Commuting to Happiness

That 10-minute walk to work each morning may be my favorite part of the day. Not because I don’t enjoy time with my family, but, as recent research supports, it may be one of the most important factors in my quality of life. Although 1 out of 4 members of the workforce say that their job is the single greatest stressor in their lives and nearly half say workplace stress is so high that it affects their overall health and well-being, there may be a component of work even more miserable than the work itself: commuting. According to Harvard researchers, how you get to work may have an even greater influence on your stress levels than what you do when you get there. And the longer their commute takes, the less satisfied individuals may be with their life in general.

The statistics are astounding. Based upon data collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 25 million American adults spend more than 90 minutes each day getting to and from their jobs. Nearly 750,000 are spending more than 1/8th of their day (3 hours) sitting on the freeway en route to a place where they don’t even want to be. Two recent surveys paint an even bleaker picture. When Ford Motor Company surveyed its staff, their employees ranked their work commute as the least enjoyable part of their day and more stressful than moving into a new house or visiting their dentist. In another survey, a very direct correlation between work commute length and life satisfaction was found, and participants with the longest work commutes admitted that they were less productive once they got to work. Another study found that in marriages where at least one spouse has a longer (over 45 minute) commute, there is a 40% increase in their chance of divorce.

So, I’m sure you get it: work commuting is bad. Bad for your stress levels and bad for your health. The more time you spend slowly creeping your way to work in a 3,000 lbs. aluminum box, the less you enjoy life. The unfortunate reality is that much of the workforce isn’t in a position to magically make the most miserable time of their day just disappear. Housing in the most bustling areas for business  come at a high cost, and in this day and age it’s a lot easier to job hop then it is to house hop. But, you don’t have to let your morning commute be a dreadful experience. Turning the journey from your bed to your desk into the best part of your day is a few minor steps away.

Find alternatives

Many years ago, while residing in downtown Houston, I decided that I had to reevaluate my commute to improve my quality of life. Those 45 minutes every morning I spent making the 7-mile commute to work resulted in bad moods and losses in productivity, so I decided to make a significant lifestyle change: I parked my car in my garage . . . permanently. As one study showed, some people actually enjoy their commute to work, and those people are cyclists. The benefits of alternate forms of commuting go well beyond saving money on fuel and vehicle maintenance, a little exercise before work can directly improve your mood and work performance, and in many highly congested areas (such as in downtown Houston), cycling may actually decrease commuting time. Utilizing public transportation has been shown to have similar influences on mood and work performance. One study found that people who eschew cars for the friendly confines of a train are happier in general, as it offers far more opportunity for social interaction and the possibility of safely handling other tasks on the journey to the office.


There’s that word again. Whether you’re stuck on I-5 in your car or happily cycling your way to work, commuting is an opportunity to consciously improve your mood and transition from the personal to the professional. Whether that is hitting the volume button several times and singing unaccompanied at the top of your lungs to your favorite guilty pleasure song or tuning into your favorite presentation about developing a growth mindset, there are a number of simple ways to turn the doldrums of commuting into happy personal development time. In our busy lives, how much time do we actually have with our own thoughts? Don’t waste that opportunity by being grumpy.

Reduce it.

If all else fails, proactively look for ways to reduce commuting. 24% of workers in the United States now telecommute (work from home) at least part of the time, and this number is rapidly increasing as data confirms that those who work from home are generally happier and more productive. Approach your employer about whether this is an option for you. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job-hopping has more than doubled in the last two decades and is even more common if you are in the technology or media industries. And it isn’t just millennials; the trend of not staying put with one employer is seen across all generations. If you’re looking for greener work pastures, why not make commuting one of the priorities when examining possible options? On the flip side, looking for a new home for your growing family? Do you want a spare bedroom for guests and a bigger yard or a more manageable commute? The research suggests that prioritizing your commute is significantly more likely to increase your happiness.

People generally look at work commuting as a necessary evil, but it doesn’t have to be, and commuting may not even be necessary. For your health and happiness, and that of those around you, make conscious efforts to alter, reduce, or simply change your mindset about commuting.

Dr. Damian Rodriguez is the health and exercise scientist for doTERRA International, LLC. He holds a doctorate in health science, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and countless professional certifications. He has spent most of his life researching nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle behaviors associated with optimal health. Along with his passion for health, as someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is also involved in bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorders. There are varying opinions about many health and fitness topics. His opinions are his own and not necessarily that of doTERRA International, LLC. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to diet and exercise.

How to Avoid Decision Fatigue

Don’t let menial decisions effect your ability to make important ones.

There is more to minimalism than hipsters in tiny houses. While it can be cathartic to rid your life of superfluous worldly possessions, there is a real beauty and practical value in simplicity that extends well beyond the scope of not owning more “stuff” than you truly need. Cognitive minimalism has its benefits too. In examining the phenomenon of “decision fatigue,” scientists are beginning to discover that cerebral simplicity may be essential in getting the most out of those decision-making engines bouncing around within our skulls.

