigms
- tools to support evaluating programming languages
- psychology of programming

Submission Details

PLATEAU encourages submissions of three types of papers:

Research and position papers: We encourage papers that describe work-in-progress or recently completed work based on the themes and goals of the workshop or related topics, report on experiences gained, question accepted wisdom, raise challenging open problems, or propose speculative new approaches. We will accept two types of papers: research papers up to 8 pages in length; and position papers up to 2 pages in length.

Hypotheses papers: Hypotheses papers explicitly identify beliefs of the research community or software industry about how a programming language, programming language feature, or programming language tool affects programming practice. Hypotheses can be collected from mailing lists, blog posts, paper introductions, developer forums, or interviews. Papers should clearly document the source(s) of each hypothesis and discuss the importance, use, and relevance of the hypotheses on research or practice. Papers may also, but are not required to, review evidence for or against the hypotheses identified. Hypotheses papers can be up to 4 pages in length.

Papers will be published in the ACM Digital Library at the authors’ discretion.

Important Dates

Workshop paper submission due - 1 August, 2014
Notification to authors - 22 August, 2014
Early registration deadline - 19 September, 2014

Keynote

Josh Bloch, former Chief Java Architect at Google and Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems.

12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job to Start Your Own Business

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 22:00

Categories:

Life

If you want to live a passionate life of freedom, quit your job and start your own business. Escaping the limitations of 9–5 is the only way to experience true freedom. But to be sure your transition will be successful, ask yourself these 12 questions before you take the leap.

1. Are you willing to do whatever it takes?

To start your own business you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. Sometimes that’s not fun: it’s inconvenient and you can’t do what you really want to. The willingness to do whatever it takes comes from a deep commitment to your business that all successful entrepreneurs must have.

2. Are you willing to adapt your approach often?

The only way for a business to fail is to stop adapting. If a product doesn’t sell, keep adapting, modifying, changing and improving it until it does. You might change its color, change its price, change who you sell it to or change its stated purpose. You may need to change the product, change the service or change the product into a service. Keep changing until you get it right. Failure only comes when you stop doing this.

3. Are you focused enough to start your own business?

Focus worked for Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, so it will probably work pretty well for you. There are only two resources you put into creating a business: time and money. Even Warren and Bill have a limited amount of both. So do you. To successfully start your own business, you have to pour all you have into it. Your business needs as much of your resources as you can possibly give it, so pour it all in. Don’t spread your resources among several small things; none of them will get enough of what they need to succeed.

4. Are you willing to give up some things in the short term?

The only time you should give up things that are important to you is when giving them up will allow you to have more of them in the future. This is one of those times. There may be no vacations for a year, or two, or three. There will be way less TV. There will be less time with your kids, friends and family. If you want the increased time and the increased quality of time (which comes from money) in the future, you must give up some of it now. Do it for your future.

5. Are you ready for the most intense psychotherapy you’ve ever undergone?

Aspiring entrepreneurs often believe they will learn about business plans, marketing, accounting and business models. You will, but that will be small compared to the self-discovery process you will go through. You’ll learn about your strengths, weaknesses and everything in between. Starting a business is a very personal process and one that will test your limits and make you realize you had capabilities you never even thought possible. You’ll also probably cry a few times.

6. Are you able to listen without judging or evaluating?

When you start your own business, you must develop your listening skills to a level beyond what you ever thought was possible. You have to listen to your customers and prospects so closely you can even hear what they don’t say. You need a level of understanding of your customers that you can’t get unless you listen to every word they say and understand their needs and aspirations better than they do.

7. Are you ready to fire your ego?

Your first dirty job as CEO of your own business is to give your ego the pink slip. If you don’t fire your ego, it will be the worst employee on your team. Your ego makes you think you’re right all the time and won’t let you objectively consider all the relevant facts. When you start your own business, you have to be humble and able to consider all information (remember number 6) without feeling threatened by the possibility of being wrong. Ego, pack up your cubicle!

8. Are you ready to accept feedback?

As an entrepreneur, you have to be open and willing to accept the information you receive as feedback. Then you have to take the feedback and use it to make your business, product or service better. You can’t do this if your ego is standing guard — defending you as perfect and all-knowing (good thing you fired it in number 7). You have to be able to accept the feedback and realize that, perhaps nobody wants to buy your little blue widget. However, if you’ve been listening (there’s number 6 again), you’ll know they would buy it at a higher price if you just painted it red and added googly eyes.

9. Are you confident enough to ignore feedback?

Yes, this is the opposite of number 8. Sorry about that. But as an entrepreneur, you’ll have to confront conflicting information often. While you do have to be willing to accept feedback, you also have to have enough confidence in your vision for your business that you can ignore feedback as well. One person says emphatically the widget must be blue. Another says with equal emphasis that it must be red. They have equal credibility. It’s your company, your vision and you get to decide: you must decide. Confidently make a decision and let your vision for the business guide you. If you make the wrong decision that’s OK. Speaking of that, we probably need to talk about failure.

