Know you know Friday

In 1936, American track star Jesse Owens beat a race horse over a 100-yard course. The horse was given a head start.

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Restless Spirit: Why I Refuse To Spend My Whole Life In Just One Place

travel

By Kaitlyn Cawley via Elite Daily

Distance is life’s greatest teacher.

It makes our hearts grow fonder, dazzles us with necessary perspective and wedges space between us and all those things we swore we couldn’t live without.

There is nothing like distance to demonstrate – painfully and otherwise – what exactly we need to be happy.

I’ve made a case for moving all my life; I’ve hopped schools, cultures and countries. I’ve planted roots and torn them away; I’ve chased some unflagging ache that leaves my limbs restless, and I’ve refused to settle.

Moving has been a hard reset on my life, and I do it again and again to remind myself how little I really need to be happy.

To remind myself that the people, places and things that have followed me on the messy, muddled map of my making are the only things I really need.

That most of life is buffer, and I long to live in a constant state of discomfort.

I can’t live in one place. I’m a different person each time I exhale. I want to try cities on for size and discard countries with my winter wardrobe.

This world has so much to teach me, and staying in one place seems a grave injustice to the ripe, wanton fantasies of every jagged border carved into the globe.

I can’t sit still; I refuse to. I am moved by my own indeterminate, adaptive passions. In my free time, I stare at maps, trace impossible routes and sigh at their far corners.

I can’t tell you that I’m right, only that I’m right for myself. What I can tell you, however, is I learned more about myself when my words failed me and a new city frightened me than I ever could swaddled in the protective arms of the place that was comforting enough to call home.

When you separate yourself from your entire world, the who, what, where, when, why all become so much clearer. Distance has so much to teach you; I pray that you let it:

You discover who the important people are

The first few weeks in a new place are filled to the brim with disparate, filler conversations. You talk to people but don’t really speak to them.

Sometimes your only human contact is the exchange of pleasantries, and the few real conversations you manage are necessarily and frustratingly superficial.

You long to be yourself more than anything else, and you’re reminded exactly whom you can be that way with.

As time trickles onward, and you grow and form bonds with new people, you distinguish the people you miss even when you’re not lonely.

These are the people whose names saturate your stories and the ones whom you beg and plead to visit. All the other friends, who were never really friends to begin with, fade from your memory.

You learn the people who contribute to your life, and you miss them intensely.


You learn what few things you need to feel at home

It takes time to acclimate to another way of life. Sometimes it never happens. I’ve felt more at peace in cities within a few days than others I’ve spent years in.

The transition from house to home, from tourist to townie, isn’t like a light switch. It happens gradually: the grocer remembers your name; you run into a familiar face at a bar; a gaggle of tourists asks you for directions.

Tiny little instances build up until you’re one day awash with the distinct sense of belonging. It’s never forever (and it shouldn’t be), but it’s enough to subside the pangs of exile.

It’s enough to realize home isn’t a bed; it isn’t measured in years. Home is the pleasure of familiarity and the truth that one half-stranger has the capacity to make your day.


You realize where you want to be

Some cities have taught me I want to be anywhere but there. Some cities have reminded me of the beauty of my home, and some cities have tempted me never to return.

Distancing yourself from the place you grew up is the fastest way to determine what ties you have to places and whether they’re strong enough to keep you there.

I’ve learned I can’t live in the place that raised me, and I’ve met countless others who realized their only option was to return to their cities because no place else has compared.

Moving somewhere differs itself from the honeymoon phase of traveling, when you can cherry-pick the moments and corners of a city that make it great.

It’s waking up to a city the next morning when it’s stripped of its myth and allure and loving it (or hating it) regardless.

When you’ve seen a city in the cold light of morning, you know whether your attachment is romantic or real.


You know when to call it quits

You’re not cut out for every city, and every city is certainly not cut out for you.

When you aren’t buried in your comfort zone, you see all the things that are worth your time and those that are not.

