Questions Live-in Couples Should Ask Before Marriage

live_in_coupleThere a few things you may want to know before getting married to your live-in partner

Questions Live-in Couples Should Ask Before Marriage


So you have been living together for quite some time and wish to get hitched! However, remember marriage may change quite a few things between the two of you. Here are questions live-in couples should ask before marriage.

Are you okay with not tying the knot at all?
Do you believe in marriage or do you think it’s an outdated concept? Whichever side you decide to pick, can determine the course of your relationship.

Does the thought of a divorce scare you?
Children who have seen their parents go through a bitter divorce or are born in broken families, sometimes let that negativity creep into their own relationships. Marriage to them is nothing but a binding contract with no way out. The thought of being trapped in a relationship with a permanent tag to it scares them and they would rather opt for a live-in instead. If that’s your reasoning, make sure your partner is aware of that and is on the same page as you, and is not looking at this as the first step to wedded bliss.

Are you scared that marriage might ruin your relationship?
Don’t pay attention to friends who tell you that getting married ruined their relationship, as their relationship got ruined because they ruined it, not because they got a legal document that made them commit to each other.

Are you scared that your sex life will suffer after marriage?
Your sex life is what you and your partner makes of it, irrespective of whether you are married, living together or simply monogamous.

Image courtesy: Thinkstock/Gettyimages


Qualities of a Good Computer Professional

Qualities of a Good Computer Professional


A successful dancer must love music, have a good sense of rhythm, and be coordinated. Similarly, computer professionals must possess certain attributes to thrive in IT.

  • Solve Problems and Troubleshoot: At the top of the list for most computer careers is not just the ability to solve problems but also a desire to solve problems. Whether it’s a software application, or a computer network, or an animated Web page, troubleshooting is the name of the game. When something doesn’t work right, a successful computer professional must not give up, but rather must use every resource at hand to fix the issue. Many times, looming deadlines add an element of pressure to the situation, so a cool head is also a useful characteristic.
  • Research: Related to problem solving is the ability to research solutions. Many resources exist, such as coworkers, discussion groups on the Internet, journals and magazines, and books. A good problem solver is willing to delve into all these resources to find the best solution.
  • Multitask: It is a rare luxury for a computer professional to be able to work on only one project, or one problem, at a time. It is far more common to be required to work on several different things at once, often with similar deadlines. To handle this situation, computer professionals must be able to prioritize projects, switch from one project to another without losing focus, and plan milestones for each project so that each is completed on time.
  • Be Detail-Oriented, Analytical, and Accurate: In an industry where a single misplaced semicolon can cause a computer program to crash, or an incorrectly wired network can allow hackers to compromise corporate communications, attention to detail is paramount. Computer professionals must also be capable of analyzing a problem, mapping out a solution, then executing that solution in an accurate manner.
  • See the Big Picture: Computers are made up of many tiny components. Corporate networks consist of many computers. Software applications often include hundreds of integrated modules. Understanding how smaller parts fit into the whole is very important for all computer professionals. It is not enough to simply focus on a single part — a computer professional must also understand how all the parts are integrated.
  • Be Adaptable: If there is one thing that never changes about computers, it is that they never stop changing. Software requirements change. Communication protocols change. Hardware changes. Instead of becoming frustrated with this state of flux, computer professionals must assume that every day something is going to be different and adapt to the new situation. Part of this adaptability is the willingness to learn new things. To keep skills from becoming outdated, a computer professional must constantly read about new technologies and determine how they might be useful.
  • Work Collaboratively: We often hear “No man is an island” and “It takes a village…” Certainly, most computer professionals must work as members of a team, collaborating to create solutions. Being team-oriented, willing to share both responsibility and recognition, is important to success in almost all computer careers. Increasingly, teams are geographically diverse. For example, team members may reside in Israel, Ireland, the United States, and Japan and communicate with each other electronically. Computer professionals must be aware of differing time zones, cultures, and languages, and learn to work with people who may have different work styles and opinions.
  • Communicate Well: Although there are some examples of “geeks” who are notorious for their bad spelling, reluctance to socialize, and single-syllable conversations, most computer professionals will find their career paths more successful if they possess good communication skills. Examples of how computer professionals can leverage good communication skills include well-commented computer code (so someone else can figure out how the program works), memos to management about how a project is progressing, and articles for professional and trade publications.

