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5 Important Spending Considerations for Christmas 2018

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5 Important Spending Considerations for Christmas 2018

I love iPhones and the 1,300 USD IPhone XS has been tempting me for the past few months. It must be a blessing in disguise that I’m broke beyond measure. Otherwise, I would close my eyes and bought this overpriced phone. The guilt I’d feel after the purchase would resonate with me for months, but at least I’d have a new phone right?

You may not be an iPhone fan, but there must be a high-priced item you love that you’d buy the moment you could afford it. The over commercialized nature of this time of the year only makes it more difficult to avoid overspending on these and other items. Your attempts to justify the purchases are inconsequential. For instance, I won’t deny that I need a new phone, but there are other smartphones with even better features than the iPhone that I can purchase.

The Christmas season makes some of us believe that we have the right to spend frivolously. It’s the most wonderful time of the year isn’t it? Before you spend your last dime buying that over-priced item that you’ve wanted all year, keep these personal finance considerations at the forefront of your mind.

What are your long-term goals?

Those who are serious about wealth creation have clear long-term goals. They have dedicated investment accounts to which they religiously deposit funds each month and they keep their eyes open for new investment opportunities. Be one of these people. Your investment account isn’t meant for you to dip into for whimsical purchases; it’s an account you create so that you have money for a future goal. Don’t use that money to purchase things that threaten that long-term goal.

Do you have a spending budget for the holiday season?

Those who buy into the commercialized nature of Christmas will buy gifts for those they love. There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re one of these people, however, you should set a budget and stick to it.

I work in the public sector and we don’t get Christmas bonuses. We get paid early in December and don’t get paid again until late January. So, the same amount of money must be stretched for a longer period. Imagine if I spend most of my salary on Christmas presents. What would happen in January? A clear budget is imperative so that I don’t spend more than I can actually afford. You should prepare a budget too.

What’re you doing with your holiday bonus?

You may be one of the fortunate people who is paid a holiday bonus at this time of the year. Getting a little extra money may make you feel rich for a few hours. However, you’ll be broke before you know it if you spend that money foolishly.

I saw Victoria Mutual and Jamaica Money Market Brokers advertising gift certificates in Monday’s Gleaner. That’s what you should do with the money….invest it. You don’t even need to buy a gift certificate for yourself. Just visit your local investment broker and find a way to make that money work for you.

Can you postpone that holiday trip?

Planning a holiday trip to spend time with your family is one thing. It’s completely different when you’ve planned a weekend getaway at an all-inclusive hotel for you and your spouse. Hotel rates are high at this time of the year. It may be better for you to plan expensive vacations for times of the year when rates are lower.

Can you still have fun?

Of course! But, you should think carefully before spending. You’ve worked hard all year and deserve to let loose. You’ll, however, be tearing out your hair and crying your eyes out next year when your bank account screams, “I’m empty!” after your expensive splurges. Be responsible with your funds.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time of joy and gift-giving… a time when we forget how much money we really have and go wild. Ask yourself the questions outlined in this article before making any holiday purchases. Wealth creation doesn’t happen by following poor spending habits. Click here to get a financial planning worksheet that’ll help you keep on track.

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5 Types of Content Your Articles Must-Have in 2017

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5 Types of Content Your Articles Must-Have in 2017

Content marketing has grown in leaps and bounds over the past 5 years. As social media evolves, the desire to engage with truly meaningful content increases. Consumers are no longer accepting articles solely consisting of blocks of text. A strong content marketer identifies this fact and includes the following forms of media to give their content new life.

Infographics

Infographics are the perfect compromise for the visual and reading/writing learners. They organize content into easily digestible segments. Consider the infographic below that highlights the benefits of content marketing.   

Why Content Marketing Infographic.png

The images add new life to the content. They also help arrange the content into smaller segments. It, therefore, doesn't require a lot of reading. Research also shows that infographics are "liked and shared on social media 3 times more than any type of content." If you want to create a truly great infographic for your content, hire this freelancer

Custom Photography

The value of images in content is greatly apparent. More websites are offering stock photography that is highly accessible. These generic images are becoming commonplace. Readers appreciate images that are original and relate directly to the content. In fact, 41.5% of digital marketers identify original graphics and infographics as the most engaging forms of visual content.