You’re a lot less inclined to do the things you don’t want to do.

Moving for the first time is like ripping off a Band-Aid: It stings. You realize, however, your adhesion to the city is less of necessity and entirely due to fear.

Each time you do it subsequently, you become a little number to the pain. I’ve found this to be a dangerous skill that helps and hurts with an impartial frequency.

There are far too many nooks and crannies in the universe to settle in a place that isn’t perfect (for you, right then).

I’ve outgrown cities and seen cities I couldn’t grow into, but I will never settle in a place that doesn’t inspire me; in fact, I’ll never settle at all.


You recognize why you did it all to begin with

People move for all kinds of reasons: love, opportunity, escape, rebirth.

You might not know what motivates you to pack your bags; it might seem like it’s that promotion or the prospect of new people, but until you’ve separated yourself from your city, you don’t know the tiny little fissures that will eventually build into your big break.

If nothing else, jarring yourself from the familiar is a fantastic exercise in self-analysis. All of your motivations become clearer when your days are spent lost in a new place and in yourself.

When you’re your only companion, there’s nowhere to hide.

21 Things You Need To Do By Yourself Before You Tie The Knot

girls

By Alexa Mellardo via Elite Daily

The best time in your life to accomplish all of your bucket list goals and dreams is before you tie the knot.

There is no better time than the present to make it all about you. This is the hip-hip-hurrah phase, so challenge your mind, and feed your soul with things you love.

Once you decide to tie the knot, it’s no longer all about you… it’s about the both of you.

Don’t get me wrong: You will start an amazing chapter at that time with your soulmate, but your priorities and situation may change.

Embrace your time now, and live it up, so when you start your next stage, you will have no regrets.

Don’t let this once-in-a-lifetime “me” stage pass you by without a great plan in motion. Think about doing some of these out-of-the-box things…

1. Feed your wanderlust abroad.

Embrace travel at full throttle. The world awaits you.

Don’t waste any time… plan an itinerary, pack your bags, and go for it!


2. That spontaneous, crazy adventure you’ve always dreamed of… do it.

Hike the Grand Canyon, take rock-climbing classes in Seattle, snorkel it up in Maui, or go on an African safari. The possibilities for a spectacular memory are endless.


3. Challenge your mind.

Your mind is a terrible thing to waste. Expand it, expose it and fill it with anything and everything that interests you. There’s no time like the present to go back to school if that’s on your bucket list.


4. Learn to shop and cook for a healthy lifestyle.

Eating healthy should be incorporated into your daily routine. Being a healthy shopper will be second nature once you have your go-to recipes and favorite food stores.


5. Live in or near a fun city… if even just for a little while.

You never know where your life or career may take you. City living is an experience you will never forget, and it’s chock-filled with culture, people to meet and things to do.

If you have the opportunity and desire to live in a major city, the time is now.


6. Pursue your dream job, even if it’s a complete career change.

If you’re not waking up every day doing something you completely love, it’s time to make a change. The process may take time, but will be well worth the wait and effort you put into it.


7. Commit to some strict weekly “you time.”

Identify what you really enjoy doing, and carve out time in your busy weekly schedule to do it.

It can simply be devouring a bowl of your favorite ice cream, a run on the beach or cuddling up with a good book. Sometimes the little things in life are the most satisfying.


8. Eliminate baggage… learn not to sweat the small stuff.

If any aspect of your life is draining you, take steps to make a change… ASAP.

Learn what is worth your concern and what is not. Life is much too short to dwell on what you cannot control.


9. Re-evaluate your friendships.

Embrace strengths and understand weaknesses in friends.

Each friend has his or her own niche that is special to you, so love him or her for that.

Be selective with your circle of friends, and take this time in your life to make that circle spectacular.


10. Plan a wine camp adventure.

You can actually work the vineyards and learn everything you could possibly want to know from master winemakers.

If money is not a restriction, go for Tuscany!