How three students created Nigeria’s On-line Jobs

How three(3) Students created Nigeria’s On-line Jobs Giant

Three students had time on their hands in the summer of 2009 when their university lecturers in Nigeria went on strike. Instead of slacking off, Ayodeji Adewunmi, Olalekan Olude and Opeyemi Awoyemi started an online job search company.Five years later their start-up, Jobberman, has got a multi-million dollar valuation, employs 125 people, and is still growing. While Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy it still has massive unemployment problems, in particular among young people who are also more likely to be connected to the internet. Jobberman has become the single largest job placement website in sub-Saharan Africa, helping over 35,000 people find jobs within the last two years. The number of companies using the site to find employees has grown from about 40 in 2009 to some 35,000 today.

Young Jobberman employees sitting in front of computers wearing headsets. The company employs 125 people in Nigeria and beyond

Carrying between 500 and 1,000 jobs on the site every day, the founders estimate that there are about 1,000 active users searching for a job at any given time.

“The growth has been tremendous, it’s at rocket speed. One of the biggest challenges has been to keep up with the volume of work,” says Olalekan.

Overcoming fraud fears

However, there have been other challenges along the way.

“In the beginning a lot of people did not trust an internet-based business because at that time a lot of people were using the internet to perpetuate fraud here in Nigeria,” he says.

But as other online businesses thrived and became trusted, so Jobberman thrived. Companies would dip their toe in the water with one or two postings and then when they trusted the site they would come back.

Ayodeji Adewunmi with a Jobberman van Olalekan Olude says he is proud because each job someone finds on his site helps support a household

In 2012 some of Jobberman’s clients wanted to use the site to find workers in Ghana and so the company took its first work outside Nigeria. Two years later it says it is now the biggest online job site in Ghana as well as Nigeria. The company is now expanding its reach to Kenya with a partner called Brighter Monday. The partnership also gives it a footprint in Uganda and Tanzania.

‘They found me’

Amarachi Apakama who found a job on Jobberman
Amarachi Apakama found a job through the site without filling out an application

Some people find a job through the site without actually applying for one. Amarachi Apakama uploaded her details and was approached by a company to take the position of executive assistant at a mobile phone content company.

“That really changed my life,” she says. “It was a morale booster. It helped my confidence – the fact that my interests and my experience put together such a good fit that I didn’t have to apply for the job.”

Multiplier effect

“It is incredibly fulfilling helping people to become economically empowered by getting job placements via Jobberman,” founder Ayodeji Adewunmi says.

“One company recruited more than 80% of their employees through the site. Another time, a director was able to hire a former colleague in the United States to come and work for his company here in Lagos. All amazing stories.”

Olalekan Olude adds: “If you put food on the table by virtue of getting a job for someone, that person also fends for a mother, or a brother and you create a multiplier effect within that household.

“And anytime we get to hear of such stories, we are very, very happy. It motivates us, it makes us look forward into the future and try and get more people to get more jobs.”

How to Become a Happier Person.


How to Become a Happier Person


Image courtesy: © Thinkstockphotos/ Getty images

Life can get you down for a host of reasons, but it only becomes something you have to address if you have been discontent for a long time. All you need to do is change a few things around, organise your life a little better and make a commitment to becoming a happier person. Here are five things you can change to put a smile back on your face.

Find a hobby
If the corporate world is getting you down, try doing something you are passionate about. Most people live their entire lives wishing they did something they love. While it may be unrealistic to think of starting anew, you can always pick up a hobby. Start a collection of some sort and don’t be embarrassed by it. You could even pick up a new sport or devote your evenings to a good swim, the sky is the limit. Adding a sense of fulfilment other than your job, will go a long way in making your life a little happier.
Where do you start: Make a list of things you really love doing, even if it’s just watching movies. Start with two or three passions, and you’ll lose interest in the ones you aren’t zealous about.

Find a friend
Indians for centuries have had a strong support structure in the form of families. Unfortunately or fortunately, over the last couple of decades, nuclear families have become the norm. This has made the need for a support group even more. From work friends to college friends to chaddi buddies, people need others to share their ups and downs. Now, this does not mean adding more people on your Facebook page. Social scientists have found that meeting a core group of people that you know will stand by you add to your overall well-being.
Where do you start: If you find yourself too busy to meet any one, it is about time you started. Fit friends into your schedule rather than just talking to them over the phone. Engage in activities that will get your friends together, even if it means just having a cup of coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

Organise your future 
This doesn’t mean cleaning out your closet. Set yourself a few attainable goals in every area of your life. Whether it is financially, in your career or in your personal life, the idea of committing to something and watching it come to fruition can be a rewarding experience. Studies have shown that people who make short-term plans deal with life much better than others.
Where do you start: Make goals with different time frames. Start with the obvious daily ones, then have twoyear, five-year and 10-year plans. Write them down and knock them off ones you’ve completed them.

