How to Fight Through Intellectual Discomfort

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For professional athletes, facing and overcoming pain, adversity, and discomfort is all part of a day’s work. Knowledge workers, the majority of the workforce today, encounter a different type of adversity — intellectual discomfort.

You know the feeling of intellectual discomfort. It’s that gut reaction you feel when you prepare to start a project, and, as you skim the document, you think to yourself, Damn, this is going to be hard.

This will push your intellectual capacity. And that feels challenging, overwhelming and scary. In this moment, you might stall. You might even choose to give up.  Or worse – not even give it a shot, delegating it to someone else. This is the work you know you were born to break through to get to your best future self.

Just like how athletes must practice to be comfortable in discomfort, you must as well if you hope to improve your skills and advance your career. The hard stuff, the stuff you’d rather skip or do later is often the stuff that’s most necessary. Every time we choose to play it safe or bypass challenging intellectual prompts, we impede our ability to innovate and grow, waste our own (or our company’s) money, and squander our talent.

Just like how athletes must practice to be comfortable in discomfort, you must as well if you hope to improve your skills and advance your career.

So why do we avoid intellectual discomfort? Because it requires our deepest level of thought, attention, and presence – much of which we’ve lost touch with as a result of full inboxes, the growing number of social media platforms, and media content that updates constantly. Deeply intellectual work is soul work that takes more time and energy.  And it goes against the ways we’ve conditioned ourselves to work – on autopilot. We observe life versus engaging in it, whether we mechanically scroll through our social media feed to distract ourselves or use apps to make every step of our day more mindless.

But rarely do we improve when the task is easy. As a cross country runner in college, I detested the mile repeat workout that consisted of running four to six one-mile sets. You had to run each set, which was four laps around the track, as fast as you could with only one lap to recover between sets. It was a grueling and uncomfortable challenge for me every time. However, the speed and endurance that I developed through this type of workout prepared me for the challenge and pain of actual races. It was because I had experienced pain during these workouts that I knew in my gut that I could push through the pain when it truly counted. It was only after I chose to incorporate mile repeats into my workouts consistently that I started breaking my previous personal records.

Whereas runners can physically push through the pain, you need to mentally fight through intellectual discomfort. How? By concentrating solely on what is essential to complete the task at hand. Here are some go-to strategies to hone your focus:

Work in timed-work intervals (but with a twist)

This is the Pomodoro Method, or the Tomato Timer Method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, and it’s based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. The technique uses a timer to separate the work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks.  The trick here is to use time-work intervals to start building up your intellectual discomfort endurance. Set a timer for ten minutes to brainstorm and push yourself to work on the challenging project until you hear the timer. Here’s the added – but necessary – challenge to make this more effective and efficient: Make sure you give yourself ten minutes that are distraction-free – close out your email screen, silence your alerts, and put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Each week, add 10 more minutes to the timer until you can sit down and tick off complicated work for hours at a time.

Use time-work intervals to start building up your intellectual discomfort endurance.

Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, employs the principle driving the Pomodoro Method because human beings are designed to alternate between spending and recovering energy. “I write in three or four 90-minute sprints now, and I am 100 percent engaged,” Schwartz says in the book Overwhelmed. “Then, I take a break, I either eat something, take a run or I meditate. I distinctly change channels. My first three books took me at least a year each to write. My last though, I worked less than half the amount of time each day, and I finished one in six months.”

Commit to do one more set, especially when you’re tapped out

To push us mentally and physically, my college cross country coach would occasionally add one additional mile, hill repeat or timed interval to our workouts. Brutal? No question. Effective? Absolutely. This strategy worked well because just when you thought you were finished, just when you thought you could not run one more step, you had to. And you did. And you survived it. So, right when the intellectual discomfort becomes unbearable and you want to quit, decide to do just one more set. Write just one more sentence, design just one more slide or complete just one more calculation. Then, take a break. This rest and recovery time is essential if you want to walk the fine line between working hard and burning out. If you’ve been pushing yourself hard over the course of the day or even the week, be prepared that you will need longer recovery periods between hard work sets. Yes, this is an exercise in getting just a wee bit more done, but it’s also a good test of mustering up the courage to push yourself that extra step.

Right when the intellectual discomfort becomes unbearable and you want to quit, decide to do just one more set.

Combat decision fatigue.