11. Nurture your spirit.

Go on a meditation retreat or to a yoga camp. Make a calming plan for relaxation; rejuvenate and inspire your inner strength.

Need I say more?


12. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Your everyday environment should contain things that make you happy, whether it’s vintage furniture, plush new bedding or spectacular wall art. Plan it out and just do it!


13. Splurge on the impractical car you love.

You will never look better in that sports car than you will now, so have no regrets.

One day, you may have to drive a more practical car to suit your future self. Put your shades on now, and splurge for the new wheels.


14. Don’t let finding the perfect soulmate stress you out

Everything will happen at the right time. That is why it’s so important not to waste one second prioritizing, planning and enjoying everything on your bucket list.

And who knows, you may meet that perfect soulmate while you’re going down the list!


15. Be confident and comfortable with who you are.

Be happy with your overall image, inside and out. Identify any qualities you’d like to change about yourself, and address them one step at a time.

Now is the best time to find your true self and style – one you feel confident and comfortable with.


16. Get into the habit of doing something great for others.

Participate in walkathons, or volunteer for service projects. Try to do something nice for someone each and every day, even if it’s holding a door or letting someone go ahead of you.

Paying it forward is rewarding, and Karma truly does exist in all shapes and sizes.


17. Spend time with your friends and family.

Take advantage of any free time you can spend with those you really care about, while you have the time to do it. Vacation with your bestie(s) now.

This doesn’t mean you won’t go again in the future, but this is a prime time to make memories.


18. Get a puppy.

If you can, a puppy is a great companion and will love you unconditionally. A smiling face is an amazing thing to come home to at the end of a long day.


19. Go glamping.

Plan a glamping expedition on the West Coast. Some day you may be camping with the fam. But for now, do it right… with a wood-burning stove in a canvas cottage with stunning views, local artwork and an endless amount of wine.

You need to be a high-end glamper, stat.


20. Seize and embrace the opportunity of being free.

Never put anything off that you can do now while you are willing and able.

Live life with absolutely no regrets, accepting opportunity with open arms.

Never fear change, but rather confidently take chances after carefully weighing all of the possible outcomes.


21. Live. It. Up.

Unwrap every new day as a precious gift. Make it a habit to start each morning with the intent of making that day better than yesterday.

Don’t look back or dwell on the past because it’s long gone.

Greet the future with open arms and positive anticipation.

Playing out your bucket list will make you as prepared as you possibly can be to start a spectacular life when you are ready to tie the knot… and you can start a brand new bucket list together with not one regret.

18 Behaviors of Emotionally Intelligent People

helping-hands

By Travis Bradberry via INC

When emotional intelligence (EQ) first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into the broadly held assumption that IQ was the sole source of success.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as being the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. The connection is so strong that 90 percent of top performers have high emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions to achieve positive results.

Despite the significance of EQ, its intangible nature makes it difficult to measure and to know what to do to improve it if you’re lacking. You can always take a scientifically validated test, such as the one that comes with the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but unfortunately, most such tests aren’t free. So, I’ve analyzed the data from the million-plus people TalentSmart has tested in order to identify the behaviors that are the hallmarks of a high EQ. What follows are sure signs that you have a high EQ.

You have a robust emotional vocabulary.

All people experience emotions, but it is a select few who can accurately identify them as they occur. Our research shows that only 36 percent of people can do this, which is problematic because unlabeled emotions often go misunderstood, which leads to irrational choices and counterproductive actions.

People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. While many people might describe themselves as simply feeling “bad,” emotionally intelligent people can pinpoint whether they feel “irritable,” “frustrated,” “downtrodden,” or “anxious.” The more specific your word choice, the better insight you have into exactly how you are feeling, what caused it, and what you should do about it.

You’re curious about people.

It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

You embrace change.

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

You know your strengths and weaknesses.

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and how to lean into and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

You’re a good judge of character.