Videos

Infographics and custom photography are stunning, but nothing beats a relevant and well-developed video. Researchers state that "4 times as many customers prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it." People don't want to sift through large blocks of text. Give them something to click and watch and they'll be more willing to engage.

Interactive Content

 Polls, surveys, tests and quizzes are examples of interactive content. Apester,  Zaption, Webyclip, and Mapline all provide creative ways to include interaction in your content. 

Meaningful Content

The tricks and features you include in your articles are no excuse for poor content. People still look at the words you write. They want to know that the content captioned in the article's title meets expectations. Don't disappoint.

Readers require much more from content marketers than ever before. All the content you write should contain one or more of the features mentioned in this article if you want to stay ahead of the game. 

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Christine is a content marketing professional committed to creating stellar content. Visit her website at cemwritingservices.com to learn more. Read her latest ebook by clicking here. 

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5 Tips for Saving More and Worrying Less

 

Money, or a lack thereof, is often the source of much stress and trepidation. There are so many things that you want to do, but they all require the one thing you don't have in abundance: money. Many of us often find ourselves living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Fans of the hit AMC show, Breaking Bad, know the conundrum that the show's leading character, Walter White, found himself in. As a humble Chemistry teacher with a disabled son, his funds were very limited. So, when he discovered that he had cancer, desperation struck. Eventually, he became the leading producer of high quality crystal meth. As the story unfolds, Walter becomes obsessed with money and power and eventually meets his demise.

I'm not saying that we should all aspire to enter the illegal drug trade and dominate the world like Walter. Instead, I am suggesting that there is more that you can do so that you can better manage your money and find other legal income generating opportunities. The following tips center on developing shrewd money management skills and reducing your worrisome nature.

Tip #1: Always Pay Yourself First

This is a principle that I learnt almost 12 years ago when I read Robert Kiyosaki's best selling book "Rich Dad Poor Dad". Regardless of your income and financial obligations, always ensure that the first thing that you do when you get paid is save. Ideally, your savings each month should be about 20% of your net income. This may be difficult for some people, but this percentage should never fall to less than 10%. 

A strategy that I use to ensure that I save is to transfer that 20% to a USD account as soon as I get paid. That account is dubbed the "untouchable account". Other people I know have asked their banks to create a standing order. So, the bank would take the amount stipulated and place it in another account on the client's behalf. If you are not an extremely disciplined person, creating a standing order may be the best option for you.

Tip #2: Save Those Coins

This is one of the areas that I tend to falter on. Most times when you shop you will get a few coins as change. Instead of using them to make another purchase, place them in a savings jar at home. One of my coworkers has two coin jars: one for $10 coins and the other for $20 (we live in Jamaica). He has disciplined himself to avoid using the money in those jars. In less than 6 months, when he took the jars to the bank, he had saved 200USD (25000JMD). So, this small saving plan made a huge difference.

Tip #3: Ask Yourself the Important Question

Each of us has our weak spot when it comes to spending. There are certain things that we won't think twice about splurging on. For some women it may be a gorgeous handbag. For some men it may be the latest technological gadget. Whatever your weak spot is, think before you buy. Do you really need that new hand bag when you have 10 more in your closet? Do you really need the new Samsung Galaxy S7 when your S5 is working perfectly well? Always ask if you really need the item before buying it.

Tip #4: Stop Worrying About Things You Can't Control

Although not directly related to money management, this is an important point. Instead of beating yourself up about a situation and wallowing in self-pity, take action and find a solution. If there is no solution, leave it be. Things have a funny way of working out in ways we least expect them to.

Tip #5: Start Freelancing

The internet offers a plethora of income generating opportunities. It's quite intriguing that with just a few clicks of a button, you are able to interact with clients from all over the world in the comfort of your home. There are several freelancing websites available. Before you set up a freelancing account, however, think about the skills you bring to the table. I realized that I have a passion for content writing. So, I offer content writing services through Upwork, Fiverr and my website cemwritingservices.com. I find Fiverr to be the best site in terms of finding work. Do some research and find a freelancing website that fits your skills. Feel free to contact me for free advice if you're a bit unsure or just need a bit more guidance.

 

Becoming a shrewd manager of your income is something within your reach. Follow these tips and you would be surprised by the positive direction your life takes.

