This is How Mark Zuckerberg, Bill & Melinda Gates and Top Ceos Unwind

Earlier this summer, Bill Gates spent seven days at his hideaway cottage, partaking in a twice-yearly ritual he calls his “Think Week.” And while we don’t all have access to a secluded cabin, it’s important to take small steps that allow us to unwind the end of the day. Taking time to unplug and recharge is critical for our well-being, and we’re always looking for new ways to slow down before getting back to work. Here’s how top CEOs unwind after hours.
Mark Zuckerberg sets fitness goals
The Facebook founder and CEO has been vocal about his passion for running, especially after he ran a mile a day in 2016, partaking in his own 365-mile challenge. “I’ve found running is a great way to clear my head, to get more energy and to find time to think about challenges,” Zuckerberg posted online after he reached his goal. “I find these yearly challenges always take me in unexpected directions.”
Reshma Saujani schedules “me time” with herself
As founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani doesn’t have a lot of downtime, so she makes sure to schedule her own time for 7:30 every morning –– a ritual that has become non-negotiable in her home. As a working mom, Saujani struggles with finding alone time and prioritizing self-care, so her scheduled ritual has allowed her to carve out time for herself every day.
Bill and Melinda Gates play pickleball
The Gates recently told CNBC that they like to play a game called “pickleball,” their own twist on tennis — played instead with paddles and a plastic ball. As co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the couple is almost always busy, but they always make time to unwind and bond with family, whether it’s reading, meditating, or even playing games as a couple. “We’re huge pickleball fans,” Gates said.
Mark Cuban puts his phone away
We talk a lot about setting boundaries with our devices, and in an episode of the Thrive Global Podcast, Mark Cuban proved he’s serious about his own screen time boundaries. The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star works with tech companies professionally, but to wind down at home, he puts his phone away, and even limits Netflix time around the house.
Jeff Bezos embraces work-life harmony
While some of us need a clear break between our work life and our home life, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he’s found his happy medium with work-life harmony.“I prefer the word ‘harmony’ to the word ‘balance’ because balance tends to imply a strict tradeoff,” Bezos explained to Thrive Global. “In fact, if I’m happy at work, I’m better at home  —  a better husband and better father. And if I’m happy at home, I come into work more energized  —  a better employee and a better colleague.”
While our favorite activities are personal and individualized, it’s important to make the time to put ourselves first, no matter how busy our days can be. Here are a few microsteps that will help you make it a point to wind down:
1. Pick a time at night when you turn off your devices — and escort them out of your bedroom
Our phones are repositories of everything we need to put away to allow us to sleep — our to-do lists, our inboxes, and multiple other projects. Disconnecting from the digital world will help you sleep better, deeply recharge and reconnect to your wisdom and creativity. Set an alarm every night that will signal your “powering down” time, and leave your devices outside of your bedroom. You’ll find that you’ll sleep better, and wake up feeling recharged and restored.
walking2. Take a short walk and focus on your breathing
You can still your mind even when you’re moving your body. Whether you’re scheduling a walking meeting, or just taking a stroll down the block to get out of the office, taking a walk every day can make a huge impact on your productivity and well-being, even if it’s only a few minutes. Take a step away from your desk –– you’ll return with renewed focus and purpose.
3. Schedule appointments with yourself for an activity you love
Whether you need your quick AM workout, a dinner with old friends, or just a solo movie night once a week, make an appointment with yourself, and show up. Make outside activities a priority by scheduling time on your calendar. It’s difficult to carve out time for ourselves when we don’t have it in writing, so it’s important to make your scheduling a physical action.

Feeling like you need to focus more on yourself and taking some time to unwind (while becoming more productive)? Choose a new city to live in for a month and book private apartments, workspaces and fitness studios, without the hassles. Learn more here.

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

Rebecca is a graduate of New York University, where she studied Media, Culture and Communications with a minor in Creative Writing. For her undergraduate thesis, she researched the relationship between women and fitness media consumerism.

This Is the Type of Confidence to Exude if You Want to Be More Successful

There’s more than one way to show confidence, but a new study says you should focus on this one.

