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15 Brilliant Websites That Will Inspire And Change Your Life

15 Brilliant Websites That Will Inspire And Change Your Life

I have to say that I love living in the world as it is today. Even with all its warts, it’s still pretty great. The main reason I love it is that information about anything is right at your fingertips via the internet. There are millions of people putting out life-changing information because it is their passion, and it’s all available at the click of a button.

One of the drawbacks of this age, though, is that sometimes there is too much information and you have to rely on friends to help you weed out the good from the bad or useless. And that is why I am taking to my keyboard today.

Here are 15 websites to change your life and get you inspired and motivated:

1. GCF LearnFree

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    I have put this one first because there’s still a huge number of people who have no computer knowledge and don’t know how to get started in the new computer-based world. While it is ironic that you need a computer to access this site, if you have a relative or friend who needs to become computer literate, this is a great site that you can use to help them get started.

    It has simple tutorials about computer basics, along with videos. It is straightforward and easy to use. Your friend or relative can get started right away and be up and running in no time.

    2. Duolingo

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      I love this site! It’s a language learning site that first tests you to see where your weaknesses are and then gives you lessons based on the results of your tests so that you don’t waste your time. You can learn English, Spanish, Italian and more! It is set up as a series of little games and it is very addictive! The format is very user and learner friendly. I am finding myself spending more and more time playing on it and my Italian skills are getting so much better. Try it out! If you love games you will love learning with Duolingo.com.

      3. Fierce Gentleman

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        As soon as I read the term “Fierce Gentleman” I had to check out this site, and I love it! Gentlemanly qualities as we knew them seem to have become a bit rare these days. I believe it’s because of the changes we have experienced and the rapid morphing of cultures: it can make your head spin! We needed a new definition for the term “Gentleman.” In his articles, Andrew Long lays out what it takes to be a Fierce Gentleman and even some advice for Fierce Ladies. Fortunately, the qualities that Andrew advocates are qualities that gentlemen have had in days past and they can be brought forward to live again in this day and age.

        In this confusing time of mixed messages about what is cool or good or ethical, Mr. Long lays out just what is needed for you to keep your integrity and be extremely cool at the same time.

        4. The Invisible Mentor

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          Avil Beckford writes for The Invisible Mentor. Each month she spends hundreds of hours of researching and reading in order to bring us the most useful and enlightening information from older and perhaps forgotten writers whose works are still vital today.

          What I love about Avil is that she has the idea that learning and information are not to be reserved for only those who go to school but should be made available for everyone. She also reminds us that those who are the most successful in their fields are the ones who ceaselessly go on learning with a thirsty vengeance.

          Her ideas on learning, I believe, are the wave of the future. Antiquated systems of learning are being replaced by methods that teach people to think and develop judgment rather than memorize by rote. This depends on being able to read a lot and assimilate information.

          On her site you will find articles, great quotes, pieces of advice and all kinds of useful information.

          5. Dumb Little Man

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            Jay White writes for this blog and his purpose is to gather up and present information that makes your life a bit easier. His blog is a mix of great information and tips communicated in an informal and friendly way, which makes it seem like you are sitting with an old friend talking about life.

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            You will find information here about money, relationships, being happy and other related topics. Dumb Little Man is one of my favorite places to stop by for a cup of tea and a few wise words from friends.

            6. Michelle Chappel

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              Michelle Millis Chappel is a Renaissance woman. Initially she studied and received her PhD in Psychology, but then left academia to follow her dream of being a singer-songwriter-producer. She is also a noted motivational speaker and tireless volunteer. Her blog is a delightful mix of childlike enthusiasm and good friendly advice delivered with compassion and understanding. Her purpose in life is to help you find your true passion and calling and then help you achieve it.

              7. Fathom

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                Fathom is a travel website on steroids! I love it. Just looking at the first page fills you with the excitement you feel when you are packing for a trip somewhere you’ve always wanted to go!

                I’m an avid traveler and I believe that travel and communication with other countries and cultures is our saving grace in a world gone violent. How can we be OK with bombing villages when we know the people who live there?

