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Ways to incorporate informal learning!

Let’s take a look at a three-step strategy that can help you incorporate informal learning in your organization...(click on image or text button above to view original post.)
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In Your Eyes

Peter Gabriel - In Your Eyes Lyrics: love I get so lost, sometimes days pass and this emptiness fills my heart when I want to run away I drive off in my car ...

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I see the light the heat...

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How to speak strategically

How to speak strategically | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

 

It had been three weeks since my throat started to feel sore, and it wasn’t getting better. The pain was most acute when I spoke. So I decided to spend a few days speaking as little as possible. Every time I had the urge to say something, I paused for a moment to question whether it was worth irritating my throat.

This made me acutely aware of when and how I use my voice. Which led me to a surprising discovery: I spend considerable energy working against my own best interests. And if my experience listening to others is any indication, so do you.

In my observations, we speak for three main reasons:

        To help ourselves
        To help others
        To connect with each other

That’s not surprising. All three of those objectives are legitimate and worthwhile.

What is surprising though is how frequently we fool ourselves into thinking we’re achieving those objectives when, in reality, we’re thwarting them. The more I listened, the more I noticed how we undermine our own interests.

Frequently, I had the urge to gossip about someone else. I realized that I did this to help myself (I will feel better if I think I’m better than that person) and to connect with the other gossipers. But clearly that would distance me from the people about whom I was gossiping. In fact, it would probably even distance me from my fellow gossipers too; who could trust someone who talked behind other people’s back? My attempt to strengthen relationships was, instead, hurting them.

I also had the urge to share information when I thought it would be helpful to someone. That’s a productive reason to speak. But several times I had the urge to say something simply to show that I knew the answer. Or to get attention. Or to increase my power in the group. It became clear to me that my urge to speak in those moments came from my desire to feel special. I wanted people to like me and to think highly of me. But who likes the guy trying to show off?

Sometimes I wanted to help myself by getting the answer to a question, or making sure I was counted in a decision. That’s useful. But other times, I just wanted to make sure my voice was heard over the din of the other voices. I caught myself wanting to speak over someone in a meeting. Or arguing a point to get others to agree with me so I’d feel more confident in my own opinion (which I’m hearing a lot this political season). Is that really helping someone else?

In fact, I was amazed at how often I wanted to speak simply to assure myself that I was here. I had a role. I was noticed.

As I sat silently, trying to preserve my voice, I had the opportunity to notice how and when other people spoke as well. And I noticed all the same tendencies.

If I were to reduce our counter-productive speaking to a single motivation, it would be this: We often speak to make ourselves feel better in the short-term.

But life and relationships are long-term. And when we gossip, raise our voices, speak behind other people’s backs, offer unsolicited opinions, or make jokes at other people’s expense we’re isolating ourselves over time.

There was some good news in my experience of talking less: I listened more. And listening, it turned out, was a much more productive way to achieve my speaking objectives than speaking.

When I listened, I helped myself, helped others and built relationships at least as effectively as I did speaking and with much less collateral damage.

I’m obviously not suggesting we stop speaking; we can’t achieve our three objectives unless we do. We need ask for things. We need to share information. And there are a number of ways — like offering compliments and rephrasing what we’re hearing — we can build relationships through speech.

I am, however, suggesting that we think ahead — long term — when we’re about to say something in the moment. And that, before speaking, we ask ourselves one simple question: Is what I’m about to say going to detract from one of the three reasons I speak? If the answer is yes, consider saving your voice.

My throat is better now and I can speak as much as I want. Which left me feeling a little nervous; now that I know how easy it is to be self-defeating, will I keep myself on the productive side of the speaking equation?

Thankfully, the sore throat left me with a gift: the memory of a sore throat.

These past few days, when I get the urge to talk, I find myself doing a little calculation in my head: If I only have so much speaking I can do in a day, is this thing I’m about to say a worthwhile use of my voice?

What’s amazing is that most of the time I immediately know.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Make your words count, long term.

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Wise Quote

Wise Quote | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"The problem with that approach is that [life] is too dynamic. Situations rarely repeat. Human behavior is diverse, erratic, and often unpredictable." ~ http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/how-to-override-your-default-reactions-in-tough-moments/

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 16, 10:37 AM

This is well said.

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Poor Leadership – by Anna Johansson

Poor Leadership – by Anna Johansson | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

No ship can set sail without a captain, and the same is true of businesses. Without the right leadership, a business will almost certainly fail even if the best possible employees are on hand. There’s a reason leaders in organizations get paid the big bucks.

Sometimes it’s the wrong fit, someone leaders get burned out and don’t step down or sometimes the leaders had no right being there in the first place. Still not convinced? Take a look at these five businesses that were destroyed because of poor leadership. They might still be active and flourishing today if someone else was at the helm.

1. Netflix

Who had the bright idea to split Netflix into separate paid services? The leadership, of course, and it was to detrimental effects. Netflix had the potential to take over and revolutionize the video industry, and in fact that’s exactly what it did when it took down Blockbuster. Nobody saw RedBox coming or the popularity of paid online streaming like Hulu Plus – including Netflix – until it was too late.