We’ve all experienced it: feeling intellectually spent. I spend my work days mulling over mountains of complex science, trying my best to make sense of the latest health, exercise, and nutrition research. After eight hours, I am mentally drained, to the point where choosing what to wear the following day seems like a herculean task. If my wife walks through the door and nonchalantly asks if I could prepare dinner for the kids, it’s almost as if she just asked me to solve the Hodge conjecture. That’s because intense focusing and repeated decision-making stresses our “executive function” capabilities. Executive function is the set of skills that allows you to make decisions, focus on complex tasks, plan and organize, remember details; basically, it’s your ability to get things done. These processes are controlled by the frontal lobe, the same part of the brain that regulates voluntary movement. It’s no coincidence that after a period of intense mental focus, you often feel physically fatigued; your frontal lobe can only handle so much.

The human mind is not without limits. Like a muscle, brain function decreases when its energy has been depleted. Although your brain (and your biceps) can be trained to produce more power and to be more energy efficient, there are strict boundaries on executive function capacity. We’d all like to believe that we are only using 10% of our brain (that, by the way, is a myth), but in actuality, we only have so much cognitive horsepower and we are not working with a bottomless fuel tank. When one executive function task requires a significant amount of your brain’s computing power, that fuel tank isn’t magically topped off when the next complex decision needs to be made. And the latest research is beginning to show that it isn’t just particularly strenuous cognitive tasks that tax our mental bank accounts. Whether you just finished taking the GRE or deciding which flavor of protein powder to put in your oatmeal, every decision you make depletes your executive function aptitude stores. Other studies have shown that when people are suffering from decision fatigue, they often resort to more basic thought processes and are more apt to make decisions they would later regret. Theoretically, this is due to what is referred to as tradeoff resolution. The process of consciously examining different options, committing to one, and then implementing it is cognitively draining.

Life is all about decisions. We can’t go about our day refusing to make menial decisions in order to save that precious and limited executive functioning energy for the big ones, but there are two simple concepts we can all use to maximize cognitive efficiency and reduce decision fatigue.


We’ve probably all heard stories about successful people unfailingly eating the same thing for breakfast or even wearing the same clothing for years at a time. Along with his tenacious approach to branding and marketing wizardry, Steve Jobs became well known for the black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance® sneakers that he wore literally every day. Albert Einstein once said that he was probed more about his one gray suit than he was about general relativity. Automating those mundane daily tasks that aren’t that important, leaves more in the frontal lobe fuel tank for those decisions that are. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it; and by “fix it”, I mean change it. If a particular brand and cut of jeans looks good on you, there is nothing wrong with buying several pairs. Find a consistent meal plan so that going to the grocery store and deciding what’s for dinner doesn’t turn into a daily brain-drain. Don’t use that finite amount of executive function capacity deciding when to fit in your workout, schedule a set time to exercise daily and put it in your calendar. Get into consistent morning and bedtime routines so that each action becomes habit. If you think about it (but not too much), you could probably automate half of the mundane decisions you make on a daily basis. Variety is the spice of life, but spice can be (mentally) exhausting.

Multitasking is no-tasking

Your boss (and your spouse) isn’t going to like this one, but research has actually shown that multitasking is counterproductive. This isn’t some new theory, studies older than your parents have revealed that doing more than one task at a time places considerable demands on cognitive resources and results in decreased execution of each isolated task. Multitasking is actually a misnomer because how the brain handles several tasks at one time…well, it doesn’t really handle them. Your brain is actually repeatedly toggling between tasks and simultaneous processing never really occurs. Every additional task further interrupts neural processing, resulting in disrupted information encoding, storage, and making future retrieval of said information that much more difficult. If the competing tasks involve the same sensory modalities, ability to complete either one is further diluted. Attempting more than one task at a time is driving around an icy information racetrack on ragged tires, then blowing a hole in that executive function tank. The quickest way to walk that decision fatigue line is to attempt several attention-dependent tasks at one time. Focus on activities one at a time, complete one with all eight neural cylinders firing, and move onto the next.

We all make hundreds, even thousands, of decisions each day, all with varying degrees of significance and quantifiable mental capacity cost. Don’t let a surfeit of breakfast options effect your ability to make other, more important decisions. Avoid decision fatigue by automating and focusing on one task at a time.

Dr. Damian Rodriguez is the health and exercise scientist for doTERRA International, LLC. He holds a doctorate in health science, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and countless professional certifications. He has spent most of his life researching nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle behaviors associated with optimal health. Along with his passion for health, as someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is also involved in bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorders. There are varying opinions about many health and fitness topics. His opinions are his own and not necessarily that of doTERRA International, LLC. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to diet and exercise.

No. Mo’. Phobia.

Modern “friendship.”

I’m that guy, the one who still has a flip phone and who has to get tips from his five-year-old about how to effectively use my Twitter account. The first time I used the internet, as a college freshman, I couldn’t help but think, “Yeah, this ain’t gonna last.” Technophobe, luddite, whatever you want to call me, technology and this faux world created by social media confuses me—even scares me a little. And there is no denying it, my lack of technology acumen has been a shortcoming in my career and has hindered social interactive experiences on many occasions. But, research is showing that this constant, no-boundaries, digital age connection can have its downsides too. Nomophobia, being without one’s smartphone, is one of the fastest growing anxiety disorders and can cause legitimate, real-life, health issues.