Florida State University psychology professor Roy Baumeister asserts this: decision fatigue is real.  Decision fatigue means that we do get tired and emotionally or intellectually exhausted when we’ve made too many decisions. U.S. Senator Cory Booker manages decision fatigue by limiting the number of choices he makes, down to what he’ll wear that day. “I think it is important to get rid of distractions and miscellaneous choices,” he told me for my book Work Simply. “When I get up in the morning, I do not have a million clothing items to choose from. The more you limit your choices, thereby limiting thought, the more you can simplify your life and focus energy elsewhere.” [A practice also shared by Barack Obama] Recognize and acknowledge time periods or days when you’ve made a lot of decisions, and realize that that brain power will have an impact on your ability to push through intellectual discomfort. Consider doing your most intellectually-uncomfortable work for a specific period of time first thing in the morning – before the barrage of emails or calls or “asks” for a decision.

Access your inner “why” and never settle.

Kobe Bryant’s recent retirement from the NBA sparked a barrage of articles and testimonials highlighting his focused work ethic and intensity – 4 a.m. workouts and 800 shots before scheduled workouts began. Why did he work this hard? Because he knew that no matter how good you are, you should never settle if you want to stay consistently on top. So, ask yourself: Why do you do the work you do? How does your work bring you meaning and align with your purpose? What’s at stake personally and professionally if you don’t push through your intellectual discomfort and settle for what is easy? And what do you lose out on, if you don’t keep going when things get hard?

The goal is to not allow yourself to quit before you have given the task or project your absolute best effort.

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When you choose to shift your time and energy, you’re making a new commitment to yourself – to experience and fight through intellectual discomfort. Yes, it will always be challenging.  It will always push you. But pushing through that intellectual discomfort makes intellectual freedom and growth more possible. It builds your self-confidence; it makes the reality of your next break-through idea more real. And that should be energizing and enlightening.

 

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4 Useful Tools for Twitter Bio Search: Smart Relationship Building

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Twitter is a great connecting tool. It’s much more open than Facebook (You don’t have to be anyone’s friend to get in touch) and much more active than Linkedin.

Facebook does allow to send messages to non-friends but for some reason I only receive those using a mobile app. Also you cannot really tag people on Facebook unless you are friends. As for Linkedin, weirdly, I receive several messages a day but I always forget to check my inbox there or reply.

On Twitter you can tag anyone and that’s the beauty of the platform.

The openness of the platform makes it a perfect outreach and relationship building tool. For many outreach campaigns I usually recommend using several Twitter bio search to find journalists and bloggers who will be interested in your content.

Here are 4 Twitter bio search tools I am using:

1. Twitter People Search

Twitter People Search

There’s not much information on how Twitter search “Accounts” tab works. It isn’t based on “exact match” search (you won’t always find your exact search terms in the bios but it tends to return more or less relevant results).

It sorts search results based on the combination of how powerful the account is (in terms of the number of followers and interactions) and how closely you are related (Based on common connections).

There is no way to export results.

2. BuzzSumo “Influencers” Tab

BuzzSumo "Influencers" Tab

BuzzSumo influencers search is another great way to find people to follow and interact with on Twitter. Search results can be sorted by:

  • The page authority (Moz page authority number for each user profile URL)
  • Number of followers
  • Retweet ratio (The percentage of user’s tweets that are retweeted)
  • Reply ratio
  • Average retweets (The average number of retweets each user’s tweet gets)

You can export results to an Excel.

You can also use OR operator to search for several sets of words used in the bio.

3. Twiangulate Keyword Tab

Twiangulate Keyword Tab

Twiangulate is a great tool not many people are aware of. I like using it for a very precision search. Not only does is allows a few handy search operators:

  • AND hot & dog
  • OR hot | dog
  • NOT hot !dog
  • exact match: “hot dog”

… it also lets you search for people following a particular Twitter user. That’s a great way to find editors and writers working at a media outlet.

4. Followerwonk Bio Search

Followerwonk Bio Search

Finally, a better known Twitter search tool: Followerwonk

The cool thing about this one is that you can restrict the search further by location, number of followers and more:

You can sort results by number of tweets, followers, days old or “social authority”.

Do you use Twitter bio search? Please share your favorite tools!