2. Blackberry

Remember when Blackberry was the ultimate status symbol, and nobody could fathom having any other type of smartphone? Blackberry has a history of nepotism, which often leads to poor leadership. The company also promotes people from within based on tenure rather than on skills and potential to actually lead. When competence isn’t the primary reason for a promotion, a company will surely sink.

3. Enron

This may be an extreme example of leadership gone corrupt, but it happened and is likely happening (perhaps on smaller scales) at other companies today. A number of Enron executives were found guilty for a variety of charges and are now serving long prison sentences. The takeaway lesson here is that they got away with it for years, and corrupt leadership caused financial ruin for hundreds of people.

4. Citi

Vikram Pandit simply didn’t have what it took to save Citi, which is why the company is now in bailout and basically owned by the government. He’s an example of a leader who should have never been put in the position, and should have had the foresight and courage to step down before taking down everyone else with him.

5. Merrill

Stan O’Neal wasn’t popular to begin with, and his incredible cost-cutting tactics earned him plenty of enemies. However, as the CEO of Merrill, he also became an ouster and he was in charge when Merrill had the biggest losses in nearly 100 years. He was then caught trying to merge with Wachovia behind the board’s back.

………………………………………………

It’s clear that poor leadership is poison to a business. However, keep in mind that it’s also important for everyone in a company to be invested. Many of these disasters could have been prevented if the leaders weren’t blindly trusted and given the keys to the kingdom. It’s a two-way street with both leaders and subordinates being held accountable.

Figuring out and strategizing leadership is something that should start in a business plan when a business is just beginning to stretch its limbs. Failure to plan and not having SOP in place are triggers for poor leadership, but it’s just so easy to skip over these steps in the early stages. Business owners too often think they can get around to these kinds of details later, but later never seems to come. Perhaps if more startups focused on streamlining management protocol, foundations would be sturdier.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

There are plenty more examples of poor leadership. The most egregious error by far, however, is not holding leaders accountable or supporting their efforts. Don't be surprised when employees leave.

 

For what you tolerate will continue. People will treat you, the way you allow them to treat you.

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Fields of Gold

Music video by Sting performing Fields Of Gold. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 5,830,897. (C) 1993 A&M Records
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Rediscover the beauty of life

Rediscover the beauty of life | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda

As kids, we are beings of wonder. Spending hours inspecting blades of grass, hoping to discover lady beetles, rocking fairy wings or a cape at the shops because we feel like it, laughing for the silliest reasons, and finding unadulterated happiness in special treats, our favorite cartoon, or a game of hide and seek.

As teenagers, we often become too cool to find joy in the simplest things but still manage it hanging out with friends, falling in love with celebrities, and listening to that one song over and over again.

But, by the time we reach full-blown adulthood, those whimsical childhood traits may be as forgotten as an invisible friend.

As grown ups we’re allowed to do all the fun things we spent high school wishing we could do, and yet, we get caught up in jobs we hate, paying bills, sitting in traffic, and sometimes ‘just getting by.’

I know this feeling, because I’ve been there.

And then, one day, I decided it was time to stop for a second and find a way to get back to a time when life was more joy-filled. Rediscovering the beauty of life, instead of focusing on the ugliness, the negativity, or the laborious pains of just getting by.


The Beginning Of Change

Since I was fifteen, I wanted to work in film and television. I did my high school work experience at a post-production company and decided I would work there one day.

I graduated top of my class studying film and TV in high school, I was (and still am) a total film geek, I studied it at university. And then landed by dream job at the company I’d experienced five years earlier.

I could not believe it.

From that point onward, I went from contract to contract working some crazy hours (like 2PM to 2AM shifts for an entire month).

I went through periods of no work between contracts (and, as a result no money), being morally torn between staying true to myself and doing what it takes to butter people up for the good jobs, working on shows I hated, working with people who made my skin crawl, getting praised by my superiors but being ignored by those doing the promoting, and continuing to strive for a dream job that felt like it was never going to happen.

Of course, the perks of the job were fantastic—working with some great people, every day being interesting and unexpected, traveling, and working in what I still consider to be a really fun industry.

But when something stops serving you, it becomes so much harder to see the good from the downright terrible.

This all culminated when I landed the producing job I’d been working toward. Oh, what an achievement! You can imagine my excitement after so many years of working my way up to the job I’d always wanted. The celebration that followed the promotion was…non-existent.

I was earning good money. I had the job title. I was finally getting somewhere. And I didn’t even stop to acknowledge it because all I could see was that I still wasn’t happy.

A friend rang to congratulate me and I didn’t even notice.

I was so overwhelmed by the anticlimax of it all. And that’s when I knew something needed to change.


It’s Time To Do More of What Makes Me (and You) Happy

It may seem like a ridiculous notion to some, but I honestly and truly believe that when you see these habits of what feels like never ending complaining, whining, and frustration then it’s time to make some changes.

Some people are totally cool to accept that this is all there is, but not me. (And maybe not you, either).

When I realized that too much of my time was spent unhappy, I decided to do whatever I could to change that.

I changed jobs as soon as possible. I started working with people who meant the world to me in a role that was much better suited to me. This gave me room to breathe and come up for air after ten years on a career path that I decided I hated.

I started to see what I loved again.

