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25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life

25 Websites Other Than Social Media To Upgrade Your Life
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Have you been spending too much of your time on social media recently? Is that making much of your internet usage wasteful? Social media can be so addictive, so much that we spend hours on it without really noticing.

While social media does contribute in healthy discussions and is also our primary source of news and ideas at times, it’s equally likely to encourage us to refrain from learning something useful in our lives. It’s very important to keep our social media usage in check if we want to enrich ourselves with great learning experiences and upgrade our lives.

Here are 25 great websites which you should check if you want to escape from the vicious trap of social media and live a life full of knowledge, joy, and inspiration.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera offers MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on wide range of subjects from hundreds of institutions and renowned professors. You can teach yourself anything from history to programming and learn with a large online community. You can receive a world class education right from your home for free and develop a solid background in a subject area of your interest.

    2. edX

    2

      edX is another MOOC platform where you can take online courses from the finest universities in the world. It was initiated as a joint venture by MIT and Harvard University. It also offers hundreds of courses in different subject areas, similar to Coursera.

      3. Khan Academy

      3

        At Khan Academy, you can access a wide-ranging library of interactive content on almost every subject out there. You don’t only learn those subjects through wonderful videos, but you also have chance to practice on the subject regularly and keep track of your learning. It’s a great platform to both learn new things and expand on earlier knowledge.

        4. Udemy

        4

          Udemy is also a MOOC provider, but unlike academic MOOC providers like Coursera and edX, it focuses on providing real-world skills online. It offers courses on topics from building an ecommerce site and playing guitar to photography. It’s actually a marketplace for online learning, where experts on different subjects offer you lessons, either for free or at a certain price.

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          5. Quora

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            You can learn almost anything on Quora from experts and recognized people, as well as not-so-famous people. This is a question-answer platform where users ask and answer questions. But, unlike other similar sites, the user profiles are authentic and questions and answers are managed according to their uniqueness and relevance.

            6. Stack Overflow

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              Stack Overflow is probably the single most important site for a programmer. If you’re a programmer, or want to learn programming, this site should easily be your best friend. At this question-answer site for programmers, you can ask questions about your computing difficulties and learn from other people’s answers.

              7. Codeacademy

              7

                At Codeacademy, you can learn programming languages like HTML, CSS, PHP, and Python in a very easy and interactive way. It makes programming a fun activity and is very handy for beginners starting at programming. However, the depth it covers is very shallow and this site is helpful only for introductory knowledge of the subject.

                8. Tutorialspoint

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                  Tutorialspoint is another programming and computer science related site on this list, which helps you master different computer-related topics. It provides in-depth knowledge, unlike Codecademy. You can grow on the basic foundation provided by Codeacademy and achieve mastery on anything from Big Data to App Development at Tutorialspoint.

                  9. eHow

                  9

                    eHow teaches you wide array of skills on different topics step-by-step. The content is created by its team of writers, called experts, who create how-to guides on topics from personal hygiene to food recipes. You can learn anything from making a Raspberry Pi Alarm clock to making a scarecrow for your garden.

                    10. Wikihow

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                      WikiHow is another how-to site teaching us how to do things in an organized manner, but it has been modeled as a Wiki. At eHow, the staff themselves are paid to create the guides, but at Wikihow, everyone can edit, modify, and delete content. So, it’s not just about learning — you can also teach others the valuable skills you possess.

                      11. HowStuffWorks

                      11

                        HowStuffWorks is another wonderful website to broaden your horizons, providing you with very unique and interesting information on a wide range of topics. It contains articles focusing on issues which haven’t been explored much previously. If you want to move an inch closer to the truth, this is surely the website you should visit often.

                        12. TED

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                          According to TED, its mission is to spread ideas that are worth spreading. It features talks on variety of topics by experts in their fields who share their ideas, visions, and experiences through video talks. These talks are great way to introduce yourself very quickly and effortlessly to new concepts and develop new insights and perspectives.

                          13. Lumosity

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                            Lumosity is a great website to improve your mental faculties like memory, attention, and analytical skills. You can train your brain with fun games, and it also offers you personalized training programs to restructure the training as per your needs and keep track of the progress. Its objective is to make you clever, and it’s quite addictive as well.

                            14. Duolingo

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                              Duolingo is an award-winning platform that helps you learn and master new languages with minimal effort. It provides you advanced skills in several popular languages, such as Spanish, English, German, and French. It makes language learning a very easy and fun process and it’s completely free as well.