The post 4 Useful Tools for Twitter Bio Search: Smart Relationship Building appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

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All Of These People Quit Their Corporate City Jobs For Something More Fulfilling, Here Are Their Stories

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Here on BroBible we cover a lot of stories about bros who quit their brain-draining corporate jobs to strike out on the open road and find inspiration in travel. In somewhat of a speed round of inspiration, yesterday (of course it was on a Monday!) there was an AskReddit thread in which someone received nearly 2,000 responses after asking ‘who upped and left their corporate city job for something more fulfilling, what did you end up doing and are you happier?‘ So if you’re ready to do some day dreaming and think about life outside of the cubicle then I HIGHLY suggest you read through these all the way to the end, the inspirational stories of people quitting their jobs to chase something more fulfilling in life…


terbeaux:
I worked for a fortune 500 company for 5 years in San Francisco. When I finally decided to leave I told my boss that I was leaving and he was like “Where are you going?” expecting to hear “Google” or “Facebook” or something like that. I told him “Costa Rica” and his reaction was pretty great. It was the best decision that I could have made. I wasn’t happy doing work that wasn’t meant for me. After leaving I ended up leading a team at a new startup doing things that are much more morally aligned with my personal values than what I was doing previously. There’s not enough time in life to put up with being unhappy at work. If you don’t like it then quit.
Surviving is easy. Thriving is difficult.


atw527:
This question hits home. I took a paycut to leave Chicago for a job in Jackson Hole, WY. A steady web dev job out here is a gem, so I couldn’t pass it up. It’s been quite the lifestyle change – don’t regret it one bit.
Camping and nature photography has become a new hobby. I started picking up good camera equipment to capture this moment in life, because I was afraid a job would pull me out of this place as quickly as I was dropped into it. It’s my third summer here though, and I thankfully seem to be here for the long haul.


picturemerickrollin:
Worked at a shitty sales job out of college. Lasted 6 months before I realized I never wanted to wear slacks or show up to an office where people spent 6/8 hours bitching about customers or talking about yesterday’s zumba class again. Sold my car and what little I owned and moved to China. Now work at a craft brewery. Don’t make much money but everyone I work with is a total homie, learning about cool stuff, and I get to continue to study Chinese. It’s fucking awesome. The beer is good. The people are cool. And I wear sandals to work.
Don’t know how long I will work here, but really happy to be learning every day, and I will always be thankful to the people I work with for giving me the chance to do something fun.


AnxiousGrape:
I worked a Monday to Friday sales job 9-5 weekends off and it just didn’t cut it for me. I felt that there was more for me out there and decided to apply as a flight attendant for a major commercial airline company in my country. One of my top goals was to travel and explore the world. Best thing that has ever happened to me, I had to move to the other side of the country for my job but the rewards are priceless. Anytime you place yourself out of your comfort zone this is when you truly start to live and experience life for what it is. If you’re having thoughts about leaving your corporate job I suggest you just do it, chances are you’re probably not fully content if you’re thinking your options.


greeperfi:
Was corporate lawyer/exec for 20 years and hated the job, though it was very easy and paid well. I am a creative person and it was not a good job for that. My goal was to save enough for retirement (401k, pension, savings) and buy a house outright so then I could take any job regardless of pay. I quit the second I hit my goal (it was a Tuesday at around 10am when I hit it, walked down to my boss, told him I was leaving) to the shock of my company. I was 42. I moved to New Mexico, flipped a house, then moved to Utah and flipped another. Now 1 year later I have a small real estate development company, we have 5 projects totaling 62 units and also 2 flips going. I contract out all the work except the design part so I have a creative outlet. Spend half the winter in Hawaii, other half skiing here in Utah. Obviously it helps that I amassed a good deal of wealth as a lawyer, but the second I quit I became focussed on the moment I was in and have way less anxiety about what’s happening tomorrow, and I never have that “oh god, I gotta go to work” feeling. I am way, way happier. My work friends thought I was nuts because I “gave up/lost” a crazy ton of deferred compensation when I left (they truly are golden handcuffs). The hardest part for me was realizing my needs and that I did not need more money than meeting those needs. I still remember the epiphany “how much money do I need?” My lifestyle has changed on certain things (like eating out all the time and flying first for everything and losing all my airline and hotel status), but the year after I quit I spent 11k and had everything I wanted. I also learned guitar, hiked many amazing places, grew a beard (my company would never allow that!), built an amazing garden, and learned how to say “fuck it” and really mean it. Edit-reading this over I think it sounds kind of douche-y. So in my defense I’ll say I know my path is not that common or exactly attainable and I was super fortunate and so lucky…but it was really really hard and took me many years to overcome the materialistic urges I had learned in the corp executive bubble. So I am kind of proud to have walked away from it. Even if I had a mortgage I would be living large for about 40k, though admittedly I would not be saving.