And even if I was still trying to decide what to do, this made it easier to finally be happy. And I became aware of how I could do more of this on an everyday basis.

I set dinner dates with friends on Monday nights to make the beginning of the week oh-so-enjoyable. I took advantage of coffee runs at work and turned them into glorious sun walks. I found joy in the simple pleasure of sitting in the park on the weekend just chatting or reading.

I noticed I was changing. Sure sometimes stress still popped it’s head up and challenges arose, but I was becoming better equipped to handle the unknown because I had simply brought more joy into my life. The unexpected inconveniences became less frustrating, and the simplest pleasures became more obvious.

The power of needing to change allowed me to find ways of doing more of what made me happy.


Rediscover the Beauty of Life

I’ll be completely honest with you: this is not something that just happened to me overnight. I’m still working toward my new career path and finding what I really want out of life. I still get frustrated or upset sometimes, and I still have a lot of work to do.

But something changed the day I decided to take life into my own hands and seek out the beauty of life.

I became more aware.

I started attracting more happy moments and wonderful people to me because I actively sought them out, and what I put out came back to me tenfold.

I seek out the good stuff instead of dwelling on the not-so-good.

And, through this, I’ve learned that the more we search for beauty of life, the more we invite it in. As kids we noticed it with ease, exploring to our heart’s content but, as adults, we sometimes forget to pay attention.

We get caught up with the mundane, we focus on the negative, and we love joining in on a mutual whine-fest with others. But imagine how much we could gain from our day if we took a moment to soak in the bliss of being alive.

Lying in the grass, laughing with a loved one, being recognized at work for doing a great job, swapping out things we don’t like with things we love, acknowledging someone else and seeing their joy, and just embracing the moments that make up our day-to-day lives is the key to finding the extraordinary in each day.

It may not always seem that simple but, I promise, if you’re willing to give it a shot, try it out, and be intentional when seeking out wondrous moments, it will make a significant difference to your life. And, the more you practice, the easier it will be to see.

I invite you to be aware of what you might need to change and seek out possibilities for joy in the coming week.

Find ways to bring the fun in and keep your eyes wide open for special moments or people that can make your life even more beautiful. Or, even better, take time to be grateful for what you’ve already got.

Try it out, see how you go, and then leave me a comment and tell me how it went!

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"We can all rediscover the beauty of life, instead of focusing on the ugliness, the negativity, or the laborious pains of just getting by."

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A positive attitude

A positive attitude | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

By Remez Sasson
Positive attitude is the cause of success and happiness.

A positive attitude helps you cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism into your life, and makes it easier to avoid worries and negative thinking. If you adopt it as a way of life, it will bring constructive changes into your life, and makes them happier, brighter and more successful.

With a positive attitude you see the bright side of life, become optimistic, and expect the best to happen. It is certainly a state of mind that is well worth developing.

Positive attitude manifests in the following ways:

    Positive thinking.
    Constructive thinking.
    Creative thinking.
    Optimism.
    The motivation and energy to do things and accomplish goals.
    A attitude of happiness.

A positive frame of mind helps in a lot of ways, such as:

    Expecting success and not failure.
    It makes you feel inspired.
    It gives you the strength not to give up, if you encounter obstacles on your way.
    You regard failure and problems as blessings in disguise.
    Believing in yourself and in your abilities.>
    You show more self-esteem and confidence.
    You look for solutions, instead of dwelling on problems.
    You see and recognize opportunities.

A positive attitude leads to happiness and success and can change your whole life. If you look at the bright side of life, your whole life becomes filled with light. This light affects not only you and the way you look at the world, but it also affects your whole environment and the people around you. If this attitude is strong enough, it becomes contagious. It's like radiating light around you.
The benefits of a positive attitude:

This might seem like a repition of the above, but it helps to make this message clearer.

    It helps you achieve goals and attain success.
    It brings more happiness into your life.
    It produces more energy.
    Positive attitude increases your faith in your abilities, and brings hope for a brighter future.
    You become able to inspire and motivate yourself and others.
    You encounter fewer obstacles and difficulties in your daily life.
    You get more respect and love from other people.
    Life smiles at you.

Negative attitude says: you cannot achieve success.

Positive attitude says: You can achieve success.

If you have been exhibiting a negative attitude and expecting failure and difficulties, it is now the time to change the way you think. It is time to get rid of negative thoughts and behavior and lead a happier and more successful life. Why not start today? If you have tried and failed, it only means that you have not tried enough.
Simple tips for developing a positive attitude:

    Choose to be happy. Yes, it is a matter of choice. When negative thoughts enter your mind, just refuse to look at them, substituting them with happy thoughts
    Look at the bright side of life. It's a matter of choice and repeated attempts.
    Choose to be optimistic.
    Find reasons to smile more often. You can find such reasons, if you look for them.
    Have faith in yourself, and believe that the Universe can help you.
    Associate yourself with happy people.
    Read inspiring stories.
    Read inspiring quotes.
    Repeat affirmations that inspire and motivate you.
    Visualize only what you want to happen, not what you don't want.
    Learn Learn to master your thoughts

Following even only one of the above suggestions, will bring more light into your life!

