Here’s why white noise helps us sleep

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White noise isn’t the most dynamic sound in the world. But, its structure allows your brain to block out the disturbing sounds that keep you from sleeping. Following is a transcript of the video.

This sound (fan noise) will help you sleep. It’s called white noise. So how does this type
of noise help us sleep?

The sound contains a lot of different tones. But each tone has the same intensity. It’s monotonous, predictable, and boring. 

That’s exactly what your brain needs during sleep. 

Even in sleep, your hearing is still alert. This makes you vulnerable to loud noises in the night. These noises can increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, and even wake you up.

You’re especially sensitive in early stages of sleep. 

That’s where white noise can help. It drowns out loud noises so you’re less likely to hear them. Plus, the monotony of white noise makes it easy to ignore. So, it’s unlikely to prevent you from falling asleep in the first place.

Of course, companies will sell you specialized white noise machines for sleep.

But a good, old-fashioned fan may also do the trick.

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How to Have an Open Relationship

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I was in falling in love with the woman with whom I was having a transatlantic fling when she told me about her expectations for our burgeoning relationship. Specifically, Annie wanted our relationship to be an open one, meaning that we would each have the option to see other people. I, on the other hand, wanted to have my dream girl all to myself forever and was slightly nauseated by what she was proposing.

I had a dilemma on my hands: double down on my long-held monogamous stance and risk losing her, or gamely go along with her plan and risk losing my mind as she flitted from one tryst to the next. Or take the third way: choose to make it work in a way that would be fulfilling for both of us. Here are some of the things we came up with to make it work (our open relationship turned into an open marriage). Whether you’re thinking of opening up an existing relationship or showing up open to a future one, consider applying them too.

Slow Your Roll

During the same transatlantic phone call in which Annie revealed that she wanted to try a non-monogamous relationship, I suggested a six-month period during which I would do all the things I needed to do rise to her challenge and make this work for the both of us. I knew that if we set off half-cocked, our romance would quickly crumble.

For an open relationship to have any chance of success, it’s imperative that you’re both fully on board with the venture when it’s time to actually start seeing other people. If you’re not and forge ahead anyway, things are almost certainly doomed to failure. Of course, it’s not unusual for one person to be more enthused about the prospect of being open, as Annie was. But pressing pause for an agreed upon length of time and letting the less gung-ho partner get become more comfortable is likely going to improve your chances of success should you decide to give it a go. So take your time, explore your feelings and use your words.

Set Boundaries

When embarking on being open, you have to imagine how you might feel in a number of different situations which, in my opinion, is a worthwhile thought exercise for anyone to do.

Practically, all relationships have agreed-upon boundaries. The key boundary in monogamous relationships of course is to not fuck anyone else ever. Indeed, in some traditional wedding ceremonies, brides and grooms vow to to “forsake all others”.

Being open means making up your own language for what’s okay and what isn’t. You’ll note that I’m using the word ‘boundaries’ and not ‘rules’. Open relationships coach Effy Blue says that boundaries are about autonomy over your own decisions, whereas rules are about power over the other’s decisions.

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One of the boundary-related agreements that came out of my kitchen-table discussion with Annie was that we both practice impeccable condom use with other partners. This was primarily a health decision, but condom use also imbued our relationship with primacy as we set out on our adventure. We also agreed that we wouldn’t have sex with our friends, that we could only have sex with other people once and also agreed upon the level of detail we preferred about each other’s solo adventures. She wanted the broad strokes, I preferred a blow-by-blow.

Chances are that your relationship will evolve over time, so you should also review boundaries together if and when they begin to feel too constricting, too loose or irrelevant. That said, to ensure everyone remembers what’s been agreed upon, you might even write down the boundaries in some form so that it’s easier to remain accountable to them.

Don’t Go It Alone

Blue says that a community of open people—can provide a support network, insight, tips, comradery, a space away for judgment and scrutiny. “Open relationships can feel isolating,” she explains. “Especially if you are not in a position to be open with your friends and family or if they don’t understand or support you.” Blue recommends that you connect with other open people, talk to them about their experiences and finding out about their their journey.