Priff:
I left a boring 7-4 office job in IT, support mostly. I couldn’t stand sitting inside and dealing with angry people all day.
I’m currently an Arborist, I climb trees with a chainsaw for a living, I have my own company, plan my own time and I haven’t been this happy in all the time I had a “regular” job. I also make more money and have much more free time, and because I work outside and get plenty of excercise I’m healthier and more fit than I’ve been ever before too.


poeslugia:
I left years of corporate customer service jobs to work with animals at Petsmart, my pay cut was HUGE, but my happiness was 10 fold. So rewarding. You can’t have a bad day if you get kisses from puppies and kittens.


taint_a_chode:
I had a soul-crushing cubicle job in my 20s. Absolute hell. I used to think about just driving off the road and killing myself while driving to work. Not out of hate, just straight apathy. When I realized that was what I was thinking, I gave my notice, and drove a big rig all over the US for a year and a half while I figured out what I wanted to do. Best thing that I could have done. That was almost two decades ago. Taught me to never feel trapped, or if I do feel trapped, it’s because I’m being a pussy.


AntonyLoveless:
I left a job in the City of London, with a telephone number salary and associated lifestyle, to follow my dream and become a writer.
I’d spent ten years working as an investment broker and management consultant for a large city firm and, for the last 18 months, had come to the realisation that I had lost belief in what I was doing. I felt shallow and started to despise everything about the world in which I existed. One day, I handed my notice in and walked away. It was a risky move as I only had enough money saved to last me a year.
I knew within six weeks that I had made the right decision. The stress evaporated and I became a different person, but I found meaning and great enjoyment in what I was doing. I had a slow start, but it snowballed and, as a journalist and author, I have learned and experienced things that no amount of money or status could have brought me.
Fifteen years on, I have no regrets other than wishing I’d made the change sooner. My friends tell me that I’m a nicer and more grounded person, and
TL;DR: City banker swapped earning great money, and a shallow existence, for a poorer paying career but a much richer and more fulfilling life.


ScruffsMcGuff:
I worked for a law firm and moved to a rural area to be closer to my parents. My mother has lupus and I wanted to be closer to her to help them out around the house and financially when I could afford it.
Just found out two days ago that my father has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis (don’t look it up, the prognosis isn’t usually good). It’s the same disease that killed my uncle and my grandmother.
I left a lot of money behind to switch jobs and enjoyed the slower pace of working out here but I had always had the “did I make the right choice?” question in the back of my mind.
Now that I know just how little time I might have with my father left I absolutely am happy I made the move. I’ve been able to see him more in the last 2 years than I had the previous 7. I plan on taking every chance I can to spend as much time with him as possible moving forward. Hopefully I get the chance to take him down to Toronto for a few more Leafs games over the next couple years.
TL;DR: Left a more cushy job to move out to the country and be closer to my parents. Don’t regret a thing.


IndomitableSam:
I was a librarian in my provincial government (being vague, there aren’t many). Worked long hours and was stressed and hated my coworkers.
My parents retired out to a small town on Vancouver Island. I came out to visit in February. Spent a week catching up with my parents, going out, walking along the beach and hiking in the forests and up mountains.
I’d moved out here by the end of June.
I now work 3 days a week in a local shop and spend a few extra hours a week teaching people technology in their homes. I have a crappy little apartment where everything in it is run down and older than I am, but it’s right in the middle of the tiny town. Out one window I see the mountains, out the other, the ocean. Out the back is a provincial forest.
I may not make much money at all, but I make enough to pay the bills and sock away a few hundred bucks every few months. I live simply, but love every day of it. No regrets at all. I’m with my family (my sister moved out here as well), I love my job, my coworkers, and every day I step outside, look around, and say “wow, I’m so lucky.”


fdsaf3:
I’ve had the opposite experience, actually. I worked in the public sector for a number of years on a number of projects I felt very passionate about. Due to local and state politics, many of those projects never saw the light of day (note: I’m a researcher, so these were research projects with findings that were never published). About a year ago, I received an offer to move to the private industry and do similar work. I jumped at the chance and have never looked back. Now, my work gets published regularly, my pay increased by about 45% (the stereotypes about public sector pay being bad are not exaggerated, at least in my case), and my work is challenging and rewarding. I went from working 50 hours a week for fairly modest salary to working 45 hours and a good salary. The fuzzy “feel good” attitude about working for the public sector only goes so far when I’m barely making rent and neglecting my savings. Now I live comfortably. But the biggest thing for me is that my work is getting out there to the world. As a researcher, the most rewarding thing I can hope for is getting published. Now I have a mechanism for that happening pretty often. I wouldn’t trade anything for this opportunity.


