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How To Select Reading And Entertainment That Enriches Your Life

How To Select Reading And Entertainment That Enriches Your Life

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.'”

-Dalai Lama

Let the Dalai Lama’s words inspire you to enrich your life. One of the best ways to develop yourself is through the information you consume.

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Reading enriches life.

As you read, whether fiction or nonfiction, you expand your mind. Reading allows you to experience new worlds, perspectives and ideas.

The more you read, the better you can relate and react to the world around you. As you process all of this information, you will find it is also easier to come up with your own new, unique ideas.

It is up to you to choose reading that will enrich you.

Enriching your life with reading can also be fun and enjoyable. However, reading isn’t the only medium to enrich your life. You can also select audio and video programs that are enriching.

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The question then arises, how to choose materials that are enriching. The best way to choose materials that enrich your life is to ask yourself a few questions.

Is there something new to learn?

Choosing materials that teach you something new will expand your universe.

  • Watch a TV Program on how to do your next home improvement project.
  • Learn about your next vacation destination through guidebooks, podcasts, articles or videos.
    • Explore the culture through local legends
    • Learn some phrases in the local language
    • Immerse yourself in the history of the peoples, land or architecture
  • If you are choosing a fiction book for your enjoyment you can still find it enriching.
    • You may learn about a new place, time or even a profession the characters have.

Strive to learn at least one new thing every day. It’s easy when you surround yourself with great information and resources.

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Is the material mostly positive?

This will not be everyone’s preference. However, I find that keeping the information I consume at least 90% positive makes life more enjoyable. It is easier to see the best in the people and world around you when you focus on the good that surrounds us.

  • Choose news outlets that focus on more positive stories (or simply change the channel for ugly news).
    • Look for sources that focus on positive news
      • http://www.dailygood.org/
      • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-news/
      • http://abcnews.go.com/US/Good_News/
  • Read biographies of people who inspire and have accomplished great things.
  • Watch movies that have a positive, uplifting message.

Am I interested in the topic?

Consuming information that isn’t of interest to you can be drudgery. Remember your school days: what was your least favorite subject? I bet the thought of having to attend that class was torture some days.

Better to find a topic or an aspect of the topic that interests you.

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  • Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to learn about.
  • What are your favorite tv shows? They may help point you towards subjects you would like to learn more about.
  • Dislike a topic? Look for a method that makes it more interesting.
    • If you don’t like history, you might enjoy historical fiction or movies that are period based.
    • You may find reading a nonfiction book is a challenge, whereas listening to the same book in audio format while driving is easy and enjoyable.

Reading enriches life. As you enrich your life through your entertainment choices, take a moment to journal each day about what you learned. Processing and recording your thoughts in this way will help you get even more from the material and formulate new ideas.

Featured photo credit: Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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