Annie and I were lucky to have friends, Charlie and Kiki, as inspiration. The pair had been in an open relationship for seven years and were the only example of a functional, loving, sexy open relationship that we had direct experience of. At the same time, we knew that we didn’t want to copy their agreed upon protocol: Charlie could see other women with and without Kiki. Kiki could see other women too but not other men. From the start we knew that we wanted to be equal and have equal expectations of each other.

Resist the Urge to Compare

Had I met Annie a year or two earlier, her proposal that we had an open relationship would have sent me packing, but at age 30, when we got together, I was feeling more comfortable in my skin than I ever had. I felt secure in my career, at ease with my body, and was getting a handle on my own unique appeal. That meant that I was less compelled to compare myself to the men she saw who were at least two and sometimes all of the following: tall, handsome, smart, successful, impossibly well-endowed.

There are plenty of things I did to shore up my self-esteem during my open relationship and marriage that might help you, including positive self-talk; focusing on the things you like about yourself and are unique to you; exercise; spending more time doing things you enjoy: learning a new skill; following a new passion and yes, meeting new people.

Learn the Lingo

Like kite-surfing or ferret breeding, being open comes with its own peculiar jargon. While getting comfortable with the idea of being open, I came to grips with some of the terminology. One of the first things I learned was that there are plenty of modes of being open, which is a loose umbrella term for them all.

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You can be monogamish, meaning that you and your partner have agreed that some degree of sexual activity outside of the relationship is okay. There’s polyamory (literally, many loves) which means that you and your partner can be romantically and not just physically involved with others. Swinging generally means couples consensually exchanging partners for sexual play. There are lots of other ways in which people agree to go about it too. Annie and I decided that being monogamish was for us.

Another new word I learned was compersion. It’s often defined as the positive feeling you experience when a partner is enjoying another relationship. You may find, as I did, an unimagined capacity for compersion. You may, on the other hand, find the reality of your dearest one rimming a comely bartender a bit much when it comes right down to it.

How to Handle Jealousy

One of the first things people want to know about open relationships is how people manage feelings of envy that can arise when someone other than you is gleefully schtupping your partner. According to Blue there are two types: dispositional jealousy—meaning that feeling some degree of jealousy is part and parcel of your personality—and incidental jealousy—meaning that certain activities or dynamics tend to arouse jealousy as they occur. “The former is a character trait,” she explains. “If you are a [dispositionally] jealous person, you might want to rethink non-monogamy. It is the latter that we manage.”

Dispositional jealousy had always been the thing that prevented me from entertaining the thought of being open in my 20s, but by the time I turned the big three-oh and found a partner I loved, that emotion began to leave me. As I mentioned above, I managed my incidental jealousy by bolstering my self esteem, experiencing and cultivating compersion and yes, having adventures of my own. It also helped that the thought of my wife being sexual outside of our marriage turned me on.


Annie changed my mind about being open. Then, seven years into our marriage she decided that being monogamous was something she wanted to revisit and we subsequently separated. In the two years since then, I’ve dated several people, some quite seriously, all with the understanding that we always had the option to see other people. Employing some takeaways from my first foray into non-monogamy hasn’t meant that it’s always plain sailing but I’ve found that going through the list above has been helpful in keeping heartache to a minimum while enjoying a lifestyle that, if it’s a good fit, can change the way you experience yourself and the world around you.

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Grant Stoddard’s writing has appeared in Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, New York Magazine, Glamour, the New York Times, Vice, Playboy, and BBC Magazine among others. He’s the author of a memoir entitled Working Stiff: The Misadventures of an Accidental Sexpert, and co-author of sex guide Great in Bed with Dr. Debby Herbenick of the Kinsey Institute.

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The moon’s gravity does not fully explain how ocean tides work

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When teachers explain ocean tides, they frequently describe how the moon’s gravity pulls on Earth and all of its water.

This, they often say, leads to a gravitational imbalance, which stretches the ocean into two opposing bulges: One that’s closest to the moon (where the moon’s gravity is strongest), and one on the opposite side from the moon (where its gravity is weakest).

