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Stop feeling guilty

WARNING: This article involves a lot of swearing, drama, action, comedy, romance and all that stuff mixed up, put in a big bowl and served with milk. It is also the most common story of most peoples’ lives

Let’s go…

We always find ourselves setting new goals, to do lists for the day and all that nonsense (no it’s extremely helpful, I just love to say the word “Nonsense” for no reason) to keep ourselves in check and productive throughout the day. But, since we are human beings, we often times fail to achieve these goals.

Let me give you a story about myself, a run of the mill human being:

I have been learning Spanish on the side. To be an educated African, by default, I know more than two languages (3, actually). Now I want to learn another one, a fourth one. There is an amazing app by Duolingo. As you learn a language, there is something called a streak (basically a way to keep score). Let me explain:

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When you do a minimum of one lesson to completion today, you add 1 to the streak. Even if you do 50 lessons by the end of the day, that still counts as 1.

If you do a minimum of one lesson the next day, add 1 to your streak. At the end of it all, if you do a lesson each day to completion for 7 straight days, the streak is 7, 8 consecutive days gives you 8….. The caveat is, you have to do a lesson each day to add to your score. Assuming today is Friday, if you do a lesson today, on Saturday, Sunday, and skip Monday, your streak will be broken. On Tuesday, it will be 1 instead of 4. If you miss one day, you lose the entire thing. It can go for as long as you want and there is no limit to the streak. I hear Japan has the highest average streak (no surprises there).

Back to my story; I did a lesson each day for 45 days, then I missed one day because I was so drunk (I was celebrating finishing an exam). I went back to square one, literally. I was so angry with myself…

I accepted failure, embraced it

I felt guilty for a few days about losing my precious streak, I didn’t do a single lesson for about two weeks.

Then, one day I was bored so decided to do one lesson. It felt nice coz I learnt a few words so I decided to do a few more. I realized that, after all, I had learnt something. I dusted myself up and got back on track and now my streak says 4.

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That slip up was 3 months ago. Such a poor record, right? NO! I am very proud of myself. You see, nowadays, I don’t care about the streak but I practice regularly, like a minimum of 5 days per week. I feel very happy.

When I slipped up, I tried to build up another streak and instead of learning the language, I was busy making the numbers. I did 25, then slipped up again, then did 17… until I realized that that was horsesheet. Now I just have fun and I am making better progress.

Change your Mentality

I am not a bastion of success since I am still very poor with my Spanish but I am learning. My dream is to one day be so fluent, I will seduce a young beautiful Latina and it will be so shameful because I will be old enough to be her father or grandpa (abuelo); so essentially, an old, chubby but charming bastard on holiday with zero morals. Of course I will ensure that she is of legal age.

Sorry, I got carried away there but the thing is, I realized that even if I don’t do a big number on my streak, that’s okay because the most important thing is to learn. If I wake up in the morning having not learnt Spanish the previous day, I can still smile and do a few lessons today.

If you have a list of things you want to do to make yourself a better person, eg, learn a new skill that will make you money or further your career, or working out, but you miss a few days or weeks and get derailed, don’t beat yourself up, just make sure you do it today. If you start off the year saying that you want to start working out and do well for 3 days and miss the 4th one, don’t beat yourself up. Go to the gym on the 5th one or the 6th one.

I Promised Myself Never To Use Clichés

The lesson we should get out of this is: Do not try to be perfect. Life is irregular, unpredictable, messy, unfair and NEVER PERFECT.

Dios Mio!! That feels like a big facking cliché!!! I am sorry I put you through that. I am so disappointed in myself.

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The Benefits of Portable Standing Desks

 

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A portable standing desk is healthier than its sitting alternative

 

A portable standing desk is a working desk whereby the user writes, types, or reads while standing up or sitting on an elevated stool. It is an invention that was quite trendy in the late 18th century and the 19th century. Major historical figures have used the standing desk due to its benefits. Such people include Sir Winston Churchill, Benjamin Franklin, and Leonardo Da Vinci.

While it would not be smart to blindly take up using a standing desk by virtue of other people using it, it is probably worth looking into some of the benefits of using one.

We should start by assessing why sitting at your desk is considered an unhealthy habit. While it is relatively common, sitting can cause some negative health effects that include diabetes, obesity, stress, weakened core muscles, and heart disease.

The Health Benefits of a Standing Desk

A portable standing desk can enable the body to minimize the risk of getting struck by diabetes and heart disease. Studies have generally pointed out that people who sit for prolonged periods of time are less active and stationary which means that their bodies do not control blood glucose appropriately. The body can have issues producing some useful enzymes that regulate blood glucose. Consequently, the metabolism is not as it should be increasing the odds that the sitting worker will have heart disease or diabetes. The standing desk, on the other hand, ensures that the heart beats faster and the body burns more calories. People who use standing desks record better metabolism than their sitting counterparts.