Make the job switch
Now, being absolutely content with your job might be too much to ask for, but it shouldn’t be a chore either. Most Indians spend more time at work than they do at home, so obviously it ranks high on your happiness index. The happier you are in your job, the happier you will be in life. So if you are stuck in a job you hate, maybe it is time for a change.
Where do you start: Don’t jump the gun, make a list of things that you don’t like about the job and the things that you love. You need to know whether it is your career that you are discontent with or your company. Get enough research done and also try and develop more skills so that you are prepared for any transition.

Feel healthy
Though pigging out on the juiciest burger might give you instant happiness, studies show that it is your overall lifestyle that actually matters. Exercise, a proper diet and avoiding things you know will harm you do more than just improve your physical well-being. The healthier you are the better you will feel about yourself and your life.

Where do you start: Remember that living healthy is difficult and requires a lot of work on your part. Make a commitment to eat healthy and stay fit through regular exercise. You might miss out on a few foods you crave, but remind yourself to focus on the bigger picture.

Moms and Their Struggle to Feed Picky Eaters.

Moms run tirelessly after their little ones to feed them

Moms and Their Struggle to Feed Picky Eaters


Every visit to my mom’s house is filled with questions about my kids’ eating habits. I always tell her the kids eat everything but she insists on making something special for them. Each time she calls, I put down the phone in a frenzy saying I am busy feeding the kids and will call back later. An hour later when I call her back she will ask, “Did the kids eat well?” In her mind I know she wonders why I get worked up about the kid’s meals. She will often say “I raised four kids but didn’t ever need to feed them. And they eat so healthy! Wonder how we did it?”

I know she empathises with me on how I manage my kids in today’s time but I also know that she wonders why it is so difficult to feed children today. Our parents probably didn’t spend half as much money or time in feeding us. Picky eaters were a novel concept back then. So really what has changed?

The other day I made dosa for my daughter and she insisted on having it with cheese. I growled like a mama bear, “How can every food item have cheese in it?” How do you know what it tastes like if it’s loaded with cheese and butter?

When I was a kid, I don’t remember cheese as a food item at all. I don’t remember butter even, except the white butter that we had with bajra roti.

Maggi, which was probably only Rs.5 back then seemed so expensive that our parents bought it only once in the summer holidays. Today, our kids grow up eating organic fruits and vegetables, cage-free eggs and gourmet foods but still it takes us an iPad, high chair, favourite TV show and a dedicated person to feed them. Parents are so particular about the source of food and where it comes from, how it is cleaned, where it is bought from and so on.

If you Google picky eaters in the 80s, it will be hard to find an article, and if you Google it without the year, you will find lots of ideas on how to feed them. There were no food art ideas, no blogs that helped you feed picky eaters and no time to wonder and discuss which food group your child is probably missing out on. My mom believes that it was because we had respect and discipline, but no compulsions.

I don’t think moms back then had the time or the help to blend all the vegetables the child needed to eat. I never heard of a child back then saying I don’t eat fruits and never saw moms running tirelessly after their little ones feeding them a garden snack.

As a Gujarati girl, I don’t remember my mom telling me not to eat jalebis, gathiyas or chakris because it’s junk. I made that choice. And in hindsight, the way our parents raised us seems way better than what we are doing today. As I serve more dosas to the daughter, I search for answers and think whether it is a choice that has really spoilt them or awareness that has us troubled. I am still wondering if it is the limited patience both in parents and children or manpower and money at disposal that makes food, a basic necessity for some, such an important part of an urban parent’s life.


Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

How to Deal With Quarter Life Crisis.

How to Deal With Quarter Life Crisis


You wind up with your exciting college life and work towards realising your dream career, while juggling with a myriad friends, relationships, financial independence and a whole lot of responsibilities that accompanies adulthood. And then bam! Reality bites you in the rear end, with the feeling that nothing has fallen into place. Your idealistic desire for the ‘perfect life’ has hit ground zero. If you are facing this, then you are suffering from what is called a quarter life crisis. 

What is it?
Quarter-life crisis refers to the psychological and sometimes physical strain and turbulence in the age period that follows your adolescence/teens till early 30s. This turbulence is the unrest experienced in gamut of spheres like emotional stability, ambition and aspiration, choosing a career, supporting oneself (being independent), relationships, etc.
Psychologist Rachna Kothari says, “It is a feeling of not having accomplished anything substantial, satisfactory or constructive in life. You find yourself in a state of perplexity. This usually occurs when reality crushes idealistic desire for perfect life.” Psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr Anjali Chhabria says that entering adult life and coming to terms with its responsibilities leads to confusion and self doubt, hindering one’s decision making ability along with self-confidence causing other emotional and behavioural concerns.