But this differential in gravity doesn’t mean the moon is "lifting" or "stretching" the oceans. If that were how tides worked, we’d also see lakes, ponds, or even backyard pools bulge in sync with the moon.

"Every YouTube video I’ve ever seen about tides, including ones made by smart people, explains tides incorrectly," Gabe Perez-Giz, an astronomer and astrophysicist at NYU, said in a video by PBS Space Time. "Don’t get me wrong, the facts are correct. There really is a gravity differential. … What’s wrong is the explanation for the bulges."

At any given point on Earth, the moon’s gravity is about 10 million times weaker than our planet’s own gravitational force, Perez-Giz says. So the difference between the side of Earth that’s facing the moon and the opposite side is minimal.

Our tidal bulges are actually the product of a complex dance of gravity between the moon, Earth, and sun. And the total effect is more of a "push" than a "pull" on Earth’s water.

Although each drop of water on Earth is indeed pulled by the moon’s gravity, the effect isn’t noticeable on a molecular level since the Earth’s inward pull is overpowering.

The key, however, is that ocean water covers about 71% of Earth’s surface and is connected as one liquid body. This allows the small force on each water molecule to collectively add up to "a pretty decent increase in water pressure," Perez-Giz says.

Molecules of water near Earth’s poles are pulled mostly straight down toward the planet’s center of gravity (near its core), and the molecules closest to the moon (at Earth’s equator) experience the strongest pull toward the moon. Water molecules that are farthest from the moon, meanwhile, feel the weakest gravitational acceleration.

Since water molecules can easily move and bump into one another, these countless tiny nudges add up and "squeeze" seawater away from the poles. This global water pressure works against Earth’s gravity to form two bulges: the high tides.

"The ocean isn’t being lifted or stretched," Perez-Giz says. "The ocean is bulging along the Earth-moon line in the same way that a blister or pimple will bulge up if you start to squeeze it from the side[s]."

bay of fundy maine high tides tttrung wikipedia ccbysa3These high-tide bulges stay put as the Earth rotates underneath them every 24 hours, leading to a tide change every 6 hours. Low tides occur where the disruption caused by tidal force is weakest (and water pressure caused by Earth’s gravity is strongest). Dramatic tides can result where land and seafloor terrain funnel more seawater into one spot.

Smaller bodies of water, like lakes and pools, don’t have noticeable tidal bulges because they lack enough liquid to create pressure that can visibly overcome the pull of Earth’s gravity.

The sun’s gravity also affects the tides, accounting for roughly one-third of the phenomenon. When the sun’s gravity counteracts the moon’s, it leads to lower-than-average "neap tides." When the sun lines up with the moon, it triggers larger "spring tides."

Watch Perez-Giz’s full explanation below.

SEE ALSO: 12 facts about Mars that might surprise you are actually true

DON’T MISS: NASA is going to ‘touch’ the sun with a high-tech space probe

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This incredible animation shows how deep the ocean really is

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When Will the Great Human-Elephant War End?

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Image: Bernard Dupont/Flickr

Humans are at war. They’re at war with each other, they’re at war with themselves, and some are at war with elephants. Researchers want to know how humans and the long-snooted aggressors can live in peace.

Northern Botswana is a hotspot in the ongoing human-elephant conflict, with 16,000 people trying to coexist with 11,000 elephants. As humans take up more and more space in the area to farm, the result has been crop-raids (elephants eating or damaging crops) and casualties on both sides. There are a few hundred elephant raids annually in Botswana alone, and hundreds of people have died worldwide from run-ins with elephants. So it’s understandably hard to convince the locals to protect the vulnerable African Elephant population when they keep raiding their farmland. But American and British scientists have realized it’s also difficult to predict and understand these complex interactions.

The researchers are primarily collecting data from government and non-government agencies in the area, on the humans, the elephants, and on how both groups use land. To protect both the people and the elephant, the researchers believe they need to survey the trends in the data to determine the causes of the conflict, and what factors make it worse. They also worked alongside local village chiefs to figure out the number of times elephants raided cropland in the area.