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

I believe that both positive and negative attitudes are learned behaviors that becomes habitual. It is extremely difficult to be positive all the time but a negative can be turned into a positive. This is not an easy feat. It wakes great energy, focus, and self awareness to turn things around. Everyday is a new day and offers new opportunity.

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You Are The Best Thing

Great Song from the new album Gossip in the Grain from Ray LaMontagne. Click the link or image above to view original video.
Vilma Bonilla's insight:
Baby, it's been a long day, Baby!
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The power of positive thinking and attitude

The power of positive thinking and attitude | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results.

A positive person anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.

Positive thinking is not accepted by everyone. Some, consider it as nonsense, and scoff at people who follow it, but there is a growing number of people, who accept positive thinking as a fact, and believe in its effectiveness.

It seems that this subject is gaining popularity, as evidenced by the many books, lectures and courses about it.

To use it in your life, you need more than just to be aware of its existence. You need to adopt the attitude of positive thinking in everything you do.
Positive thinking is a way of life.

The following story illustrates how this power works:

Allan applied for a new job, but he didn't believe he will get it, since his self-esteem was low, and he considered himself as a failure and unworthy of success.

He had a negative attitude toward himself, and therefore, believed that the other applicants were better and more qualified than him.

Allan's mind was occupied with negative thoughts and fears concerning the job, for the whole week preceding the job interview. He actually, anticipated failure.

On the day of the interview, he got up late, and to his horror he discovered that the shirt he planned to wear was dirty, and the other one needed ironing. As it was already too late, he went out wearing a wrinkled shirt and without eating breakfast.

During the interview, he was tense, negative, hungry and worried about his shirt. All this, distracted his mind and made it difficult for him to focus on the interview. His overall behavior made a bad impression, and consequently, he materialized his fear and did not get the job.

Jim applied for the same job too, but approached the matter in a different way. He was sure that he was going to get the job. During the week preceding the interview, he often visualized himself making a good impression and getting the job.

In the evening before the interview, he prepared the clothes he was going to wear, and went to sleep a little earlier. On day of the interview, he woke up earlier than usual, and had ample time to eat breakfast, and then to arrive to the interview before the scheduled time.

Jim made a good impression and got the job.

What do we learn from these two stories? Was there any magic used? No, everything happened in a natural way.

With a positive attitude we experience pleasant and happy feelings. This brings brightness to the eyes, more energy, and happiness. Our whole being broadcasts good will, happiness and success. Even our health is affected in a beneficial way. We walk tall, our voice is more powerful, and our body language shows the way we feel.

Positive and negative thinking are contagious.

We affect, and are affected by the people we meet, in one way or another. This happens instinctively and on a subconscious level, through words, thoughts and feelings, and through body language.

Is it any wonder that we want to be around positive people, and prefer to avoid negative ones?

People are more disposed to help us, if we are positive, and they dislike and avoid anyone broadcasting negativity.

Negative thoughts, words and attitude bring up negative and unhappy moods and actions. When the mind is negative, poisons are released into the blood, which cause more unhappiness and negativity. This is the way to failure, frustration and disappointment.

Positive Thinking Practical Instructions

In order to turn the mind toward the positive, some inner work is required, since attitude and thoughts do not change overnight.

1.  Read about this subject, think about its benefits, and persuade yourself to try it. The power of your thoughts is a mighty power that is always shaping your life. This shaping is usually done subconsciously, but it is possible to make the process a conscious one. Even if the idea seems strange, give it a try. You have nothing to lose, but only to gain.
   
2. Ignore what other people say or think about you, if they discover that you are changing the way you think.
    
3. Use your imagination to visualize only favorable and beneficial situations.

4. Use positive words in your inner dialogues, or when talking with others.
   
5. Smile a little more, as this helps to think positively.

6.  Once a negative thought enters your mind, you have to be aware of it, and endeavor to replace it with a constructive one. If the negative thought returns, replace it again with a positive one. It is as if there are two pictures in front of you, and you have to choose to look at one of them, and disregard the other. Persistence will eventually teach your mind to think positively, and to ignore negative thoughts.
 
7. In case you experience inner resistance and difficulties when replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, do not give up, but keep looking only at the beneficial, good and happy thoughts in your mind.

8. It doesn't matter what your circumstances are at the present moment. Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly. If you persevere, you will transform the way your mind thinks. It might take some time for the changes to take place, but eventually they will.
    
9. Another useful technique is the repetition of affirmations. This technique is similar to creative visualization, and can be used together with it.

The other articles at this website, about the power of concentration, willpower, self-discipline and peace of mind, also contribute to the development of a positive mind, and are recommended for reading and practicing. ~ http://www.successconsciousness.com/index_000009.htm

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What is the heartbleed encryption bug?

Heartbleed has the potential to be one of the biggest, most widespread vulnerabilities in the history of the modern web. Based on the post by Christina Warre...
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De-stress in just 10 minutes

De-stress in just 10 minutes | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

For all the times you need to cool down fast

 

We've all had intensely stressful moments in life where you find yourself wishing that wine came in those convenient six-packs of juice boxes with the pop-in straws. As genius as that may sound, getting sloshed before an important meeting or moment in your life probably isn't the most intelligent choice. So how do we deal with stress in a calm and productive way? Yoga is constantly hailed as the golden ticket to instant stress relief, but a full-blown class doesn't always slide effortlessly into your crazy schedule. And unfortunately, there's no one pose that can talk you off the edge once you're precariously dangling. Don't worry, there's a surprisingly simple solution: meditation.