Guest Post By Nora Battelle

Confidence is the key to success, according to new research from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology — especially if expressed nonverbally.
Nathan Meikle, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research and teaching associate at the University of Notre Dame, led the research. His team found that study participants consistently choose to work with confident potential collaborators or advisors over cautious ones. That  shows, exuding confidence makes people want to work with you. This has been documented before: Research has shown that confidence increases our belief in someone’s competence.
What this new study reveals, however, is that confidence can backfire if it turns out to be overconfidence, or confidence lacking real basis. The revelation of someone’s overconfidence (when communicated verbally by the overconfident person) actually reversed study participants’ preferences to favor more cautious but realistic collaborators.
But interestingly, when confidence — even if it turned out to be overconfidence — was communicated through nonverbal cues, rather than verbal ones, participants did not reverse their preferences towards a cautious collaborator. The confident collaborators won out, whether or not their confidence was founded.
The study authors suggest this result stems from the plausible deniability of nonverbally expressed confidence. Nonverbal indicators of confidence, unlike verbal ones, don’t make exact promises. This makes them an ideal way for getting the benefits of displayed confidence, while avoiding displaying overconfidence.
These results have deeply practical implications. Expressing your confidence nonverbally can make colleagues and collaborators more likely to want to work with you – even when your confidence isn’t as rock-solid as it appears.
Below are some helpful tips on the kinds of nonverbal tactics that are good indicators of confidence. While far from the only forms of nonverbal confidence, these suggestions provide some excellent steps to take in the pursuit of exuding trustworthy confidence.

Adopt an expansive posture

Meikle explained this as postures like “hands behind head, legs/knees/feet spread apart, shoulders spread out” and similar poses. Showing you are comfortable taking up space physically means projecting confidence before you even open your mouth.

Make eye contact

Another nonverbal confidence indicator is eye contact. Older research has also found eye contact can project sincerity, facilitate trust and even increase perception of intelligence. It’s a powerful step to take when you are looking to build positive professional relationships.

Give a firm handshake

A firm handshake is a key indicator of confidence. It’s simple, silent and effective.

Speak in a strong voice

An “assertive/loud/confident voice,” according to Meikle, is another powerful means of expressing confidence. Speaking audibly and clearly, avoiding mumbling or trailing conclusions to your sentences will help communicate you are the one for the job / project.
Now you can use these confidence tips and our Resources to approach your boss about switching to remote work, or to level up in your business.

Originally posted on Thrive Global.
Written by Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global.

I'm Traveling the World and I Didn't Quit My Job

Guest post by Kelsey Dixon
The young professionals of today are writing the history of its generation in the workforce. Our generation is driving change and innovation in our world and it’s different than what the generations before us experienced. So why would the workforce stay the same? We want to live in the NOW and we refuse to only work for retirement.
With the world at our keyboards, our access is limitless. We are more connected than ever. Why not use this as a foundation for a career? For a lifestyle? Work can be a passion and a blend into your personal hopes and dreams. It can be an enabler rather than a detractor.

Curious about how I do what I do?

You may share in my curiosity to seek what is different—what is uniquely your own—and you’re not alone. There are thousands of people, heavily millennials, who are building something from scratch in order for their work to fit their desired lifestyle, not the contrast. It’s not a new concept. But the world is starting to notice, and starting to evolve to fit this lifestyle. Hence why companies like Behere exist, to make living in a new place easier.
I'm Traveling the World and Didn't Quit My Job
There’s enough room and opportunity for anyone to pursue it. Existing roles are being reinvigorated through the perception of a new lens, giving them boundless possibilities of execution. Companies and cultures are shifting to realize that hustle can happen outside of the cubicle and progress can thrive regardless of physical location. On top of this, there are jobs created daily that require no physical space, just skills and a laptop. Even beyond that, we’ve never had better access to the tools that can help us create our own jobs, income and revenue streams—out of thin air.

But how exactly do we do that…

Perhaps the scariest part about this is the fact that no one before us has laid out a successful path for it. We get to pave our own trail, and navigate the speed bumps along the way. This isn’t smooth sailing, this is a caught-in-the-windstorm and batten down the hatches sort of sail. But the cool part is, the views are pretty astounding (literally and figuratively).

This is how it started for me

In September of 2017, I left the comforts of my waterfront Seattle apartment to pursue a dream: live and work abroad. I had heard of the stories about the people who quit their corporate jobs to go live on an island and work behind an ice cream stand. I had seen that this was possible, but I still had to do this radical thing with less-than-specific guidance because I was doing it differently: as an entrepreneur, with clients, with a team, with a co-founder. 99% of my job was through my computer anyway, so in theory, this would work right?
I’ve taken my work abroad, from a van trapezeing around the north and south islands of New Zealand for a month. And I got to see Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Mt. Cook National Park, Fjord National Park and more.