Much of emotional intelligence comes down to social awareness; the ability to read other people, know what they’re about, and understand what they’re going through. Over time, this skill makes you an exceptional judge of character. People are no mystery to you. You know what they’re all about and understand their motivations, even those that lie hidden beneath the surface.

You are difficult to offend.

If you have a firm grasp of who you are, it’s difficult for someone to say or do something that gets your goat. Emotionally intelligent people are self-confident and open-minded, which creates a pretty thick skin. You may even poke fun at yourself or let other people make jokes about you because you are able to mentally draw the line between humor and degradation.

You know how to say no (to yourself and others).

Emotional intelligence means knowing how to exert self-control. You delay gratification and avoid impulsive action. Research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Saying no is a major self-control challenge for many people, but “No” is a powerful word that you should unafraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, emotionally intelligent people avoid phrases such as “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

You let go of mistakes.

Emotionally intelligent people distance themselves from their mistakes, but do so without forgetting them. By keeping their mistakes at a safe distance, yet still handy enough to refer to, they are able to adapt and adjust for future success. It takes refined self-awareness to walk this tightrope between dwelling and remembering. Dwelling too long on your mistakes makes you anxious and gun shy, while forgetting about them completely makes you bound to repeat them. The key to balance lies in your ability to transform failures into nuggets of improvement. This creates the tendency to get right back up every time you fall down.

You give and expect nothing in return.

When someone gives you something spontaneously, without expecting anything in return, this leaves a powerful impression. For example, you might have an interesting conversation with someone about a book, and when you see them again a month later, you show up with the book in hand. Emotionally intelligent people build strong relationships because they are constantly thinking about others.

You don’t hold grudges.

The negative emotions that come with holding onto a grudge are actually a stress response. Just thinking about the event sends your body into fight-or-flight mode, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. When the threat is imminent, this reaction is essential to your survival, but when the threat is ancient history, holding onto that stress wreaks havoc on your body and can have devastating health consequences over time. In fact, researchers at Emory University have shown that holding onto stress contributes to high blood pressure and heart disease. Holding onto a grudge means you’re holding onto stress, and emotionally intelligent people know to avoid this at all costs. Letting go of a grudge not only makes you feel better now but can also improve your health.

You neutralize toxic people.

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. But high-EQ individuals control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

You don’t seek perfection.

Emotionally intelligent people won’t set perfection as their target because they know that it doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and should have done differently instead of moving forward, excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

You appreciate what you have.

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the right thing to do; it also improves your mood by reducing the stress hormone cortisol (in some cases by 23 percent). Research conducted at the University of California, Davis, found that people who work daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experience improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol play a major role in this.

You disconnect.

Taking regular time off the grid is a sign of a high EQ because it helps you to keep your stress under control and to live in the moment. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even–gulp!–turning off your phone gives your body and mind a break. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels. Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email with the power to bring your thinking (read: stressing) back to work can drop onto your phone at any moment.

You limit your caffeine intake.

Drinking excessive amounts of caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline, which is the primary source of a fight-or-flight response. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response to ensure survival. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyper-aroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. Caffeine’s long half-life ensures you stay this way as it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body. High-EQ individuals know that caffeine is trouble, and they don’t let it get the better of them.

You get enough sleep.

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams) so that you wake up alert and clearheaded. High-EQ individuals know that their self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when they don’t get enough–or the right kind–of sleep. So, they make sleep a top priority.

You stop negative self-talk in its tracks.

The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that–thoughts, not facts. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural tendency to perceive threats (inflating the frequency or severity of an event). Emotionally intelligent people separate their thoughts from the facts in order to escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive, new outlook.

You won’t let anyone limit your joy.

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from the opinions of other people, you are no longer the master of your own happiness. When emotionally intelligent people feel good about something they’ve done, they won’t let anyone’s opinions or snide remarks take that away from them. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think, you don’t have to compare yourself to others, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.