Any transition phase or change requires a lot of adjustment all in terms of attitudes, emotions and behaviors. Clinical psychologist and psychotherapist, Neha Patel says, “In many cases, the person has not been able to get out of the phase of comfort that they had during college days. Getting out of the phase of ‘dependence on someone to being the one others are dependent on’ crops up and can get difficult to face depending on the person’s upbringing and lifestyle.”
Kothari says that in such a scenario, “You’re at a stage in life where you can ‘make it or break it’. And everyone certainly wants to do the former. However, inability to do so leads to the rollercoaster of feelings like frustration, anxiety, low self-worth, anger, boredom, constant comparison with others.” Factors like instability in relationships, unemployment, ficklemindedness about career, issues with families and friends, inability to take mature decisions, tension that time is flowing, stress about present and future on accomplishment etc. causes this.

In the initial years, the person is not settled financially and might not be doing as well as expected, and so the responsibilities and pressures mount, which can be overwhelming for the person. As for relationships, the individual may marry the childhood sweetheart or the person he/she committed to in college and then over a period of time lose interest in the marriage or feel that this is not what he/she wanted, which can lead to a lot of strife within the relationship, opines Patel.

Dr Chhabria lists the following effects an individual going through a mid-life crisis usually has:

  • Feeling that everyone else is secure, stable and has figured their lives out and you’re the only one left.
  • Fear of what others might say when they see what you are going through.
  • Increased restlessness and lethargy in daily life leading to boredom.
  • Frustration with work, the job and the politics, with time the conversations at lunch and the water cooler are less intriguing.
  • Insecurity about what the future holds.

Identity crisis:

  • Who your are and who you want to be.
  • Out of the blue nostalgia, for going back to school, re-living the old college days because you certainly enjoyed it there.
  • Low energy and depressive signs towards activities and events which brought pleasure at some point of time.
  • You cannot go back and you cannot move forwards and feel stuck without a goal, passion or faith in yourself.


There are many ways by which one can cope with quarter life crisis, Kothari lists some of them:

  • Know who you are and what you want from life. Be aware of the opportunities available to you.
  • Let go of past mistakes and focus on your present. Be optimistic: Being assertive, positive and hopeful certainly works. After all, thoughts become actions.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparisons will only lead to criticisms and lower your selfconfidence in turn. Set your goals and work towards accomplishing it.
  • Stay motivated: Know your talents, and be focused on where your passion lies.
  • Practice relaxation techniques: Practice breathing exercises, yoga or exercise daily that can help better blood circulation and hence help you calm your mind.
  • Effective  psychotherapy.


Image courtesy: © Thinkstockphotos/ Getty images

5 Ways to Help Your Child Deal with School Stress.

5 Ways to Help Your Child Deal with School Stress

By  (

Stress at school is a common phenomenon that little ones face. Who would imagine tiny angels burdened with such a lot of pressure. But coping with schoolwork, homework, extra classes, tests and exams can be a tiresome thing and more so if they are disinterested. Top that with the pressure of being the best and you have a child who is fed-up with life already! As parents, we’ve got to set this right and help our kids lead a happier, stress-free life.

We need to help our kids deal with school-related stress and motivate them to grow stronger both physically and mentally. Here are some tips which may help you give greater support, encouragement and confidence to your little one and help her achieve the best she can.

1. Identify the symptoms of stress:

Firstly, identify the symptoms in your child that indicate that she is under stress. Some of the apparent signs and symptoms of being under stress are irritable behaviour, change in sleep and appetite, lack of concentration in studies and more. So, recognise these indications of stress in your child and help her cope with stress.

2. Talk to your child about her fears: 

Talk to your child about her worries, tensions and anxieties. By talking to her, you will be able to find out what is troubling her. Let her take time to calm down before she starts speaking. Further, listen to her carefully and assure her that you will help her find solutions. Make sure not to talk to your child about stress in front of others, as she may find it difficult to open up. Find a place within home or somewhere outside, where your child can freely speak her heart out.

3. Maintain a pleasant environment at home: 

Find out what changes can be made at home to de-stress those situations that can cause anxiety. Make time at the end of the day for the entire family to talk to each other about the day’s events and also involve your child in such conversations. Remember to maintain a congenial environment, as a stress-free atmosphere at home will help your child in conquering her anxiety, stress and tension.

4. Help your child finish assignments herself:

Assisting your child to finish her homework all the time will make her over-dependent. Moreover, as she grows, she may not be able to cope with her studies at higher grades in the absence of your supervision. This in turn may make situations difficult and stressful for her. Therefore, make your child self-dependent and capable of doing work herself without always seeking support.