NZNoldor:
Did 18 years of IT support, and changed to Tourguide. This has easily been the happiest 12 years in my life.
EDIT: So, I’ll answer the multiple similar questions here then.
I worked for 18 years in IT, yes I started in 1986. MS-DOS v1.25 and CP/M were the operating systems at the time. Wordstar was still fighting with WordPerfect, and Multiplan had yet to overthrow Lotus 123. Worked in various places in New Zealand, ended up in Wellington corporates, then moved overseas for a few stints, in Australia and the Netherlands, but always Corporate and Government environments. Got department-wide redundancies four times over the years, and finally figured it was actually not making me happy in the slightest. The money was good but it wasn’t enough.
Sat down with myself one weekend, locked the doors, closed the curtains, disconnected the doorbell and telephones, didn’t watch TV or listen to radio, and had a good talking to myself about my future.
Did the same list as the average high school vocational guidance councilor – you know; “what do you like doing”, “what are you good at”, etc.
Put an unfiltered list of about 30 things together, (“I like driving”, “i like travelling”, I like being in contact with people”, “I like movies”, “I like pizza”, etc.), then tried to think of a job that hits about 80% of those points.
I came up with Tourguide (I’d never actually met one, and had never been on any tours), and in my late 30’s I applied for jobs that would get me there. First job was a 30-day tour of New Zealand, which was awesome the first time, awesome & hard work the second time, and just hard work the third time. Quit that job, and walked into the Wellington Tourism Information Centre (the iSite), and asked if they know anyone local who was hiring. Was told there’s this new Lord Of The Rings tour company who was apparently so busy with these new LOTR location tours, that he hadn’t had a chance to look for new staff yet. Walked in, asked him if he was looking for anyone, was told to start tomorrow. Been there pretty much ever since.
Odd thing is, I’m earning about 20% of my previous highest IT income, but for the first time I have money to spend on myself. I never used to have savings – now I do. My theory is that if you’ve got a crap job, you’ll spend all your income compensating for the bad time you’re having. If you’re in a fun job, you’ll come home tired but happy, and just use home to relax. I used to drink a lot, smoke a ton of weed, and apart from the odd beer having pretty much given that up. I don’t feel any need to escape this world for any length of time now.
My recommendation to EVERYONE : life’s too short to be stuck in a job you hate. Better to quit now and start looking for what you REALLY want to do instead. Then, do that.


As I mentioned above, we here at BroBible love these stories of bros who quit the 9-to-5 grind and find a new path in life. If you’ve got a story worth telling then PLEASE send it to us by filling out our anonymous ‘TIP OFF‘ form, we’d love to feature it here!

Alright bros, there’s a whole bunch more of these responses over on the AskReddit thread, so if you want to keep on reading by all means follow this LINK.

Changing gears a little bit, I want to make sure that ALL OF YOU know about the all new BroBible iOS app that was launched last week. It’s 100% free to download and it’s the latest/greatest way to get all of your BroBible content, so DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE BY CLICKING HERE!

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There’s something off about Egypt’s oldest and largest pyramid

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The Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for an Egyptian Pharaoh some 4,500 years ago, has been called a wonder of the ancient world. Standing at 455 feet tall with a 756 feet wide base, it is the largest of Egypt’s three pyramids on the Giza Plateau.

But recently, scientist have discovered something a little off about the colossal structure.

The base, it turns out, isn’t perfectly square — the west side is ever so slightly longer than the east side, making it just a little lopsided. And this discovery might reveal some of the methods used by the ancient Egyptians to construct these awesome pyramids.

When the Great Pyramid of Giza was first built, the Egyptians encased it in white limestone. As time passed, they stripped this stone shell away to use it on other structures. This left us with the naked pyramid we have today.

But without this shell, scientists have had a tough time figuring out the original measurements of the pyramid.

A team of researchers from the Glen Dash Research Foundation and the Ancient Egypt Research Associates began taking their own measurements, hoping to understand what the pyramid was like before it was stripped of its outer shell.