You've heard it's praises (like these six benefits of transcendental meditation), read the statistics, and yet the idea of sitting with no thoughts is as stressful as the current circus residing in your mind. Here's the good news—I don't want you to clear your mind. I want you to focus it. Let's try to focus it away from the stressors and onto something concrete that will bring us back into a safe and peaceful reality. And did I mention this will only take 10 minutes?

Step 1: Find a quiet place. I know this isn't the easiest request, but try to find a room where you can shut the door. If that isn't an option, grab some noise canceling headphones, earplugs or whatever you can get your hands on. The key is making sure you get 10 minutes of uninterrupted peace.

Step 2: Turn off the electronics. Yes, all of them, even your cell phone. (Don't even think about putting it on silent—you know you'll check it.) If you can't escape from your computer, at least close the screen or turn off the monitor. You want to nix any possible distraction.

Step 3: Find a comfortable seat. Traditionally, mediation is taken on the ground in a cross-legged position. This isn't always comfortable so you can prop your bottom up on a pillow or even sit in a chair or against a wall. The goal is to keep the spine long and avoid any slouching. Think chest lifted, shoulders back, chin slightly lifted without any strain in your neck. Rest your wrists on your knees with the palms facing up. It may help you focus to use a mudra, a traditional hand gesture to aid intention. For instance, you can bring the index finger and thumb together on each hand.

Step 4: Let the meditation begin. There are many meditations to choose from out there, but I'm going to offer up a slice of my favorite: Isha Kriya Meditation. The entire ritual calls for three parts, one that includes chanting. Since that probably won't fly in all locations, I'll be focusing on just the first part, though I encourage you to explore the rest of the meditation on your own. (You can learn more about Isha Kriya Meditation here).

Once you're in a comfortable seat, close your eyes. Take a few moments to slow down your breath. Breathe in and out through your nose keeping your mouth relaxed and your lips slightly parted. As you inhale, think to yourself I am not my body, and as you exhale think I am not even my mind.  Continue to repeat these thoughts to yourself, attaching them to each breath. Take the time to breathe fully without any rush. Keep your internal focus on the spot between your brows (this is called your third eye). Repeat these thoughts and breathing for several minutes or until you feel your body decompress. I deeply recommend that you learn the entire mediation, but this is a beautiful start.

Step 5: Absorb. Here's why this particular meditation resonates with me so much: I find myself stressed and overwhelmed on a regular basis, whether I'm being bombarded by work, emails, requests, or people. When I take the moment to sit and do this meditation, it reminds me of who and where I am. It's easy to get caught up in how I look, how fit I feel, that post I just saw on Instagram, or even how my pants aren't really lifting up my assets the way I hoped. Thinking I am not my body on repeat reminds me that I am not defined by my looks. My body does not represent my success or livelihood. My beauty lies in my heart, my confidence and my actions. I will not attach my success to a number on a scale or a reflection in a mirror.

Thinking I am not even my mind makes me laugh every time, because once I come to peace with my body, I realize it's my mind that gets me into all the trouble. It tells me to second guess myself. Am I enough? Is there someone better at my job than me? Could I work harder? The next thing you know your mind has woven a web so thick that even the strongest elven sword couldn't cut through it. Don't let your mind tell you stories. That's all they are. Forget the story and remember your soul. Count on what truly matters to you and not the clutter that's shoved in front of your face. Embrace the big picture and go from there. Every time I do this meditation, life comes into perspective and I can breath again. I hope it helps you, too.

Kathryn Budig is a jet-setting yoga teacher who teaches online at Yogaglo. She is the Contributing Yoga Expert for Women's Health Magazine, Yoga Journal contributor, Yogi-Foodie for MindBodyGreen, creator of Gaiam's Aim True Yoga DVD, co-founder of Poses for Paws and author of Rodale's The Women's Health Big Book of Yoga. Follow her on Twitter; Facebook; Instagram or on her website.

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You are your phone: keep it secure

You are your phone: keep it secure | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

The first smartphones weren't good for much more than checking your email. Modern smartphones are so handy that there's nothing we won't use them for—short of performing major surgery. But because smartphones are so capable and so easy to use, they also tend to amass a vast amount of information about their users. That's why you should take care to protect your phone, because you are your phone.


What's On Your Phone?
Because they're so personal, smartphones accumulate lots of personal information. There are the obvious ones like photos and notes, which are important to us personally. But equally important are things like contacts, call and message logs, and location data. All of this can be used to build up a picture of you, the people you know, and your habits.

In some ways, however, the most powerful features of your phone are the applications themselves. Try to think of the last time you actually needed to enter your password for Facebook or Twitter. It was probably the last time a major system update was pushed to your phone. In the hands of a thief or a scammer, your phone gives unfettered access to your digital life and the lives of all the friends and family members it touches.

