“Tell me about yourself?” This is the most common question asked anywhere right from a professional interview, casual date or when your new buddy wants to get to know you!
Though it sounds like the simplest question, this is the toughest to answer. Do you get confused and anxious when someone pops this question and end up rambling about your school projects or giving way too many personal details? The reason behind this is your lack of knowledge about yourself.
According to Socrates, "To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom". Yes, self-knowledge helps you achieve success in personal and professional life. It helps you sculpt your surrounding and choose life partners, friends, careers and hobbies according to your traits. This knowledge gives you the power to make yourself a valuable asset and not just a head-count liability, anywhere.
So how do you get to know yourself? Here are a few VITAL S you need to understand.
Define your personal core values. Common values include truth, integrity, diplomacy, moderation etc. If you not able to identify them at once, follow this simple tip. Sit in a quiet peaceful space with zero distractions, for atleast an hour. Write down your greatest achievement, failure, and identify commonalities between them. Also jot down ways in which such failure could have been avoided. Do this exercise with someone you trust, so that they can guide you to understand your current value system. Get their honest feedback.
As Mahatma Gandhi once said “Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny." So ensure you develop good habits.
Identify your area of interest. This may refer to your passion or hobby that has captured your attention over a sustained period of time. Several people have built their successful careers and life around their areas of interest. Infact the job fulfilment, satisfaction and happiness levels are higher when your job is based on your area of interest.
Temperament does not refer to your tendency to burst into anger at the drop of a hat. It deals with aspects of your innate personality that have been genetically inherited as part of your DNA. Analysing your temperament helps you understand if you are an introvert or an extrovert, talker or a doer, impulsive or careful planner!
Look at your day- to-day activities from a third person’s perspective. Analyse when you have performance peaks and dips. You can learn more about yourself by identifying a pattern here.
Do some soul searching and find out what’s your life’s mission. Set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely (SMART) goals for yourself. Make the timeframe for goals realistically short, so that you can keep track and constantly measure your progress.
Identify and acknowledge your strengths to gain self-confidence. Look not only for strengths in abilities or skills but also in character.
To take this quest to a higher level, you can go on a solo trip to the hills or into the forest to meditate and find yourself. It’s very important to be true to yourself, no matter what. Only then you will be able to find out who you are!
Are you a chocoholic? Do you believe that a chocolate a day keeps bad mood swings away?
Then it’s high time you go on your chocolate trip. Not able to understand what we are talking about? Let’s give you the needed context.
Delicious chocolate, rightly known as “Food of the Gods” has undergone considerable evolution ever since it was discovered by the Aztecs in Mesoamerica. Believed to have aphrodisiac and medicinal powers, it was originally served as a bitter, frothy drink. Later on after European invasion, sugar was added and served as a delicacy only to the royals and wealthy. Slowly it started infiltrating down to the masses around the world.
Now this luscious chocolate has further evolved with several permutations and combinations of ingredients. As a chocolate lover you have the right and are perhaps even entitled to taste them all. So here’s our list of chocolate treats you must try from around the world.
Italian hot chocolate
Don’t be tempted to belittle this steamy chocolate treat, as just another drink. You’ll find no other hot chocolate drink to be as rich, creamy and heavenly as the Italian cioccolata calda, as it is popularly called. Get going to Italy and where you can, never say no to this sinful chocolate decadence!
Japanese chocolate ice-cream mochi
No, this is not just a regular chocolate ice-cream! On the other hand, this exotic Japanese treat is yummy chocolate ice-cream wrapped inside colourful rice dough called the mochi. This delectable combination of textures and flavors that complement each other so well, will leave you craving for more. These striking colourful rice ice-cream balls are something you must try atleast once in Japan.
Spanish chocolaty fries
The most addictive fries of the chocolate world, these churros con chocolate is the ultimate sweet tooth buddy. Made of crispy fried pastries, covered with cinnamon and sugar, these fries can be had, sloshed with lip-smacking chocolate sauce. To grab some of these best crunchy chocolate fries, you’ll have to visit Spain. It’ll be a trip and taste that you’ll never forget!
French chocolate croissant
How can we talk about chocolates without mentioning France? Also known as pan au chocolat, this famous chocolate croissant is the ultimate extravagance. Though there are several other chocolaty treats available, nothing matches the self-indulgence this light, fluffy chocolate pastry offers. Customisable with your favourite chocolate filling, this is a must try when you get to France.