The statistics are dumbfounding . . . but considering you are likely reading this from your phone, maybe not so much. According to the Pew Research Center, the average smartphone user checks their phone over 150 times a day and most do not go a single waking hour without connecting. We take our phones almost every time we need to use the restroom and never go to bed without it in reach. Nearly 1/3 of adults admit to checking their phones while eating with others at a restaurant, and worse: while they are driving. Our psychological need to remain connected is so extreme that 73% of adults state that misplacing their phone is one the most panic-inducing events they can think of, causing more stress than rush hour traffic or even a sick child. This digital addiction has even spawned a new industry of smartwatches, so you can inconspicuously check your email or receive texts while still appearing to be focusing your attention on the colleagues you are meeting with or the movie you paid $15 to watch.

The time we spend connected and in front of a screen has, no doubt, changed how we interact, how we read, and our ability to comprehend. As someone who has extreme difficulty recognizing and understanding nonliteral and nonverbal communication cues due to a diagnosed neurological condition, this is actually quite amusing. Texting, instant messaging, tweeting: modern communication is essentially fostering the development of Autism Spectrum Disorder characteristics in neurotypical people. Google provides all the collective wisdom of mankind at our fingertips, available with a few mouse clicks, but has done a number on our attention spans and ability to focus. I know very well that if the paragraphs of this blog are too text heavy or if I don’t include any infographics, the chances of you reading it drop dramatically. Among the sites which I am a regular contributor to, our metrics show that video logs often receive ten times the views as do our written content, and I am often asked to explain highly complex scientific topics in under 200 words because the audience often will refuse to read an entire piece if they have to scroll down. Thanks to the phenomenon of “transactive memory,” in which we do not properly encode and store memories because we know that information is readily accessible through other means, research has shown that our short and long-term memories are suffering. Thanks again, Google. And, for those of us who have had the opportunity to sort through job resumes of late, “Twitter language” is a real thing and is an issue resulting in universities having to expand remedial writing courses.

This condition is actually resulting in quantifiable negative health outcomes. According to a 2014 study, hunching over to use your smart device can add up to 50 pounds of pressure on your spine and is resulting in a dramatic increase in the number of young people suffering from chronic back problems. Constant use of technological devices is one of the greatest risk factors for Occipital Neuralgia, a condition in which the nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up through the scalp become perpetually compressed or inflamed, causing intense pain in the back of the head and neck. Recent polls suggest that nearly 2/3 of adults are now falling asleep with their phone or other device in their bed, a habit which research has shown can dramatically increase sleep deficiency. Very similar to carpal tunnel, “text claw” is the latest condition making many orthopedic surgeons wealthy. Constant use of phones can cause unavoidable cramping, tendon inflammation, and numbness and tingling in the elbow and fingers, which there currently is little treatment for. Maybe scariest of all, your constant connectivity may be curtailing your weight management efforts. One recent study found that those who spend at least five hours per day using their phones were much less likely to engage in regular exercise, had less aerobic endurance, and were heavier than their peers. And the effects were directly proportional to the time spent connected: each additional text or tweet reliably predicted a further decreased level of fitness.

Get rid of the phobia, redevelop an appreciation for the amazing capability of these pocket-sized technological marvels, and improve your health in three easy steps:

  1. Put down the phone and pick up a dumbbell.

Commit to putting the phone away for some part of the day, every day. Use this time to sneak in a workout. For further clarification; no, you don’t need YouTube to get a good workout, and the workout still counts even if you didn’t post pics, so leave the phone in the car or at home. Setting aside a specific daily time to unplug and sweat not only kills two birds with one stone, but also can help you structure the rest of your day. Try setting the tone for the day by doing it first thing in the morning, subconsciously telling yourself that exercise takes precedence over your email.

  1. Sleep alone.

Sleep is one of the most undervalued aspects of health. Research has associated sleep deprivation with everything from developing heart disease to increased cravings for junk food. Not only does heading to bed with our face in a screen keep our mind racing, making it that much more difficult to transition from the state of being awake to the non-rapid-eye-movement phases of sleep, but our smart devices emit “blue light.” When we are exposed at night to this artificial light, it is erroneously detected as sunlight by our brains, causing a decrease in melatonin secretion. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm and provides our sleeping cues. By making interaction with your phone part of your bedtime routine, you are sending a direct signal to your brain that it is time to wake up. Leave it downstairs or physically lock it up in your night stand an hour before you are ready to hit the sheets and sleep your way to better health.

  1. Intermittent fasting.

It’s the new thing. My social media feeds are filled with statements from e-friends declaring that they are challenging themselves to refrain from social media usage for a day or even a week. It’s ironic that their eventual return to the digital world is broadcasted with statements that their “fast” allowed them to focus more time on their loved ones, get more exercise, and get several things checked off the “honey-do list.” Take it a step further and totally unplug. An hour, a day, even a week—you’ll survive, those emails won’t disappear, and you’ll likely reenter the real world with a new perspective. For your well-being and the health of your relationships, make it a regular habit to consciously disconnect for longer periods of time and focus on the tangible components of your life.

Dr. Damian Rodriguez is the health and exercise scientist for doTERRA International, LLC. He holds a doctorate in health science, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and countless professional certifications. He has spent most of his life researching nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle behaviors associated with optimal health. Along with his passion for health, as someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is also involved in bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorders. There are varying opinions about many health and fitness topics. His opinions are his own and not necessarily that of doTERRA International, LLC. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to diet and exercise.