The South American leg of my journey

While traveling and working in South America, I was the most productive I had ever been, inspired by my environment and the space I worked in. All this instead of feeling the grind of rush hour traffic and inside the sphere of the same four walls every day. My video conferences were super productive because I took advantage of the scheduled time I had with anyone at any given time. No longer were the days of luxury where I could tap my partner on the shoulder and ask a quick question. Instead, I relied heavily on platforms like, Asana, G-chat, Slack, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype or GoogleDocs. We found out by accident (through calling to try and cancel our American cell plan) that our T-Mobile plan allows us unlimited texting and data in more than 210 countries at no additional fees—most of South America included.
The craziest part was the 60-hour round trip drive to Patagonia, and then visiting Patagonia, without taking a single day off work. I’m fortunate here that I have a hubby that loves to drive. I worked a 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. day because that was 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Seattle hours. So, in the mornings we hustled the drive, day by day. And we’d find a friendly place to stay (with fast WiFi, always a requirement). I’d finish my day while my husband took care of all our meals, errands and planning next steps (he was also lightly working on a startup of his own). With GoogleDocs’ offline feature, I was even able to knock out a lot of writing while literally surviving the treacherous roads in the middle-of-nowhere Argentina. But I did it. I maintained my high-production workload while seeing El Chalten, hiking the Tres Lagos, exploring Torres del Paine and enjoying coffee in Puerto Natales. Not your normal after-hours activity.

How you can make it possible

My point (and hope) in sharing my story is to show it’s possible. It may sound crazy, but it can be your reality. By working while traveling, I was able to fund our travels so that we could stay longer. And by traveling while working, I brought a fresh, global perspective to our team. By leaving the day-to-day in the office, it also left more responsibility to my team, which equated to massive jump in growth and a slashing of comfort zones. I became a production house for the backend of our business, elevating it to challenge our growth projections even over a successful year prior. And I sat in a hammock rather than at a desk (it wasn’t always that glamorous, but still worth it!).
Again, this is why companies like Behere exist. Because by booking with Behere you have your housing, workspace, fitness studio, plus an international community, all while abroad. This is essential in the world we live in today, where living more flexibly is not only possible, but beneficial in so many capacities. We all have dreams to live a life we wish we had—attach it to an action and a timeline? There will be no better time, so why not now?
And why not you?

Want to travel and live around the world? Here are your next steps.

I shared my story about taking my business abroad. Now, this is how I did it…

  1. Find your work.

    There may be an opportunity to do your current job remote. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris has a lot of helpful tips in asking for it. Otherwise, you’ll need to find it or create it. In finding it, utilize resources, sites and communities that offer remote job opportunities. Have a skill? You could freelance, if you’ve got a little cash saved up that could get you by either before getting work or down the road for a cushion. Or, build it. That’s what I did.

  2. Pick your place.

    I recommend somewhere that’s less expensive than where you live now. Behere has some great locations to choose from, so that’s a great place to start. That way, you can give yourself some grace to get set up in your work, and you may even save more money that way (we were able to save a lot more in Chile than what we were saving in the U.S.). Don’t forget to think about timezones. For me, it mattered that I was able to work during Seattle business hours, so South America was appealing for that reason.

  3. Downsize, downsize, downsize.

    Sell the things you don’t need on eBay or Craigslist. It’s all replaceable. By having less, you’ll be more mobile and flexible. Bring less clothes, you won’t need them all or you can buy them there (we usually all wear the same core things anyway!).

  4. Get set up.

    This seems daunting, but it’s really not too bad once you get into it. This means rerouting your mail to a permanent address if you’re moving out (we chose my mom’s home. Thanks, mom!). Book at least your first week or use a platform like Behere to book everything a month before you arrive. Notify your credit cards (and make sure you don’t have foreign transaction fees). Set aside savings for back up. Adjust your cell plane (T-Mobile’s One Plan provides data/texting in over 210 countries! I highly recommend looking into this option).

  5. Buy the things.

    I’m a proponent for downsizing, but there will be some things I’d suggest purchasing to make downsizing easier. For example, clothes that can work for various scenarios. This is largely dependent on where you’re going. Get quality, easy luggage, backpacks and bags to protect your tech as well as portable chargers. 

  6. Pick a date.

    This might be the most important part of this list. Pick the date and then make the list so you can work backwards toward your goal! Even if you’re not sure if it’ll be possible, if you pencil in the date, the urgency suddenly exists and you can say it out loud and make it real.

  7. GO.

    Plan the basics I’ve mentioned here but don’t overly plan and overthink it. Just do it. You CAN. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll figure it out along the way! Enjoy it. Relish in the uncertainty. Know you’re living your dream and most people don’t have the courage to even do that. You’ll figure out the rest, and your experience will be invaluable.

Guest Post by: Kelsey Dixon

Kelsey Dixon is the “Dixon” of the female millennial duo who founded davies + dixon, a digital marketing firm that creates daring ideas to get stories told. Kelsey currently remotely manages her team and clients as she adventures. Follow Kelsey’s journey on Instagram at @kelseystartingroute.

Images and words courtesy of Kelsey Dixon.

How to be a Better Speaker – Do These Things

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly and powerfully is easier than you think.

