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19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way

19 Websites That Will Make You Smarter in Every Way

It’s almost unbelievable that in this day and age almost everyone is carrying around a library of knowledge, richer in resources than that of the Library of Alexandria. So it comes as no surprise that many want to utilise this resource, the internet, to become a better, smarter, productive being!

With this in mind, 19 of the top websites that will make you a smart person, in every way, has been compiled for you.

Academic

1. Smarterer

Want to test your writing ability? Prove your programming skills? Show people that you’re an Excel genius? Using Smarterer, you can take tests that provide you with a ‘qualification’ that you can show to employers when they need proof of your abilities!

2. UniversityWebinars

If you’re a fan of TED Talks, this is basically the TED Talks of the university world. With live webinars, and a huge library of past webinars and other educational videos, you cannot go wrong with this one.

3. Memrise

Flash cards, mixed with the addictive nature of gaming. This one is great for those looking to improve their overall general knowledge, while having fun. It’s available in a multitude of languages!

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    4. Project Gutenberg

    Don’t have the time or money to read a book, but still manage to sit and read on the internet for an obscene amount of time every day? No more excuses, Project Gutenberg is a catalog of books that you can read, online, right now, without cost. Get reading!

    5. Treehouse

    Treehouse basically has something for everyone. From web development to entrepreneurial tips, you’ll never come away from Treehouse without having learnt something. The only downside is that it costs at least $25 a month after the free trial, but investing in your education is never a bad idea.

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      6. OpenCulture

      A vast compendium of educational resources, on literally hundreds of different topics. From online courses to ebooks, you can find it all on OpenCulture. It’s one of the only websites you’ll ever need on education.

      7. Udacity

      Udacity is almost like the vocational learning place of the Internet. Real people teaching you real technical skills that are needed by real tech companies, with hands-on projects instead of boring old lectures. It’s hard for this one to fail to please.

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        8. Creative Live

        Classes streamed live. Some cost, others are free, but all are worth watching! These aren’t your average classes either, they’re real practical classes that will give you real usable skills. (There’s even a section for those looking to make more money!)

        9. Future Learn

        Future Learn is a site that offers free courses, in categories such as Law, Psychology, Teaching and many more. Partnered with some of the finest universities that the UK has to offer, you can be guaranteed that the content of the course will always be high quality.

        10. Coursera

        This is similar to Future Learn, though maybe with a bit more variety. With over 800 courses, and 10,000 current students, the statistics speak for themselves. The courses are always informative, and you get a real qualification at the end of them!

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          11. BBC Languages

          Arguably one of the most well-known and most supported platforms for learning a foreign language. With simple step-by-step interactive guides on learning another language, you’ll be speaking a new language in absolutely no time!

          12. University of Reddit

          You’ve probably heard of Reddit, but have you heard that Reddit created a new site where Redditers could teach each other? Pretty much any subject you can think of is covered here, because they’re all people just like you, teaching what they know!

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          Creativity

          13. Drawspace

          So you’ve always wanted to draw, but have never known where to start? Drawspace is here to rescue you, and get you expressing in the artistic format that you’ve always desired! Easy, comprehensive, guides that will get you drawing in seconds.

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            DIY

            14. HackADay

            The name says it all. Every day a new hack is posted, with topics varying from things like fixing faulty Apple chargers to learning to build movie props – you can find it all here. Good for those who like to dabble in a multitude of hobbies!

            15. Do It Yourself

            Do It Yourself offers you a overwhelming amount of free DIY projects that you can do, in a simple and easy to read (and do) format. It’s time to become the handyman or -woman that you’ve always dreamed of being!

            16. Instructables

            Community driven step-by-step instructions on how to do pretty much anything. It’s impossible to have a look on Instructables without coming away having learnt how to do something new and useful. Check it out, it won’t disappoint.

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              Other

              17. UnplugTheTV

              A site that’ll give you a random video to watch, that’ll benefit your mind, instead of watching TV. A neat idea, and the execution seems to match. The content is not always guaranteed to be the best, but it’s always guaranteed to be better than mindless TV.

              Screenshot 2014-11-01 22.17.58

                18. AboveTopSecret

                Alternative news sources are a wealth of information, if you can get past the bias. Don’t limit yourself to seeing the worldly events from a single perspective, explore other options. Check out the sources, draw your own conclusions.

                19. Divine Society

                A site similar to AboveTopSecret, where a multitude of interesting articles from all over the web are posted. Everything from politics to religion is covered here, so it’s worth exploring a few of the articles they have to offer.

                So there you have it, 19 sites that will make you smarter in a variety of ways. If you have any that you think belong on this list, don’t be afraid to share them in the comments below!

                Featured photo credit: Teo Siew Yong via yourpresenceheals.com

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                Last Updated on March 15, 2019

                How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

                When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

                Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

                In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

                What Makes a Leader Fail?

                A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

                If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

                And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

                What Is Effective Leadership?

                Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

                Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

                Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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                “… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

                How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

                To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

                1. Courage

                The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

                “Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

                Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

                For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

                In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

                It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

                Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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                2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

                If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

                The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

                To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

                3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

                Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

                Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

                4. Likability

                Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

                When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

                Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

                So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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                5. Vulnerability

                Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

                When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

                6. Authenticity

                Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

                Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

                7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

                Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

                Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

                Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

                Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

                As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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                “A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

                8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

                Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

                This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

                9. A Passion for Continual Learning

                Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

                These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

                Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

                The Bottom Line

                No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

                Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

                More Resources About Effective Leadership

                Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                Reference

                [1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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