A Banana a Day, Keeps the Belt Loops at Bay

Bananas are rich in inulin and resistant starch, which has prebiotic effects.

Scientists may have found a novel way to address childhood obesity: through the gut. Obviously. No really, a recently published study suggests that prebiotics, those nondigestible carbohydrates often confused for probiotics, may be one of the keys to fostering losses in body weight and body fat in overweight children.

Researchers from the University of Calgary recruited 42 children aged 7 to 12 who were classified as obese to participate in a double-blind placebo-controlled trial involving the effects of prebiotic fiber on various metrics of health. The participants were randomly assigned to the control group, which was provided a maltodextrin placebo, or the trial group, which was given oligofructose-enriched inulin, a common prebiotic combination of two substances found naturally in many conventional foods, such as bananas and garlic. The supplements consisted of a powdered fiber that participants were asked to mix with water and take once daily. Otherwise, participants were asked to maintain their normal food and physical activity routines over 16 weeks. At the beginning of the trial, and every four weeks thereafter, various health metrics were collected, including fat and lean muscle mass measured using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. At the conclusion of the trial, children in the control group saw an average 0.5% increase in bodyweight and 0.05% increase in fat mass, while the trial group experienced nearly 3% decreases in both weight and body fat. The trial group also experienced significant improvements in blood glucose regulation and serum cholesterol levels. Furthermore, the trial group showed distinct and statistically significant alterations in gut microbiota population compared to the placebo group. Although the study was focused on preadolescent children, researchers found no reason why the findings would not be generalizable across all age groups.

This latest finding isn’t surprising when evaluated in context with the rest of the recent research evaluating the influence of gut bacterial population on obesity. Metagenomic and metabolomic studies have shown that a strong population of healthy microbiota in the gut, due to a diet focused on whole unprocessed and high fiber foods, may help modulate energy balance from both sides of the equation: by more effectively converting food into energy and increasing energy expenditure through increased fatty acid oxidation. It is also believed that gut bacteria may influence the chronic inflammatory state of obesity by regulating the level of endotoxins in our blood. Other studies have provided further evidence that gut microbiota is a cause and not a consequence of obesity or altered dietary habits. In one animal study, researchers actually transplanted the caecal microbiota from lean and obese mice into the gut of germ-free mice and found that the mice hosting the “obese microbiota” showed several markers of decreased metabolic efficiency and ultimately gained weight while the animals with the “lean microbiota” actually lost weight despite the exact same caloric intake and physical activity regimen. In human studies, researchers have found that a lack of gut bacterial diversity was highly associated with obesity, including one study that examined twins. While the unfortunate truth is that the composition of our gut microbiota is highly genetic, numerous human trials have shown that healthy whole food diets and probiotic and prebiotic supplementation can positively influence gut bacterial colonization. Possibly even more interesting, maternal and paternal diets have been shown to influence the gut microbiota of their unborn children. Even more reason for parents to eat healthy and include plenty of fiber and fermented foods in their diet.

There is no doubt about it, prebiotics can be beneficial to health and weight management, especially in children. But as usual, the primary takeaway from this latest research is the importance of a whole food diet. While supplementation is always a great alternative, the best sources of fat-fighting prebiotics are densely fibrous foods, such as leafy greens, asparagus, onions, and bananas. For the size and composition of your gut, and that of your growing children, stick to the periphery of the grocery store on your next shopping trip.

Dr. Damian Rodriguez is the health and exercise scientist for doTERRA International, LLC. He holds a doctorate in health science, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and countless professional certifications. He has spent most of his life researching nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle behaviors associated with optimal health. Along with his passion for health, as someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is also involved in bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorders. There are varying opinions about many health and fitness topics. His opinions are his own and not necessarily that of doTERRA International, LLC. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to diet and exercise.


Prebiotic vs. Probiotic Intake

Artichokes are high in prebiotic plant fiber.

If you aren’t adding copious amounts of raw garlic to every entree or topping your scrambled eggs with kimchi, you are behind the times. Research into the gut microbiome, that complex system of bacteria and microbes that resides within our stomach, is beginning to make it even clearer how important our diets are to our health. While probiotics have gotten most of the publicity—and GNC® shelf space—we are discovering that prebiotics may be just as important. In fact, recently published research has provided some intriguing evidence that prebiotics may be the secret to emotional health, improved sleep, and stress resiliency.

Although often used interchangeably and working synergistically in the gut, probiotics and prebiotics are vastly different things. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that have everyone rushing to stock up on Greek yogurt and experiment with new fermented foods. Dense and active probiotic populations have been linked to digestive health, improved hormone regulation, and decreased risk for various chronic health conditions. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates, basically a classification of fiber, that are the nutritional sustenance for the lactobacilli and bifidobacteria in your digestive tract. Garlic, asparagus, onions, artichokes and other whole, roughage-dense foods are full of those oligosaccharides that your gut bacteria feeds off of to induce its health-benefitting magic. Recent research suggests that prebiotic intake is closely associated with healthy inflammatory response, dietary bioavailability (allowing our bodies to get the most nutrition out of the food we eat), and possibly even weight management.