5. Teach her good time management skills:

Good time management skills can help your child cope with anxiety experienced during examination and while completing lengthy home assignments. So, prepare a flexible schedule that best suits her learning style. Make sure that she can follow the timetable without much effort. However, do not set strict rules for studying, because if your child is not able to cope with the set guidelines, she may get tensed and feel stressed, which in turn may not bring the desired results. In the end, remember that although it is impossible to avoid the challenges in school that may cause stress, you can always help your child to overcome them in ways that would give her the foundation to solve problems later in life. Therefore, be a guide; a mentor; a moral support and above all, a stress-buster for your child so that she enjoys her school days in the best possible way.



10 Questions Moms Should Ask their Kids Everyday

Asking questions will encourage kids to share

10 Questions Moms Should Ask their Kids Everyday

By Mansi Zaveri.

Asking questions will encourage kids to share

Parents often hear monosyllabic answers when they ask their kids about their day. The answer “fine”, “okay” or “good” doesn’t tell us enough to know what our kids really did during the day while they were away. As a parent, I was curious to know how my child spent her day at school.  My husband always has an interactive session with the girls about how his day was and shares even the minutest details about his office, meetings, boss and lunch. At first, I would wonder how a three-year-old would articulate all that. But now when my daughter is six-years-old and the two chat about this every single day, I love to watch them exchange notes about their daily routine. Taking inspiration, I soon followed the same exercise of asking questions. I realised that it is extremely interesting to know the stories that kids have to share. Now, my daughter looks forward to each of these questions and in return I get to know more about her likes, dislikes, friends, class room conversations, bus rides and all the naughty things she does throughout the day.


Here are the 10 Question I make a point to ask my kids every day and you should too.


1. Highlights of her day at school – Three best and three not so good things that happened?


2. Naughty things on the bus ride.


3. What physical activities did she do today?


4. Three good things and three naughty things she did.


5. One thing that she did better today than earlier/the day before.


6. Who made her happy and who made her sad in school?


7. What did all her friends get in their snack box today? (Helps her realise that others are eating a variety of foods, some of which she may like while others are disliked. It also helps me get ideas on snack box options.)


8. Three new things that she learnt today: A word, a lesson/fact, about her friends, about herself, this could be about anything at all.


9. One act of random kindness she is proud of.


10. One wrong thing that Mom and Dad did today.


The answers will not only surprise you, but also enlighten you about your child’s experiences during the day. Morever, it will even serve as feedback from a totally unbiased soul.


Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

The 5 Kinds of People That Help You Grow.


By Malti Bhojwani (

“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world…” crooned Barbara Streisand in the 60s and she hit the nail on the head. Among our basic human needs are that of significance to others and intimacy. This is not to be confused with co-dependency or being needy, but rather it is the acknowledgement of our humanness, which existed when we were born and stays with us always.

We need people to care for us, to care for, for emotional support and physical touch. We need them for fun and laughter, for companionship and adventure, for growth and learning and for us to lean on or even to hide behind sometimes.


Here are 5 kinds of people you need in your life to help you grow:


1. The One Who Champions (Mentor)

This is the one who encourages you in anything you decide to do. They give you fuel and support you in seeing the possibility of your dreams coming true. This one also often offers you the friendly competition needed to keep your steam. On days when your own self-esteem and belief is dwindling, you need this one to believe in you and say the encouraging words you so need to hear. “I KNOW you can do this.” “I have seen you nail much bigger challenges than this before.”

This one brainstorms ideas with you and allows you to dream beyond what is visible. Their enthusiasm and belief in you stretches your vision of what is possible and this helps you to go beyond your own boundaries and fears. You respect this one for their wisdom and their success in their own lives.


2. The One Who Loves You Unconditionally

This one loves you no matter what, will always take your side and allows you to be you. They would also make commitments to you that you can trust, listen to you and share ideas. They go beyond the call of friendship to help you with their resources and time. They do not expect you to do or be anything more than what you are, and they let you cry if you need to, indulge when you want to and complain all you have to without being judgmental or offering advice. They don’t invalidate your feelings even when they may be irrational and they make you feel like the most significant person in the world.

“The people who help us grow toward true self offer unconditional love, neither judging us to be deficient nor trying to force us to change but accepting us exactly as we are. And yet this unconditional love does not lead us to rest on our laurels. Instead, it surrounds us with a charged force field that makes us want to grow from the inside out – a force field that is safe enough to take the risks and endure the failures that growth requires.” Parker Palmer

3. The One Who Says It Like It Is

They often play devil’s advocate and point out the prices that you will need to pay at different junctures in your life. We can have almost anything, when we are willing to bear the consequences. This is the person who will not mince their words or sugar-coat anything for you. They will point out your past behavior and patterns as a way to remind you of how you typically have been.