10. Are you cool with failure?

The media loves failure. They love to see businesses, celebrities and entrepreneurs fall on their face because it makes great news. They’ve convinced us that “failure” is a big, catastrophic event and (worst of all) the end. It’s not. Failing is just part of the process. It’s just another step toward success. The important thing is to never believe that failure is the end. Just get back up and keep going.

11. Are you willing to take full responsibility for whatever happens?

My high-school English teacher would cringe because each of these headings started with “Are you,” but that’s intentional. When you start your own business, you must believe that everything that happens, good or bad, is because of you. Blaming any other person, entity, organization, situation or the weather will doom your business because it takes you off the hook. It gives you someone else to blame, which your ego will temporarily enjoy, but in the longer term it will spell the end of your business. Because by giving away responsibility, you’ve given away your power. Keep your responsibility and keep your power.

12. Do you care about starting your business more than anything?

You’ll never be able to start your own business unless you care about it a whole bunch. That doesn’t mean there can’t be other things you care about — there should be. But your business has to be up in your top two or three. If it’s not important enough, the daily grind and to-do lists will push your business to the bottom of the heap and you’ll never give it the focus it needs to thrive.

Business plans, market analysis, financial cushion and all that are great, but none of that matters if you can’t say, “Yes!” with ten exclamation points to each of these things. The happiest and most successful people in the world are entrepreneurs and that’s because they have answered a euphoric yes to these questions and created a business and a life they are passionate about.

If you answer no to any of these questions, it doesn’t mean you can’t start a business, it just means you’re not ready. Keep reading, studying, dreaming and hang out with some successful entrepreneurs. You’ll get ready.

The post 12 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Quit Your Job to Start Your Own Business appeared first on Lifehack.

The Ultimate Chat-Up Lines Cheat Sheet For Ice-Breaking

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 21:30

Categories:

Life

Ever used a chat-up line to break the ice? Come near, I’ll teach you some lines that will surely make you successful as an ice breaker. One thing you have to remember is that you are delivering spiels, so the way you deliver them is the biggest factor for the chat-up line to be impactful. Take it from a radio host who handled shows for 18 years.

Here are cheesy chat-up lines you can use to break ice:

NOTE: Remember, its all in the delivery. Be bold and give all you’ve got when you give the spiel.

1. While having a date in a fine dining restaurant:
You may fall from the sky, you may fall from a tree, but the best way to fall… is in love with me.

2. In an open house while checking every corner of the house:
Are you an interior decorator? Because when I saw you, the entire room became beautiful.

3. While roaming around in a photo exhibit:
I’m not a photographer, but I can picture me and you together.

4. While hanging out on the beach:
Do you have a sunburn, or are you always this hot?

5. While having a drink in a bar:
Did it hurt when you fell out of heaven?

6. While standing in line waiting for your turn on a supermarket cashier:
Is your daddy a Baker? Because you’ve got a nice set of buns!

7. While hanging out with friends in a park:
Are you a camera? Because every time I look at you, I smile.

8. While attending a friend’s party:
I guess you can kiss Heaven goodbye. Because it has got to be a sin to look that good.

9. Anywhere during the yuletide season:
If a fat man puts you in a bag at night, don’t worry I told Santa I wanted you for Christmas.

10. In a bar while hanging with friends:
My buddies bet me that I wouldn’t be able to start a conversation with the most beautiful girl in the bar. Wanna buy some drinks with their money?

11. In a restaurant while having a lunch break:
Know what’s on the menu? Me-n-u.

12. While walking in a university campus and the girl you want to chat with is sitting or waiting for her next class:
Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?

13. During a dinner date (while waiting for the food to arrive) in a swanky restaurant:
I will stop loving you when an apple grows from a mango tree on the 30th of February.

14. In the metro while waiting for a cab:
You look cold. Want to use me as a blanket?

15. In a Men’s and Ladies clothing store while shopping for clothes:
Apart from being sexy, what do you do for a living?

16. In an urban area while walking with a crowd:
Can I have directions? [To where?] To your heart.

17. In a bar while enjoying a drink:
I’m not drunk, I’m just intoxicated by YOU.

18. During a seminar break, while waiting for the next session:
I was so enchanted by your beauty that I ran into that wall over there. So I’m going to need your name and number for insurance purposes.

19. While on the beach just walking by the shore:
I must be lost. I thought paradise was further south?

20. While watching a basketball game in a sports arena:
Your body is 65% water and I’m thirsty.

21. On the streets near corporate buildings after parking your car:
Are you a parking ticket? Because you’ve got FINE written all over you.

22. In a clinic lounge while waiting for your turn to see the doctor.
My doctor says I’m lacking Vitamin U.

23. During the rush hour after work, while walking in the metro:
Can I follow you home? Cause my parents always told me to follow my dreams.