                Reading through the articles on Fathom will start you dreaming, then acting, then packing! In the meantime you can take mini mental vacations anywhere on the globe just by clicking over to this site.

                8. Entrepreneur

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                  If you have ever dreamed of starting your own business or franchise, this is the one-stop shop for you. On this site they have articles and advice on every aspect of starting or running a business, from hiring your first employee to how to smartly lease business equipment.

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                  If you are unsure where to start on Entrepreneur.com, check out the tab entitled “Answers” and it will give you some ideas.

                  Have fun and get started on your new venture!

                  9. Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills

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                    My favorite chef EVER, Jamie Oliver, has developed a website devoted to educating everyone about the joys and necessities of learning to cook. Jamie has recognized that poor food supply and lack of food education has had a dramatic effect on the health of entire populations and he is on a campaign to put food education into schools.

                    He has now developed this website that gives you valuable basic information about how to cook. He has created videos and recipes that are easy and accessible and yet tasty and nutritious. Everyone should have rudimentary cooking skills and know how to prepare delicious food.

                    My view on life is this: We only have a certain number of meals available to us in our lives. We had better make them all good! Jamie’s site will give you the training you need to really up your standard of living by allowing you to have delicious food for every meal simply because you can create it yourself!

                    10. Rational Optimist

                    rational new

                      This blog, written by Matt Ridley, is described as, “A counterblast to the prevailing pessimism of our age, and proves, however much we like to think to the contrary, that things are getting better.”

                      In his blog, Matt gives real life solutions for the problems of the world. Many of these are available now if we just access them. This blog is as interesting as it is practical.

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                      11. App Treasure Hunter

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                        App Treasure Hunter is a site dedicated to finding and testing out educational apps. It has been developed by a handful of parents and educators with a passion for great education applications. App Treasure Hunter gives you in-depth reviews performed by educational experts and practical advice for handling and educating your children. The pros at App Treasure Hunter save you a ton of work. The site is fun and interesting to browse.

                        12. The History Blog

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                          I love this site because it is so darned interesting! You can go there while waiting in line at the Starbucks, or while in your doctor’s office. History is such a fascinating subject and this blog provides you with history, art, culture and photos, along with their wider historical context. Learning history gives you instant experience for living today’s life. The history here is not delivered in dry and boring prose. As the writer states on his homepage: “My name is Livius. I shall endeavor not to suck. That is all.” I can tell you that he has fulfilled his promise and doesn’t suck, not even a little bit.

                          13. Brainy Quote

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                            I love this site and have used it for finding quotes for my blogs. This site compiles and publishes quotes from really smart people and there is always something there that pertains to your specific situation. Go there to find some helpful tips or just browse. It is entertaining and insightful!

                            14. Tiny Buddha

                            tiny new

                              One thing I love about each new website is that each one has a specific feeling associated with it. Tiny Buddha, as you can imagine, has a sweet and compassionate feel to it. There are great blog posts as well as a forum where you can get help from others. I have browsed the forum and helped a few people. I even made a great new friend on the other side of the world.

                              15. A Beautiful Mess

                              mess new

                                This is a charming and fun-packed website. I love it because it gives you amazing recipes, beautiful photos, great projects and has a really fun feel to it. You could spend hours poking around and come away with ideas that will keep you busy for days. Check in on Elsie and Emma and get a glimpse into their lives. They are adorable!

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                                Now that we are entering a new year with exciting new possibilities, I am hoping that these will prove to be websites to change your life and provide you with ideas and assistance finding your dreams!

                                More by this author

                                Chris Ellis

                                Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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                                Published on May 18, 2021

                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

                                We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

                                The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

                                Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

                                Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

                                Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

                                There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

                                Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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                                Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

                                We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

                                Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

                                A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

                                The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

                                Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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                                Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

                                Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

                                Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

                                While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

                                Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

                                These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

                                Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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                                Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

                                Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

                                Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

                                Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

                                Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

                                Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

                                As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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                                This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

                                Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

                                Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

                                These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

                                Actions Speak Louder Than Words

                                Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

                                Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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                                Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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                                Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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