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John Rampton

John Rampton

1 year ago

Ideas for Samples of Retirement Letters

More on Personal Growth

Suzie Glassman

Suzie Glassman

1 year ago

How I Stay Fit Despite Eating Fast Food and Drinking Alcohol

Here's me. Perfectionism is unnecessary.

This post isn't for people who gag at the prospect of eating french fries. I've been ridiculed for stating you can lose weight eating carbs and six-pack abs aren't good.

My family eats frozen processed meals and quick food most weeks (sometimes more). Clean eaters may think I'm unqualified to give fitness advice. I get it.

Hear me out, though. I’m a 44-year-old raising two busy kids with a weekly-traveling husband. Tutoring, dance, and guitar classes fill weeknights. I'm also juggling my job and freelancing.

I'm as worried and tired as my clients. I wish I ate only kale smoothies and salads. I can’t. Despite my mistakes, I'm fit. I won't promise you something just because it worked for me. But here’s a look at how I manage.

What I largely get right about eating

I have a flexible diet and track my daily intake. I count protein, fat, and carbs. Only on vacation or exceptional occasions do I not track.

My protein goal is 1 g per lb. I consume a lot of chicken breasts, eggs, turkey, and lean ground beef. I also occasionally drink protein shakes.

I eat 220–240 grams of carbs daily. My carb count depends on training volume and goals. I'm trying to lose weight slowly. If I want to lose weight faster, I cut carbs to 150-180.

My carbs include white rice, Daves Killer Bread, fruit, pasta, and veggies. I don't eat enough vegetables, so I take Athletic Greens. Also, V8.

Fat grams over 50 help me control my hormones. Recently, I've reached 70-80 grams. Cooking with olive oil. I eat daily dark chocolate. Eggs, butter, milk, and cheese contribute to the rest.

Those frozen meals? What can I say? Stouffer’s lasagna is sometimes needed. I order the healthiest fast food I can find (although I can never bring myself to order the salad). That's a chicken sandwich or a kid's hamburger. I rarely order fries. I eat slowly and savor each bite to feel full.

Potato chips and sugary cereals are in the pantry, but I'm not tempted. My kids eat them because I'd rather teach them moderation than total avoidance. If I eat them, I only eat one portion.

If you're not hungry and eating enough protein and fat, you won't want to eat everything in sight.

I drink once or twice a week. As a result, I rarely overdo it.

Food tracking is tedious and frustrating for many. Taking breaks and using estimates when eating out help. Not perfect, but realistic.

I practice a prolonged fast to enhance metabolic adaptability

Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch between fuel sources (fat and carbs) based on activity intensity and time since eating. At rest or during low to moderate exertion, your body burns fat. Your body burns carbs after eating and during intense exercise.

Our metabolic flexibility can be hampered by lack of exercise, overeating, and stress. Our bodies become lousy fat burners, making weight loss difficult.

Once a week, I skip dinner (usually around 24 hours). Long-term fasting teaches my body to burn fat. It provides me one low-calorie day a week (I break the fast with a normal-sized dinner).

Fasting day helps me maintain my weight on weekends, when I typically overeat and drink.

Try an extended fast slowly. Delay breakfast by two hours. Next week, add two hours, etc. It takes practice to go that long without biting off your arm. I also suggest consulting your doctor.

I stay active.

I've always been active. As a child, I danced many nights a week, was on the high school dance team, and ran marathons in my 20s.

Often, I feel driven by an internal engine. Working from home makes it easy to exercise. If that’s not you, I get it. Everyone can benefit from raising their baseline.

After taking the kids to school, I walk two miles around the neighborhood. When I need to think, I switch off podcasts. First thing in the morning, I go for a walk.

I lift weights Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 45 minutes is typical. I run 45-90 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I'm slow but reliable. On Saturdays and Sundays, I walk and add a short spin class if I'm not too tired.

I almost never forgo sleep.

I rarely stay up past 10 p.m., much to my night-owl husband's dismay. My 7-8-hour nights help me recover from workouts and handle stress. Without it, I'm grumpy.

I suppose sleep duration matters more than bedtime. Some people just can't fall asleep early. Internal clock and genetics determine sleep and wake hours.

Prioritize sleep.

Last thoughts

Fitness and diet advice is often useless. Some of the advice is inaccurate, dangerous, or difficult to follow if you have a life. I want to throw a shoe at my screen when I see headlines promising to speed up my metabolism or help me lose fat.

