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Leon Ho

Leon Ho

1 year ago

Digital Brainbuilding (Your Second Brain)

More on Personal Growth

Katrine Tjoelsen

Katrine Tjoelsen

1 year ago

8 Communication Hacks I Use as a Young Employee

Learn these subtle cues to gain influence.

Hate being ignored?

As a 24-year-old, I struggled at work. Attention-getting tips How to avoid being judged by my size, gender, and lack of wrinkles or gray hair?

I've learned seniority hacks. Influence. Within two years as a product manager, I led a team. I'm a Stanford MBA student.

These communication hacks can make you look senior and influential.

1. Slowly speak

We speak quickly because we're afraid of being interrupted.

When I doubt my ideas, I speak quickly. How can we slow down? Jamie Chapman says speaking slowly saps our energy.

Chapman suggests emphasizing certain words and pausing.

2. Interrupted? Stop the stopper

Someone interrupt your speech?

Don't wait. "May I finish?" No pause needed. Stop interrupting. I first tried this in Leadership Laboratory at Stanford. How quickly I gained influence amazed me.

Next time, try “May I finish?” If that’s not enough, try these other tips from Wendy R.S. O’Connor.

3. Context

Others don't always see what's obvious to you.

Through explanation, you help others see the big picture. If a senior knows it, you help them see where your work fits.

4. Don't ask questions in statements

“Your statement lost its effect when you ended it on a high pitch,” a group member told me. Upspeak, it’s called. I do it when I feel uncertain.

Upspeak loses influence and credibility. Unneeded. When unsure, we can say "I think." We can even ask a proper question.

Someone else's boasting is no reason to be dismissive. As leaders and colleagues, we should listen to our colleagues even if they use this speech pattern.

Give your words impact.

5. Signpost structure

Signposts improve clarity by providing structure and transitions.

Communication coach Alexander Lyon explains how to use "first," "second," and "third" He explains classic and summary transitions to help the listener switch topics.

Signs clarify. Clarity matters.

6. Eliminate email fluff

“Fine. When will the report be ready? — Jeff.”

Notice how senior leaders write short, direct emails? I often use formalities like "dear," "hope you're well," and "kind regards"

Formality is (usually) unnecessary.

7. Replace exclamation marks with periods

See how junior an exclamation-filled email looks:

Hi, all!
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow! We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake! Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon!

Why the exclamation points? Why not just one?

Hi, all.
Hope you’re as excited as I am for tomorrow. We’re celebrating our accomplishments with cake. Join us tomorrow at 2 pm!
See you soon.

8. Take space

"Playing high" means having an open, relaxed body, says Stanford professor and author Deborah Gruenfield.

Crossed legs or looking small? Relax. Get bigger.

Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy

1 year ago

Activating Your Vagus Nerve

11 science-backed ways to improve health, happiness, healing, relaxation, and mental clarity.

Photo by Conscious Design on Unsplash

Vagus nerve is the main parasympathetic nervous system component.

It helps us rest and digest by slowing and stabilizing a resting heart rate, slowing and stabilizing the breath, promoting digestion, improving recovery and healing times, producing saliva, releasing endorphins and hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin, and boosting the immune, digestive, and cardiovascular systems.

The vagus nerve sends anti-inflammatory signals to other parts of the body and is located behind the tongue, in the throat, neck, heart, lungs, abdomen, and brainstem.

Vagus means wandering in Latin. So, it's bold.

Here are 11 proven ways to boost health, happiness, and the vagus nerve.

1. Extend

“Yoga stimulates different nerves in your body, especially the vagus nerve that carries information from the brain to most of the body’s major organs, slows everything down and allows self-regulation. It’s the nerve that is associated with the parasympathetic system and emotions like love, joy, and compassion.” — Deepak Chopra

Stretching doesn't require a yoga background.

Listen to your body and ease into simple poses. This connects the mind and body.

If you're new to yoga or don't have access to an in-person class, try Yoga with Adrienne. Over 600 YouTube videos give her plenty of material.