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They found that the human population grew from around 2,000 to over 17,000 from 1971 to 2015, but the rate of growth slowed down. Meanwhile, the elephant populations seemed to increase exponentially from 1990 to 2015, from almost 3,000 to over 11,000. The amount of allocated farmland hasn’t increased by much over the same time period and has actually decreased in the past few years. Their findings surprised them, though: despite the increased populations of both people and pachyderms, the number of raids has seemed to decrease in the past ten years. And the models they built gave completely different predictions based on the amount of time they spanned.

All that made the researchers wonder what was actually causing the human-elephant conflicts if more inhabitants doesn’t mean more fighting. “Rather, it is the use of space and competition for resources between people and elephants that likely determines the level of conflict,” the researchers write in the study, published yesterday in PLOS One. That means that more farmland might mean more conflict, and reducing the number of crop raids might be as simple as more effective land use.

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the findings. They’re based on a model, which built both estimates and a few different data sources, including self-reported data on an emotionally charged issue. There are so many factors that can go into whether or not elephants will raid farms, which is itself only one facet of the whole matter. Human-elephant conflict will continue to be an issue across the world—hundreds are killed annually by elephants in India as well. On top of that, Africa’s elephants, as well as their rhinos and other wildlife, already suffer from the poaching crisis. Also, who are we to go in there and think we can just fix everything?

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The study is nonetheless useful, simply in the fact that it proves just how difficult predicting trends in human-elephant conflict might be. Fewer raids over time, despite more people and elephants in the region, did encourage the scientists. The researchers hope that conservationists will think carefully about their models before simply recommending decisions about managing elephant populations to lawmakers. Reimbursing people whose land has been raided by elephants might not get to the core of the problem, and might skew numbers in the wrong direction.

But hopefully one day we can learn to treat our trunked aggressors as friends.

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Exclusive: Ableton acquires Max maker Cycling ’74; what you need to know

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Ableton is announcing today they have fully acquired Cycling ’74, the California-based company best known for producing Max and Max for Live.

It’s perhaps an auspicious moment for Cycling ’74 as the company reaches its 20th anniversary – and 20 years of availability of the MSP tools for synthesis and sound processing. But if acquisitions would normally make you nervous, the close existing relationship of the two companies, and the plans as they’re describing them, should put those concerns to ease.

Gerhard Behles and David Zicarelli, founders and CEOs of Ableton and Cycling ’74, respectively, tell CDM that the deal will open up the possibility of closer collaboration on challenges and future products. Cycling ’74, now with 25 employees scattered around the world (so loosely that the company describes that as “approximately” 25 people), will continue to operate as before, the companies tell us.

There are no plans for personnel changes or redundancy or moving any locations. (Cycling ’74 already has a small office in Ableton’s headquarter city Berlin.)

What will change is that the two companies will now be more formally on the same “team.”

I sat down in May for an exclusive CDM discussion with Gerhard and David. See the full interview, but the overwhelming sense was of both mutual affection – and a desire to work more closely together on common problems. That shouldn’t come as any big surprise to followers of the two companies and users of their products. Max and Ableton Live have long shared a common set of goals, DNA, and meaningful overlap of user bases, even before the advent of the Max for Live product for integrating the two flagship tools.

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“We have a long history,” begins Gerhard. “That somehow motivates the whole thing,” he says.

But whatever this may mean for the future, the immediate present won’t change – which should bring relief to Cycling’s own loyal customer base.

“It’s about the continuation of Cycling as it has always been – the same people, products, customers, vision, and so forth,” says Zicarelli. “But it makes it easier to essentially be on the same side as Ableton in anything that we do together. From the perspective of anyone dealing with Cycling ’74, I can’t imagine that anything really changes. That’s how we at Cycling are thinking about it.”

“We are continuing to be a separate company,” says Zicarelli. “It’s just that the ownership changes from me to Ableton.” [A US-based Ableton legal entity will technically become the owner.]

And for Ableton, bringing Cycling ’74 into the fold is somehow a return to roots.

“I literally grew up on this,” Behles tells us. “We were making music and making Max patches to make the music. And some of the Max patches were indicative of what Live would be at a point. Somehow to us, it’s part of our upbringing.”