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Winning the Cancer Battle

Cancer. The big C. The simple utterance of each of the word's syllables causes overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness.It is even more heart-wrenching to witness a young adult grapple with the effects of this terrible illness. In 2010, while studying at the University of the West Indies, I was shocked to see one of my high school batch mates with horrible red blotches on her skin. She had also lost a lot of weight, but still had that memorable smile that warms everyone's hearts. We started chatting and I inquired about the blotches. At that point she thought it was just bad eczema. Little did she know that she was beginning to show signs of a rare form of cancer called Hodgkin's lymphoma. Samantha is one of the warmest, friendliest, and most generous persons you will ever meet.

Sammy 1

There is nothing negative that can be said about Samantha. She has touched many lives and been an inspiration to many. Her battle with cancer over the past 5 years has been a challenging one. Countless hospital visits, numerous medications, and numerous radiation treatments have worn her body.

Sammy 2

Samantha needs our help to get a life-altering treatment in the United States. The treatment costs 3000 USD. We have established a GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds needed for her to get this treatment. Any support you can give would be greatly appreciated. Make a donation and spread the word. The link for the campaign is gofund.me/z6w9dt3g. Help us help her win this fight.

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4 Tips for Surviving as an Indie Author

Signature You have always dreamt about crafting your own novel. The ideas have been running around in your head for years, but you just haven't mustered up the courage to put pen to paper. Time and fear are the only two factors standing in the way of your dream. As time progresses, you overcome your fear and find the time to put your piece together. Excitement courses through your veins as you go through the final stages of getting the book ready for publishing. What you do next will determine your success or failure as an indie author.

Every man, woman and child is now an author. Just go on the Amazon.com website and look at the thousands of books available. Surviving as an indie author in this competitive marketplace can be a very daunting task. What makes it even worse is the fact that there are people out there who promise to market your book and increase your sales for a fee, but really can't fulfill their promises. You end up spending hundreds of dollars to get your book noticed to no avail.

Over the past year and a half I have learnt a lot about the self-publishing industry. Simply put, it can be a real pain in the ass. However, I have discovered four tips that can help you keep your focus and see gradual success as an indie author.

Tip #1: Turn Your Discouragement into Motivation

There are days when you will look at your stats and wonder why you even bothered to publish your book in the first place. The countless hours that you spent writing and marketing the book will seem meaningless. Don't give up. Let those stats be your motivation to try harder. Remember the few reviews that you've gotten from people who really love your work. Continue to push. The early days of your writing career are spent paying your dues. One day you will master the art of book marketing. Keep writing and promoting.

Tip #2: Effectively Utilize Social Media

It is one thing to create a Facebook author page and Twitter account. It's another to keep these social media accounts active and engaging for your followers. Post consistently on your social media pages. Find content that is relevant to your genre and talk about it. On Twitter, it is a good idea to post three times a day (morning, afternoon, and evening). It is also a good idea to post on Facebook at least once per day. Use attention grabbing headlines and discuss ideas that you know people would want to talk about. Feel free to even share your experiences.

Tip #3: Encourage People to Review Your Work

It has been said that only about 1 in every 100 persons will write a review of a book they've purchased. However, you can tip the scales a bit by actively seeking reviewers. Do a general Google search for reviewers in your genre and offer them free samples of your book. Join book reviewer groups on Goodreads. Connect with other authors. Use as many media as possible to connect with people who will read and review your book. The more positive reviews you get is the higher your ranking will be. This increases your book's visibility.

Tip #4: Offer Your Book for Free

It is true that you didn't create your book only because you love to write. You also wanted to earn a little extra money. However, if you aren't an established author the best way for you to get you name out there is to offer your book for free. Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers Kindle Countdown Deals every three months for your book. It's best for you to choose their option to sell the book for free for five days. You can choose when those five days would be. Once you've chosen those days, PROMOTE them heavily.  Find reputable websites that allow you to promote countdown deals for a small fee. Write posts on Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, and Facebook. Get the word out there. Increased downloads will eventually equate to more reviews for your book.

 

Never forget your passion for writing. Let it feed your desire to succeed as an indie author. Follow these tips and you'll start seeing greater success within a few months. Let me know any other tips you have for succeeding as an indie author by commenting below.  Don't forget to get a copy of my novella at this link :) Click here.