2. Inhale

Because inhaling and exhaling activate the autonomic nervous system, we can breathe to relax.

Exhaling activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). One inhales stress, the other exhales it.

So, faster or more intense breathing increases stress. Slower breathing relaxes us.

Breathe slowly, smoothly, and less.

Rhythmic breathing helps me relax.

What to do is as follows:

1. Take 4 smooth, forceless nose breaths.

2. Exhale smoothly and forcefully for 4 seconds

3. Don't pause at the inhale or exhale.

4. Continue for 5 minutes/40 breaths

5. Hold your breath as long as comfortable.

6. Breathe normally.

If four seconds is too long, try breathing in and out for two seconds, or in and out for three seconds, until your breath naturally relaxes. Once calmer, extend your breath.

Any consistent rhythm without force is good. Your heart will follow your lead and become coherent.

3. Chant/Hum

Singing, chanting, or humming activate the vagus nerve through the back of the throat.

Humming emits nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide improves blood circulation, blood flow, heart health, and blood pressure.

Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties kill viruses and bacteria in the nose and throat.

Gargling water stimulates the vagus nerve.

Simple ways to heal, boost energy, and boost mood are often the healthiest. They're free and can be done anywhere.

4. Have more fun

Laughing stimulates the throat muscles, activating the vagus nerve. What's not to like? It releases dopamine.

Take time to enjoy life. Maybe it's a book, podcast, movie, socializing with friends, or laughing yoga.

Follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell says.

Laugh at yourself

Actually. Really.

Gagging activates vagus nerve-connected muscles. Some doctors use the gag reflex to test the vagus nerve.

Grossness isn't required. While brushing, gag quickly. My girlfriend's brother always does it.

I'm done brushing when I gag, he says.

6. Take in the outdoors

Nature relaxes body and mind. Better if you can walk barefoot.

Earthing is associated with hippies dancing in daisies.

Science now supports hippies.

7. Enter some chilly water.

The diving reflex activates the vagus nerve when exposed to cold water.

The diving reflex involves holding your breath in cold water. Cold showers work best.

Within minutes of being in cold water, parasympathetic nervous system activity, which calms the body, increases.

8. Workout

Exercise increases dopamine, blood circulation, and breathing. So we feel energized, calm, and well-rested.

After resting, the parasympathetic nervous system engages.

It's worth waiting for, though.

9. Play music with brainwaves

Brainwave music harmonizes brainwave activity, boosts productivity and mental clarity, and promotes peace and relaxation by stimulating the vagus nerve.

Simply play a song.

My favorite.

10. Make gentle eyes

Eyes, like breath, often reflect inner state. Sharp, dilated, focused eyes indicate alertness.

Soft, open eyes reflect relaxation and ease. Soft eyes relax the nervous system.

This practice reduces stress, anxiety, and body tension. It's a quick and effective way to enter a calm, peaceful state.

Wild animals can be hunted one minute and graze the next.

Put it into action:

Relax while seated.

Gaze at a distant object

Use peripheral vision while looking straight ahead

Without moving your eyes, look up and down. Connect side spaces to your vision.

Focus on everything as your eyes soften.

Keep breathing

Stay as long as you like

11. Be intimate

We kiss, moan, and breathe deeper during love. We get dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and vagus nerve stimulation.

Why not?

To sum up

Here are 11 vagus nerve resets:

  1. Stretch

  2. Breathe

  3. Hum/Chant

  4. More humor

  5. Amuse yourself

  6. Spend time outdoors

  7. Leap into chilly water

  8. Exercise

  9. Play music with brainwaves.

  10. Make gentle eyes.

  11. Be intimate

If these words have inspired you, try my favorite breathwork technique. Combining breathing, chanting, and brainwave music. Win-win-win :)

Jari Roomer

Jari Roomer

1 year ago

After 240 articles and 2.5M views on Medium, 9 Raw Writing Tips

Late in 2018, I published my first Medium article, but I didn't start writing seriously until 2019. Since then, I've written more than 240 articles, earned over $50,000 through Medium's Partner Program, and had over 2.5 million page views.