Previous research displayed that prebiotics can influence brain function and hormone regulation, but new evidence may make you want to ask for extra onions on that burger in the name of emotional health. In the latest study, researchers found that intake of a specific prebiotic, galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS), which is found in high concentrations in many legumes, not only decreased secretion of the stress hormone cortisol, but also improved several metrics of emotional processing. Compared to participants who were asked to supplement with a maltodextrin placebo, the research group taking 5.5 g of GOS each morning with their breakfast exhibited less of an effect from negative criticism and focused more on positive words. The data was so significant that researchers suggested that the anti-anxiolytic effect of prebiotic supplementation was comparable to many current antidepressant medications. A warm bowl of lentil soup may be the perfect antidote for another work day spent in cubicle torment.

Another group of researchers examined the influence of prebiotic supplementation on sleep and stress. What they found was that consumption of lactoferrin (LF) and milk fat globule membrane (MFGM), prebiotic substances found in high concentrations in human milk and in lower levels in cow’s milk, promoted increased time spent in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, the first four phases of sleep that focus on physiological and neurological restoration. Furthermore, they found that LF and MFGM supplementation following an exposure to a stressor resulted in longer rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the final stage of sleep that is believed to be critical for sorting memory and recovering from trauma. Overall, consumption of LF and MFGM was highly associated with sleep quality, resilience to stress, and gut health. So, there may be a little more to that glass of milk before bedtime than calcium and vitamin D.

It’s amazing how the further we dig into nutritional science, the more we discover how closely linked our well-being is to the quality of fuel we provide our bodies. As science continues to reveal, a healthy gut microbiome can influence virtually every component of health. And it isn’t necessary that we feed those hungry bacteria with supplements, a diet of whole, fiber-rich foods will do the trick. Sleep the day’s stress away by adding a handful of leeks to your homemade bone broth soup, throwing some asparagus on the grill for dinner, and washing it down with a cold glass of milk.

Dr. Damian Rodriguez is the health and exercise scientist for doTERRA International, LLC. He holds a doctorate in health science, a master’s degree in exercise physiology, and countless professional certifications. He has spent most of his life researching nutrition, exercise, and the lifestyle behaviors associated with optimal health. Along with his passion for health, as someone who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is also involved in bringing awareness to autism spectrum disorders. There are varying opinions about many health and fitness topics. His opinions are his own and not necessarily that of doTERRA International, LLC. Consult your healthcare provider before making any changes to diet and exercise.

3 Secrets To Building Business Rapport

The importance of building good relationships as a business leader is of utmost importance; however, this is not easy, as human beings are often quirky and it’s a real art learning how to get along with people.

Whether you are being interviewed for a job or are proposing a joint venture, you need to get good at mastering the art of getting along with all sorts of people.

If you run a company, you need to get your employees to see things your way. If you run a meeting, you need to get the other people at the table to appreciate your point-of-view, and if you’re trying to organize any type of partnership, you need to find a way to build rapport before you get down to business.

Here are 3 tips to help you build rapport with people in business:

  1. Share a common interest.

While it’s difficult to build rapport on the basis of politics or religion, since these are such polarizing topics, and there is not much you can say about the weather for more than three minutes, one way of finding a common thread is to indulge in “sports talk.” It’s a way of successfully navigating the business world, especially if dealing with entities in multiple major cities. The ability to discuss the latest in pro-sports news with potential clients and associates enables you to easily break the ice while simultaneously leaving a good first impression. Naturally, you need to be up to date on the latest in sports for this technique to be effective, and one way to do this is to watch televised sports games and sports news. An affordable way to efficiently stay updated on sports despite a busy schedule is by looking into investing in Satellite TV Packages.

  1. Make people feel comfortable around you.

Although you probably don’t realize it, the more successful you are in business, the higher your level of productivity, and the greater your level of business achievements, the more intimidating you are to other people. Other people may feel that they can’t keep up with you. They may compare themselves to you and feel that they are underperforming. The best way to handle this sensitive issue is to make it clear that you have their best intentions in mind. In other words, rather than pretending to be less accomplished in business, make your good intentions clear. A classic example of someone who does this very well is Warren Buffett. As one of the richest men in the world, it’s hard for anyone to feel anywhere close to his staggering level of accomplishment. However, Buffett has a disarming attitude and easily manages to win everyone over to his point of view. His business partner, Charlie Munger, who is probably one of the sharpest minds in the business world today, also has a disarming personality that makes him likable and approachable.

  1. Make an effort to avoid always correcting people.

This can be particularly difficult for people who love the truth and seek honesty, especially if the other person has completely misunderstood the facts and it is glaringly obvious to you that they have got everything completely muddled up. This is a common experience for Brian Tracy, an international business speaker. He has such a prodigious knowledge of business that it is difficult for attendees to his conferences to keep up with him. However, instead of sharply correcting audience members who come over to talk to him after a presentation, he confesses that he just nods and smiles and tries to think from their point of view. Our natural impulse is to try to correct people who have an incorrect grasp of something that we have a profound understanding about due to our years of study and experience. At times, of course, it’s important to steer people in the right direction—for instance, if they are business partners or employees—but it’s not always important to educate everyone about everything all the time. Sometimes in business, as in marriage, it’s more important to be extremely patient when dealing with difficult people.

Building good relationships is an essential part of doing business. There is a very good reason why Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People published in 1936 has become a classic in self-improvement literature. Now 81 years later, it still sells around the world.