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The Road to Progress

The triumph of the Jamaica Labour Party has ushered in a new wave of hope amongst Jamaican youth. Gone are the days when we mumble amongst ourselves about poor governance and what should be done to set Jamaica on a truly successful growth path. We want our voices to be heard. We want to hold our leaders accountable. We want to be a part of making Jamaica the place to live, grow, work, do business, and raise families.  Therefore, I am making the bold move to express some of my thoughts on what I think the government should do on the road to prosperity. Invest in Agriculture

Firstly, I think that we have to focus on increasing productivity. Our agriculture sector provides the best means by which to do that. Investments should be made in creating a top-notch agriculture sector that produces goods that give us a competitive advantage on the global marketplace. In a Gleaner article published on May 21, 2015, it was stated that the Ministry of Agriculture projected approximately “one billion dollars in earnings from honey production in 2015”. Can the new government build on what has already been done in this area so that our earnings can increase?

Castor bean oil production is another area that has not been sufficiently tapped into. With its variety of uses, castor beans provide Jamaica with a viable means of earning foreign exchange. The previous government had begun work in supporting people who wanted to embark on castor bean farming and castor bean oil production. However, growth was slow in this area. Can the present government pick up the pace and make this a booming aspect of the agriculture industry?

Although this is an area of great contention, legalizing marijuana can significantly increase our income. I agree that there are several factors to consider as it relates to the misuse of the substance and the negative psychological affects it has. However, there is a wide range of medicinal benefits that marijuana offers that cannot be ignored.  California has achieved 1 billion dollars in profit from medical marijuana. Can we regulate its use and production so that we can reap the same benefits?

Investing in the agriculture sector will not only improve our GDP. It will also address issues of unemployment since more support will be available to farmers. The government could also consider providing incentives to those who study agriculture management courses so that we can create a truly top of the line agriculture sector.

Invest in the ICT Sector

Secondly, our country is filled with so many smart, talented and creative ICT professionals. We have excellent programmers and ICT experts.  In the global marketplace, expertise in ICT is highly valued.  Our ICT experts want greater freedom to create and innovate. However, they cannot do this with the hefty price tags that are placed on computer and technology imports. Can the government address these tax issues?

Additionally, our Jamaican online businesses need greater freedom to conduct online transactions. The main online financial marketplace is PayPal. However, great financial restrictions in our country prevent PayPal from opening its services to Jamaicans. How can the government address this?

Invest in Literacy

An educated society has greater chance for success. However, education in a broad sense is inaccessible to most Jamaicans. I believe that our focus should be on ensuring that at least 90% of adults and all of our children are literate. Being able to read and write makes a great difference in opening up opportunities. This, I believe, should be done on a constituency level through collaboration with Members of Parliament and local parish councils. How can we utilize our unemployed English teachers in literacy programs across the country?

 

These are just a few ideas and concerns. I am sure that many other young people have more that they wish to say. Hopefully, this will be read by the right people who can implement great change.

 

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It's FINALLY here!!!!

Hey everyone! So, my first novella is finally ready for purchase on Amazon.com. I have gotten good reviews for it from those who have read it thus far. It really is worth your time and is very affordable (only $2.99). So, please purchase and leave a review!!! Click on the book's image below to be directed to the Amazon page.

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Following Your Dreams

Last week Sunday I had an interesting conversation with my dad. For a little over a year I have been battling depression and I have developed a tendency to retreat into a very dark place when my depression is at its peak. Life had begun to be meaningless to me. Every day I woke up wondering what I was living for...why I had to be alive. However, there is one thing that my dad said that has stuck in my head, "When you give up on your dreams your life becomes pointless. Never give up on your dreams." Dad has no clue what I battle daily. In fact, no one does. But that statement made me feel as though he was seeing my thoughts and putting them on the right trajectory. Life is pointless when you lack vision and hope. Life is meaningless when you refuse to dream. I prefer using the phrase "follow your dreams" instead of "chasing your dreams" because the word chasing implies that your dreams are running away from you. That's not the case. Regardless of who you are, your dreams should be a constant vision in your mind. They are there to encourage you when all hope seems lost. They are the guide that takes you on a path of great success, even if they seem elusive. 

There are three key principles that I believe can help all of us to hold steadfast to our dreams.

Be Optimistic

Pessimism and negativity serve one purpose- draining my energy. I am sure that both of these characteristics drain your energy as much as they drain mine. If you view yourself and your life negatively then it stands to reason that you will view life as pointless. Make a conscious decision to view the positive in every situation, regardless of how bleak that situation may seem. Positive thoughts attract positive experiences. 