Behles and Zicarelli talked at length with CDM about their ideas, how they came to know one another, and where they imagine the future might lead. We’ll have that full interview separately.

The acquisition is already complete and effective immediately. But now for Max and Live users, nothing changes for the moment. We keep making music, while we wait to see what these two music tool makers will create next.

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A timeline of Cycling ’74 and Ableton

We’ve put together the major events in the history of the two companies, and verified it with representatives of the two companies. Let us know if we missed anything. Of course, this all begins in the 80s with the original version of Max and Miller Puckette, who went on to create Pure Data – and Pd and Max continue to share metaphors, code, externals, and communities. -Ed.

1989: Opcode Systems licenses Max from Paris’ electronic music research center IRCAM.

1990: Opcode Systems begins selling a version of Max developed by David Zicarelli.

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1997: The “MSP” (Max Signal Processing) set of extensions is released, adding powerful audio synthesis and effects features to Max, built in part on work done by original Max creator Miller Puckette (in the open source Pure Data).

1997: Zicarelli founds Cycling ’74, with the name and images inspired by a 1974 bicycle catalog. Its first products are MSP, Pluggo (released in 1999), and the algorithmic software M (developed by Joel Chadabe’s Intelligent Music, and updated by David Zicarelli).

1998: Gibson Guitar buys Opcode; development of Opcode software will cease the following year.

1999: Cycling ’74 becomes the exclusive developer and publisher of Max and MSP.

1999: Ableton is founded in Berlin by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Some Max patches will be used to inspire Live functionality, including past performance patches by Behles and Henke. There are also prototypes of some devices that will be built first in Max, like Henke’s original Operator prototype.

2001: Ableton releases Live 1.0 as a commercial product. (See Robert’s history on how it all began.)

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2003: Cycling ’74 releases Jitter, which with processing of matrices of data can now handle 3D, video, and other applications.

2007: Ableton and Cycling ’74 announce a “strategic partnership.” At this time, there’s no public description of what any product collaboration would be.

2008: Max gets a major GUI overhaul, based on the JUCE C++ architecture (now owned by London’s ROLI). Zicarelli describes the resulting version, Max 5, as “the most significant and dramatic transformation of the software in its twenty-year history.”

2009: Ableton and Cycling ’74 announce Max for Live. The software allows Max’s sound processing and visual capabilities to run as devices inside Ableton Live. The companies preview the technology by late in the year, and ships Max for Live to the public with a release of Live 8. (Read David’s insightful commentary from the time.)

2011: Cycling ’74 ships Max 6, with an improved UI, 64-bit support, and Gen.

2012: Ableton announces Live 9 and Push – and Live 9 Suite becomes the first release to ship with Max for Live included, rather than as a separate purchase. Live 9 Suite also includes a number of instruments and effects built in Max for Live.

2014: Cycling ’74 ships Max 7, with performance and usability improvements and a new tutorial system for learning Max.

2016: Ableton announces a desktop version of Ableton Link – with support included in Cycling ’74’s Max/MSP.

2017: Ableton announces it is acquiring Cycling ’74, via a US subsidiary entity.7r1a9634

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cycling74.com

Photos courtesy Ableton.

For more on the history of the two companies, what this will mean as they go forward, and their shared vision of the future, we spoke with founders and CEOs David Zicarelli (Cycling ’74) and Gerhard Behles (Ableton):

A conversation with David Zicarelli and Gerhard Behles

The post Exclusive: Ableton acquires Max maker Cycling ’74; what you need to know appeared first on CDM Create Digital Music.

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Making Money Is About You, Not Your Business.

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I seem to attract every man and his dog who wants to start a business. I don’t know why I’m seen as the guru and I definitely don’t want to be. Yes, I had a successful business, and yes I know a lot about the online world of making money. Doesn’t mean that’s the secret. Someone even asked me the other day on Facebook if entrepreneurship will make him die. 