I studied exercise physiology for years. No shortcuts exist. No medications or cleanses reset metabolism. I play the hand I'm dealt. I realize that just because something works for me, it won't for you.

If I wanted 15% body fat and ripped abs, I'd have to be stricter. I occasionally think I’d like to get there. But then I remember I’m happy with my life. I like fast food and beer. Pizza and margaritas are favorites (not every day).

You can get it mostly right and live a healthy life.

Ari Joury, PhD

Ari Joury, PhD

1 year ago

7 ways to turn into a major problem-solver

Frustration is normal when faced with unsolvable problems. Image by author

For some people, the glass is half empty. For others, it’s half full. And for some, the question is, How do I get this glass totally full again?

Problem-solvers are the last group. They're neutral. Pragmatists.

Problems surround them. They fix things instead of judging them. Problem-solvers improve the world wherever they go.

Some fail. Sometimes their good intentions have terrible results. Like when they try to help a grandma cross the road because she can't do it alone but discover she never wanted to.

Most programmers, software engineers, and data scientists solve problems. They use computer code to fix problems they see.

Coding is best done by understanding and solving the problem.

Despite your best intentions, building the wrong solution may have negative consequences. Helping an unwilling grandma cross the road.

How can you improve problem-solving?

1. Examine your presumptions.

Don’t think There’s a grandma, and she’s unable to cross the road. Therefore I must help her over the road. Instead think This grandma looks unable to cross the road. Let’s ask her whether she needs my help to cross it.

Maybe the grandma can’t cross the road alone, but maybe she can. You can’t tell for sure just by looking at her. It’s better to ask.

Maybe the grandma wants to cross the road. But maybe she doesn’t. It’s better to ask!

Building software is similar. Do only I find this website ugly? Who can I consult?

We all have biases, mental shortcuts, and worldviews. They simplify life.

Problem-solving requires questioning all assumptions. They might be wrong!

Think less. Ask more.

Secondly, fully comprehend the issue.

Grandma wants to cross the road? Does she want flowers from the shop across the street?

Understanding the problem advances us two steps. Instead of just watching people and their challenges, try to read their intentions.

Don't ask, How can I help grandma cross the road? Why would this grandma cross the road? What's her goal?

Understand what people want before proposing solutions.

3. Request more information. This is not a scam!

People think great problem solvers solve problems immediately. False!

Problem-solvers study problems. Understanding the problem makes solving it easy.

When you see a grandma struggling to cross the road, you want to grab her elbow and pull her over. However, a good problem solver would ask grandma what she wants. So:

Problem solver: Excuse me, ma’am? Do you wish to get over the road? Grandma: Yes indeed, young man! Thanks for asking. Problem solver: What do you want to do on the other side? Grandma: I want to buy a bouquet of flowers for my dear husband. He loves flowers! I wish the shop wasn’t across this busy road… Problem solver: Which flowers does your husband like best? Grandma: He loves red dahlia. I usually buy about 20 of them. They look so pretty in his vase at the window! Problem solver: I can get those dahlia for you quickly. Go sit on the bench over here while you’re waiting; I’ll be back in five minutes. Grandma: You would do that for me? What a generous young man you are!

A mediocre problem solver would have helped the grandma cross the road, but he might have forgotten that she needs to cross again. She must watch out for cars and protect her flowers on the way back.

A good problem solver realizes that grandma's husband wants 20 red dahlias and completes the task.

4- Rapid and intense brainstorming

Understanding a problem makes solutions easy. However, you may not have all the information needed to solve the problem.

Additionally, retrieving crucial information can be difficult.

You could start a blog. You don't know your readers' interests. You can't ask readers because you don't know who they are.

Brainstorming works here. Set a stopwatch (most smartphones have one) to ring after five minutes. In the remaining time, write down as many topics as possible.

No answer is wrong. Note everything.

Sort these topics later. Programming or data science? What might readers scroll past—are these your socks this morning?

Rank your ideas intuitively and logically. Write Medium stories using the top 35 ideas.

5 - Google it.

Doctor Google may answer this seemingly insignificant question. If you understand your problem, try googling or binging.

Someone has probably had your problem before. The problem-solver may have posted their solution online.

Use others' experiences. If you're social, ask a friend or coworker for help.

6 - Consider it later

Rest your brain.