There is ALWAYS a Lesson to be Learnt

One of the greatest lessons I have learnt over the past year is how to interact with people. I have made many mistakes in this regard, especially with some newfound friends. However, I am slowly learning from my experiences. Don't allow your experiences to weigh you down. Instead, find the lesson that you need to learn from them. When you learn the lesson, you won't make the same mistake. 

Understand Who You Are

One of the prevailing thoughts in my mind is that I don't fit in with any group of people because of my personality. I accept people fairly easily, but people find it hard to accept me. I am slowly beginning to realise, however, that the main person who needs to accept me is me. When I am able to accept myself then those in my personal circle will be able to accept me.  Having the right circle is important to realising my dreams because I need that support system. 

Understanding who I am also encompasses identifying my passion. Passion is what makes us get up each morning feeling happy to face the day. Passion is what drives us. I am slowly piecing my passion together, but I know that when I get there something magical is going to happen. I felt compelled to express my random thoughts today. Dreams are important. They drive our passion and our passion empowers us to face each day. Don't give up on your dreams. Live, breathe, and see them everyday. 

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Sweet, Sweet Jamaica: A Country of Untapped Potential

[embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vwfw2bYfaBo[/embed] Jamaica is my home. There is nothing more comforting than living in a country filled with natural beauty and warm and friendly people. On the flip side, however, is the reality that Jamaica's beauty is being overshadowed by inept leaders, a poor economic climate, and a lack of opportunities for youth. The Jamaican dollar now stands at JA$116 to US$1 with the possibility of it reaching JA$120 to US$1 before the end of 2015. It pains my heart to know that the potential of this country is being wasted in the hands of leaders who are more concerned with keeping up appearances than meeting the real needs of our people. The voices of our youth are seldom heard and taken seriously. I don't intend to leave my country, but I am troubled by the fact that I see no hope on the horizon.

Our Inept Leaders

There are several examples of mismanagement of the country's resources by our leaders. Two particular examples presently come to mind. The first is the purchase of Outameni by the National Housing Trust (NHT) with taxpayer's money. One would hope that the property would have been purchased to create housing solutions for Jamaicans. However, it seems to be more of an under the table deal that won't benefit tax payers in any way. One hundred and eighty million ($180 million) of taxpayers dollars were spent to purchase this property. Let's see what happens within the next two years. Will it still be a barren piece of land or will some type of development that benefits the poor and middle class be erected?

The second is the flurry of road construction that occurred to facilitate the visit of United States President Barack Obama. I do appreciate the fact that money has to be spent when such an important public figure visits. However, this flurry of road work with money that the country doesn't have was ridiculous. Our leaders are ashamed to present the reality we have to face each day with our poor roads. That money could have been better spent creating sustainable job opportunities for young people.

The issues with our leaders isn't limited to present circumstances, however. Leaders with a narrow minded perspective have caused this country's economic downfall. Whenever a party comes into power, most of what the previous party began is thrown out the window even if what was there was good. So, it's a perpetual cycle of starting from scratch unnecessarily. It is also true that over the years our leaders have depended too much on foreign imports of goods that we produce right here. Instead of creatively expanding our export market, our leaders chose to increase our import bill. It is, therefore, no surprise that we are in our present predicament.

Our Poor Economic Climate

When someone tells you that the Jamaican dollar is now $116 to US$1, it is not a statement that should be taken lightly. The sliding dollar means a higher cost of living on already inadequate salaries. The poor continue to get poorer. The government should be commended for implementing more policies for encouraging small business growth. However, there are some young people who find it difficult to set up their businesses due to lack of funding and the tedious process required to set up the business. Jobs are very hard to find and the unemployment rate continues to increase.

A Lack of Opportunities for Youth

To be fair, the government has attempted to improve the education system by opening more schools and ensuring that children get the best quality teachers. They have also provided more tertiary financing opportunities through loans, scholarships and bursaries. However, when a young person graduates from a tertiary institution there are limited options in the job market. I know of people who have been jobless for years upon graduating. There is something wrong with this picture and I don't think the government has found the right solution.

I love my beautiful country. It is a nice place to live because of the people and the natural beauty. However, it is also a depressing place to be when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

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My Whirlwind of Emotions

What I say doesn't matter How I feel doesn't count

The sounds of my weeping heart aren't heard

No one understands my whirlwind of emotions.

