3 Lessons From Our Mothers

If you had to clean up someones poop, puke, and pee, or had to listen to them cry and scream at all hours of day and night, you probably wouldn’t stand this person for very long.

Well, your mother went through that and a whole lot more for a very long time to make sure that you survived and became the slightly less poop and pee covered person that you are today.

Our mothers not only took care of us when we were disgusting and unruly, they also taught us a lot of the most important lessons we’ve ever learned.

We will never be able to repay our mothers, but at the very least we can say thank you every once and a while.

So this is an ode to the lessons our mothers have taught us, and a thank you note to all the amazing mothers out there.

We are born of love; love is our mother.
-Rumi

Sharing Is Caring

I grew up in a male dominated house. Needless to say, the boys of the house wanted to solve every conflict aggressively and had a hard time sharing anything. Whether it was time on the computer, toys, or treats, we wanted everything to ourselves.

But mothers will always step in and set it straight. She showed us the value of sharing our things, and thus our happiness, with others.

She also taught us this lesson through her everyday life. I frequently saw my mother pay for strangers, offer to pay for everyone in our group, and give presents at every opportunity.

She taught us that money comes and goes, but the impact that a small gesture can have on someone will last forever.

Give Everyone A Fair Shake

No matter who you were, if you came into contact with my mother she would give you the benefit of the doubt.

If everyone in the world was like this there would be no more sexism, racism, or any other of the prejudice diseases that plague humanity. When you treat each person as an individual and assume only the best of them—until they prove otherwise—you make the world a fairer place.

The media will try to convince you of a whole myriad of ignorant stereotypes, but the lessons from our mothers will always outweigh them and for that I am grateful.

Because of our mothers we know that each person is unique and deserves a fair chance.

Don’t Let The Opinions Of Others Affect You

My mother is a bus driver. She has told me many horror stories and she has been called every name in the book.

She’s been put down or attacked so many times that you’d lose count, but she never let the opinions of others affect her opinion of herself.

Sometimes it would get to her, but seeing the strength and determination that she mustered up during those moments was inspiring.

I learned that other people can only affect you as much as you let them affect you and this is one of the most important lessons a person can learn.

When I think of the mothers of the world I think about determination, unconditional love, overcoming obstacles, and doing things you never thought you’d do because you love that little life more than anything in the whole world.

Raising you was the hardest thing someone ever had to do in their entire life. So today, take the time to thank them. This is for all the mothers out there.

I love you mum. Thank for putting up with all the poop, the pee, the aggression, the rebellion, the shortcomings and the times I didn’t appreciate you like I should have.

I’ve finally learned my lessons.

What are some of the lessons that your mother taught you? Leave them in the comments!

3 Benefits Of WRITING IT DOWN

When I was younger I had trouble paying attention. I’ve always been a spacey person, unable to hold on to a single thought for very long.

I’d tell a story, only to end up going on so many different tangents that I never reach any conclusions. At one point my teacher gave me a tape recorder to record his lessons because I couldn’t pay attention during class.

Being this way has its positives—it has made me a very fluid and creative person—but it has its negatives as well. For most of my life I have lacked all discipline and organization.

But, we all play the cards we are dealt, so I found a solution to my problem.

Write It Down

I started writing things down to help my memory, but I realized that there are a multitude of benefits that come from writing down your reminders, goals, and thoughts.

A thought is not something that you can grasp and it will often be forgotten, but when you write it down, you bring it into a tangible and permanent existence.

I have found three major ways to improve my life through writing. I’m confident that once you start writing things down, your life will move in the direction of your aspirations faster than it ever has.

And not only that, you’ll never forget to pick up the milk again—which brings us to our first point.

Write Lists And Notes For Memory

I have a horrible memory. I’ve actually forgotten my aunt’s and uncle’s names before. Don’t tell them I said that.

Remembering is hard work. Your brain has to encode information, then retrieve it at a later date. I don’t know about you but I like to give my brain a break whenever I can. It does literally everything for me so I feel like it deserves a break.

Before you go shopping, write a list. Better yet, write it throughout the week as you go. This way, when you leave the store you will know that you have everything you need.

Although it is embarrassing to forget the milk, that isn’t the only time notes are useful.

I write notes for just about everything. The books I read, YouTube videos I watch, the names of my neighbours, everything. Once I write something down it gives me a sense of relief. I no longer have to worry that I won’t be able to retrieve that information from the depths of my cluttered mind.

Writing notes and lists will make people think you have memory super powers. Try it out.

Write Schedules For Productivity

Just as writing a note helps you remember it, writing a schedule helps you stick to it.

When you get into the productive mood and you are thinking about all the things you are going to accomplish, it’s a great feeling. But if you are anything like me, that feeling doesn’t last forever.

