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10 Things You Don’t Know About Russia

10 Things You Don’t Know About Russia

Russia, the world’s largest nation, has been blessed with natural as well as manmade beauty. Here are 10 strange facts that you might not know about Russia.

1. The Russian Smile Holds Great Meaning and Significance:

In Russia, a smile is something absolutely personal. It is not acceptable to smile at strangers. A shopkeeper or a salesperson will always be found with an absent smile. They only smile at people that they like or want to be friends with, but even then without showing their teeth, which is considered improper. A smiling person is considered to be in a really good mood, and if someone dares to smile without any good reason, they are considered suspicious.

2. A Restaurant in Moscow is Staffed by Twins Only:

When it comes to eating, Russia stands by its uniqueness in restaurants. The Twin Star restaurant in Moscow creates a unique experience for its guests by hiring only twin brothers or sisters. From the host serving you at the table, to the bartender at the bar, both identical twins are identically dressed. Whether you want to have a burger, Thai, European, or Russian food, the distinctive twin scenario will make eating more interesting. The motivation for the owner behind this idea was a 1964 film called Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors.

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3. The Subway System in Moscow is One of the Most Beautiful and Expected to be the World’s Fourth Longest:

Beneath the roads of Moscow, there’s another world of magnificent architecture to discover — the Moscow Metro. The statues, mosaics, and murals are all fascinating. The Moscow subway is one of the most elaborate transport systems. When it first started running on 15th May, 1935, the entire network was seven miles long with 11 stations, all stretching in one line. Now it has 200 stations and is expanding so fast that within the next three years there will be 35 new stops and 75 miles of track — making it the world’s fourth longest.

4. It is a Criminal Offence to Drive Around With a Dirty Car:

Russia’s driving laws state that it is illegal to drive with a dirty car. The dirty car is considered illegal and the driver has to pay a fine, especially if the license plates are dusty or muddy.

5. The Ter Sami Language of the Kola Peninsula is Almost Extinct:

The Ter Sami language was spoken by 450 speakers till the end of the 19th century. By the end of the 20th century, that number was reduced to six. Only 2 elderly people were speaking this language by 2010.

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6. An Emperor of Russia, Peter III, Hanged a Rat for Chewing His Toy Soldier’s Head:

Peter III ruled Russia for 6 months in 1762. In a biography about Peter III, Henri Troyat writes that he loved his toy soldiers so much that he executed a rat that chewed the head of one. For the execution, miniature gallows were constructed and the rat was left hanging for three days in public.

7. There are At Least 15 Secret Cities in Russia, the Names and Locations of Which are Unknown:

A closed city in Russia is a restricted area where only specific authorized persons can enter. It may be a military, scientific, or nuclear establishment or some border area. Some of the cities are freely accessible to Russian citizens, while others demand a permit from citizens as well. Currently, there are 44 publicly acknowledged closed cities, while another 15 or so closed or “secret” cities still exist with publicly unknown names and locations.

8. There is So Much Traffic in Moscow That Rich People Use Ambulances to Get Around:

The traffic conditions in Moscow are so jammed that the rich people hire ambulances to drive them from place to place.

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9. There are Some Weird Do’s and Don’ts That Non-Russians Might Not Know:

Only children or married people can sit at the corner of table. If an unmarried person sits on the edge, they will not get married (or be happily married) for 7 years.

One has to be careful about the number of flowers in a bouquet because bouquets with even numbers of flowers are only for funerals; odd number flowers should be given on happy occasions.

There is a superstition that if someone whistles inside the house, it will result in financial downfall.

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These are some of the very weird (and interesting!) Russian Taboos.

10. Ziferblat is a Place Where Everything You Eat or Drink is Free Except For The Time You Spend:

Ziferblat, meaning “clock face,” is an anti-café that started in September 2011 and now has over 14 branches all around the world. You can comfortably use it as a co-working area or an entertainment venue and can make coffee or cook food. The purpose of Ziferblat is to provide a comfy environment just like home. The owner pays for the space and the customers pay for the time.

Featured photo credit: russia via photopin.com

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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