Who I am isn't understood

I don't fit in, I don't belong

My weaknesses tear me apart

I'm all alone in my whirlwind of emotions.

It's wrong for me to feel

It's wrong for me to desire

It's wrong for me to want to be me

My whirlwind has become a tornado.

The turmoil within my heart

Makes me cry every night

When will I ever be enough?

No one understands my whirlwind of emotions.

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Dare to Be by Steve Maraboli

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!” ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

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In Your Arms- Nico and Vinz

Nico and Vinz are new kids on the block. Their debut single Am I Wrong has received great acclaim and popularity. There are three things that I think make them great artistes:

  1. The lyrics they write. Very rarely do I hear music that is so uplifting and motivating. Nico and Vinz have an uncanny ability of capturing the struggles faced by the average individual in beautiful sound.
  2. Their unique sound. Nico and Vinz use catchy African beats in their songs. Doing this helps to set them apart from other artistes. When you hear one of their songs play, you know it's them.
  3. Their melodic voices. Nico and Vinz have very distinct sounds that are pleasant to listen to. they each have been blessed with a gift.

Now let's talk about the song In Your Arms. There are times in our lives when we really feel like we can't go on. There are days when we will feel like we're nothing at all. However, there is that one person who always makes everything seem alright. For many people, that person is God. For others, that person is their spouse or partner. Whoever the person is, Nico and Vinz remind us that he or she helps to make life worthwhile. Click here to see the official music video for this song.

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Self Pity

kkkk It is so easy to become consumed by the troubles and concerns of your own life. This is especially true when you begin to compare yourself with others. More often than not I find myself wondering why I can't find a partner and be happy like my friends. I also often wonder why I can't reach a place of financial stability where I don't have to think very carefully about spending money to enjoy the simple things in life. I'm constantly battling with feelings of inadequacy and often deem myself to not be good enough. What I have come to realise, however, is that self pity gets you nowhere. Overcoming self pity is not a simple task. Nevertheless, I've come up with three simple tricks that you can use to free yourself from this negative attribute.

Stop Comparing

Self pity often begins when we start to compare ourselves to others. You were made the way you are for a reason. Your skills and abilities are valuable to someone in this world. The aim isn't to be perfect; it is to be proud of who you are and become the best you can be. You'd be surprised by how working humbly in your own corner can help you to gain respect of your superiors. Work hard doing what you know you can do. Over time you will begin to improve your skills and even develop other useful skills if you maintain this focus. You may even get a promotion that you may have been overlooked for had you remained bitter about not being like someone else.

Think Positively

In the first chapter of my book Becoming the Best You: Ten Pressure Points that Lead to a Successful Life, I discuss the power of positive thinking. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions. Have you ever observed extremely positive people who are happy about life? Their optimism is contagious and they're a joy to be around.  They also receive more opportunities than the average person. Change your perspective on life and you will begin to see a dramatic change.

You Aren't the Only One With Problems

Regardless of the number of problems you think you have there are several other people in the world who have far more problems than you. Yes, you may have too many bills to pay or your house may be falling apart, but there is someone out there with no job and no home. Focus your energy on trying to find solutions to your problems instead of dwelling on the fact that you have problems. Also, look for ways to do good for others. The more you give is the more grateful you'll be for the little you have.

 

Use these tips to help you break free from the shackles of self pity. Life is short and you shouldn't spend it wallowing in negative feelings.

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No Words- The Script

jkjkj  

The beauty about being in love is being so captivated by every facet of your partner that you're left speechless. No Words by the Script is a beautiful song that captures the essence of this captivating love. This man is able to discuss every topic with his partner ranging from politics to the day's weather, but her beauty and personality blows him away so much that he can't find the right words to describe her.  The lyrics and musical arrangement of this song place it at the top of my list of favourite songs. Click here for the link to the lyrics video.

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A New Frontier for Education

jbjh Thankfully, we seem to have arrived at a critical turning point in the education system in Jamaica. We have finally realized the importance of technology and are beginning to explore practical ways of incorporating it in the classroom. I am truly excited about the prospects . I am also looking forward to seeing improved results in the core subject areas of Math and English for Jamaican students. Recently, one of my closest friends introduced me to a brand new company that is sure to create huge waves in the education industry. This company is called Niritech and it focuses on creating a virtual learning environment in several CSEC and CAPE subjects. For more information about their products and services click here.