Standing desks lower mortality rates among the people who use them. Some studies have suggested that people who sit less frequently and for shorter periods of time increase their life expectancy by some margin. Generally, people who use standing desks live longer.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

If you are keen on improving your general body posture and alleviating back pains, you should go for the standing desk. When you sit too much, you can become a victim of anterior pelvic tilt. The hip flexors shorten and the hip extensors lengthen due to weakened core muscles. If this sounds too outlandish, it basically means that when you stand upright, the spine curves inwards at the lower back. This can cause pains and general discomfort. A standing desk ensures that you do not slouch or hunch over while you work. It improves the body core strength to give you a better posture.

Standing desks also help enhance your general mood in the workplace. They increase the level of excitement in the workplace because you are engaged in something new that also discourages you from losing focus. People who use standing desks are generally more energetic and suffer from less stress. They are also less fatigued than their sitting colleagues.

The Bottom Line

While standing desks offer amazing benefits, you should introduce them to your office gradually to get your body used to them. It can be daunting as the body comes to terms with the arrangement if you have been used to sitting more.

Inspirational Ben Smith “the real-life Forrest Gump” Runs to raise LGBT awareness

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Ben has has been an inspiration

Meet Ben Smith, a 34 year old marathoner. Ben has done something phenomenal over the past year. He has run in various marathons to raise awareness for young people who are unfairly targeted by bullies for being LGBT. Ben himself is gay and was subject to rampant abuse during his school-going days. He attributes a mini-stroke he suffered at the age of 29 to the incessant bullying.

A friend challenged him to join a running club to help raise awareness about the predicament of young people who are subjected to homophobic stigmatization.

He realized that as well as improving his mental and physical stature, this exercise could raise awareness as well as much needed funds for foundations that support this cause.

His charities of choice are Stonewall and Kidscape.

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Ben running to support anti-bullying charities

So far he has run a staggering 10,506.2 miles since September 1, 2015 as part of his 401 marathons target. To put the sheer magnitude of that milestone into perspective, that distance is the equivalent of running from London to Sydney in Australia.

He is encouraging you to join him by signing up to #Marathon401 and join the more than 8000 people who have joined him on his journey.

“A key objective of The 401 Challenge has been to involve as many people as possible and create opportunities for children, young people and adults to discuss the difficult topics of bullying and sexuality.”

Smith has raised more than £160,000 so far but is still off his target of £250,000.

“I am proud of the amount of money we have raised so far for Kidscape and Stonewall and am fully confident we will raise the £250,000 we set out to achieve at the beginning of the challenge.”

You can join him and help him achieve his goal by running with him from October 2nd to October 9th and get awarded with a medal for your troubles.

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Ben with his partner

Donald Trump – The text book definition of a demagogue

Can’t get more cliche than this really. The guy people are all talking about has played his cards close to his chest….until now. Things are seemingly getting out of hand and the Tea Party’s Machiavellian flag bearer was falling out with a section of his following but has taken measures to stop the rot. Donald Trump is xenophobic whether his followers believe this or not. But all the same, he is getting away with it every now and then. He shoots himself in the foot then does a sub-ten sprint. The poor judgement has been as spectacular as his ability to win the Republican nomination, swatting aside people who are more establishment-esque and more experienced.

Well, here it is, he dislikes “foreigners” who he believes perpetuate terrorism. He may deny this but building a wall to keep away the Mexicans is a figurative as well as literal gesture of how he views the whole immigration concept. Let us not forget that USA was built and continues to be built on the backs of the same minorities he berates. A very large number of people who are citizens became citizens because their grand parents or parents IMMIGRATED into the country. Whether they were Europeans, Asians or Africans, they are all foreigners.

Now a good number of conservatively inclined portion of the population perceives the immigrants as leeches who are conveniently in the country to take advantage of Welfare. Besides that, they believe that it is the immigrants who are at fault for the horrific acts of terrorism that are going on. Trump is appealing to this group. Other than the tough talking and grandstanding, he has not delineated a significant plan on how he will handle the background checks on people who are moving in. Needless to say, the checks will be skewed towards a people from certain parts of the world. If he is so strict on immigration and foreigners “pouring in” why not build his wall on the US-Canadian border. When he goes about banging on about immigration and the Mexican border, he seems to completely ignore the fact that guns are killing people on a daily basis. But Oh No! It is not terrorism if it is done by a Caucasian Male with “a mental health problem.” It isn’t terrorism if it is done by a white male and it is taken as a health problem. If it is done by someone with an Arabic name, it is terrorism and these Muslims need to be shipped back to wherever they came from.

Then he goes on to say that he will increase the military budget to defend the country from “the increasing threat from outside.” He is convincing gullible people that offense is the best defense but the budget is already significantly higher than any other nation in the world not to mention the infrastructure and nuclear war heads in their possession dwarfs other countries’.

One veteran, during the recent meet-up between military veterans and presidential aspirants, claimed that while Hillary Clinton was queried on the emails, Trump got away with making conflicting claims and didn’t really outline any plans to make the lives of the veterans better. He may make it to the White House but, no offense, he is not fit for office. It is a high stakes job that needs someone a bit more diplomatic. Maybe this tough guy act is all about securing the Oval Office, which Trump plans to ditch and be more diplomatic. But anyway, at the moment, he is acting like a demagogue.