They looked for markings around the base of the pyramid that showed where the original edges were. Then they plotted these points on a grid and calculated the lengths of each side.

They found that the west side was 5.55 inches longer than the east side, making the structure lean just a tiny bit to one side. The difference is so small that it went undetected for nearly five millennia, which is pretty impressive if you think about it.

"The data show that the Egyptians possessed quite remarkable skills for their time," said Glen Dash, head of the Glen Dash Research Foundation, in a recent survey report. "We can only speculate as to how the Egyptians could have laid out these lines with such precision using only the tools they had."

This means that builders probably laid the pyramid’s design on some sort of grid, and applied it to the ground during construction, ScienceAlert reports.

"We hope to eventually figure out how the Egyptians laid out the pyramid with such precision and, in doing so, hope to learn much about the tools and technology they had at their disposal,” Dash said.

SEE ALSO: After 4,600 years, we can finally see deep inside Egypt’s mysterious pyramids

DON’T MISS: An 18-year-old illegally climbed Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza in broad daylight

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Scientists hope to find hidden tombs by scanning the Egyptian pyramids with cosmic rays

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Take an Underwater Tour of the Most Biodiverse Reef on Earth

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Take an Underwater Tour of the Most Biodiverse Reef on Earth
Image: Will Turner

Coral reefs have been having a rough time of it lately, have you heard? They’re in the midst of the largest, longest, and worst mass die-off in history. But there’s a bright spot: when humans take action to protect reefs, they tend to do better. Sometimes, they even thrive.

With seven billion humans and counting putting an ever-increasing pressure on the world’s oceans, it sometimes feels like coral reefs are doomed to become yet another chapter in the history of the sixth mass extinction. But we shouldn’t give up hope for these bastions of marine biodiversity, because we know that we can save them, by improving reef management and reducing our carbon emissions.

Take an Underwater Tour of the Most Biodiverse Reef on Earth
Whale shark in Cendrawasih Bay, part of the Bird’s Head Seascape. Image: Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock

It can be hard to remember why something so removed from our hectic, urbanized lives is worth saving. Thankfully, technology can help jog our memories. A new VR film, “Valen’s Reef,” takes viewers through the restoration of Bird’s Head Seascape, a vast reef system that weaves its way through the island archipelago of Raja Ampat off the remote coastline of West Paupa, Indonesia. Teeming with coral species, fish found nowhere else on Earth, sharks and manta rays, it’s the most biodiverse reef on the planet and a remarkable success story for conservation.

Take an Underwater Tour of the Most Biodiverse Reef on Earth
Sunset in Bird’s Head Peninsula. Image: Conservation International/Sterling Zumbrunn

But as the video’s narrator, local marine scientist Ronald Mambrasar, explains, things weren’t always so bright at Bird’s Head Seascape. In fact, a little over a decade ago, the reef was decimated by the unregulated use of destructive practices like blast fishing. It took a concerted effort on the part of local communities and international organizations to bring the ecosystem back.

Produced by Conservation International, Valen’s Reef is being showcased at the Cannes festival this week. You can check it out right here, or on YouTube in 360 degrees and VR.

[Conservation International via Motherboard]

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This Is How Your Body and Mind Get Inspired in Lanzarote – the Beautiful Spanish Island

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If you’ve heard of Lanzarote, there’s a good chance you associate the name with sunburnt Brits and souvenir shops. But dig a little deeper into the history, geography and culture of this beautiful Spanish island, and you’ll find a holiday location that offers everything you want from a happy, healthy, and awe-inspiring break.

When you factor in affordable flights and all-inclusive resort deals, Lanzarote is also a great destination for physical and mental wellness holidays on a budget. If you need more convincing reasons, here are seven activities that could keep you busy during your stay…

1. Explore Timanfaya National Park

On the southwestern coast of Lanzarote, you’ll find Timanfaya National Park, a remarkable natural area sculpted by hundreds of years of volcanic activity. Enclosed within the park are the Montañas del Fuego, or Fire Mountains.

While the strange, alien landscape is largely bereft of plant or animal life, it offers a strikingly beautiful spectacle. Spend half a day or so in this stunning otherworldly place and contemplate the wonders of the natural world.

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Image Credit: Blinking Idiot via Flickr

2. Take a Diving Tour of the Museo Atlantico

Since 2006, British artist Jason de Caires Taylor has been creating underwater sculpture installations around the world. His most recent endeavour has taken place just off the coast of Lanzarote and is known as the Museo Atlantico – the central attraction being a piece called The Raft of Lampedusa, which depicts refugees on a sunken lifeboat.