Reread. Your brain needs rest to function.

Hustle culture encourages working 24/7. It doesn't take a neuroscientist to see that this is mental torture.

Leave an unsolvable problem. Visit friends, take a hot shower, or do whatever you enjoy outside of problem-solving.

Nap.

I get my best ideas in the morning after working on a problem. I couldn't have had these ideas last night.

Sleeping subconsciously. Leave it alone and you may be surprised by the genius it produces.

7 - Learn to live with frustration

There are problems that you’ll never solve.

Mathematicians are world-class problem-solvers. The brightest minds in history have failed to solve many mathematical problems.

A Gordian knot problem can frustrate you. You're smart!

Frustration-haters don't solve problems well. They choose simple problems to avoid frustration.

No. Great problem solvers want to solve a problem but know when to give up.

Frustration initially hurts. You adapt.

Famous last words

If you read this article, you probably solve problems. We've covered many ways to improve, so here's a summary:

  1. Test your presumptions. Is the issue the same for everyone else when you see one? Or are your prejudices and self-judgments misguiding you?

  2. Recognize the issue completely. On the surface, a problem may seem straightforward, but what's really going on? Try to see what the current situation might be building up to by thinking two steps ahead of the current situation.

  3. Request more information. You are no longer a high school student. A two-sentence problem statement is not sufficient to provide a solution. Ask away if you need more details!

  4. Think quickly and thoroughly. In a constrained amount of time, try to write down all your thoughts. All concepts are worthwhile! Later, you can order them.

  5. Google it. There is a purpose for the internet. Use it.

  6. Consider it later at night. A rested mind is more creative. It might seem counterintuitive to leave a problem unresolved. But while you're sleeping, your subconscious will handle the laborious tasks.

  7. Accept annoyance as a normal part of life. Don't give up if you're feeling frustrated. It's a step in the procedure. It's also perfectly acceptable to give up on a problem because there are other, more pressing issues that need to be addressed.

You might feel stupid sometimes, but that just shows that you’re human. You care about the world and you want to make it better.

At the end of the day, that’s all there is to problem solving — making the world a little bit better.

Neeramitra Reddy

Neeramitra Reddy

1 year ago

The best life advice I've ever heard could very well come from 50 Cent.

He built a $40M hip-hop empire from street drug dealing.

Free for creative use by PCMag

50 Cent was nearly killed by 9mm bullets.

Before 50 Cent, Curtis Jackson sold drugs.

He sold coke to worried addicts after being orphaned at 8.

Pursuing police. Murderous hustlers and gangs. Unwitting informers.

Despite his hard life, his hip-hop career was a success.

An assassination attempt ended his career at the start.

What sane producer would want to deal with a man entrenched in crime?

Most would have drowned in self-pity and drank themselves to death.

But 50 Cent isn't most people. Life on the streets had given him fearlessness.

“Having a brush with death, or being reminded in a dramatic way of the shortness of our lives, can have a positive, therapeutic effect. So it is best to make every moment count, to have a sense of urgency about life.” ― 50 Cent, The 50th Law

50 released a series of mixtapes that caught Eminem's attention and earned him a $50 million deal!

50 Cents turned death into life.

Things happen; that is life.

We want problems solved.

Every human has problems, whether it's Jeff Bezos swimming in his billions, Obama in his comfortable retirement home, or Dan Bilzerian with his hired bikini models.

All problems.

Problems churn through life. solve one, another appears.

It's harsh. Life's unfair. We can face reality or run from it.

The latter will worsen your issues.

“The firmer your grasp on reality, the more power you will have to alter it for your purposes.” — 50 Cent, The 50th Law

In a fantasy-obsessed world, 50 Cent loves reality.

Wish for better problem-solving skills rather than problem-free living.

Don't wish, work.

We All Have the True Power of Alchemy

Humans are arrogant enough to think the universe cares about them.

That things happen as if the universe notices our nanosecond existences.

Things simply happen. Period.

By changing our perspective, we can turn good things bad.

The alchemists' search for the philosopher's stone may have symbolized the ability to turn our lead-like perceptions into gold.

Negativity bias tints our perceptions.

Normal sparring broke your elbow? Rest and rethink your training. Fired? You can improve your skills and get a better job.

Consider Curtis if he had fallen into despair.

The legend we call 50 Cent wouldn’t have existed.