Write A Lot

Most people don't have the patience and persistence for this simple writing secret:

Write + Write + Write = possible success

Writing more improves your skills.

The more articles you publish, the more likely one will go viral.

If you only publish once a month, you have no views. If you publish 10 or 20 articles a month, your success odds increase 10- or 20-fold.

Tim Denning, Ayodeji Awosika, Megan Holstein, and Zulie Rane. Medium is their jam. How are these authors alike? They're productive and consistent. They're prolific.

80% is publishable

Many writers battle perfectionism. 

To succeed as a writer, you must publish often. You'll never publish if you aim for perfection.

Adopt the 80 percent-is-good-enough mindset to publish more. It sounds terrible, but it'll boost your writing success.

Your work won't be perfect. Always improve. Waiting for perfection before publishing will take a long time.

Second, readers are your true critics, not you. What you consider "not perfect" may be life-changing for the reader. Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader.

Don't let perfectionism hinder the reader. ou don't want to publish mediocre articles. When the article is 80% done, publish it. Don't spend hours editing. Realize it. Get feedback. Only this will work.

Make Your Headline Irresistible

We all judge books by their covers, despite the saying. And headlines. Readers, including yourself, judge articles by their titles. We use it to decide if an article is worth reading.

Make your headlines irresistible. Want more article views? Then, whether you like it or not, write an attractive article title.

Many high-quality articles are collecting dust because of dull, vague headlines. It didn't make the reader click.

As a writer, you must do more than produce quality content. You must also make people click on your article. This is a writer's job. How to create irresistible headlines:

Curiosity makes readers click. Here's a tempting example...

  • Example: What Women Actually Look For in a Guy, According to a Huge Study by Luba Sigaud

Use Numbers: Click-bait lists. I mean, which article would you click first? ‘Some ways to improve your productivity’ or ’17 ways to improve your productivity.’ Which would I click?

  • Example: 9 Uncomfortable Truths You Should Accept Early in Life by Sinem Günel

Most headlines are dull. If you want clicks, get 'sexy'. Buzzword-ify. Invoke emotion. Trendy words.

  • Example: 20 Realistic Micro-Habits To Live Better Every Day by Amardeep Parmar

Concise paragraphs

Our culture lacks focus. If your headline gets a click, keep paragraphs short to keep readers' attention.

Some writers use 6–8 lines per paragraph, but I prefer 3–4. Longer paragraphs lose readers' interest.

A writer should help the reader finish an article, in my opinion. I consider it a job requirement. You can't force readers to finish an article, but you can make it 'snackable'

Help readers finish an article with concise paragraphs, interesting subheadings, exciting images, clever formatting, or bold attention grabbers.

Work And Move On

I've learned over the years not to get too attached to my articles. Many writers report a strange phenomenon:

The articles you're most excited about usually bomb, while the ones you're not tend to do well.

This isn't always true, but I've noticed it in my own writing. My hopes for an article usually make it worse. The more objective I am, the better an article does.

Let go of a finished article. 40 or 40,000 views, whatever. Now let the article do its job. Onward. Next story. Start another project.

Disregard Haters

Online content creators will encounter haters, whether on YouTube, Instagram, or Medium. More views equal more haters. Fun, right?

As a web content creator, I learned:

Don't debate haters. Never.

It's a mistake I've made several times. It's tempting to prove haters wrong, but they'll always find a way to be 'right'. Your response is their fuel.

I smile and ignore hateful comments. I'm indifferent. I won't enter a negative environment. I have goals, money, and a life to build. "I'm not paid to argue," Drake once said.

Use Grammarly

Grammarly saves me as a non-native English speaker. You know Grammarly. It shows writing errors and makes article suggestions.