You wake up the next day, and you don’t have that same enthusiasm. You are in a different mind-state and you can’t be bothered to think about all those things you wanted to accomplish.

Studies have shown that writing down a schedule helps you stick to your plans more so than if you don’t have specified times for tasks. It’s easy to understand why.

The first step to making any vision a reality—whether it’s a vision for your life, or just one for your day—is to give it permanence by writing it down. That way when your mood changes, you will have a reminder from yourself of what is important.

Write A Journal For Reflection

The last way I would encourage you to bring writing into your life is through a journal.

Notes and lists help you remember, schedules help you become organized and efficient, but journaling helps you to recognize patterns in your thoughts.

We have thoughts that come and go and we might not realize how often we go through certain thought patterns.

Journaling allows you to see the patterns in your thoughts over time and reflect on them.

If you have an issue that bothers you, you might not think it is a problem because you brush off the thoughts whenever they surface. But when you read through your journal, you realize that you have these thoughts frequently.

This ability to record your thoughts helps you see patterns in the otherwise fluid process which you cannot hold on to.

This type of reflection is a life changer. You discover the your innermost wants, fears, anxieties and values all through journaling.

I write every day, and each time I do it benefits me. I remember more, do more, reflect more and become more than I would without it.

If you are looking to get a big reward from a small practice, start writing everything down and watch your life transform.

You can thank me later.

Stress, And Your Body Thinking It Might Die

You have a headache, an upset stomach, problems getting to sleep, elevated blood pressure and chest pains.

If you looked this up on WebMd.com you’d probably think you were dying from some sort of horrifying disease. But in fact, these are the symptoms of a much more common health problem affecting almost all of us.

Stress

In the same way that pain isn’t all bad because it lets you know the difference between a warm shower and scalding yourself with boiling water, stress isn’t always a bad thing either.

Stress responses in your body during life threatening situations signal your body to stop all non-life-saving functions and focus on getting you out of the burning building, or running away from the man eating lion.

But the problem with stress is that your physiological responses to non-immediate stresses are largely the same as when you’re fighting for survival.

In other words, your body will react roughly the same way whether you are stressing over a cell phone bill, or a meteorite heading towards the earth.

With that in mind it is easy to understand why people under stress can feel like they might die, because their body is reacting that way.

Relieving Stress

So your body thinks every homework assignment, messy kitchen, or job interview that stresses you out is going to kill you.

After a while of building up this stress you need some sort of relief. Stress that continues without relief leads to a condition called distress, which is where things can get really bad.

Distress can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, depression and anxiety among other things.

So what do you do when you are stressed out and need relief?

1) Complete A Repetitive Task

Studies have shown that completing a repetitive task can help your mind unwind.

When everything is piling up around you and you feel like you can’t tackle any of it, completing something as simple as doing the dishes can give you a much needed sense of accomplishment.

It also puts your focus on the task at hand, rather than the prospect of your cell phone bill killing you.

The next time you are feeling stressed, throw yourself into some easy housework. Fold your laundry, vacuum your room, or sort out your loose change.

You can find whatever simple and repetitive task works for you, then use it as your go-to stress reliever.

2) Take A Warm Bath

A warm bath or shower will boost your mood.

Studies have shown that the sensation of warm water triggers responses in the body and brain similar to those of emotional warmth.

When you are in the shower or bath, try to focus on the comfort you feel and keep your mind off of the things that are stressing you out. This will relieve your stress and prepare you to deal with future stress with more ease.

3) Treat Yourself To Endorphins

There are many ways to get those happy chemicals pumping in your brain that will relieve your stress. Here is my quick go-to list:

  • Pet a cat
  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Enjoy a nice smell (spearmint and lavender have proven effects)
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Have a good laugh
  • Get some exercise

We all know that you can’t avoid stress entirely. Whether a meteorite is heading to earth or you have a job interview, you are going to be stressed out at some point.

With these tips you will be able to relieve some of that stress, so that you don’t actually die.
Because that would really be stressful.

The Most Helpful Guide To Being Likable (25 tips)

I was a shy kid when I was younger.

I wasn’t exactly normal. I had a blood disorder and I had a special teacher in class because I had trouble learning and fitting in.

Also, I had ridiculously curly hair, it was an afro.
Why did my parents let me have an afro!?

The worst part is that hair would be so awesome right now.
I was ahead of my time.

Needless to say, I just wanted some love… Or at least some like.

We all want to be liked, right? These days people generally like me, but sometimes I still feel like that weird kid with the curly hair. I’m still hoping to be liked every day.

So that is what I’m here to do today, help all the weird people become more likable… Okay, normal people can read this too.
Who am I kidding, NO ONE is normal!

So here it is: The Most Helpful Guide To Being Likable.
These tips are in no specific order. Let’s go!

1) Smile!