Are You Ready to Nail a Winning Business?

When looking at why your business does or doesn’t stand out, can you put your finger on one thing specific?

All too often, business owners think they have their fingers on the pulse of what makes consumers tick, only to later discover that they truly did not know these people as well as they should have. As a result, potential business dollars essentially go out the window.

In order for your brand to capitalize on all of the potential earnings sitting out there in the consumer world, make sure you are nailing down any and all possible avenues to promote and literally sell your brand.

As you will soon discover, the right business acumen can go a long way in setting you up for a long-term revenue stream.


Giving Your Customers What They Want

For starters, giving your customers what they want should always get your attention.

If customers come to you for products and/or services, only to be left going home disappointed, your brand stands to suffer the consequences.

In the event you haven’t exactly been meeting the needs of customers recently, check out this list to see where you need better attention to detail:

  • Don’t make them just a number – It is important to always remember that customers are more than just a number. Yes, while each customer is literally a number (in terms of the business they do with you and the invoice you fill out), they are so much more than that. As an example, if you run a nail salon or anything along those lines (small business with people regularly coming through the front doors), it is important that you put a name to the face. When people feel like you’re taking the time to get to know them, they tend to react in a more positive manner;
  • Embrace all tech has to offer – No matter what line of business you call home, how much stock do you put in today’s technology? If you are truly letting technology drive the engine that is your business, then you stand to benefit in a number of ways. For those in the nail salon industry, using nail salon software is great in that it allows you myriad of functions. From allowing clients to make their own times to come in for an appointment to overseeing your invoices and cash flow at the touch of a button, such software will help you better organize and ultimately run your business;
  • Make families feel welcome – While you still see plenty of individual shoppers on any given day across America, you also see countless families doing their everyday shopping. From malls to mom and pop shops, families typically will outspend individuals on any given shopping day, usually due to the fact there are more mouths to feed, more bodies to clothe, etc. With that being the case, your business should always make families feel welcome. Yes, having a little terror or two running around your gift shop can make for some nervous moments, but it is the price you pay for opening your doors in the first place. While you do not have to go out of your way to be rude, a simple written sign such as “You break it, you pay for it” or something to the equivalent works. As has been seen too often in businesses nationwide, giving off an unwelcoming feeling to families can be the death kiss of losing business;
  • Take customer service to the next level – Finally, taking your customer service initiatives to the next level can only help your brand. Whether it is sending a little thank you not for shopping with you or giving customers a “free gift” on occasion, anything to win their long-term business is exactly what you want. When you go that extra mile or two for your customers, many of them will spend a little more than usual with you.


Nailing a winning business formula is not rocket science, but it does take some initiative and good will.

If your business is wondering how to take both your brand and your revenue stream to the next level, get a little creative and remember just how important your customers truly are to your survival.

Why Choose Linux VPS


One of the things that most people are going to need these days is web hosting. This is because a lot of people are creating websites for their business or they are creating their own websites just because they want to showcase their talents or their family. Whether the person wants a lot of people to come to their website or they just want to leave their mark on the Internet, they are going to need something like a cheap Linux host for hosting their website. That is why there are a lot of people who are looking for the cheap Linux host for their websites. One of the kinds of cheap Linux host is the Linux VPS hosting.

This is a kind of private virtual server where the person can install and update any kind of software that they want to have on their computer or website. It uses the Linux platform, the great operating system that’s open-source and free. This is why it’s thought to be among the easiest one that people can work with it when it comes to possible options for software and hosting.

Advantages of Hosting With the Linux VPS

When you’re examining these kinds of cheap Linux host, one of the many big advantages you are going to see it’s much less expensive when compared to other kinds of hosting, especially when you are using a cheap Linux host server. That’s even a lot more beneficial when you’re considering this kind of hosting on the w hole. VPS tend to be a lot more affordable as compared with dedicated servers, and you’ll still see a lot of those benefits that you’ll normally see when you’re using the dedicated server that you can actually see and touch. Additionally, this cheap Linux host’s completely independent from the machines on your hosting computer. Its security is also great as the other servers which people are renting.

The other benefits that this VPS type offers are because of Linux itself. It’s a lot friendlier on the resources of the system. As a matter of fact, Linux is going to use fifty percent of the resources for running the application that’s a lot like the one that’s on something like Windows. In addition, with Linux, there aren’t limitations that you have on other systems. This is because Linux is able to handle SSH, DNS, HTTP, FTP, and others. When you toss in the information hat Linux has a lot of different sizes and shapes, it’s really clear that a great choice for a lot of website owners is Linux.

How you can get the best of this kind of cheap Linux host

When you’re searching for the best one of this kind of cheap Linux host, you’re going to want to look around. The good news is that there are lots of choices when it comes to finding a cheap Linux host because people want to get your business. This won’t mean that you should just pick one at random. You should look at a few of the reviews sites and they’ll give you some great insight.

However, the review sites are going to do a lot more than simply tell you about the experiences with the cheap Linux host, although that’s the main reason why lots of people choose to read the reviews. The majority of them are also going to have coupons which are going to take some money off of what you’re going to pay monthly. This is great when you are looking for a cheap Linux host because that is going to bring the price down even more.