This one will notice if you have put on two kilos or if your hair needs to be coloured. This one will point it out if they notice you spending, eating, drinking too much. This one is like your external conscience mirroring back to you what you may have missed seeing yourself. Beware of feeling the need to sometimes tell white lies to them, and if you do, then it is important to check in with yourself why you are doing so. Perhaps you are in denial about your own weaknesses and it is time to pull your socks up a little?

This is often also the one you go to for style, cooking, social etiquette advice, the one who knows who to connect with, what to order and where to shop for whatever you may need, from skincare to kitchenware. This one has seen more of the world than you and is like your personal “Google search” with the ratings and recommendations. You would trust this one for parenting, medical or financial advice.

4. The One Who is Always Dissatisfied

This one pushes you beyond your limits and encourages you to stretch and become uncomfortable. They tend to complain and find everything you do not enough. Communicating with this one helps you to practise being assertive and helps you to build your own case. You will realise that you often come up with reasons and excuses for this one and a hundred different disclaimers, but they don’t buy your “BS”. This one expects more from you and if you do have the other four types of people in your life to build your self love, it is empowering to have this one too, who enable you to truly become better at what you do. Above all that, they make you laugh at yourself.

5. The One Who Needs Us (Mentee)

This is the one who makes you feel responsible and keeps you performing at the top of your own game, because this one is watching you and looking up to you. This one comes to you for a shoulder, and for support and encouragement. Indirectly this one holds you most accountable. Imagine if you had declared that you would have achieved certain results, you would not want to let this one down.

I have found the most motivation in living up to the expectations of anyone who looked up to me. We need to feel needed too and having someone around who turns to you for support and unconditionallove and acceptance is as much a requirement as the other way around. This one validates our existence and helps our own self esteem. The confidence it brings to us is priceless and the responsibility to “keep earning the right to be looked up to by this person” may well be the underlying force that helps us keep growing ourselves.

The mistake we often make is expecting one person to fulfill all these needs and then complaining when we are dissatisfied. Instead of expecting either your spouse, partner, mum or best friend to wear all these different hats, be realistic and understand that it is not possible.

Sure one person may be able to play different roles in our lives from time to time, but it would take a lot of pressure off and remove feelings of dissatisfaction if we could communicate lovingly to our significant others that as much as some activities should remain exclusive, trying to be everything to someone is unrealistic.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

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10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part II

10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part II

By 10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy – Part 2

 6. Hanging on to old beliefs

Take a few moments to listen to your inner soundtrack when you read or hear what others express. Notice that you have your own beliefs working as a filter or a lens through which you see and listen. Do you have an “always” and “never” mentality?
This is when you have a belief or statement that you use to generalize everything you experience. I won’t list too many of the common typical statements here but they resemble:
“People can’t be trusted.” (Or a certain sect of people can’t be trusted.)
“It is very hard to succeed.”
“Birds of a feather flock together.”
“Once bitten, twice shy.”
“I never win.”
“I always get sick after XYZ.”
It is the habit of generalizing where you make things either “good or bad”, “right or wrong” and you live in judgment. This is a double-edged sword as you will apply the same harsh rules to yourself. There is no middle ground.
Ease up and cut yourself and the people in your life some slack. Things may not be exactly as you see it. Your beliefs may be outdated and dis empowering. Give life a chance and learn to trust a little.
Here’s what Tony Robbins says, “All personal breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do we change? The most effective way is to get your brain to associate massive pain to the old belief. You must feel deep in your gut that not only has this belief cost you pain in the past, but it’s costing you in the present and, ultimately, can only bring you pain in the future. Then you must associate tremendous pleasure to the idea of adopting a new, empowering belief.”

Every opportunity I get, I remind people that they are good enough, to be, do and have whatever it is they truly desire. “I am good enough” is the mantra to replace all the others that don’t evoke positive emotions in you.
In order to truly start embodying the new belief, you have to add action based on it. Not doing so, will only feed your old limiting belief. For example, if you had a belief that you are broke, you need to do something every day that shows you that you are wealthy and blessed. Take small steps to help breathe life into your new powerful beliefs.
Notice too when your thoughts and comments are extremely one-sided and judgmental. When you look through the filter of your beliefs, you can’t see both sides of the coin. Use the acronym W.A.I.T. (Why Am I Talking?), and take a few minutes to view the situation from different angles.
7. Not keeping your relationships in good repair.
Not giving affection to the special people in your life and giving too much time to the people who sap your energy.
We cannot deny that the people in our lives have a great influence on how we feel and we need to choose wisely. If you have a helper or employee who manages to upset you or bring out the worst in you, first, look at yourself and see if you are deliberately keeping this person in your life because you want a punching bag, or if this person perhaps is mirroring attributes about yourself that you are ashamed of and try to hide? If you can be honest that it is neither, then you can either change your attitude towards this person or you can also choose how much of power and time you’d like to give away to them.
More importantly, nurture the relationships you love. Make time daily and even several times a day to connect and GIVE love to the people you care about. Instead of waiting for them to show you appreciation and care, why not give it? The only way to have more joy and love in your life is to BE loving and joyful. Watch that your communication with loved ones is not always about getting them to do things or complaining to them.