Everyone is happier around people who smile. If you smile more often, guess what? People will smile back. You will brighten up their day a little bit and they will like you more because of it!

70% of communication is non-verbal and when you smile you show that you are happy, confident, and attentive. This is key in becoming more likable.

2) Eye Contact!

Studies have shown that people who maintain higher levels of eye contact appear to be more likable, stable, confident, trustworthy and attractive, among other qualities.

Not only that, but maintaining eye contact shows that you are fully engaged in the interaction instead of thinking about tomorrows breakfast. People like being valued over breakfast foods, trust me.

3) Offer Compliments!

We are all insecure, and if you say you aren’t insecure then that means that you are not secure in your insecurities! So what should we do to help each other out with these pesky insecurities?

If you have something nice to say, SAY IT! A compliment can turn someone’s day around completely and they will like you more because of that.

4) Keep Promises!

No matter how small a promise is, it is still a promise. If you can’t keep to your word then no one will trust you. If people can’t trust you then how can they like you?

In this age of ditching plans and forgetfulness, reliability is a rare quality. If you keep promise people will remember.

5) Don’t Speak In Monotone!

Imagine the teacher from Ferris Bueller’s day off. Would you want to hang out with that guy?

bueller

No one wants to listen to someone who sounds like a robot. Use different tones and volumes in your speech to keep the other person’s attention.

6) Use Names!

We all like hearing our own name, it’s like a sweet song to us. It let’s us know that the person talking to us sees us as an individual and that they care enough to remember us.

This works even better if you remember someone’s name the second time you bump into them. It creates familiarity and comfort, which everyone likes.

7) Laugh!

There is something called the “law of state transference.” It states that if you are showcasing a certain emotion or state, that people around you are more likely to experience that emotion as well.

Can you remember the last time someone very sad was around you. It probably made you feel a little awkward, and sad as well. Even if your jokes aren’t the greatest, if you are genuinely laughing, the other person will be much more likely to laugh as well. Try it out!

8) Slight Touches!

We all like human contact. It releases small doses of the chemicals in our brain that can cause us to feel love. That doesn’t mean that if you touch someone they’ll turn into a love zombie for you, but a slight touch can cause someone to be more endeared towards you.

Just make sure they are very slight touches in safe place. Don’t reach below the belt. Keep it to the shoulders, arms, or upper back and do it in a joking and playful fashion.

9) Open Body Language!

70% of communication is non-verbal. When you stand with your arms crossed and your head slightly down you will be subconsciously conveying to everyone that you are not open to conversation or other people.

Open yourself up, lean back, uncross your arms and smile. All signs of openness will show people that you are ready to engage, and people will like that.

10) Pay Attention!

attention

Use your listening skills, stay off your phone and show the people around you that when you are talking to them, they are your highest priority. No one wants to repeat themselves, and no one wants to talk to someone who doesn’t even value them enough to give them their attention.

11) Show Confidence!

When you are confident, people will gravitate towards you. If you seem awkward people will assume that any interaction with you will be awkward. And who wants that? Not me, not the cashier, and not even your grandmother.

12) Exit Small Talk ASAP!

Small talk is needed to start off a new relationship, but you will never leave any sort of lasting impact on people if you only ever engage in small talk.

Use my guide to get from small talk, to deep relationships and you will never have to spend twenty minutes discussing the weather again!

13) Find Common Ground!

Most of the time people enjoy talking about things that they enjoy. Who would have thought?

If you want someone to enjoy your company more and like you more, find some common ground that way you can both enjoy the conversation. This will create a snowball effect of enjoyment.

14) Provide Value!

If you can teach someone something, they will be more likely to remember and like you. It’s even better if it’s something that pertains to them. Providing value isn’t just for business, it’s for relationships as well.

15) Groom Yourself!

If you are smelly, people might not like being around you, sorry. You can’t change who you are but a general rule is that you should try not to be too offensive to the senses.

Groom yourself, shower, put a little effort into your style and you’ll instantly be more likable.

16) Be Positive!

Don’t be a Negative Nancy, a Debbie Downer, a Pessimistic Paul or a Gloomy Gary.

As we’ve learned you’ll end up bringing others down through the law of state transference and they won’t like it, or you, very much at all. Stay positive, people will like you more and you’ll like yourself more.

17) Tell Stories!

story

Nothing is better than a good story, and nothing is more painful than a bad one. Through good stories you can make people happy, make them laugh, teach them something, leave them in awe, or cause a whole spectrum of other outcomes.

Humans have communicated through stories since we could speak, and maybe even before that. Become a better story teller and all of your relationships will improve.

18) Tell a Secret!

Studies have shown that when you tell someone a secret, even a small one, it will make them trust you more. This is probably a similar effect to state transference, if someone trusts you enough to tell you a secret, then you are more likely to trust them.