24. During an acquaintance party in a school:
People call me John, but you can call me Tonight!

25. Inside a university canteen while taking a break after class:
You look so familiar… didn’t we take a class together? I could’ve sworn we had chemistry.

Sources: BestChatUpLines.comGotLinesPick Up Lines Galore

Featured photo credit: Young love/Blogphoto.tv via blogphoto.tv

The post The Ultimate Chat-Up Lines Cheat Sheet For Ice-Breaking appeared first on Lifehack.

Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line, May Cost Up To $200 Million In Revenue

Search Engine LandThu, 07/17/2014 - 21:17

Categories:

Search
Earlier this year, eBay was hit with a search penalty by Google. The loss of traffic resulting from that has been noticeable enough that eBay acknowledged it in a financial call this week, suggesting it may have cost up to $200 million in revenue. eBay also said it plans to improve its efforts in...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 21:00

Categories:

Life

When you look at your relationship with your parents today, how would you best describe it?

Is it a state you are happy with? Would you rate it 10/10? Is it one where you’ll say “this is the best, most ideal state I can ever be with my parents”?

If your answer is “no,” then you’re not alone. One of my deepest wishes for my parents for a long time was for them to be my best friends. That beyond them being parental figures to me, I could connect openly and emotionally with them, share all my deepest thoughts, and have meaningful discussions.

However, this wasn’t the case. If anything, it was the direct opposite — I would classify my relationship with my parents as more dysfunctional than anything, and pretty much irreparable. While normal families would have conversations, we wouldn’t do that. We would talk, and no sooner start snapping, yelling or screaming at each other – sometimes even with expletives. While normal families would talk to one another at least once a day, I could go for months without ever talking to my parents, because there was nothing to be communicated.

For 15 years from my adolescent years till my late 20s, this was the kind of relationship I had with my parents. But then, gradually I began to overcome my issues with my parents, one at a time. Today, I’m 30, and I can’t be happier about my relationship with my parents. We are able to talk normally, without anyone losing temper or snapping. We are able to express concern for each other openly, without feeling weirded out by it.

And it wasn’t so much about having a heart-to-heart with them as much as it was about addressing my inner misalignments about our relationship.

Whatever the difficulty you’re facing with your parents today, I’d like to let you know that you’re not alone. Here are some crucial steps to help you get along better with your parents:

See it as a journey

The first thing I want to point out is that improving your relationship with your parents isn’t a “follow X-step and Y-step, then you can see results right away” goal. In fact, you may not even see any changes for a while for that matter. To improve your relationship with your parents is an ongoing, work-in-progress goal — an end point does not exist.

While I was working on my relationship with my parents in the past, one of my biggest challenges was that my efforts often seemed futile. When I tried to hug my parents, my mom violently pushed me away, much to my shock and horror. My dad didn’t return the hug. When I wrote cards to tell them how much I loved them, there was no direct response from my dad or mom. When I tried to start conversations with them, my mom would snap back and ask me why I was asking so many questions, while my dad would give his usual mono-syllabic responses.

That was when I realized my relationship with my parents wasn’t one that could be mended overnight. We’re not talking about mending a one-time conflict. We’re talking about mending a lifetime of arguments, miscommunication, conflicts, and misunderstandings. To think that I could resolve all past grievances with just a few “nice” actions was incredibly naive on my part.

It was then my responsibility to let them know that things were truly different, that I had grown into a different person, and that I was serious about improving our relationship. How? Not through saying it, but through consistent effort. Through consistent effort on my part, they slowly became more receptive to my actions.

Remember these things take time. The rebuilding of trust is a delicate process.

If you want to improve your relationship with your parents, be ready to commit to this as a journey, and not some X step, X thing you execute in one week or one month. Let them know you’re truly sincere in changing the situation. Let them know that you’re not just doing this as a one-off fluke. Anticipate negativity in their reactions at first, because your changed behavior is probably new to them and they’re trying to adjust. Consistent effort is the key.

Release the parent-child ideal in your mind

Many of us have a parent-child ideal etched in our mind — be it from when we were a child, or as a teenager. This ideal probably formed when we were watching TV, when we witnessed interactions between our friends and their parents, when we read about parent-child relationships in books, and the like.

My past parent-child relationship ideal was for my parents to be my best friends. I yearned for us to communicate openly and share anything and everything with each other. I yearned for us to be able to express our care and concern for each other, without reservation.

When I worked on our relationship with this ideal in mind, I faced resistance the whole time – from them to me, from me to them, and from me to myself. Ironically, it was only when I dropped the ideal that our relationship was finally able to grow. It was then that I realized, to my shock, that my parents had been trying so hard to improve our relationship (via their own way) the entire time. I was unfortunately unable to “see” that because I was so fixated on my own ideal.

When you approach your relationship with your parents with a fixed ideal, you suffocate the relationship. Stop expecting them to be someone/something they are not. Instead, accept them as who they are today. This will allow your relationship with them to blossom and come into its own.