Guest Post by Stephanie Fairyington
The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person’s assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity. President Donald Trump, for example, is frequently noted for his every-man communication style, and the way he “tells it like it is.” In contrast, former President Barack Obama is often hailed as one of our nation’s greatest orators for his poise and eloquence. Robert Dallek, a presidential historian and author of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, ranks Obama in the same class as historically renowned speakers, such as former Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and John Kennedy, telling the Los Angeles Times that Obama “stands in that tradition in using poetry, literature and phrasing that is artistic.” Geoffrey Tumlin, the CEO of Mouthpeace Consulting and author of Stop Talking, Start Communicating, puts Oprah Winfrey and Madeleine Albright in the same category. “Oprah,” he says, “is a great example of connection plus preparation and someone who lets you really see who she is.” She expertly employs Tumlin’s musts for powerful and persuasive communication:

Stand Still and Stop Fidgeting

Learning to harness spazzy energy and erratic movements while talking, whether in a meeting at work or on stage in an auditorium, will give the impression that you are calm and in command. “There’s a lot of good research that suggests that we project influence and status on people who aren’t fidgeting around a lot when they are talking to people,” Tumlin says. He suggests watching Obama, whom he calls a master of stillness, at the White House Correspondents Dinner to see what elegant comportment looks like. “His poise,” he says, “projects gravitas.” In our frenetic world, there’s something deeply soothing about someone who can manifest a sense of equanimity and placidity. “Power is so characteristically calm,” English novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton once wrote, “that calmness in itself has the aspect of strength.”

Steady Your Emotions and Be Prepared

It doesn’t matter if you’re preparing for a one-on-one meeting or presenting a Ted Talk, it helps to do your homework before opening your mouth. When there’s an intense underlying emotion beneath the desire to communicate something, we tend to hyper-express a messy tangle of words that fail to capture what we’re really trying to say. That’s all wrong. Find your center, perhaps with a breathing exercise or five minutes of meditation to calm the inner storm, and prepare. “Almost no one goes to a public speaking engagement unprepared,” Tumlin points out, but we frequently do just that for crucial conversations with close friends and family — or for one-on-one situations at work because it’s not nearly as daunting as talking in front of dozens or hundreds of people. “In the absence of that fear, they don’t prepare,” he notes, but those intimate tête-à-têtes are “where some of the most important conversations of our life happen.” Tumlin, who’s been a communication scholar, educator and expert for 20 years, stresses: “If the conversation matters, prepare for it. Period.”

how to be a better speakerBe Yourself

“The whole goal in interpersonal communication and being influential,” Tumlin says, “is to be yourself minus distractions,” like fidgeting or bringing high octane emotionality and unpreparedness to a situation. He cites Obama, Trump and Winfrey as examples of political and cultural leaders who evince authenticity: “You never get the impression that they’re acting.” That’s crucial because “everybody knows when you’re trying to be someone that you’re not.” And the payoff for being yourself may bring you unexpectedly high returns: “I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become,” Winfrey jokes, “If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”

Record Yourself

Tape your next presentation or meeting to see where you’re missing the mark. “Get some footage and get somebody to give you feedback,” Tumlin suggests. Even if you fumble the first several (hundred) times, Tumlin encourages the insecure or faint-hearted to keep at it, noting that both Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush were considered blazingly bad public speakers at first, but dramatically and steadily improved with continued practice.

Originally shared on Thrive Global.
Stephanie Fairyington, Thrive Global Staff WriterStephanie Fairyington, staff writer at Thrive Global.
A New York-based journalist, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic (online), The New Republic (online), The Boston Globe, and several other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her spouse Sabrina and daughter Marty.
Confidence is something we all have to work on but speaking better comes with more confidence. At Behere, we know the value living in new cities has on you and your confidence. Learn more about the difference living in a new city has on you, and your productivity, here.

The One Easy Trick That Will Sharpen Your Decision-Making

It’s been used by everyone from philosophers to business leaders — and Stanford research shows it really makes a difference.

Guest Post by
Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global

Every month, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management come together to release a “nano tool” that hones in on small changes you can make to improve your performance and leadership abilities. Their September suggestion highlights the positive impact — and widespread usage amongst successful people — of walking while making difficult decisions or thinking through complex problems.

Walking has a long history as a regular habit of successful, influential people — Queen Elizabeth I and Charles Dickens both used to take a walk every day, and Aristotle was famous for conducting his lectures, pupils in tow, while on the move. These figures have taken their walks for myriad reasons — to improve health with movement and fresh air, to find peace and solitude or to observe nature or cityscapes. There’s no shortage of good reasons to go for a walk.

But Wharton’s nano tool focuses on a particular one, and it’s a benefit that is encouraging business leaders like “the CEOs of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook” to start walking, as well: Walking increases your creativity, and can “improve business outcomes” by helping you “come up with more and better ideas and enhanc[ed] decision making and problem solving.”