And as we’ve said before in the promises section, a base level of trust is a requirement for likability. Secrets create familiarity as well, making you seem closer to the person you entrust your secret with.

19) Mirroring!

In the same vein as finding common ground, we like people who share similarities to us. A known way of creating that feeling of similarity and familiarity is to slightly mirror the person you are speaking with.

Standing in a similar stance and using similar hand gestures can help in creating this perceived similarity, but don’t focus on this to much or you won’t be paying attention. Which is point 10.

20) Ask a Small Favour!

The Benjamin Franklin Effect is the idea that when we do someone a favour, we justify it to ourselves by thinking that we did the favour because we like the person. If you ask someone for very small favours, they will oblige and then like you more. Plus, you will get the opportunity to thank them and they will feel good about themselves. It’s a win-win.

“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.”
-Benjamin Franklin

21) Be Humble!

While you should be confident enough to strike up conversations and hold your own, don’t brag too much and try to impress people. No one likes a ‘one-upper’, someone who always has to outdo every story that people tell.

Just be comfortable in who you are, and show some humility.

22) Don’t Judge Anyone!

You don’t want people to judge you, so why would anyone enjoy being judged by you.

judgemental owl

Even if you aren’t judging the person that you are talking to, if you are judging others around them, they will assume you judge them when they are not around. If you show that you are an accepting person they will feel much more comfortable around you and like you a lot more for it.

23) Ask Questions!

Asking genuine questions will lead to deeper conversations and show people that you have an actual interest in them as a person. Don’t make the conversation all about yourself, ask some good questions and you will find so much more beauty in the people around you.

24) Acknowledge Everyone!

When you are walking down the street, nod at people and smile at them. Ask your cashiers how their day is going. Acknowledge as many people as you can and everyone will like you more. After a while of doing this, you will become more confident and you will naturally radiate a positive, open energy.

25) End on Good Terms!

The first impression you make on someone, and the last impression you make before leaving are important. When you are done talking with someone, take the time to tell them that you enjoyed the conversation.

This will put the law of state transference into effect and they will probably say that they enjoyed talking to you as well. This is a compliment, a sharing of mutual enjoyment, and a great way to leave a good impression for next time.

Well, those are my tips.

I still feel like that weird kid sometimes, but I try to follow these tips so that I can have the best possible relationships with everyone around me because you know what?

We all have weird people inside of us who just want to be liked.

I like you, and I hope you like me too!

No Matter What, Today Could Be Different.

On Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter… everyone is perfect.

Every picture is of people laughing with friends and having drinks, or of beautiful food that’s perfectly angled with just the right lighting.

There are no pictures of those 2am tears. No pictures of pimples or pus, or throw up on your clothes in the back seat of your friends car. Those were my clothes, I was so embarrassed.

If you never met a single person face to face and all you had to judge people by were their social media profiles, you’d think everyone lived a perfectly happy life.

You’d think that they had no problems, no struggles.

But the truth is, every day is a struggle. Every day there are battles.

And a lot of those days you are going to lose.

You won’t go to the gym, you’ll smoke that cigarette after saying you’ve quit. You’ll feel guilty, ashamed and disgusting.

You’ll spend whole days in bed when you should be doing homework, work projects, cleaning, or something. You should be doing something, anything, but there is so much piling up that it paralyzes you and you do nothing.

Some days you lose, and you feel useless. 

Everyone has those days. Everyone has those internal battles.

What separates the people who crumble under the pressure from those that become stronger?

The Morning After.

What happens the next morning?

You either lament, or you try again.

You either step back up on the battlefield or raise the white flag before the day even starts.

Everyone loses. It’s the people who waste no time, no energy even thinking about putting up that white flag that will prevail.

It’s the people who go into their day knowing that there could be blood and pain and they will lose more often than not, but they know this and they commit to fighting that battle every single day.

Every day they will fight for their dreams, for their happiness, and sometimes, for the willpower just to get out of bed.

Any energy spent regretting and reliving the past instead of focusing on your present is wasted energy.

So what if you binge ate yesterday, so what if you didn’t have the courage to speak to that guy or girl again? So what if you spent the whole day feeling useless and questioning the futility of your existence in a cruel universe that barely knows you exist?

That was yesterday, and this is today.

The people who become stronger under the pressure are the people who can let go of yesterday and stop it from contaminating today.

The more energy you spend regretting the past, the less energy you have to break the cycle and make today different.

It doesn’t matter how many hours, days, or years you’ve spent living below your potential. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve felt useless, walking around in a daze.

No matter how many embarrassing stories and mistakes you’ve made over time, you could wake up the morning after and believe that today will be different.

Putting your focus and energy on re-imagining and rethinking the past just traps you there.

Every morning wake up and tell yourself that yesterday is gone, and today will be different.

With love,
Steven Farquharson