Appreciate what they can offer in their capacity

A lot of times we get frustrated with our parents at all the things they don’t do or can’t do. For example, we may be frustrated at how they are so traditional. We may be frustrated at how close-minded they are. We may be frustrated at how slow they are with things.

Rather than get hung up over how your parents aren’t doing X or Y, learn to appreciate what they can offer in their capacity instead.

For me, I used to be frustrated at how my parents can’t fulfill my need to share and relate. After I realized it was just not in their natural disposition to talk about themselves or their feelings, I learned to let go of this expectation, and instead have learned to appreciate what they can offer.

For example, my dad cooks, so when I’m at home, I will eat out less often so that he can cook for me. My mom is a meticulous housemaker and she prides herself at keeping herself up to speed with the needs of the household. Hence, I will let her know if I want any groceries/vegetables/fruits so she can get them. Doing so makes them happy, because it is their way of making a difference in my life.

Understand what you are looking for underneath the ideal

The parent-child ideal we create in our mind is usually a projection of an underlying need that yearns to be fulfilled. The sooner you can identify what you’re looking underneath the ideal, the sooner you can tackle that, as opposed to using the ideal as a proxy of achieving the need, because one may not equate to another.

Let me give an example. A while back, I worked with a client who wanted her dad to be a strong mentor figure. For her dad had always been busy with his work, and was often out of the picture in her life. Despite having several mentors in her life, be it her professors, her bosses, or her pastors, she still longed for her dad to step in as her mentor.

Was the problem because she lacked guidance? No, it wasn’t. She had more smart, highly capable and successful figures giving her support and advice than anyone else. Truth is, she longed for her dad to be her mentor figure because she associated mentorship as love. To her, love meant being watched over, getting guidance and advice, being cared for, and so on. Even though her dad would talk to her occasionally, ferry her to work, participate in family dinners, and spend time with the family when he was not working, these did not register as love to her.

Mentorship, on the other hand, did.

How about you? What is your ideal for your relationship with your parents?

If you look underneath this ideal, what is it you’re looking for?

Is achieving this ideal indicative of that need being met? Or is it just in your head?

Chances are, what you’re seeking with your ideal (be it love from your parents, acceptance by your parents, self-validation, affirmation, etc) is already right there before you, before your very eyes. Don’t fixate yourself so much with your ideal that you miss the very thing you’re looking for — only to see it when it’s too late. The moment you release yourself of this ideal is when the healing between you and your parents begin.

Think about how you can be a better child to them

A lot of times we pinpoint faults in our parents, wondering why they can’t be smarter/richer/more open-minded/less stubborn/more positive/less naggy/quieter/more supportive/etc.

Instead of that, try a different tack — get along better with your parents by thinking about how you can be a better child to them.

Ways to start

  • Start by being sensitive to their needs.
  • Speak to them in their language of love (see next point).
  • Don’t make things difficult for them. Let them have their way if it’s not a life or death situation.
  • Pre-empt things they need help in (usually technology-related stuff if your parents are not tech-savvy), as parents can be quite unwilling to ask for help unless they’re pushed to the wall.
  • Visit them often (if you don’t live with your parents).
  • Take them out for a meal – make it a weekly or biweekly occasion if possible.
  • Give them a call just so they know you’re thinking of them right now.

In being a better child to them, note it’s not about molding yourself to become their ideal of what a son/daughter should be (assuming they have an ideal). You want to stay true to yourself and improve how you treat your parents in your own way.

Speak to them in their language of love

Language of love refers to the way someone expresses love. Different people have different ways of expressing love – some via physical touch, via words, via actions, etc. In the book 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman states the 5 key love languages people use are: (1) Words of affirmation (2) Quality time (spent together) (3) Receiving gifts (4) Acts of service (5) Physical touch.

Being brought up in different generations, it is likely that your language of love is different from your parents’. Rather than “speak” to your parents in your language of love, speak to them in their language of love. This means if their language of love is quality time together, then spend more time with them. If their language of love is receiving gifts, then buy a small gift that means something to both of you. If their language of love is words of affirmation, give them a compliment and/or tell them I love you. They will be able to recognize your intentions more easily that way, and accept them more readily.

Start from existing channels that are already open

If your relationship with your parents is very sour, start from the channels that are already open.

For example, what are the points of contact between you and your parents today? Monthly family dinners? Occasional email exchanges? Sporadic phone calls? Start from there. And work your way up.

My relationship with my parents went downhill during my preadolescent years. Countless arguments, doors slammed in faces mid-way during our verbal fights, shouting, yelling at each other, etc. Because of that, by the time I tried to improve the relationship (when I was 24 or so — that’s about six years ago), many doors between us had been shut close.

This was why when I tried to start our relationship on a fresh slate, I faced an immense amount of resistance.