As a writer, you need Grammarly. I have a paid plan, but their free version works. It improved my writing greatly.

Put The Reader First, Not Yourself

Many writers write for themselves. They focus on themselves rather than the reader.

Ask yourself:

This article teaches what? How can they be entertained or educated?

Personal examples and experiences improve writing quality. Don't focus on yourself.

It's not about you, the content creator. Reader-focused. Putting the reader first will change things.

Extreme ownership: Stop blaming others

I remember writing a lot on Medium but not getting many views. I blamed Medium first. Poor algorithm. Poor publishing. All sucked.

Instead of looking at what I could do better, I blamed others.

When you blame others, you lose power. Owning your results gives you power.

As a content creator, you must take full responsibility. Extreme ownership means 100% responsibility for work and results.

You don’t blame others. You don't blame the economy, president, platform, founders, or audience. Instead, you look for ways to improve. Few people can do this.

Blaming is useless. Zero. Taking ownership of your work and results will help you progress. It makes you smarter, better, and stronger.

Instead of blaming others, you'll learn writing, marketing, copywriting, content creation, productivity, and other skills. Game-changer.

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Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

2 years ago

Donor-Advised Fund Tax Benefits (DAF)

Giving through a donor-advised fund can be tax-efficient. Using a donor-advised fund can reduce your tax liability while increasing your charitable impact.

Grow Your Donations Tax-Free.

Your DAF's charitable dollars can be invested before being distributed. Your DAF balance can grow with the market. This increases grantmaking funds. The assets of the DAF belong to the charitable sponsor, so you will not be taxed on any growth.

Avoid a Windfall Tax Year.

DAFs can help reduce tax burdens after a windfall like an inheritance, business sale, or strong market returns. Contributions to your DAF are immediately tax deductible, lowering your taxable income. With DAFs, you can effectively pre-fund years of giving with assets from a single high-income event.

Make a contribution to reduce or eliminate capital gains.

One of the most common ways to fund a DAF is by gifting publicly traded securities. Securities held for more than a year can be donated at fair market value and are not subject to capital gains tax. If a donor liquidates assets and then donates the proceeds to their DAF, capital gains tax reduces the amount available for philanthropy. Gifts of appreciated securities, mutual funds, real estate, and other assets are immediately tax deductible up to 30% of Adjusted gross income (AGI), with a five-year carry-forward for gifts that exceed AGI limits.

Using Appreciated Stock as a Gift

Donating appreciated stock directly to a DAF rather than liquidating it and donating the proceeds reduces philanthropists' tax liability by eliminating capital gains tax and lowering marginal income tax.

In the example below, a donor has $100,000 in long-term appreciated stock with a cost basis of $10,000:

Using a DAF would allow this donor to give more to charity while paying less taxes. This strategy often allows donors to give more than 20% more to their favorite causes.

For illustration purposes, this hypothetical example assumes a 35% income tax rate. All realized gains are subject to the federal long-term capital gains tax of 20% and the 3.8% Medicare surtax. No other state taxes are considered.

The information provided here is general and educational in nature. It is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal or tax advice. NPT does not provide legal or tax advice. Furthermore, the content provided here is related to taxation at the federal level only. NPT strongly encourages you to consult with your tax advisor or attorney before making charitable contributions.

Sam Hickmann

Sam Hickmann

2 years ago

What is this Fed interest rate everybody is talking about that makes or breaks the stock market?

The Federal Funds Rate (FFR) is the target interest rate set by the Federal Reserve System (Fed)'s policy-making body (FOMC). This target is the rate at which the Fed suggests commercial banks borrow and lend their excess reserves overnight to each other.

The FOMC meets 8 times a year to set the target FFR. This is supposed to promote economic growth. The overnight lending market sets the actual rate based on commercial banks' short-term reserves. If the market strays too far, the Fed intervenes.

Banks must keep a certain percentage of their deposits in a Federal Reserve account. A bank's reserve requirement is a percentage of its total deposits. End-of-day bank account balances averaged over two-week reserve maintenance periods are used to determine reserve requirements.