 8. Ignoring your health 

This includes binge drinking, smoking or eating. It also includes always making excuses or postponing exercise or being healthy, thinking you are enjoying life and will be healthy later or tomorrow. Realise that you would enjoy life more if you looked after your health. Not making time for exercise is just making time for illness. Keep pace and maintain a sustainable lifestyle so that you can live it for the long haul with balance. It takes only a few weeks to form new habits and tastes. Even something like sugar, after a few days of drinking tea or coffee without it will get you used to the taste and you will start enjoying it. Exercising every day too, once you stick with it for the first few weeks, you will feel more uncomfortable when you don’t! Create healthy eating and exercising habits that will last you a lifetime. When you are older, you will thank you for it. Start today, if not now, then when?

 9. Having unrealistic expectations of yourself 

Having unrealistic expectations of yourself and others is the surest way to kill your joy. You just can’t lose 10 kilos overnight (even Lipo takes time). Your relationships won’t improve without your loving energy and dropping most of these killjoy habits. You won’t be able to pay off $32k debt in a week. Your new business won’t be profitable from Day 1. So be kind with yourself, be realistic and give 100% effort and then accept where you are with the faith that you are getting there, slowly but surely.
10. Entitlement issues with others
Your family doesn’t owe you anything, your friends don’t have to pay for your drinks, your child may forget to acknowledge your help. Your brother may not buy you gifts, your partner may not remember your anniversary. No one owes you anything. The sooner you accept this, the quicker you will take responsibility of your joy and become adept at creating it in your daily life independently! I believe that Emotional Independence is one of the most important skills you can learn.
Instead of always setting people up to fail, make crystal clear requests of them if you really want something and if you still don’t get it, check your communication skills and also learn to give more to yourself by yourself, so that you don’t feel your joy is dependent on anyone else. Being selfish is a word that has been misused.
Looking after yourself and doing things everyday that make you smile, whether it is playing or listening to music or taking a walk or even playing scrabble, look after YOU and GIVE yourself permission to have fun! Balance isn’t about staying in the centre. Even a car cannot move forward in neutral gear. It is about swaying from side to side. Be kind with yourself and acknowledge your efforts to replace your killjoy habits with joyful ones.

 Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images

10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part I

10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part I


10 Habits That Could Kill Your Joy: Part I


Life is all about the pursuit of happiness, isn’t it? Well, some of us, along the way tend to sabotage our own happiness and joy. Take a look at the habits you never thought could make you a terribly unhappy person.

1. Choosing to stay dissatisfied
If you view your life from another’s perspective (something I highly recommend you yourself don’t do –
comparing yourself to others), you will actually see that your life is the envy of so many others. You really do have a lot more than many. But all you do habitually is feel dissatisfied. Things are great but you keep looking at things that are not right or that could be better.

Habits can’t be eliminated they have to be replaced. If you think of taking something out of your mental schedule, you need to put something else in deliberately or some other sneaky disempowering habit will take its place. Replace this one by consciously choosing joy and remembering to be happy. Even when it feels impossible to do so, choose happiness and smile. When you smile long enough and look around you for only what is beautiful you will start to feel the happiness.

2. Compounding your worries
Again, I don’t know WHY we do this one, but it is a classic and I am sure you are guilty of it as much as me. We are having a neutral day, and things are fine, but we have one worry niggling at us, then one little event happens which we view as fuel to stoke the flame of the original worry. This then grows and grows as we deliberately look for all the probabilities we could worry about and before we know it, our lives become one big mess. We are so, so worried about so many things and we just can’t see beyond the fog.

Replace this one by forcing yourself to think about the possibility of this worry actually not happening, tip the scale to the other 50%. It can either go one way or the other. What you think about affects your own mood and will in turn affect the result. So the next time you sense a worrying thought, imagine instead what life would be like it didn’t happen and in fact the opposite did. Spend time in the joyful state of this fantasy. It’s all the same anyway. Not real, so why not play with it positively?