I figured that it was easier to start from existing channels. For example, occasionally my parents would ask me for help in reading their English mail (which they can’t understand; they are Chinese educated). In the past, I found it burdensome and would push their requests to later in the evening. But then I realized these requests probably meant a lot to my parents, so I became more helpful and patient whenever they sought my help.

No matter how dire your relationship is with your parents today, there are openings you can start off with. If there aren’t (i.e. your connection with your parent(s) has been severed), try the last mode of communication – where you guys left off. Then work from there.

Share in the comments: What is your relationship with your parents like? What is one baby step you can take to get along better with your parents? Remember, this is a journey, not a sprint. Every baby step you take every day will count towards creating a better relationship with your parents.

Read the original article: How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents: A Delicate Guide | Personal Excellence

Featured photo credit: Spirit-Fire via flickr.com

The post How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Parents appeared first on Lifehack.

SearchCap: Bing Opens EU ‘Forgotten’ Form, Marin Supports Google Shopping Campaigns & More

Search Engine LandThu, 07/17/2014 - 20:58

Categories:

Search
Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Marin Software Adds Support For Google Shopping Campaigns Marin Software has added support for Google Shopping Campaigns, which will become the only way to manage...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Drupal core announcements: Drupal core updates for July 16, 2014

Planet DrupalThu, 07/17/2014 - 20:45

Categories:

Drupal
What's new with Drupal 8?

This week saw the commit of part one and two of the major menu-system rewrite in which menu-links become plugins. The original patch weighed in at over 600kb and was one of the remaining seven beta-blockers. Splitting it into five separate issues made reviews more forthcoming and this was evident with part one and two moving quickly from needs review to RTBC to ultimately being committed. Reviewers have now moved onto parts three through five.
There was a massive volume of commits this week with cleanups keeping the committers very-busy, lots of deprecated functions were removed and lots of procedural menu and form code was ported to the new Object-oriented approaches.

Where's Drupal 8 at in terms of release?

In the past week, we've fixed 3 critical issues and 8 major issues, and opened 5 criticals and 9 majors. That puts us overall at 107 release-blocking critical issues and 623 major issues.

Outstanding beta blockers

Outstanding critical issues in Drupal 8

Outstanding major issues in Drupal 8

Where can I help? Top criticals to hit this week

Each week, we check with core maintainers and contributors for the "extra critical" criticals that are blocking other work. These issues are often tough problems with a long history. If you're familiar with the problem-space of one of these issues and have the time to dig in, help drive it forward by reviewing, improving, and testing its patch, and by making sure the issue's summary is up to date and any API changes are documented with a draft change record, we could use your help!

More ways to help

Issue #1679344: Race condition in node_save() when not using DB for cache_field recently caused a Drupal.org outage. The issue already has a proposed resolution recommended in comment #24 — help out by reviewing the patch for either D7 or D8.

Additionally, there are a bunch of easy documentation issues which need some help moving forward. For each of these, there is a "Child Issues" sidebar. Look there for issues that are "active", "needs work", or "needs review":

As always, if you're new to contributing to core, check out Core contribution mentoring hours. Twice per week, you can log into IRC and helpful Drupal core mentors will get you set up with answers to any of your questions, plus provide some useful issues to work on.

You can also help by sponsoring Drupal core development.

Notable Commits

The best of git log --since "1 week ago" --pretty=oneline (112 commits in total):