Using the websites can also help you with saving a lot of time, and this can add up easily when you’re searching for a cheap Linux host. Through having all those wonderful hosting websites on a list, you are able to narrow down your list somewhat before visiting the websites. Make sure to check out fatcow review for your next cheap web hosting. Even though this doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s going to be a huge one when you’re looking for companies who are offering website space. With all the companies, you have to streamline your process somewhat and that is what the review websites are going to do.

If you’re searching for a cheap Linux host, VPS is one the things you should consider. It’s going to provide you a lot of benefits. It’s going to be cheap, you can use it for just about anything, and it’s found almost anywhere. You will also be able to find the best one using the review sites. When you are using the coupons, you can even save some more money on your cheap Linux host. This is going to help you to save the money that you want to save on your Linux host and make a difference in the long run.

The Feds Just Cleared The Way For 5G, But Don't Hold Your Breath Waiting For It

The U.S. took the lead on cellular technology today when the Federal Communications Commission approved a plan making massive swaths of spectrum available for the next generation of wireless service, called 5G. Pushing the limits of physics, the promise of 5G is huge: data speeds from 10 to 100 times faster than what 4G offers (well over one gigabit per second for 5G) with virtually no lag, known as latency.

There will be some latency getting that technology into your hands, however, with some estimating that it could take up to 2020 just to settle on the standard, and then more time to get the technology into products. You sure won’t see 5G in the iPhone 7, expected in September. Think more about the iPhone 10, at best.

Think also about connected cars, refrigerators, drones—pretty much anything that has a battery or plug. The negligible latency might even enable a doctor in one location to operate on a patient in another location via Internet-connected robotic instruments. “If anyone tells you they know the details of what 5G will deliver, walk the other way,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler in a speech on June 20.

Also be wary of what cellular companies promise. Verizon has announced plans to offer 5G in 2017. South Korean carriers are aiming to have service in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. These will probably be limited, preliminary services that come out well before the technical standards have even been set.

What the FCC did today is open up an electromagnetic frontier of frequencies. Now it’s up to wireless companies to homestead the territory. The U.S. will be the epicenter for 5G, because it’s the first place in the world to open up the ultra-high frequencies that will make these data speeds possible: a massive swath of microwaves between 27.5GHz and 71 GHz. This is fundamentally different spectrum than what’s been used before, a range from around 600MHz to 3GHz. The FCC also just announced the intention to make another 18 GHz of spectrum available for 5G in the future.

These high frequencies were essentially considered garbage spectrum due to the technical challenges of making them useful. Today’s announcement by the U.S. about plans for 5G is a bit like its announcement in 1962 about plans to go the Moon. We know it’s technologically possible—once we invent the technology.

The benefit of these high frequencies is that their short wavelengths (a few millimeters) can squeeze in a huge amount of data. The downside is that they can’t carry it very far—as little as a few hundred feet, vs. miles for today’s 4G networks. These waves don’t go through walls nearly as well, either, making use in cities a potential nightmare.

But something has changed since the first cellular networks with their long-wavelength transmitters went up: The Internet is everywhere. It’s no longer far-fetched to imagine cellular transmitters on every block and even every floor of an office building. Wi-Fi already works that way in many places. And antenna technology is advanced enough to focus and direct the beams very precisely, possibly even to get them around obstacles.

Still, it’s going to take a while to build a meaningful amount of micro cells, as well as necessary backhaul: the high-speed wired (generally fiber optic) networks that connects them all to the Internet. Everyone may not be happy about these transmitters popping up all over the place. “Not in my backyard” protests might have to be expanded to include front yard and side yard. As part of its 5G plan, Wheeler said that, “the Commission has streamlined our environmental and historic preservation rules, and tightened our ‘shot clock’ for siting application reviews.” Environmental and historic preservation advocates may not be as sanguine.

For rural areas, where it’s uneconomical to put a cell on every block (if there even are blocks), the FCC is opening up low and midrange frequencies with very wide channels of at least 200 MHz to push through more data at once. Unlike previous cellular technologies that are assigned to fairly narrow ranges of frequencies, 5G is literally all over the spectrum.

The variety of frequencies that make 5G possible poses a final challenge: figuring out how everyone will use them. Some of that spectrum will be licensed. Companies will pay a fee for exclusive use of it, and auctioning off spectrum rights takes time. Other frequencies will be shared; companies will have to negotiate agreements to make that work. A big chunk will be unlicensed, meaning it’s continually up for grabs. That’s how Wi-Fi works; and as anyone trying to get online at a big event knows, it works terribly. Carriers will have to figure out much smarter ways for networks and devices to coordinate in order to avoid electromagnetic traffic jams. (Coincidentally, the US military’s DARPA is sponsoring a competition to develop better technologies for sharing the airways.)

In short, 5G is a very good thing, but good things take time.

Source: New feed

Watching Your Live Streams For Violence And Porn Is Now A Job For AI

Yesterday, a week after the girlfriend of Philando Castile broadcast the aftermath of his shooting by a police officer on Facebook Live, another live stream showing yet more violence began spreading on Facebook. A young black man listening to music with two friends in a car in Norfolk, Virginia, was broadcasting on Facebook Live when he and his cohorts were shot in a flurry of bullets. Unlike the first video, which was briefly taken off Facebook due to a “technical glitch,” the second video remained on the man’s Facebook page.