Who Wants It?
While we talk a lot about identity theft and hackers, the biggest threat to your phone is theft—that is, someone stealing the handset itself. Your phone as an object has immediate value, and thieves know it. In fact, smartphone theft is becoming such a problem that state governments are working to fight it.

The data on your phone is another matter, and the most data-hungry people out there are advertisers. Many app developers will take code from advertising companies and insert them into their free apps. The developers get some cash, you get a free app, and the advertisers get information from your phone. Information like location and Web history are useful, but advertisers also go after personal information like phone numbers and device IDs. With these, they can match you to your data and collate information from many apps and devices into large, detailed dossiers that cover your movements and habits. The NSA could learn a thing or two from these advertisers—and they probably have.

Last, but not least, are hackers and scammers. These people are looking for personal information to use for nefarious purposes, such as gaining access to your bank account, creating highly-targeted phishing attacks, or spamming your friends. Unfortunately, many app developers and advertisers do not encrypt their app's transmissions. This means that someone carrying out a man-in-the-middle attack can read all that juicy personal data flowing off your phone. We call these "leaky apps," and there are unfortunately quite a lot of them.

Hackers and scammers may also use malicious applications to steal money and data. These are mostly found on third-party app stores, though Google Play is not immune. A popular tactic is to use an application to sign up victims for recurring charges on their wireless bills, but there are worse offenders. Some applications work with PC malware to side-step two-factor authentication on banking websites, and others simply hijack your phone—even its microphone and camera. iOS has less of a problem with malware, but there are plenty of other ways to swipe data from iPhones.

Protecting Stolen Phones
Your average thief will try to convert your phone into money as fast as possible and will probably ignore the information on board. Of course, it's better to not give him the temptation, so keep your phone locked with a passcode. This is a very easy step, but it will pay dividends in keeping your phone secure. Android users have a number of options to choose from, including passcodes, pattern codes, face recognition, finger prints, and others, depending on the device. iOS also supports biometric logins on the iPhone 5s, and a simple four-digit passcode or a complex passphrase for other devices.

Be sure to also learn the tools that are available to keep your device secure when it's out of your hands. Apple's Find My iPhone service is very robust, and will let you track, message, lock, and remotely wipe your phone. Also, changes in iOS 7 mean that even after your phone is wiped, it remains locked to your Apple account. Sadly, this hasn't deterred some thieves. Just search eBay for "iCloud locked iPhone."

Android users have even more options available when it comes to stolen phones. Google provides the handy Android Device Manager, which can also track, message, lock, and wipe your device. However, your Android will not be locked to your account like an iPhone after being wiped. If you want that kind of control, you can root your phone and use the impressive capabilities of Editors' Choice avast! Mobile Security & Antivirus which can survive repeated system wipes. Other security apps, like Editors' Choice Bitdefender Mobile Security and Antivirus have a host of tools to deal with a lost phone.

Leaky Apps and Malware
When it comes to apps that leak your personal information, there's not much users can do besides choose apps that use SSL to secure their transmissions. Unfortunately, it's difficult to see what and how apps are communicating, but viaProtect can shed some light on the subject. viaProtect can't yet give much information to iPhone users, but on Android the service can show you where data was sent, who received it, and if it was encrypted. You could also use a VPN service when you're not on a trusted wireless network; there are plenty to choose from. iPhone users should activate the Advertising ID feature to limit data collection.

There are also malicious apps and attacks to consider. For Android, the best way to avoid malware is to stick to Google Play, keep your phone out of debugging mode, and don't enable app side-loading. Security apps, like those listed above and many others besides can detect malware on your device and help you remove it. Google also has some unique tools to protect Android users outside the mainstream app ecosystem. But many malicious attacks, such as phishing, are platform agnostic. Use common sense and don't click on unexpected links, and don't assume you're safe just because you're on a smartphone.

Securing a smartphone does take some work, but it's well worth it when you consider that a smartphone is probably the most personal device you own. Your smartphone has your memories, carries your information, and knows your habits. Don't let all that be used against you—protect your phone, and protect your identity.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

"Your phone has so much of your information that it may as well be you. Make sure you protect yourself and your phone from thieves, malware, and other mobile threats."

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Internet security key flaw exposes a whole load of private data

Internet security key flaw exposes a whole load of private data | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Most internet security holes, even the bigger ones, tend to be fairly limited in scope -- there are only so many people using the wrong software or visiting the wrong sites. Unfortunately, that's not true of the newly revealed Heartbleed Bug. The flaw, which affects some older versions of common internet encryption software, lets attackers grab both a site's secure content and the encryption keys that protect that content. As such, a successful intruder could both obtain your private information from a given site and impersonate that site until its operators catch on. Since the vulnerable code is both popular and has been in the wild for as long as two years, there's a real possibility that some of your online data is at risk.

The good news? There's already updated software available that protects against Heartbleed. However, the scale of the bug may leave data open to theft for a long time to come -- many sites will have to patch up their infrastructure, and there's no way to lock down content if someone steals it. Codenomicon doesn't know if hackers are exploiting the bug, so it's hard to measure the real-world damage. If the exploit is as widespread as it sounds, though, you may want to keep a close watch over your internet accounts until it's clear that the danger has passed.