Research backs this up. Wharton’s nano tool is based on a 2017 Stanford University study, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. The study found that walking encouraged “divergent thinking,” whether the walking occurred before participants were thinking through a question or while they were thinking it through. Divergent thinking can be understood as a psychological definition of what we often refer to as creativity: It indicates a pattern of thought that brings original ideas to a question or problem.

That’s a great mental state to encourage if you want to find novel, successful solutions to stressful and difficult problems. So, next time you are puzzling through a complex issue that needs a special creative touch, go for a walk. You may be surprised by the ideas you come up with. 

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

Nora Battelle, Multimedia Staff Writer at Thrive Global
Nora Battelle is a writer from New York City. Her work has been published in the Awl, the Hairpin, and on the LARB blog, and she’s written for podcast and film. She’s fascinated by language, culture, the internet, and all the small choices that can help us thrive.

Why The Way You're Communicating Isn't Working

Guest Post by Alexandra Hayes
If you’re trying to transition to remote work, the way you’re communicating is super important. How you communicate plays a large role in if people actually understand what you’re saying. Whether you’re working remotely or not, these expert tips will have you communicating better in no time.
You’ve likely experienced over the past few years, a conversation that has taken a turn. Someone said something that doesn’t sit right with you, and you’re unsure of how to respond. Navigating social situations like this can be stressful.
Below are five expert-approved tips on how to maintain your cool and effectively communicate.

#1: Don’t Forget to Breathe

“If you’re trying to speak out in a way that has true power, the first thing you should do is take a deep breath,” Dr. Steven Fabick, Ed.D., a clinical psychologist in Birmingham, MI, says. “Once you do, you’re more likely to speak in a way that’s clear and articulate, and you’re less likely to try and embarrass the other person.”

#2: Don’t Be Accusatory

When a disagreement is passionate and personal, phrases like, “that’s ridiculous,” or “you’re impossible,” often get thrown around. This is called a psychoanalytic interpretation, explains Dr. Jerry Goodman, Ph.D. and Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at UCLA.
Put simply, it’s when you label another person to their face — a tactic that quickly offends people and quickly throws a wrench in a productive conversation. These interpretations can be non-verbal, too — like rolling your eyes.
If you’re feeling heated and on the verge of giving someone a psychoanalytic interpretation, try giving yourself distance before speaking up. You’ll have time to cool down, and will have a better chance of engaging in a meaningful discussion.

#3: Don’t Be Preachy

“If we focus too much on being right and on winning, it usually backfires in social interactions,” Fabick says. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt if you can, and keep your lecturing impulse at a minimum.

#4 Avoid Combat Dialogue

“Combat dialogue” can include your tone of voice as well as words and phrases that are clearly vengeful. For example, when a male friend disagreed with me after I called his comments “creepy,” I asked him a series of questions designed to antagonize him. There’s something super combative in pointing out flaws in another person’s point. You should avoid getting into the cycle of trying to one-up the other person by instead, using “I messages.”
For example, imagine you’re in the passenger seat with a driver who is going over the speeding limit. Instead of saying, “Slow down,” or “You’re an insane driver,” try saying, “I’m feeling nervous about how fast we’re going right now.” If you deliver your critique as an “I message,” the other person is less likely to feel attacked.

#5 Avoid 100% Certainty

If you want to have a meaningful conversation with someone, Goodman points out that it’s crucial to avoid certainties. “Certainty is dangerous,” he says. To avoid this, he suggests sharing your experience and inviting the other person to do the same. Since we can never be 100% certain about how and why another person came to their perspective, giving each other the opportunity to explain is essential.
When you’re talking it through, Dr. Alisa Murray, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist, says to stay away from absolute terms that could trigger defensiveness. Words like “always” and “never,” which she points out, are rarely true.
Dr. Murray also suggests taking a moment to show respect for the other person before continuing. Saying something like, “That’s an interesting point,” is helpful because it lets the other person know that you’re listening to them without insinuating you agree. Because, after all,  these suggestions are meant to help you communicate respectfully, and truly hear what the other person has to say.

Originally posted on Thrive Global
Written by Alexandra Hayes, the Audience Engagement Officer at Thrive.
Ready to use these communication on your boss to ask to transition to remote work? Click here to check out our Letter to Your Boss and other helpful resources!

How To Get Long-Term Benefits From Your Friendships

Friends have a bigger impact on your health than you might think.

Guest Post by Alex Needham

Spending time with the people you love isn’t just enjoyable, it’s good for your health. 

According to The New York Times, your behavior and well-being, including anxiety and happiness levels, are impacted (strongly!) by those around you.

One way researchers are beginning to understand this concept is by examining blue zones, or areas of the planet where people have longer lifespans. In many of these areas, healthy relationships are extremely important.

Why do women live longer in this city…

With the oldest female life expectancy in the world, Okinawa, Japan is a prime example of a blue zone. In this area, people create moais, which are groups of five people who offer one another emotional, social, financial, and other kinds of 
support. Moais not only emphasize sharing and positivity, they also seem to improve health.