My preamble should have left you wondering what makes Niritech so unique. The following is a list of the beauty of the NiriTech experience.

Students Participate in Small Online Classes

Instead of having to sit through a boring lecture in a cramped classroom, students are able to sit in the comfort of their homes and participate in online classes. These classes will have a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 20 students...the perfect size to truly encourage learning. The teacher will be able to use an interactive white board and facilitate discussions. Students will also be able to communicate with their teacher outside of the scheduled classroom sessions.

There Will Be Daily Activities

Throughout the week there will be daily assessments that the students have to complete. This will allow the students to actively engage in the learning process. Students will also be required to take mid-semester exams and teachers have to provide feedback within at least 3 days. The system is structured to ensure the student passes.

There is an Online Tutoring Option

There are some students who need special help. Niritech has taken this into consideration and provided a tutoring option for these students. This individual help could mean the difference between a grade one and a grade two.

 

So, what are you waiting for? It doesn't matter if you are a high school student or an adult trying to advance in life. Take the first step towards guaranteed success and apply today.

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Phone Addiction

Walk on the street on any typical day and you will see someone tweeting, using Facebook or What’s App, or chatting on the phone while walking aimlessly. The phone has become an integral part of our lives. Smartphones can even arguable be considered one of the greatest inventions. However, the reality is that smartphones have become an addiction. How many of us can go for 2 minutes without checking our phones for a tweet or message? Since I have been on vacation and been at a home where there is no Wi-Fi I have truly come to realize how addicted I am to my phone. The first night I was here I thought I would go crazy because it was of no real use to me without Wi-Fi. This time away from my phone has truly caused me to reflect and come up with some tips for overcoming phone addiction.

Engage in Meaningful Activities

Sometimes we can get so absorbed in our phones that we forget to embrace the world around us. Lock your phone away in your bag or room for a few hours and spend some time with your friends or family. Either that or get involved in an activity that will keep you so engaged that you won’t have time to reach for your phone. Some of these activities include volunteering and paying sports. You may shock yourself when you see how well you can survive without your phone for an extended period of time.

Turn the Phone Face Down on the Bedside Table

I don’t know why this works but it has helped me to pay less attention to my phone. When the phone is face up it is easier to see when it lights up with s notification or message. This creates the instant reaction of reaching for the phone to check what popped up. When the phone is turned face down you won’t see the screen light up. It’s even better if you have it on “vibrate” or “silent’ because you may not hear the phone at all. This means that you can focus your attention elsewhere.

Check for Messages at Certain Times in the Day

In some jobs people are not allowed to use their phones while at work. However, if your job is more lenient with phone usage try to discipline yourself to check your messages only at certain times of the day. You could check them as soon as you get to work, during lunch, and half an hour before you leave work. On the weekends you could probably check the phone 5 times for the day instead of every second.

 

These tips are applicable to those who are true phone addicts. If you, however, are one of those people who doesn’t check his or her phone at all then that’s an entirely different story. Hopefully these tips can help you to put down the phone, be more productive, and enjoy life more.

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Creating Your Guest List

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There are so many people who have made an impact on your life. If you were to list them all their names would probably fill two to three pages. However, the more people you invite to your wedding is the more expensive it is going to be. So, how can you narrow down that guest list?

Start With Family

For some people, if they were to include family alone that would be well over 100 people. I would recommend that you limit the family you invite to those family members who you are closest to. Also ensure that you mention to them that you can only accommodate them bringing their spouse. No one else. Some people may be hurt that they were not invited but the reality is that you just can’t afford to have everyone there. Hopefully they will understand.

Choose Your Closest Friends

Reflect on the three main phases of your life: high school, university, and work. At each phase, which people have been your friends until now? These people who have been with you through almost everything in your life deserve an invitation to your wedding. If you really think about it, those true friends would be limited few. So, your guest list is already significantly reduced.

Remember the People Who Are Working

Aside from your guests, there will also be the DJ and his crew, your wedding planner and his or her team, your bridal party, and your officiating minister. Don’t forget to include these people on the list so that you can effectively calculate the total cost.

 

When you are working with a budget you have to be extremely selective about who you invite to your special day. Use these tips to help you to narrow down your guest list. Happy planning!

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