If a bank expects to have end-of-day balances above what's needed, it can lend the excess to another institution.

The FOMC adjusts interest rates based on economic indicators that show inflation, recession, or other issues that affect economic growth. Core inflation and durable goods orders are indicators.

In response to economic conditions, the FFR target has changed over time. In the early 1980s, inflation pushed it to 20%. During the Great Recession of 2007-2009, the rate was slashed to 0.15 percent to encourage growth.

Inflation picked up in May 2022 despite earlier rate hikes, prompting today's 0.75 percent point increase. The largest increase since 1994. It might rise to around 3.375% this year and 3.1% by the end of 2024.

Nick Nolan

Nick Nolan

1 year ago

How to Make $1,037,100 in 4 Months with This Weird Website

One great idea might make you rich.

Author Screenshot | Source

Imagine having a million-dollar concept in college that made a million.

2005 precisely.

Alex Tew, 21, from Wiltshire, England, created The Million Dollar Homepage in August 2005. The idea is basic but beyond the ordinary, which is why it worked.

Alex built a 1,000,000-pixel webpage.

Each website pixel would cost $1. Since pixels are hard to discern, he sold 10x10 squares for $100.

He'd make a million if all the spots sold.

He may have thought about NFTs and the Metaverse decades ago.

MillionDollarHomepage.com launched in 2005.

Businesses and individuals could buy a website spot and add their logo, website link, and tagline. You bought an ad, but nobody visited the website.

If a few thousand people visited the website, it could drive traffic to your business's site.

Alex promised buyers the website would be up for 5 years, so it was a safe bet.

Alex's friend with a music website was the first to buy real estate on the site. Within two weeks, 4,700 pixels sold, and a tracker showed how many were sold and available.

Screenshot from: Source

Word-of-mouth marketing got the press's attention quickly. Everyone loves reading about new ways to make money, so it was a good news story.

By September, over 250,000 pixels had been sold, according to a BBC press release.

Alex and the website gained more media and public attention, so traffic skyrocketed. Two months after the site launched, 1,400 customers bought more than 500,000 pixels.

Businesses bought online real estate. They heard thousands visited the site, so they could get attention cheaply.

Unless you bought a few squares, I'm not sure how many people would notice your ad or click your link.

A sponge website owner emailed Alex:

“We tried Million Dollar Homepage because we were impressed at the level of ingenuity and the sheer simplicity of it. If we’re honest, we didn’t expect too much from it. Now, as a direct result, we are pitching for £18,000 GBP worth of new clients and have seen our site traffic increase over a hundred-fold. We’re even going to have to upgrade our hosting facility! It’s been exceptional.”

Web.archive.org screenshots show how the website changed.

GIF from web.archive.org

“The idea is to create something of an internet time capsule: a homepage that is unique and permanent. Everything on the internet keeps changing so fast, it will be nice to have something that stays solid and permanent for many years. You can be a part of that!” Alex Tew, 2005

The last 1,000 pixels were sold on January 1, 2006.

By then, the homepage had hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors. Alex put the last space on eBay due to high demand.

MillionDollarWeightLoss.com won the last pixels for $38,100, bringing revenue to $1,037,100 in 4 months.

Made in Canva

Many have tried to replicate this website's success. They've all failed.

This idea only worked because no one had seen this website before.

This winner won't be repeated, but it should inspire you to try something new and creative.

Still popular, you could buy one of the linked domains. You can't buy pixels, but you can buy an expired domain.

One link I clicked costs $59,888.

Screenshot from DomainMarket.com

You'd own a piece of internet history if you spent that much on a domain.

Someone bought stablesgallery.co.uk after the domain expired and restored it.

Many of the linked websites have expired or been redirected, but some still link to the original. I couldn't find sponge's website. Can you?

This is a great example of how a simple creative idea can go viral.

Comment on this amazing success story.