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow who studies blue zones, is looking to bring moais to the United States.

“We have created moais that are now several years old, and they are still exerting a healthy influence on members’ lives,” Buettner told The New York Times.

In addition, Buettner’s team has made it easy for people to optimize their previously-formed friendships. They have created a quiz that determines which friends might have the most positive impact. “Friends can exert a measurable and ongoing influence on your health behaviors in a way that a diet never can,” Buettner says.

How to apply this to your life…

So, form your own moai. Next time you’re with friends, make an effort to encourage sincere conversation and engage in activities that you all enjoy. As exemplified in Okinawa, finding a support system won’t just benefit you in the short-term — it could transform your long-term health, too.

Originally posted on Thrive Global
Alex Needham is an Editorial Intern at Thrive Global.

Relationships are important – so is community. Learn more about our global community at Behere here.

Stop Apologizing for Your Decisions, Start Owning Them

This new study shows what you should not be doing when you make decisions.

Guest Post by Alexandra Hayes

It goes without saying that making choices is part of what it means to be an adult. Some of them are relatively simple, like narrowing down dinner options or deciding what to wear to work on the day of a big meeting.

Then, there are the more complicated decisions that affect others and can invoke feelings of selfishness and guilt, like whether you should leave your current job where you’re needed and respected for another where there’s more opportunity for growth.

Or, say you’re a skilled engineer — do you spend your time fixing your friends’ iPhones, or decline so you can spend time doing more meaningful work that also advances your career?

Science says…

Of course, each decision is a personal one, but a new study from Ohio State University suggests there’s a mindset you can adopt that will help you make decisions that maximize benefits for you and others — big picture thinking — without the guilt associated with selfishness.

One key to maximizing benefits for everyone, according to the study’s lead author Paul Stillman, PhD, is accepting the fact that sometimes the best decision will benefit you the most. He added, “The most efficient decision is the one that is going to maximize the total pie. Sometimes it makes the most sense to seem a bit selfish if that is going to maximize overall benefits.”

In the study, researchers assigned 106 students one of two distinct frames of mind: the first, a “big picture” (what psychologists call “high construal” thinking) mindset; the second, an immediate, present-day mindset.

One experiment asked students to make anonymous decisions about how to split up money between themselves and four others with the goal of maximizing benefits. Ultimately, “maximizing benefits” meant something different to each of the participants — half of them understood the phrase as making decisions that favor others, while the other half understood it as making decisions that favor themselves.

Why a ‘Big Picture Mindset’ Matters…

The results revealed that those with a “big picture” mindset almost always made choices that maximized total value for the group, whether or not the choice was most helpful to them. Meaning, they were cool with decisions that seemed selfish, so long as they felt the decision maximized benefits for the group.

Three other experiments confirmed these results, though using slightly different scenarios.

While the results are intriguing, I found myself wondering how I could actually implement big picture thinking — especially since I often find myself focused on immediate outcomes.

So I got in touch with Stillman to see what he’d recommend for someone like me.

The advice you need to make decisions

First off, he suggested taking a “metaphorical step back”, which is another way of saying put distance between yourself and whatever it is you’re considering, like imagining you’re a fly on the wall watching yourself. When you remove yourself from the situation and observe as an outsider, you’re more likely to make the smart choice — the one that serves you and others. Next, he says, you should imagine you’re helping someone else make the decision, rather than yourself.

This advice resonated with me and in my experience, has been a tried and true method for making smart choices.

Would I urge a loved one to make this decision?


Decision made!

Originally Posted on Thrive Global.
Alexandra Hayes, Thrive Global Audience Engagement Editor.

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What You Should Never Compromise While Building Your Career

Here’s how, and why, you should never compromise while building your career.

Guest Post by Kathy Caprino via Thrive

As a career coach and adviser to mid- and senior-level professionals, and in my former work as a therapist, I’ve come into contact with thousands of questions, concerns, mistakes and crossroads that emerge in people’s lives. And observing the long arc of many careers, I’ve noticed that the worst missteps – the ones that make us feel deep pain, regret, and remorse – are mistakes reflecting what people have chosen to compromise on or to give up in order to be “successful.” These compromises don’t feel like “choices” at the time, but they are, and they lead to common crises and challenges that are disastrous for the individual.

Below are the top five things you should never compromise while building your career (or you’ll regret it deeply):


1. Your standards of integrity

I view “standards of integrity” as core principles and values that guide our behavior. Integrity is a choice, and while it is influenced by a myriad of factors (your culture, upbringing, peer influences, etc.), it can’t be forced. If it is, you have played a part in that. One who has strong and well-defined standards of integrity behaves with wholeness, integration, honesty, and does right by himself/herself and by others. Standards of integrity involve values and virtues such as honesty, kindness, trust, wisdom, loyalty, transparency, objectivity, acceptance, openness, empathy, and graciousness.