The Best Lesson in Life Ever?

Neither avoid nor fear your reality.

That simple sentence contains every self-help tip and life lesson on Earth.

When reality is all there is, why fear it? avoidance?

Or worse, fleeing?

To accept reality, we must eliminate the words should be, could be, wish it were, and hope it will be.

It is. Period.

Only by accepting reality's chaos can you shape your life.

“Behind me is infinite power. Before me is endless possibility, around me is boundless opportunity. My strength is mental, physical and spiritual.” — 50 Cent

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Nojus Tumenas

Nojus Tumenas

1 year ago

NASA: Strange Betelgeuse Explosion Just Took Place

Orion's red supergiant Betelgeuse erupted. This is astronomers' most magnificent occurrence.

Betelgeuse, a supergiant star in Orion, garnered attention in 2019 for its peculiar appearance. It continued to dim in 2020.

The star was previously thought to explode as a supernova. Studying the event has revealed what happened to Betelgeuse since it happened.

Astronomers saw that the star released a large amount of material, causing it to lose a section of its surface.

They have never seen anything like this and are unsure what caused the star to release so much material.

According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Andrea Dupre, astronomers' data reveals an unexplained mystery.

They say it's a new technique to examine star evolution. The James Webb telescope revealed the star's surface features.

Corona flares are stellar mass ejections. These eruptions change the Sun's outer atmosphere.

This could affect power grids and satellite communications if it hits Earth.

Betelgeuse's flare ejected four times more material than the Sun's corona flare.

Astronomers have monitored star rhythms for 50 years. They've seen its dimming and brightening cycle start, stop, and repeat.

Monitoring Betelgeuse's pulse revealed the eruption's power.

Dupre believes the star's convection cells are still amplifying the blast's effects, comparing it to an imbalanced washing machine tub.

The star's outer layer has returned to normal, Hubble data shows. The photosphere slowly rebuilds its springy surface.

Dupre noted the star's unusual behavior. For instance, it’s causing its interior to bounce.

This suggests that the mass ejections that caused the star's surface to lose mass were two separate processes.

Researchers hope to better understand star mass ejection with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Jack Shepherd

Jack Shepherd

1 year ago

A Dog's Guide to Every Type of Zoom Call Participant

Are you one of these Zoom dogs?

The Person Who Is Apparently Always on Mute

Waffles thinks he can overpower the mute button by shouting loudly.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, Adobe

The person who believed their camera to be off

Barkley's used to remote work, but he hasn't mastered the "Stop Video" button. Everyone is affected.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, Adobe

Who is driving for some reason, exactly?

Why is Pumpkin always late? Who knows? Shouldn't she be driving? If you could hear her over the freeway, she'd answer these questions.

Photos: Pexels, Pixabay, Envato, Adobe

The Person With the Amazing Bookcase

Cicero likes to use SAT-words like "leverage" and "robust" in Zoom sessions, presumably from all the books he wants you to see behind him.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, Adobe

The Individual Who Is Unnecessarily Dressed

We hope Bandit is going somewhere beautiful after this meeting, or else he neglected the quarterly earnings report and is overcompensating to distract us.

Photos: Pexels, Pixabay, Envato

The person who works through lunch in between zoom calls

Barksworth has back-to-back meetings all day, so you can watch her eat while she talks.

Photos: Pexels, Pixabay, Envato

The Person Who Is A Little Too Comfy

Hercules thinks Zoom meetings happen between sleeps. He'd appreciate everyone speaking more quietly.

Photos: Pexels, Adobe, @Greenring

The Person Who Answered the Phone Outside

Frisbee has a gorgeous backyard and lives in a place with great weather year-round, and she wants you to think about that during the daily team huddle.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, Adobe

Who Wants You to Pay Attention to Their Pet

Snickers hasn't listened to you in 20 minutes unless you tell her how cute her kitten is.

One who is, for some reason, positioned incorrectly on the screen

Nelson's meetings consist primarily of attempting to figure out how he positioned his laptop so absurdly.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, @Greenring

The person who says too many goodbyes

Zeus waves farewell like it's your first day of school while everyone else searches for the "Leave Meeting" button. It's nice.

Photos: Adobe, Envato, iStock

He who has a poor internet connection

Ziggy's connectivity problems continue... She gives a long speech as everyone waits awkwardly to inform her they missed it.