Before starting a business, you need to understand that making money has nothing to do with business itself. The foundation of a business is you, to begin with. The trajectory of the business will be entirely determined by the trajectory of your life. There are certain aspects of you that must work like a well-oiled machine before we can even begin on the business. I know you don’t want some cliché life coaching and that’s not what I’m going to give you. You will need some practical guidance though. 

Here are the five points to consider before starting a business:

1. Preparation and struggle

Are you at the point in your life where you’re prepared to struggle? Entrepreneurship is about as easy as launching one of Elon Musk’s rocket ships into space and landing it on Mars. Knowing that you are going to experience extreme struggle takes preparation. 

Try hiring a personal trainer that is going to push you beyond exhaustion. This is great preparation and will get you in the right headspace. Write down all the aspects of your personal life that need work, and then go and work on them. Be brutally honest with yourself to the point where you want to cry. Only then can you say you’re prepared.

Related: Why Valedictorians Rarely Become Rich and Famous — and the Average Millionaire’s College GPA is 2.9

2. Love life

People ask me why I continue to produce free content with no monetization strategy instead of  starting another online business. So let me give you the answer: my life love is all over the place. It’s up and down like a rollercoaster and it needs serious work and attention. 

You can’t start a quality business with a relationship in turmoil and your emotions all over the place like a messy freshman’s dorm room. You have to understand your love life because many of the attributes will be the same one’s you need for business. Questions to ask are:

– Do I give without expecting anything in return?
– Am I happy with my current self?
– Can I sacrifice anything without holding back?
– Am I willing to give it my all and continue to fail and have heartbreak?

If you’re not answering yes to all of these questions, then you’re not ready for business. Business is about sacrifice, giving and most of all, being happy with who you are. If you don’t love yourself, and you can’t love a romantic partner, what chance do you have of loving your team or loving your customers?

Well, the answer is, of course, zero chance.  The world’s greatest business plan can’t guide you unless you can guide yourself and your team. Love is what guides us, so you need to sort out this part of your business first of all. You need to learn to love again.

Related: 50 Signs You Are Married to an Entrepreneur

3. Small daily habits.

The big audacious habits you have are not the one’s I’m concerned with. It’s the small habits you have like biting your fingernails or continuously eating sugar when you know you shouldn’t. Business is about discipline and in the startup phase, you’re going to be pulled in a million different directions. For you to have any chance in the game of business, you’re going to have to be incredibly disciplined.

The small daily habits you have are a reflection of how your life is tracking and they will be the pulse of your business once you begin. Here are a few to consider:

– What do you eat?
– When do you go to bed?
– Who do you spend time with?
– Do you read books regularly?
– What do you do to keep calm after a hectic day?

The questions above form part of the answer. I believe from experience that you need to: read daily, watch what you eat, go to bed no later than 10 pm, surround yourself with positive people and chill out with meditation. It’s not because I’m a hippie; it’s because it freaking works.

Related: 10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine

4. The comfort zone factor.

Just writing this made me feel guilty. We’re all guilty of it. Starting a business is really bloody uncomfortable and so this must be a consistent feeling for you before doing any startup. I’m not just talking about asking a difficult question once in a while; I’m talking about doing crazy stuff. Things like: giving a talk to two thousand people, helping the homeless, telling people they’re not going to be able to stay in contact with you and jumping out of a plane and then doing a somersault. I haven’t done the last one yet but I did try my hand at kitesurfing…haha.

How you do life is how you do business. If you do life in the mother’s womb of your comfort zone, you’re probably going to suck big time as an entrepreneur running a business.

Related: Why You Need to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

5. Believe in yourself.

Business is nothing more than a set of beliefs that gain mass adoption. These beliefs drive the company and it’s people to change the world in a valuable way which will bring you all the money you could ever dream of. Before drafting those beliefs though, you have to believe in yourself. You have to understand that you can do anything you put your mind to and that you are already enough.

Believing in yourself is not about ego. Believing in yourself has more to do with an unwavering faith in the journey ahead. It’s believing things will work out even when there is no reason to do so. It’s seeing the positive lessons in even the darkest experiences. It’s being prepared to fail and then sticking your middle finger up at the pain that comes from it.