I’ve seen so many people in midlife awaken as if from a long stupor to realize that they’ve compromised their most core values in order to get ahead in their work or keep jobs they hate. It hurts them to find that they’ve walked away from who they are, and what they value and cherish most.People mistakenly believe that in these economic times they have to give up on their values and integrity to stay employed, but that’s simply not true. Those who are guided by a strong sense of integrity fare much better in professional life, and will be successful where others fail.

2. Your self-respect

I’ve personally lived through the heartache of compromising my self-respect to stay in a job. Years ago when I was in one high-level corporate marketing role, I knew that how I was behaving (because I felt pressured to), was beneath me. I wasn’t the leader or manager I longed to be, because I couldn’t manage and navigate through the toxicity, stress and fear I felt in my job and in the organization. I tried to speak up about what I saw around me that wasn’t right, but I got crushed down. In the end, I completely lost my self-respect, and felt that I was “prostituting” myself in order to keep my job and maintain my high salary. I knew literally in the first week that the job and company were wrong for me. What should I have done? Find a new job fast.

3. Your soul for money

never compromise while building your career

Money – and our relationship with it – is a topic that’s spawned millions of books, articles and seminars. Many of us struggle each day with maintaining a healthy balance and appropriate power dynamic with our money, and most of us fail. I’ve seen countless professionals give up their souls for money – not because they are struggling to pay the bills, but because they’ve become enslaved by their lifestyle and their need to impress and stroke their fragile egos. 

These folks have forgotten that they’ve come here at this time on this planet to do more than pay the bills, acquire things, and keep up with the Joneses. I’m not saying that fulfilling your financial obligations isn’t important – it is. I am saying that you are much more than your paycheck or bank account.

You know if you’ve sacrificed your soul for money – it’s a painful, debilitating state that you can’t pretend your way out of.

I know I’ll hear from lots of readers of this article who will say, “Kathy, you’re nuts. I have to stay in this job I hate because I’m financially responsible for my family and it’s the only job I can get.” Not knowing your situation, I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that you absolutely do not have to work in ways you despise – ways that hurt and sicken you – in order to do what’s necessary for yourself and your family.

4. Your health and well-being

In my corporate training and seminars, I see hundreds of high-level professional women who are brilliant, achievement-oriented and accomplished, but at the same time exhausted, depleted, and depressed. In the pursuit of a great career, they’ve compromised their health and well-being. Much of this has to do with the ever- complicated issue of work-life balance and how to stay competitive and ahead of the curve. But to me, it’s much more. 

 Sacrificing your health and well-being demonstrates your lack of prioritizing yourself as important, failing to understand that you must care for yourself – and yes, put yourself first — before you can be of true service to anyone else, your organization, your family or your employer. 

If you’re a “perfectionistic overfunctioner” – doing more than is necessary, healthy or appropriate  and trying to get an A+ in all of it – you’ll suffer both mentally and physically. And if your body is shutting down, diseased or broken down from the way you work, rapid change is needed.

5. Your legacy

Finally, the saddest professionals I know who experience the deepest regrets  have sacrificed their legacy in the process of building their careers. 

What is your legacy? It’s what you will be able to say about yourself when you’re 90 looking back – what you’ve stood for, given, taught, imparted, and left behind. Not what you dreamed of being, but what you have become. It’s the impact you’ve made on the world, your family, and your community. 

This is not a dress rehearsal, but the real thing here, and so many professionals forget that they have this one chance to build a life that’s meaningful and purposeful for them. Instead, they compromise their legacy in a vain effort to grasp “success,” accolades, security, or power.

If you think you have to compromise on any of the above in order to be employed or build a successful career, think again. I’ve lived the pain of giving yourself up in the processing of creating a professional life, and despite all your best efforts, it will never bring you the success, fulfillment and reward you long for.

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

Written by Kathy Caprino – A career and personal growth coach, writer, speaker, and leadership trainer helping women and men live and work bravely.

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What My Father's Suicide Taught Me About Traveling Fearlessly

Guest Post from Kae Lin via Unearth Women

Living by the rules

I had always lived life by the rules. I went to college, got a business degree, and got a job in marketing. There, I wore suits, carried a briefcase, and had my own office. I had control (or I thought I did), and that meant life was good. At least that’s what I was told, especially by my father, who’d spent 24 years teaching me what it meant to be successful.

Though I wanted to do more with my life, my dad’s approval of it was validating. But somewhere, what I truly wanted him to understand was that this briefcase-carrying career woman was not me. I had dreams of becoming a travel writer. “Dreams are just that—they’re not meant to be acted upon,” he would say. To him, the illusion of stability and security that comes with a salaried job was not worth giving up. Fear of losing my safe life and his approval turned this into gospel.