  • Various conversions of controllers and forms to OO code, only a handful remain now
    • Issue 2010246 by tim.plunkett, tkuldeep17, plopesc, InternetDevels, pfrenssen, googletorp: Convert update_manager_install_form, update_manager_update_form, update_manager_update_ready_form to the new form interface.
    • Issue 2030165 by Berdir, tim.plunkett, vijaycs85, tkuldeep17 | rteijeiro: Convert form_test_* functions to classes.
    • Issue 1978926 by likin, YesCT, Pancho, kim.pepper, h3rj4n, tim.plunkett, disasm, Luxian, neetu morwani | vijaycs85: Convert locale_translation_status_form to a Controller.
    • Issue 2132477 by tkuldeep17, tim.plunkett | shameemkm: Convert batch_test forms to controllers.
    • Issue 2086499 by phiit, tim.plunkett | Gábor Hojtsy: Convert two page callbacks in language_elements_test.module to the new controller system.
    • Issue 2078867 by tim.plunkett, jackbravo, ianthomas_uk, InternetDevels, piyuesh23, disasm, nano_monkey | vijaycs85: Convert _form_test_* functions to classes.
    • Issue 1998198 by pwolanin, splatio, Albert Volkman, tim.plunkett, andypost, disasm, Les Lim, tkuldeep17: Convert user_pass_reset to a new-style Form object.
    • Issue 2302525 by tim.plunkett: Convert file_module_test_form to a class.
    • Issue 2078015 by er.pushpinderrana, RoSk0 | alexanansi: Modernize views_test_data.module forms.
    • Issue 2302531 by tim.plunkett: Convert database_test_theme_tablesort to a class.
  • Issue 2291137 by cilefen | webchick: Rename various *links.yml files to improve DX.
  • Issue 2202511 by hussainweb, benjy | mikeryan: Added Implement migration groups.
  • Issue 2302463 by effulgentsia: Cleanup User::hasPermission() and UserSession::hasPermission() to follow Law of Demeter.
  • Issue 2302331 by kim.pepper: Move drupal_valid_path to PathValidator service.
  • Issue 2296839 by MKorostoff, er.pushpinderrana | YesCT: Remove deprecated comment_num_new().
  • Issue 2289063 by larowlan, andypost | Berdir: Change contact message entity to behave more like a normal entity.
  • Issue 2301239 by pwolanin, dawehner, Wim Leers, effulgentsia, joelpittet, larowlan, xjm, YesCT, kgoel, victoru, berdir, likin, and plach: MenuLinkNG part1 (no UI or conversions): plugins (static + MenuLinkContent) + MenuLinkManager + MenuTreeStorage.
  • Issue 2284103 by alexpott, fabpot, damiankloip, Xano, Xen, Berdir: Fixed Remove the request from the container - this switches from using Request to RequestStack, gets rid of our custom HttpKernel and the Request scope, lets us upgrade Symfony past 2.3 and closes a critical. Special thanks to Fabien Potencier, Project Lead for Symfony for getting the ball rolling and working with the Drupal community on patches.
  • More standardising of entity-field API
    • Issue 2292821 by andypost, larowlan: Use widget for comment subject field.
    • Issue 1498662 by andypost, larowlan | dawehner: Refactor comment entity properties to multilingual.
    • Issue 1856562 by andypost | sun: Convert "Subject" and "Message" into Message base fields.
  • Lots of cleanup of deprecated functions
    • Issue 2297487 by er.pushpinderrana, marcingy: Remove the check_plain function.
    • Issue 2301591 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_rebuild_form() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2208893 by ngocketit, longwave: Remove unused functions from Views.
    • Issue 2301601 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_validate_form() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2301587 by joshi.rohit100: Remove form_state_defaults() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2301577 by ParisLiakos, joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_alter() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300853 by joshi.rohit100: Remove language() method from bootstrap.inc as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300891 by joshi.rohit100: Remove format_backtrace() from error.inc as deprecated.
    • Issue 2301597 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_prepare_form() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300831 by joshi.rohit100: Remove module_exists() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300857 by joshi.rohit100: Remove lock() method from bootstrap.inc as deprecated.
    • Issue 2300821 by joshi.rohit100: Remove module_invoke_all() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300847 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_get_form() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300843 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_json_encode() and drupal_json_decode() methods as deprecated.
    • Issue 2300833 by joshi.rohit100: Remove module_hook() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2300697 by joshi.rohit100: Remove drupal_is_cli() as It is deprecated.
    • Issue 2299499 by joshi.rohit100: Remove form_clear_error() as it is deprecated.
    • Issue 2301975 by kim.pepper: Move drupal_is_front_page to PathMatcher service.
  • Issue 697760 by sun: Replace getInfo() in tests with native phpDoc + annotations (following PHPUnit).

You can also always check the Change records for Drupal core for the full list of Drupal 8 API changes from Drupal 7.

Drupal 8 Around the Interwebs

Blog posts about Drupal 8 and how much it's going to rock your face.

  • Drupalize.me recap Drupal 8's plugin system.
  • Nuvole give us a preview of their Amsterdam session on packaging and reusing configuration in Drupal 8.
  • chx gives us an update on Drupal 8 from both his and a MongoDB perspective.
  • Wunderkraut gave us the lowdown on configuration entities in Drupal 8.
  • Cameron Zemek from PreviousNext introduces us to Mink previewing one of the core-conversations from Amsterdam.
Drupal 8 in "Real Life" Whew! That's a wrap!

Do you follow Drupal Planet with devotion, or keep a close eye on the Drupal event calendar, or git pull origin 8.x every morning without fail before your coffee? We're looking for more contributors to help compile these posts. You could either take a few hours once every six weeks or so to put together a whole post, or help with one section more regularly. Contact xjm if you'd like to help communicate all the interesting happenings in Drupal 8!

AttachmentSize july_criticals.png40.56 KB july_majors.png37.64 KB july_beta_blockers.png32.25 KB

This Chart Shows You Where And Why Emotional Pain Becomes Physical Discomfort

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 20:30

Categories:

Life

 

Do you ever suffer from back pain more when you’re stressed? Perhaps like you have literally been carrying around a heavy burden for a while? How about having trouble breathing when you are suffering from heart ache?