Believing in yourself is the single most important step to starting a business. No one is going to join your team unless they believe that you believe. You have to sit down and practice believing in yourself before you ever start any entrepreneurial journey. You can’t lie to yourself. Your belief must be genuine and you must feel it with every bone in your body. You must know that you can do it.

Do you truly believe that making money is about more than just business?

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50+ Keyboard Shortcuts for Using WordPress Like a Pro [Infographic]

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Who doesn’t love a good shortcut?

The folks at TechWyse certainly do, and they put together an infographic with more than 50 shortcuts to help you use WordPress more efficiently, whether you’re on a Windows machine or a Mac.

A word to the wise: Make sure these shortcuts are enabled by checking the box on your profile page, points out the infographic.

It also explains that to enable shortcuts specifically for comment moderation, you’ll need to visit the user panel to change the setting in the admin section.

So bookmark this page, check out the infographic below, and start shortcutting!

Laura Forer is the manager of MarketingProfs: Made to Order, Original Content Services, which helps clients generate leads, drive site traffic, and build their brands through useful, well-designed content.

LinkedIn: Laura Forer

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Now that you’re an adult, it’s time to learn the basics of investment strategy

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“Investment strategy” is one of those things you know you’re supposed to master in order to officially join the world of adulthood. But it’s easier said than done: After all, you’re still figuring out how to fit your morning coffee habit into your monthly budget.

Many young adults believe that simply putting a portion of their income into a savings account is enough; because “saving” is something that’s drilled into our heads at a young age, and financial literacy education is often absent from most kids’ schooling.

So it makes sense that a lot of young people are confused about why investing matters — and thus, hesitant to hand over their hard-earned money to “the markets.” 

Part of the reason for this is simply that young adults don’t know the first thing about investing. Below, we explore a few of the basics: Why investing as early as possible is beneficial to long-term financial goals, as well as a few tips for getting started.

Investing sets you up for long-term security  

Cash may be more “comfortable” for risk-wary millennials — but the simple truth is that watching savings accumulate just doesn’t cut it in the long run. In fact, interest rates are at historically low levels, Bloomberg states, which means that your money sitting in the bank isn’t doing you any favors in the long run. Investing is one of the only ways to outpace inflation rates; almost nothing is a substitute for compound interest when it comes to saving for the future.

While the majority of investors from other generations believe long-term investing is a key to achieving success, only 28% of Millennials do. With Millennials having less faith in long-term investing, they plan to work harder and save more to reach their goals.

And what this really means is that young people who fail to invest are setting themselves up for a retirement crisis. They’ll need a substantial nest egg to maintain their standard of living in retirement — everything from being able to afford their beloved avocado toast to making rent that meets the rates of inflation. (Even with conservative estimates of inflation, housing is likely to cost around 60% more in 30 years’ time.) Without investments as a source of income, they’re also more likely to feel dips in the economy long before retirement — and they’re not taking full advantage of a healthy market, either.

“The market” isn’t as scary as it seems

In the aftermath of the recession and the dot-com bubble burst, many potential investors — young people in particular — don’t trust the markets. 

Since 2003, the stock market has actually yielded positive total returns.

This distrust is misplaced, however. In fact, since 2003, the stock market has actually yielded positive total returns in every calendar year except 2008, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Even for young people who feel as if retirement is a distant concept they don’t yet need to worry about, investing early has major benefits even in the shorter-term. For example, young people are especially good candidates for higher risk/higher reward investments — i.e. investments that have a better chance of a big payday. And if investments don’t work out as planned, there’s plenty of time to recover; later in life, this simply isn’t the case.

The first step, it seems, is for young people to take the time to educate themselves. This involves a bit of effort: Signing up for respected industry publications or even enrolling in an online financial literacy course are solid first steps. Going old-school and actually purchasing books (ebooks are just fine) to learn how to set yourself up for financial success shows even more initiative. Seeking help from financial reports can also be helpful, and can take out some of the guesswork. There’s no shortage of resources out there for those hungry for a little financial education. 

Which means there’s really no excuse. Young people: It’s time to learn the basics of investment strategy — your financial future is at stake.

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