                              15. Instructables

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                                Instructables is another wonderful site you should definitely choose over social media, which teaches you to create things. It offers you fun videos and instructions to build just about everything that you can imagine, from a cardboard batman cowl to water balloon mortar. You can also share what you can make with other people.

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                                16. Digital Photography School

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                                  Digital Photography School is probably the most important photography blog out there, which offers plenty of tutorials to improve your photography skills. It doesn’t matter if you’ve years of experience under your belt or you’re just starting out, this site will surely help you grow as a photographer. It also provides you the opportunity to connect with a community of fellow photographers.

                                  17. All Recipes

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                                    At All Recipes, you can find recipes for almost all kind of dishes. You can even enter ingredients and find possible dishes you can cook with your available list of ingredients. There are very easy and quick-to-cook recipes as well, so you can satisfy your palate in a short time and without much hastle. This one is definitely the site to help you embark on a cooking adventure.

                                    18. Spreeder

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                                      Reading quickly is an ability desired by many of us but also one which very few of us possess. Spreeder is there to help us achieve exactly that. It is an online speed-reading software that aims to help us improve our reading speed, and comprehension capabilities as well, and is completely free.

                                      19. Project Gutenberg

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                                        Project Gutenberg offers you more than 50,000 eBooks, all for free. You can download these books in ePUB, Kindle, or PDF formats, or you can even read them online. This site is completely legal as well, since the books available are ones with copyrights that have expired or that have been made free for non-commercial use by the publishers.

                                        20. Investopedia

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                                          Investopedia is your ultimate finance guru that teaches you everything you need to know about financial trends and also helps you to keep your own personal finance in their best shape. With this site, you can teach yourself about investments, share markets, liquidity, accounts, and much more. There are abundant tutorials and videos to help you with that as well.

                                          21. Curious

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                                            Curious provides you with more than 17,000 lessons in almost any topic. As the site states, its mission is to help you learn something new every day and you can start it for free, but you have to pay certain amount to get unauthorized access.  You can learn from the world’s best teachers in topics spanning across humanities, STEM, music, relationships, and more.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Memrise helps you learn new things in small chunks. It offers small-sized learning packages in a wide range of topics, from language learning, arts and literature, history, and geography to math and science. The lessons are additive in nature, meaning you learn small packages at a time and build upon earlier packages to learn advanced skills.

                                              23. Zen Habits

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                                                Zen Habits is one of the best motivational blogs on the web, which aims to help you find simplicity amidst the chaos of your daily life. It helps you get rid of the mess and focus on the things that are important and that matter the most to you. The site’s design also embodies its principle, as it’s minimalistic and publishes only the best and most meaningful articles.

                                                24. Brain Pickings

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                                                  Brain Pickings is not just another productivity blog in the crowd out there, it’s one of the most soulful and inspiring blogs on the web. It features thoughtful and analytical articles on topics related to literature, spirituality, creativity, and personal growth. Its focus is on things that truly help us grow and things that really matter, and the blog’s not very hard to keep up with either, as it posts few but powerful articles.

                                                  25. Psychology Today

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                                                    Psychology Today teaches you about various facets of human psychology, helping you to understand the ways in which people behave. Its rich pool of articles help you fathom different aspects of human life, such as relationships, neuroscience, addiction, motivation, amongst others. You can benefit by applying these principles to the betterment of your life.

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                                                    Nabin Paudyal

                                                    Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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                                                    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                                                    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                                                    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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                                                    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                                                    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                                                    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                                                    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                                                    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                                                    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                                                    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                                                    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                                                    Warming up

                                                    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                                                    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                                                    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                                                    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                                                    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                                                    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                                                    Stay hydrated

                                                    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                                                    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                                                    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                                                    Meditate

                                                    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                                                    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                                                    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                                                    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                                                    2. Focus on your goal

                                                    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                                                    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                                                    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                                                    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                                                    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                                                    3. Convert negativity to positivity

                                                    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                                                    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                                                    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                                                    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                                                    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                                                    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                                                    4. Understand your content

                                                    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                                                    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                                                    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                                                    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                                                    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                                                    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                                                    5. Practice makes perfect

                                                    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                                                    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                                                    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                                                    6. Be authentic

                                                    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                                                    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                                                    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                                                    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                                                    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                                                    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                                                    7. Post speech evaluation

                                                    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                                                    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                                                    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                                                    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                                                    Improve your next speech

                                                    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                                                    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                                                    • How did I do?
                                                    • Are there any areas for improvement?
                                                    • Did I sound or look stressed?
                                                    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                                                    • Was I saying “um” too often?
                                                    • How was the flow of the speech?

                                                    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                                                    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                                                    Reference

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