3. Feeling resentment
Have you heard the quote, “Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”

Replace this habit with a short exercise. Realise that resentment is a feeling of a past or a situation that you cannot change. Accept it and let it go. If you have been rejected in any way by someone, realise that it was not personal and that we all do what is best for us at a particular time. Watch my Letting Go Video. Use the acronym HALT to assess where this resentment could be coming from – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When we feel either of these, we create a mental fertile ground for
resentment, bitterness and other negative emotions which we can all do without.

4. Comparing and giving into jealousy
This is a big one, as I mentioned in the first point. Comparing yourself to others in any context is the No.1 kill joy you could be feeding. Stop It. Can’t stop it? Watch this hilarious video by Bob Newhart. You know, you can read a hundred self improvement articles and books, but with some habits, you just have to STOP IT! Like with picking your nose in public, you don’t need 10 tips on how to stop it, you just have to stop it!

But I will say this much, when you compare, you are comparing the inside of you to the outside of them and just like with a watermelon, you are aware of your inside squishiness and comparing it to the other’s hard green exterior. It is easy to look at others who appear to be more successful, slimmer, better in various ways, but comparing your life to someone else’s will only make you feel dissatisfied and incompetent, however you look at it. So just STOP IT!

5. Negative self-talk about yourself & thoughts about others
If anyone spoke to you the way you sometimes speak to yourself, you would not be their friend. Pay close attention to some of the disempowering, mean things you say to yourself and replace them with powerful and happy affirmations. “I am not good enough” or “I am not XYZ” needs to be replaced with “I am good enough” like a MANTRA that you chant all the time that plays as background music for you everywhere you go.

The habit of always thinking that people are thinking badly of you or out to get you is another futile exercise that is sure to squeeze out any possibility of joy in your life. Be realistic and rational, people have their own lives; you are really, really not that important to them and if you were, then they need to refer to point number 4, they are unhappy and dissatisfied. Rejoice in one of two possibilities, either they are generally also good people like you and don’t mean you any personal harm or they are envious of you and be flattered by it. Again watch the “Letting Go” video.

Image courtesy: ©Thinkstock photos/ Getty images


25 Ways to Make a Girl Smile

25 Ways to Make a Girl Smile

By | posted Jul 15th 2014 at 6:00AM


Ever noticed how a little puppy only has to wag his tail and nudge you with its tiny paw to make you smile? Well, winning a girl over is that easy. You don’t need to have a funny bone or a romantic vein in your body; to make a girl laugh all you need is a sincere wish to see a big, bright smile on her face. Here are 25 ways to make a girl smile.

1. Surprise her with a nice dinner when she comes home. If you don’t know how to cook, then order her favourite dish from a restaurant.

2. Sing her to sleep. Let her feel like a child.




3. Send her a cute text while she’s sleeping. So when she wakes up, she’ll wake up with a smile.

4. Call her beautiful, instead of pretty, cute or gorgeous.

5. Go out for a stroll. Hold her hand while walking.




6. Have a date planned out so all she has to do is look good and show up.

7. Sneak up behind her, hold her around her waist, kiss her softly on the neck and tell her you love her.




8. Randomly send her a text telling her you miss her.

9. Bring her flowers for no reason at all. Not just when you’re in trouble or on Valentine’s Day.




10. Make her a handmade card.

11. Buy her a pair of earrings or anklets. Then every time she wears it, she’ll think about you and smile.

12. Give her a bear hug.




13. Play with her hair.

14. Hold her hand while crossing a road. Open the door for her when you enter a restaurant.




15. Set a special caller tune for her.

16. Give her a foot massage or a back rub.

17. Take her best friends out for coffee / dinner. She’ll appreciate your gesture of getting to know her friends. Also, the compliments her friends will give her for being so lucky to have a thoughtful boyfriend like you will make her gloat.




18. Support her ambition.

19. Don’t get jealous of her guy friends. Don’t impose a rulebook of dos and don’ts on her. This will let her know that you trust her completely.

20. Spend a night watching a movie and cuddling instead of going out with the guys.

21. Slow-dance with her even if there’s no music.




22. Write something romantic on her Facebook wall. Seeing her friends get jealous will secretly make her happy.



23. Unexpectedly, tell her one thing you liked about her the first time you met her.

24. Tell her how much you love her. It doesn’t hurt to be expressive once in a while.




25. Begin a sentence with, “Next year on your birthday…”, “Next Christmas we’ll…” or “Next rainy season we’ll…” This will let her know that you’re serious about this relationship and that you’re in it for the long haul.

Do you know any other way to make a girl smile? Leave us a comment and let us know