It seems a bit strange as emotions are largely regarded as detached from the physical world most of the time, but our emotional pain really can cause physical discomfort. In an article from Collective Evolution titled ‘The Effects of Nature Emotions on our Health’ we found the chart above that explains the physical repercussions of negative emotions. They very rightly state that:

“Our emotions and experiences are essentially energy and they can be stored in the cellular memory of our bodies… Have you ever experienced something in your life that left an emotional mark or pain in a certain area of your body? Almost as if you can still feel something that may have happened to you? It is likely because in that area of your body you still hold energy released from that experience that is remaining in that area.”

According to the chart that they found, shoulder pain can be the result of making “life a burden” when life is supposed to be enjoyed not endured. Our emotions can even have an impacts on stranger parts of our bodies like our elbows, wrists and knees! So, it’s always important to listen to every part of our bodies if they are aching for attention!

What do you think? Can positive emotions cause physical changes?

Image: The Effects of Nature Emotions on our Health | Collective Evolution

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

The post This Chart Shows You Where And Why Emotional Pain Becomes Physical Discomfort appeared first on Lifehack.

Why Gen Y Isn’t Happy and What They Can Do About It

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 20:00

Categories:

Life

If you were born between 1977 and 1995, well, hello there, fellow Millennial!

Otherwise know as Generation Y, Millennials make up a very large chunk of the world’s population. In the US alone we are 86 million strong. And this generation, which is larger than the Baby Boomers, is going through an existential funk. In plain terms, Gen Y is pretty unhappy.

This generation is making a name for itself as one of the most unsatisfied generations of all time. It’s so bad that stereotypes symbolizing the Gen Y kid as unhappy, mopey, and “needy” have already popped up. Frequent criticisms include: “Millennials can’t be pleased,” and “Those kids are never happy.” And to be fair, we are pretty down in the dumps.

But I’ll be the first to defend us, and with passion. We have a litany of strengths: we are tech savvy, purpose-driven, confident, and ready to learn up on almost any skill. However, we also have our quirks, the biggest of which is that we are terribly unhappy with how life turned out. We are unhappy with our jobs. We dislike how we spend our days. We are desperate for something more in life and in our careers. While we have many things to be proud of, we don’t pay attention to them, and instead focus on what we don’t have or what others are doing and that we are lacking.

How Did Gen Y Get Here?

To be unhappy you need to have unmet expectations. That gap between what is and what should be is causing despair.

As Millennials grew up, our parents and teachers encouraged us to chase our wildest dreams. They instilled a deep sense of self-confidence that made us believe in the old PSA, “You can be whatever you set your mind to.” They reminded us that we were unique in our strengths and identities.

That’s a great mindset, but one that can also quickly deflate you if you don’t see it materializing, which is what happened. Once grown up we saw that our smarts and skills were not enough to cut it in the “real world.” We had to prove ourselves all over again–sometimes starting from square one. The honors, A+ grades, padded extra-curricular schedule, and top-tier college degree weren’t enough to get us a high-impact, challenging job with a purpose. It wasn’t enough to avoid spending years getting coffee and organizing files. Or days burned making cold calls, reading a script a 14-year-old could follow.

The salt to this wound comes in the form of our smartphones and computer screens. While we toil away at a shockingly regular life, we see our friends share the best moments of their lives via Facebook and Instagram. All those pictures of Machu Picchu. All those check-ins to four-star restaurants. All those updates letting us know about their raises, or the cool project they are working on. The Joneses are not next door, but on the other side of the Update button. “Her life is so much better than mine. What did I do wrong?

So here we are. A confident and ambitious generation, survivors of one of the most intensely competitive school and job markets, faced with the not-so-flashy real world. Whenever we chafe at this, we are called “entitled.” Our high (possibly too high) standards are making us into trouble-makers. It feels like a dire situation, and that’s because it can be. That gap between expectations and reality is causing this deep unhappiness. It feels like it was all for naught; like everyone, including ourselves, were wrong about us.

Yet, there’s hope. By being aware of our reality, and why we feel how we do, we can start getting better. It all starts with describing the darkness, for once you start doing that you can distinguish it from the light.

Below are some reasons why Gen Y is unhappy, and how they can get beyond that point and live a more fulfilling life. This generation is a tremendous one, both in size and in uniqueness, and this malaise will not define it. It’s up to us to push beyond the funk.

1. Never Stop Searching for What Feels Right

If something isn’t working out, if your job doesn’t make you feel fulfilled, if your city is not your style, if your daily habits are not making you happy, realize this truth: you’re young enough to easily try different things on.

Change will be hard, but in the grand scheme that is your life, it’s easiest when you are young. You have fewer commitments, less biography to reconcile, and tons of time ahead to experiment.

Any major change will lead to two things: you’ll either love it or get a little bit closer, or you won’t like it but can easily make another change. If science is right and most us will live past our 70s, then you have many many decades ahead to explore and expand. Don’t stop searching; keep trying on different things and beef up your knowledge base.