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When parents are the ones too distracted by devices

When parents are the ones too distracted by devices | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Having a teenager lost in his or her cellphone — texting friends and communicating with parents in monosyllabic grunts — has become a trope of the Internet age. But teens are not the only ones distracted by their devices.

Many parents have the same problem. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm one of them.

A couple weeks ago, my 12-year-daughter, Ella, staged an intervention. She and my wife basically threatened to take my phone and break it.

"Sometimes at night you'll just stand around and ... you'll have your phone out and you'll just type and you'll just stand there," Ella says.

Ella can be a brutal mimic. And as she describes my distraction, she strikes up my smartphone pose: the phone balanced against my belly — thumbs madly typing away — (as if by holding the phone that way no one will notice that I'm on it).

"Lila's ready to go to bed, everybody's trying to get people to read to them and you're just standing there in the middle of the hallway reading your texts and texting other people," she adds.

Hearing from my oldest that I'm ignoring her little sister stings.

"Has that gotten worse?" I ask.

"It hasn't really changed; it got worse when we moved to California," Ella says.

That was when I started covering technology.

"Do you feel jealous of my cellphone? Do you get mad at it?" I ask.

That earns an eye roll and a laugh.

"No, why would I get jealous of a cellphone?"

"I don't know," I say. "Do you feel like you are competing for attention?"

"Yeah."

With that she wins the argument.

And Ella isn't the only kid who feels this way about her parent's relationship with devices.

, a clinical and consulting psychologist at Harvard, recently wrote . For her book, Steiner-Adair interviewed more than 1,000 kids from the ages of 4 to 18. She talked to hundreds of teachers and parents.

"One of the many things that absolutely knocked my socks off," she says, "was the consistency with which children — whether they were 4 or 8 or 18 or 24 — talked about feeling exhausted and frustrated and sad or mad trying to get their parents' attention, competing with computer screens or iPhone screens or any kind of technology, much like in therapy you hear kids talk about sibling rivalry."

Steiner-Adair says one of the challenges we all face is that these devices are wired to grab our attention and keep it. She says the most successful apps are popular, even addictive, because they in our brains.

"Yes, when you are plugged into your screen the part of your brain that lights up is the to-do list," Steiner-Adair says. "Everything feels urgent — everything feels a little exciting. We get a little dopamine hit when we accomplish another email — check this, check that. And when a child is waiting by or comes into your room and it's one of those mini-moments and you don't know — that's the hard thing about parenting — you don't know if this is the ordinary question or they're coming with something really important. It's very hard as a grown-up to disengage and give them your attention with the [same] warmth that you give them, the same tone of voice that you greet them if they interrupt you when you're scrambling eggs."

A couple of years ago, my daughter got a laptop for school. And because she was becoming more independent, we got her a phone. We set up rules for when she could use this stuff and when she'd need to put it away. We created a charging station, outside her bedroom, where she had to plug in these devices every night. Basically — except for homework — she has to put it all away when she comes home.

Steiner-Adair says most adults don't set up similar limits in their own lives.

"We've lost the boundaries that protect work and family life," she says. "So it is very hard to manage yourself and be as present to your children in the moments they need you."

Steiner-Adair says that whether you are a parent or not, carving out time to turn off your devices — to disconnect from the wired world and engage with the real people who are all around you — is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the people your love.

After my daughter's little intervention, I made myself a promise to create my own charging station. To plug my phone in — somewhere far away — when I am done working for the day. I've been trying to leave it there untouched for most of the weekend.

And while I still find myself reaching for it — or checking my pocket — leaving my phone behind is also kind of freeing. Last weekend, instead of checking Twitter and reading tech blogs I built a treehouse.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

The importance of disengagement and setting up boundaries. - "Parents often complain that smartphones keep their kids distracted from conversation. What happens when it's the other way around, when kids can't get their smartphone-glued parents' attention?"

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, April 17, 4:43 PM

Adults face tech challenges. I know school managers who cannot greet someone properly due to their inability to look away from their PDA. Is that example we want for children?

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Heading to work? Leave stress at the door.

Heading to work? Leave stress at the door. | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

Work-related stress is a fact of life. Everyone feels it at one time or another. And with 42 percent of workers saying workplace stress has driven them to a job change, according to a recent Monster poll, we’ve decided to uncover some ways to deal with stress once it hits.

Is it you or your job?

Alexandra Levit, author of “Blindspots: The 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe,” says first, the stressed worker must identify the following: Is it me or is it my company or industry?

“Are you reacting to work or to life?” she says. “You want to assess whether you’re taking your own negative reactions and unproductive ways of coping with stress to the situation, especially if it’s your first [job].”

Levit says many industries — she uses the legal field as a good example — require a lot from employees, specifically the ones newest to the industry.

“People, especially in their first five years out of school, they don’t have balance,” she says. “Work is the top priority and that leads to a lot of stress.”

Levit suggests setting boundaries between work and life to the extent possible. And try to avoid being at the office or thinking about work 24/7 if you can.

‘Should’ is a bad word.

Work stress can at times be attributed to a mentality that the company or a worker’s superiors should be doing things differently.

For people thinking this way, Levit says: “Stop using the word ‘should.’”

“People get stressed out because they’re frustrated, they think things should be a certain way,” she says.