But as an increasing torrent of violent content is popping up in live streams, platforms like Facebook and Periscope are asking themselves what role they should have in choosing what their users see, and how exactly their teams of moderators will do that.

To the second question at least, platforms have one emerging idea: artificial intelligence.

“Being able to bounce porn inside livestreams or inside pre-recorded videos is already within the grasp of all the major tech companies,” says David Luan, founder of Dextro, a New York-based company that uses machine learning to make sense of video. Software like his is already being used to monitor video that’s both pre-recorded and live-streamed on services like Periscope, YouTube, and Facebook—all of which prohibit sexually explicit content. Luan says AI may be one reason why your feeds on those platforms feature little to no porn.

“We can already pick out when guns are present or when there’s a protest going on,” says Luan. And it can do it quickly. Luan says it takes his technology 300 milliseconds to determine what’s in a video once it hits their servers. That speed would be crucial for a platform like Facebook, with its 1.65 billion users, where live videos can quickly command an enormous audience.

In general, Luan says, image recognition has come a long way in the last two years. Companies like his use models and algorithms to identify concepts in streams as a way to help companies and users find the best content, or the section of a video they’re looking for. As such, artificial intelligence is becoming adept at perceiving objects in both images and video. Twitter’s AI team, known as Cortex, is using a large simulated neural network to determine what is happening in Periscope feeds in real time, in order to better recommend content to users.

And Facebook, which has already made big bets (and significant progress) in facial and object recognition in still images, and is working on a similar system for Live videos.

“One thing that is interesting is that today we have more offensive photos being reported by AI algorithms than by people,” Facebook’s director of engineering for applied machine learning, Joaquin Candela, told TechCrunch in March. “The higher we push that to 100%, the fewer offensive photos have actually been seen by a human.”

AI can even attach sentiment or overarching descriptions to images like “happiness” or “anger.” Clarifai, another company that uses machine learning to analyze video, can recognize 11,000 different concepts, which includes both objects and scene descriptions. Matthew Zeiler, the company’s founder and CEO, says that AI can detect fighting by homing in on, say, clenched fists in a physical fight. But focusing on weaponry can be more predictive, he says, “because we could see these weapons before they’re used.” Once artificial intelligence knows what it’s looking for, it can set off an action—like shutting down a stream, or alerting a moderator—if these elements arise.

While researchers have made significant progress in “teaching” computers to see things in still images, processing live video is much harder. At Twitter, the AI team effectively built a custom supercomputer made entirely of heavy-duty graphics processing units (GPUs) to perform the video classification.

AI is also hampered in understanding the context of a situation, Luan says. “You have things that are very contextual, like someone being heckled in a way that’s really inappropriate, but that depends upon understanding some key characteristics about the scene.”

For example, an algorithm would not understand the racial undertones of a black man breaking a stained glass window depicting slaves picking cotton at one at the nation’s most prestigious universities. Artificial intelligence also wouldn’t be able to understand the nuanced hate speech in the heated argument between a group of white teenagers and a man with tan skin that erupted on a tram in Manchester after the U.K. announced its planned exit from the European Union. That requires cultural and historical context that artificial intelligence isn’t capable of capturing, at least not yet.

But an algorithm would be able to spot the police officer’s gun pointed at Philando Castile bleeding out in the driver’s seat of his car in Diamond Reynolds’s Facebook Live broadcast. What a human moderator with that information would do next is less clear.

The extent to which Facebook uses AI to weed out bad content is unknown, but the moderation system is still mostly human. Once a user flags a widely viewed live stream or video, it’s sent to one of the company’s four moderation operations, in Menlo Park, Austin, Dublin, and Hyderabad, India. There, moderators are told to stop any live stream that’s in violation of Facebook’s community standards, which forbids threats, self-harm, “dangerous organizations,” bullying, criminal activity, “regulated goods,” nudity, hate speech, and glorified violence.

Among the live videos Facebook has stopped this year was one from Paris showed an ISIS sympathizer streaming threats after allegedly murdering a police commander and his partner, and a video from Milwaukee of three teenagers who filmed themselves having sex. Another stream, filmed by a man as he was murdered in daylight on a Chicago street, remains on the site.

Part of the reason human moderators are still necessary—and widely used—in moderation systems is because of what artificial intelligence can’t understand. While AI may be faster at finding indications of violence, humans can understand more complicated scenarios like the altercation between that tram passenger and those angry Manchester teens.

That may be changing. “The pace of development in AI as a whole is super exponential,” says Luan. Gesture recognition is rapidly improving, he says, and while artificial intelligence can’t see concealed weapons, by the end of the year it may be able to.

While the kinds of things that AI is able to turn up and moderate against is getting more refined, that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to do away with human filters altogether. At the end of the day content flagging by human users is a crucial component of any platform, because in aggregate those flags say a lot about the kind of content users want to see as a whole. Furthermore, human moderators provide a crucial role in determining what content has public interest value (“raises awareness” in Facebook’s words) and which doesn’t.

But Facebook isn’t always so clear about why it deems a video permissible or unacceptable. Perhaps as artificial intelligence moderation tools are able to take on more of the burden of moderation and their accuracy inspires a greater degree of confidence, it will give platforms like Facebook and Periscope the opportunity to be more thoughtful and transparent about their decision to take down a video or keep it up.

Source: New feed