The author’s father, Mark Kennedy © | Kae Lani

What do I do…

Then, on the morning of May 12th, 2014, my father, Mark Edward Kennedy, wandered into the woods and ended his life. I was in my office when I got the news. As the enormity of the situation became clear to me, my mind short-circuited like a clock, ticking progressively more slowly until it stopped: Tick—how can I fix this? Tick—this wasn’t part of the plan. Tick—where did I go wrong? Then time ran out on life as I knew it, and there was no going back. Between convulsive screaming fits, I repeated the words “What do I do? What do I do?” I was directionless. The man who taught me how to live had just given up on living.

Dad’s philosophy of life had been to avoid anything uncertain. He never took a vacation because bosses would see that the company could continue without him, and his fiscal plan consisted of stashing large amounts of cash away in a tin can, never spending a cent on anything he considered frivolous. Of course, in practice that meant travel was often out of the question. He protected himself from pursuing a life of deeper meaning and wanted to shelter me as well because in his mind there were too many chances for it all to go wrong.

At his funeral, a slideshow of pictures highlighted the events of his life. Pictures of birthdays and holidays brought back pleasant memories, but there was no sense of life-fulfilling accomplishment. I mourned losing him, but what I mourned more than anything else was his lost potential and a long list of dreams unrealized—unrealized except for one: traveling to Germany.

Family Trip Memories

My mother and I spent much of our family trip to Germany trying to convince him that the experience was worthwhile, but he was reluctant to venture outside of his comfort zone. His misery peaked somewhere between Ulm and Schwangau on the way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. We’d left Heidelberg at 4 a.m., and we were about five hours into our six-hour train ride. Sore from the uncomfortable seat and exhausted from sleep deprivation, he made it clear that he wasn’t happy being yanked from his routine. “I don’t see the point of jumping through all of these hoops just to see a damn castle,” he said and proclaimed that he would go straight to sleep once we got to the hotel. But when the snow-capped Alps came into view and we saw the fairy-tale castle perched among the clouds and mountain peaks, his perspective on the situation changed.

Suddenly he was leading the charge. We explored Neuschwanstein and the town of Schwangau. He sampled blood sausage, bought a traditional Bavarian Alpine hat, and even tried to speak German (he knew more of the language then he gave himself credit for). But the moment when I sensed that he was authentically happy was when he marched toward the Alpsee Lake with an ice cream in his hand, singing an old song from Looney Tunes: “You Never Know Where You’re Goin’ Till You Get There.”

The family trip to Germany (Kae Lani)
The family trip to Germany © | Kae Lani

Chasing the dream

At the end of the journey, he finally understood that it wasn’t just about seeing a castle — it was the reward and the thrill of fearlessly facing the unknown in pursuit of a dream. He talked about that trip for years, completely forgetting how miserable and uncomfortable he had been at the beginning.

After Dad’s funeral, my roommate, Nicole, and I talked about dreams. “I want to look at a mountain from another mountain,” she said, “but it’s stupid.”

“Never call your dreams stupid,” I replied. But who was I to judge? I had been sabotaging myself, downplaying my own dreams for years. Nicole, my dad, and I were not so different. But what was the worst that could happen? Why not look at a mountain from another mountain? Why not take a shot at becoming a travel writer?

So I broke my dad’s rules. That August I quit my job, and a day later Nicole and I headed to Alaska. I had been shown firsthand that life’s too short and fragile to live in fear, so I vowed to pursue a life where I would leave no dream untouched.

A victory jump in Alaska (Kae Lani)
A victory jump in Alaska © | Kae Lani


The Alaskan wilderness tested my limits. My sunburned face and callused feet ached; the idea that wolves could be stalking us was unnerving; waving my arms in the air to scare away bears sounded like a bad joke. But as Nicole and I approached the cliff and looked out over the grandeur of Denali National Park and Preserve, 20 miles from Mount McKinley, North America’s tallest mountain—much as my dad did when he saw the Alps—I recognized that being fearless and risking my comfort to witness this majestic mountain made life worthwhile. We were looking at a mountain from another mountain, and living this dream was more fulfilling than any promotion, raise, or record month of sales. We made it. I made it.

On May 12, 2014, my father walked into the woods and was too frightened to confront life’s uncertainty. And in that final act of suicide, he taught me the greatest lesson of all: that a life worth living is one lived fearlessly.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

This article was originally published on Yahoo and reshared here.
About Kae Lani: While some travellers follow their hearts, Kae Lani follows her gut. In addition to working as a travel writer, photographer, and videographer for USA Today 10Best, Kae Lani is also the co-creator of their newest venture, Eat Sip Trip. She has shared her love of food and travel on live broadcasts and has appeared as a guest on Cheddar TV and NASDAQ.