Photos: Pexels, Envato, Wikimedia Commons

The Clearly Multitasking Person

Tinkerbell can play fetch during the monthly staff meeting if she works from home, but that's not a good idea.

Photos: Pexels, Pixabay, Envato

The Person Using Zoom as a Makeup and Hair Mirror

If Gail and Bob knew Zoom had a "hide self view" option, they'd be distraught.

Photos: Pexels, Adobe, Envato

The person who feels at ease with simply leaving

Rusty bails when a Zoom conference is over. Rusty's concept is decent.

Photos: Pexels, Adobe, Envato
Jon Brosio

Jon Brosio

1 year ago

You can learn more about marketing from these 8 copywriting frameworks than from a college education.

Email, landing pages, and digital content

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Today's most significant skill:

Copywriting.

Unfortunately, most people don't know how to write successful copy because they weren't taught in school.

I've been obsessed with copywriting for two years. I've read 15 books, completed 3 courses, and studied internet's best digital entrepreneurs.

Here are 8 copywriting frameworks that educate more than a four-year degree.

1. Feature — Advantage — Benefit (F.A.B)

This is the most basic copywriting foundation. Email marketing, landing page copy, and digital video ads can use it.

F.A.B says:

  • How it works (feature)

  • which is helpful (advantage)

  • What's at stake (benefit)

The Hustle uses this framework on their landing page to convince people to sign up:

Courtesy | Thehustle.co

2. P. A. S. T. O. R.

This framework is for longer-form copywriting. PASTOR uses stories to engage with prospects. It explains why people should buy this offer.

PASTOR means:

  • Problem

  • Amplify

  • Story

  • Testimonial

  • Offer

  • Response

Dan Koe's landing page is a great example. It shows PASTOR frame-by-frame.

Courtesy | Dan Koe

3. Before — After — Bridge

Before-after-bridge is a copywriting framework that draws attention and shows value quickly.

This framework highlights:

  • where you are

  • where you want to be

  • how to get there

Works great for: Email threads/landing pages

Zain Kahn utilizes this framework to write viral threads.

Courtesy | Zain Kahn

4. Q.U.E.S.T

QUEST is about empathetic writing. You know their issues, obstacles, and headaches. This allows coverups.

QUEST:

  • Qualifies

  • Understands

  • Educates

  • Stimulates

  • Transitions

Tom Hirst's landing page uses the QUEST framework.

Courtesy | Tom Hirst

5. The 4P’s model

The 4P’s approach pushes your prospect to action. It educates and persuades quickly.

4Ps:

  • The problem the visitor is dealing with

  • The promise that will help them

  • The proof the promise works

  • push towards action

Mark Manson is a bestselling author, digital creator, and pop-philosopher. He's also a great copywriter, and his membership offer uses the 4P’s framework.

Courtesy | Mark Manson

6. Problem — Agitate — Solution (P.A.S)

Up-and-coming marketers should understand problem-agitate-solution copywriting. Once you understand one structure, others are easier. It drives passion and presents a clear solution.

PAS outlines:

  • The issue the visitor is having

  • It then intensifies this issue through emotion.

  • finally offers an answer to that issue (the offer)

The customer's story loops. Nicolas Cole and Dickie Bush use PAS to promote Ship 30 for 30.

Courtesy | ship30for30.com

7. Star — Story — Solution (S.S.S)

PASTOR + PAS = star-solution-story. Like PAS, it employs stories to persuade.

S.S.S. is effective storytelling:

  • Star: (Person had a problem)

  • Story: (until they had a breakthrough)

  • Solution: (That created a transformation)

Ali Abdaal is a YouTuber with a great S.S.S copy.

Courtesy | Ali Abdaal

8. Attention — Interest — Desire — Action

AIDA is another classic. This copywriting framework is great for fast-paced environments (think all digital content on Linkedin, Twitter, Medium, etc.).

It works with:

  • Page landings

  • writing on thread

  • Email

It's a good structure since it's concise, attention-grabbing, and action-oriented.

Shane Martin, Twitter's creator, uses this approach to create viral content.

Courtesy | Shane Martin

TL;DR

8 copywriting frameworks that teach marketing better than a four-year degree

  • Feature-advantage-benefit

  • Before-after-bridge

  • Star-story-solution

  • P.A.S.T.O.R

  • Q.U.E.S.T

  • A.I.D.A

  • P.A.S

  • 4P’s