2. Be Kind and Appreciate

Your job may suck because it doesn’t challenge you. You may be in a role that is boring, or your work environment may not be what you’d expect in a workplace. And you’re right, that sucks. But that’s not the whole story.

There’s always an upside. Even in the most miserable times there is an upside, which is that it can’t get any worse. But most of us don’t notice that angle. We are just looking at the situation that doesn’t meet our standards. We are unhappy because there’s that “gap” staring right at us every day.

I recommend you ignore that gap. Yep, totally dismiss it. You won’t be able to get rid of it, but you’ll be best served by focusing on other things. Force yourself to focus on the things that are going well. Think about the things you have that others don’t (a job, an apartment, your health, your youth). Think about the things you didn’t have five years ago (more skills, more friends, more confidence).

These are easy to forget because they aren’t staring you in the face. No, they are too nice for that; they are kindly waiting on the side, hoping you notice them and appreciate the hard work that went into each.

Part of being happy is being happy with what you have. That requires appreciation for your skills, your blessings, and your opportunities. This doesn’t mean you sit on your laurels and think everything is perfect (because you’re just lying to yourself and you’ll know it), but do stop every day and say, Thank you, to yourself. You’ve earned it. It’ll also make you breathe a little bit easier.

3. Notice the Noise

Let’s not forget the gap. That gap between what should be and what is drives most of our grief. But where did that gap come from? How has it become so loud that we give into it and ignore all the good stuff?

It got there because we listened to other people.

We listened to our parents who gave us a very strict definition of “success”: “Bill’s kid is so successful. He made over $100,000 last year…”

We listened to our peers who only share the best side of themselves on social media. Think: how often do you see any of them share pictures of their dirty room or how much they’re screwing up at their job? Yet you and I know that it happens.

We listened to society who told us that by age X we should have Y, and if we are doing things “right” we should look/talk/have XYZ.

It’s all that noise that’s causing the trouble. It drowns out what we want, what is true to us. We are paying so much attention to everybody else that we don’t even know what we think about things like success, the good life, or our personal identity. The first step is to be aware that the noise exists. This helps distinguish it from our truth. Once you do that, you’ll realize how much that ruckus has driven your life thus far–and why it’s time to tune it out.

4. Expect a Bumpy Ride

Having personal goals sets us up for success simply by sketching out what we want. That’s powerful stuff.

But the fact that we want something does not change the path we need to walk to get it. It doesn’t take obstacles out of the way, or speed up the process. Our drive has one primary purpose, and that is to keep us making progress and pick us up after our trip ups. That’s it.

If you aren’t tripping or messing up, then you’re not aiming high enough. Your drive, that fuel tank that sits right behind your heart, is not being used well.

For the really audacious goals (those you daydream of) you cannot not have friction. Obstacles will always be there. It may be personal limits that you have to break through or other people trying to get the same thing, but there will always be some bumps and bruises.

Knowing this, of course, won’t make those aches you get along the way hurt any less. But it will help you see the grander picture. It will tell you that your drive is being spent on really awesome stuff. It might be a bumpy ride, and it may take longer than you thought, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less worth it. The best stuff is worth fighting for–sometimes it takes a lifetime to get it.

Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/audiolucistore/ via flickr.com

The post Why Gen Y Isn’t Happy and What They Can Do About It appeared first on Lifehack.

April 2014 Crawl Data Available

Another word for itThu, 07/17/2014 - 19:40

Categories:

Topic Maps

April 2014 Crawl Data Available by Stephen Merity.

From the post:

The April crawl of 2014 is now available! The new dataset is over 183TB in size containing approximately 2.6 billion webpages. The new data is located in the aws-publicdatasets bucket at /common-crawl/crawl-data/CC-MAIN-2014-15/.

To assist with exploring and using the dataset, we’ve provided gzipped files that list:

By simply adding either s3://aws-publicdatasets/ or https://aws-publicdatasets.s3.amazonaws.com/ to each line, you end up with the S3 and HTTP paths respectively.

Thanks again to Blekko for their ongoing donation of URLs for our crawl!

Well, at 183TB, I don’t guess I am going to have a local copy.

Enjoy!

The Steps to Expertise and Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think

Life HackThu, 07/17/2014 - 19:30

Categories:

Life

Have you ever wanted to be an expert?

There are several ways to master a skill or topic. Apart from repetition and practice, there are several methods you can use to ensure you absorb what you’re learning; the infographic above outlines some of these.

Perhaps the most important step that people often overlook when it comes to mastery is application. The brain has a difficult time retaining new information. In order to solidify one’s experience in a specific topic, he or she has to consider applying the new skill on a daily basis.

Application can be as simple as talking about the topic or chunking and repeating smaller movements that make up an entire skill. Lastly, it is essential to incorporate as many senses as possible during the learning process.

What it Means to be an Expert | Daily Infographic

The post The Steps to Expertise and Why It’s Not As Hard As You Think appeared first on Lifehack.

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