If you’re planning a trip to Lanzarote, make sure you set aside the time to get your diving or snorkelling gear and take a guided tour of these fascinating sculptures. You’ll be blown away by their power.

3. Book a Yoga Retreat

If you’re not already doing yoga, you should! With its gorgeous protected landscapes, stunning sea views and clear air, Lanzarote is the perfect place to practice yoga if you have already discovered its health benefits.

The good news is that you’ll find plenty of retreats across the island that offer competitively-priced yoga sessions. The bad news is, you might never want to leave…

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Image Credit: We are Social vis Flickr

4. Marvel at the César Manrique Foundation

Ask any Lanzarote native and they’ll tell you how important the artist and architect César Manrique was to the history of the island. Manrique was fiercely opposed to the over-development of Lanzarote and fought against the tide of concrete resorts in the 60s and 70s by building his own ecologically-sound creations.

One of the most impressive thing is his house in the village of Tahiche, which was constructed in an area of black volcanic rock, using five lava “bubbles” to form a series of connected chambers. The foundation is open seven days a week to the public, and is free for children under 12. Just go for a visit, expand your mind and revitalise your spirits!

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Image Credit: Kent Wang vis Flickr

5. Swim at the Jameos del Agua

No stay on Lanzarote would be complete without a trip to the Jameos del Agua. A natural volcanic cave system was adapted into a public complex featuring an auditorium, swimming pool, restaurant and garden with the help of César Manrique (we said he was important!). The whole complex is a delight to explore, but make sure you give yourself time for a relaxing swim in the gorgeous white swimming pool.

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Image Credit: Jordi Payà vis Flickr

6. Sample the Local Delicacies

If there’s one thing guaranteed to boost your mood and get you in the holiday spirit, it’s a gorgeous dinner with a glass of fine wine. Lanzarote is known for its excellent and diverse cuisine, but the real highlights are the fresh and healthy local delicacies: papas arrugadas (“wrinkled” potatoes), mojo (spicy pepper or herb sauce), and grilleddorada (seabream).

You’ll also want to sample the island’s famous local dessert wines, preferably while eating a bowl of bienmesabe (sweetened almond cream). Consuming dessert and alcohol may not seem like an ideal path to physical and mental wellness, but a balance of moderation and enjoyment works wonders for the soul!

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Image Credit: Alf Altendorf via Flickr

7. Unwind on a White Sand Beach

Though Lanzarote is certainly the place to be if you’re seeking mental stimulation and physical activity, it’s also a place to let your body relax and rest, away from the demands of everyday life. The island is famous for its black volcanic sand, but some of the best beaches are the ones with white sand – Papagayo on the southern tip of the island being a particular highlight.

If you’re seeking a truly secluded experience, you might also consider the beautiful white sand coves of Caléton Blanco near Órzola, which are perfect for sunbathing and snorkelling. Just don’t forget the sun lotion!

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Image Credit: Dario Garavini vis Flickr

Wherever you choose to stay on Lanzarote, remember that some of the most memorable holiday experiences are about getting away from the hustle and bustle, letting your mind forget about everyday worries, and spending time in gentle contemplation.

Featured photo credit: Dario Garavini via flickr.com

The post This Is How Your Body and Mind Get Inspired in Lanzarote – the Beautiful Spanish Island appeared first on Lifehack.

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The Amount of Sleep That Kids and Teens Need to Be Healthy, According to Experts

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Infants, children, and teens all need more sleep than the average adult. For years, we’ve heard varying but similar ranges from different sources, but now a recent consensus statement by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has helped put this debate to bed.

A panel of experts spent 10 months reviewing over 864 scientific studies that looked at the relationship between sleep and health in children. They came up with the following ideal sleep durations to promote optimal health in infants, children, and teens:

  • Infants (4-12 months old): 12 to 16 hours (including naps).
  • Children (1-2 years old): 11 to 14 hours (including naps).
  • Children (3-5 years old): 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
  • Children (6-12 years old): 9 to 12 hours.
  • Teenagers (13-18 years old): 8 to 10 hours.

It’s important to note that these recommendations are based on a 24-hour period and that the benefits of healthy sleep also require regularity and good sleep quality. These guidelines have been supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Sleep Research Society, and the American Association of Sleep Technologists.