It’s important to reframe those thoughts, and to think about how you, as a worker, might be able to better operate under the circumstances.

“’It is what it is’ is one of my favorite sayings,” she says, adding that there’s a lot of truth in that seemingly dull workplace axiom.

Be prepared

Even if you realized the stress is attributable to you, and you’ve stopped saying “should,” odds are you’ll come up against a stressful situation on the job.

So get ahead of it, Levit says.

Levit, at a prior job, said she was put in charge of coordinating 300 media interviews with 150 executives at a press event.

“I wanted every single one of those interviews to happen,” she says, “but when you have that many moving parts it’s not going to be perfect.”

Prior to the event, she sat down with a friend to prepare. She and her friend built a hypothetical scenario where interviews were falling apart all around her. She developed a plan in case something that catastrophic happened.

“In your mind, it becomes much less threatening” when you make a plan, she says. “And when you find yourself in that situation it’s not as stressful.”

Get moving

Sometimes you just need to work it out physically. Levit says it’s important to get in the gym or go for a run outside whenever you can.

“Exercise really does decrease the stress response,” she says. “Even 20 minutes on the treadmill can make a big difference.”

Meditation works for some, but if it’s not for you, there’s always good old-fashioned deep breathing.

“If you force yourself, close your eyes and breath in and out 10 times, it’s amazing the difference it makes,” she says.

Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Stress is a driving factor in people’s job changes. This article provides guidance on how to stay stress free while at work.

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Ten great beer cocktails for Spring!

Ten great beer cocktails for Spring! | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it
Beer mixology isn’t about improving beer, it’s about improving the cocktail. It’s also about easing the craft beer novice into the joys of the flavors we’ve already fallen in love with. The malt, the hops, the bold flavors that can all stand up to a few mixers and even another liquor is just another reason [...]
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

These look appetizing. Worth a try!

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Signs of Spring

Signs of Spring | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it
Vilma Bonilla's insight:

Love to see signs of spring in nature like this little birdie! Many parts of the country are still experiencing some very cold temps. There is hope for Spring and warmer climate, friends!

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Every little thing she does is magic

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Six tips to being happy in the present moment

Six tips to being happy in the present moment | Cultural Trendz | Scoop.it

We all want to be happy.  But we have preconceived notions or beliefs about what needs to happen in our lives before we can be happy.  Maybe we need to get that dream job.  Or we need to have a million dollars in the bank.  Or maybe we need to have the body of our dreams.  Or we need the perfect relationship in order to be happy.

The list goes on. Yes, these things may indeed make us happy. Or then again, they may not.

When we set goals, we also have the tendency, once we’ve achieved them, to replace them with new goals.  So you may find that you still don’t feel happy after you’ve achieved that “big goal” because you’ve just replaced it with an even bigger goal that you now need to achieve before you can be “truly happy”.

But by doing this, we stack the odds against ourselves.  And if we play this game in order to find our happiness, then there’s a good chance that we’ll spend the rest of our lives chasing down the dreams that may ‘one day’ make us happy.

What if I told you that you don’t need any of those things in order to be happy in your life and that you can be happy today?  The key to happiness is learning how to be happy right now, while you work on achieving your goals, instead of waiting until you’ve achieved those goals to be happy.

Here are 6 simple tips that you can start applying today:

1. Practice Daily Gratitude

No matter how bad we think our problems are, you can almost guarantee that there’s someone out there with much bigger problems than us.  You may have heard the saying “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet”. We need to be grateful for everything we have in our lives and practicing daily gratitude is a great way to train our minds to have an attitude of gratitude.

One technique for doing this is called “3 good things”, where every night, you simply write down three things that went well that day and casually reflect on why they happened.  According to a study conducted by Seligman, Steen, Park and Peterson (2005), people who performed this daily exercise for a week, were happier and less depressed at the one-month follow up.

So start making your “3 good things” list today.

2. Be Present Both Mentally & Physically

Whatever you’re doing, make sure that both your mind and body are present.  Don’t eat dinner with your family while you’re thinking about work.  Don’t do work, while you’re thinking about what you’ll do this weekend.  Always be present and let your mind focus 100% on what you’re doing.

If you’re having dinner with your spouse or partner, then try not to think about anything else but enjoying dinner with them.  Even if you’re doing something as simple as drinking a glass of water, you can be present. Enjoy the moment and taste of the water as you sip it slowly.  Try to find at least one situation every day where you can practice being present.

Simply start by focusing on your breathing.  Focus, slow down and appreciate being in the moment.

3. Stop Resisting What You Can’t Control

Stop resisting the things in your life that you can’t control and aren’t the way that you want them to be.  Stop worrying about what other people do or say.  Start accepting things for how they are, regardless of whether you think it’s right or wrong.  Accept it as a fact.

Let’s say that you are frustrated because a work colleague isn’t doing what you think they should be doing.  The more you think about that situation, the more frustrated you get.  You give them feedback.  Maybe you argue with them.  But the situation doesn’t improve or maybe it gets even worse.

So you have a choice — you can keep resisting or you can accept the situation without judgement.  You simply acknowledge it as a fact. There is no right or wrong. It’s just the current reality.  When you do this, the resistance starts to melt away and the negative emotions inside your head and