According to the research, this amount of sleep helps these groups avoid the negative effects that are associated with inadequate sleep, such as an increase in the risk of injuries, accidents, hypertension, and depression. Interestingly, they found that sleeping more than the recommended hours isn’t better for them either. If you’re a parent concerned with your child’s sleeping pattern (either sleeping too much or too little), consult your pediatrician about things you can do to improve their sleep quality.

Recommended Amount of Sleep for Pediatric Populations: A Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine | Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Image by atkinson000.

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Pearl Automotive’s license plate cover puts a car backup camera on your phone

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Tesla may have created the notion that the tech in every car should be upgradable without buying a new car with its constant software updates — but there still aren’t many Tesla owners out there.

In fact for many car owners it’ll be a pain or expensive to install new technology that you might find in a Tesla car, or even more modern cars, into an older car. That’s why Bryson Gardner — and his team of former Apple executives — decided to start Pearl Automotive, which builds tools that can upgrade the technology of a car using new tools and your smartphone. The company is starting off with a rear-view camera, called RearView, that fits around a license plate, feeding video directly to your smartphone when you back up.

“One of the reasons for that is it’s expensive to make a car platform and it takes that long to recover the cost of everything associated with the car,” Gardner said. “You have this extended timeline in the beginning, once that tech appears in the car it’s really just in the subset of it, higher end and luxury cars. it can take 10 to 20 years to fan out. ”

Here’s the nitty gritty of it: Car owners screw in a new license plate cover that has a pair of cameras. Those cameras sync up to a locally-generated Wi-fi network that connects to an adaptor that plugs in under the steering wheel. That data is then fed to your smartphone, so whenever you put the car in reverse, it switches over to the backup camera. It’s a wide-angle camera that gives you a 180-degree view of what’s behind the car. There aren’t any lines on the camera that indicate how far your car goes back, but there are alerts when obstacles — like people — get too close to the car.

Pearl started with a backup camera because, not surprisingly, backup cameras are starting to get rolled out in a lot of new cars. Today around 20% to 25% of cars have backup cameras, which raises awareness for the technology, Gardner said. For example, if a household owns two cars and one has a backup camera, odds are the owner is going to want the other one to have a backup camera as well.

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But that technology still takes a long time to roll out. It can take as long as 5 to 10 years until a new piece of technology starts popping up in new cars, and even then it starts off in higher-end models. Gardner said. The car development cycle is just much longer, which means it takes around half a decade for a major refresh for a car to roll out. That lag means there’s an opportunity to introduce that technology in a simple-to-install manner.

Gardner was originally hired at Apple to manage the first iPod Nano in 2005, and soon picked up the rest of the iPod and started working on the iPhone over the course of his career. That job in particular was an interesting one: It was Apple’s first foray into using flash storage. Apple’s rapid release cycle allowed the company to experiment with new kinds of hardware and technology, something Gardner said he hoped to bring to the automotive industry. So the team formed in 2014, and over the course of its life has raised $50 million in financing across two rounds.

It would seem — and be expected — that a lot of inspiration here is drawn from Tesla, which can essentially install new features on cars with over-the-air software updates. That’s allowed Tesla cars to essentially improve over time without having to go in for upgrades, or requiring the owner to purchase a new car. Sure, eventually the cars themselves will be out of date, but the fact remains that Tesla has shown consumers that cars should improve over time, Gardner said.

“That’s really a new idea in automotive,” he said. “We saw that as well, we also think a lot of the technologies that are being developed in auto are really valuable technologies. Rather than waiting for the future promise to materialize in a new car, we see a lot of opportunity in creating those core techs and creating systems that help the human driver today.”

The product certainly isn’t cheap. It costs around $500 — which, even for installing a backup in an existing car may sound steep. So it’s going to be a challenge to convince consumers, especially given the options to install technology themselves, and with manufacturers catching on to the idea that cars need to have a deeper level of software integration. But the idea is that Pearl’s software will constantly be improving thanks to wireless updates to the adaptor that over time upgrade the technology, much like the software in Tesla vehicles gets updated over time.

“It’s maybe more obvious now that everyone’s talking about it, but almost 2.5 years ago that we started, on the car, it was less obvious at the time what the opportunity was,” Gardner said. “Now I think, what Tesla as proven out from a whole car perspective in turning the car into a software car, there’s a lot of opportunity to take individual features into software solutions. This turns into a hardware-based thing and makes it a software thing.”

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