German coconut chocolate cake
There is nothing in this world that can beat this coconut chocolate cake. As a chocoholic you will stand a testimony to this, once you find this delicious cake melting in your mouth. Rich and dense, this cake is super exotic with chocolate, pecan and coconut frosting!
So get ready to try the above mentioned chocolate treats from around the world. Don’t let yourself be carried away with forex and payment hassles. Carry your international prepaid travel card, so that you can travel in peace and indulge yourself with mouth- watering chocolate treats without any hindrance!
There is nothing a dollop of chocolate cannot fix!
When was the last time you had a tummy yanking laugh? Can’t remember? Then it means that you haven’t met your friends in the recent past.
Putting food on the table for your family and paying off debts are not the only reason for living. Infact to be more productive in achieving your personal goals and carrying on the above mentioned duties, you need to have fun. Yes, that’s a scientifically proven fact!
Life is fun when you have your friends around. With the International day of friendship around the corner, ensure you meet up with your besties. Here are our ideas on fun ways in which you can spend time with your friends!
Get out of town
Plan an out-of-town rendezvous with your best friends. Choose natural locales such as hill stations, beach holidays or desert safaris, so that you and your friends can go for a fond nostalgic trip down the memory lane, without any disturbance. Book your tickets well in advance, so that you can avoid last minute disappointments.
If you don’t want to get out of town, you can have fun indulging yourselves at a spa or even going on a shopping spree. There are spas in Dubai such as the Heart and Soul, which offer multisensory experiences, with a masseuse giving a warm soothing massage while the harp player plays her music in tandem with the kneading.
Go on a coffee tour
Can you resist a steaming cup of hot, dark, bitter-sweet coffee? Then you have to go on this aromatic coffee bean journey with your besties at the coffee museum in Al Fahidi. Irrespective of you being a coffee aficionado or not, you’ll fall in love with the stories behind the origin of coffee, ancient grinders, pots and roasters. Don’t miss trying out the authentic Ethiopian and Turkish coffee prepared and served by people in traditional costumes!
Explore underwater marine life
Boasting of over 33,000 aquatic species and the largest collection of sand tiger sharks, the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is an exciting way to spend time with your friends. Located at The Dubai Mall, this place takes you through a 48-metre walk-through tunnel exploring various species of marine wildlife. Remember to not miss taking the glass-bottom boat tour, getting wet in a snorkelling cage and to go swimming with the sharks. It would be the most memorable experience indeed!
Are you an adventure trip lover? Then head to Absolute Adventures in Dubai. They can provide you customised adventure tour packages both locally and internationally. You can also sign up for the exciting 24hr Desert Survival Course in association with the Bear Grylls survival academy. You’ll learn things such as how to light a fire, find and purify water, deal with snakes and scorpions in the wild, etc.
To continue having fun times with your friends and still make full use of the time, sign up for courses on fitness, pottery, yoga, archery or even hula hooping. Use a prepaid travel card to handle all expenses and payments without worrying about cash!
Do you feel agitated and anxious, anticipating an impending sense of doom before starting every work week? No, we are not referring to the transient Monday blues, but to the real obsessive instinct that you feel!
If the answer is yes, then you are a victim of workplace bullying! Workplace bullying is a persistent pattern of mistreatment that can be verbal, nonverbal, psychological or physical that causes either bodily or emotional harm. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) report 2007, work place bullying is four times more prevalent and toxic than other types of harassment or racial discrimination at workplace. Several case histories suggest that confronting and reporting the bully are effective ways to end to this sick behaviour, which results in severe psychological damage to the victim. But how to avoid the harmful emotional after-effects you would suffer, as a victim?
Here’s what you must not do, if you want to get out of this bullying saga, unruffled!
Pointing fingers at yourself
Don’t give into the self-blame game. When you are bullied, remember that it’s not your fault. Remember that the onus for this psychological violence lies with the abuser and not the victim. So do not be led into that self-vindictive mode, where you feel that you deserve to be belittled or abused at work. Never underestimate your self-worth!
Brooding over it
Brooding over the past makes you weak. So never dwell on previous mistakes or errors, even if they are on your side. Several reports have shown us a strong correlation between bullying and suicidal tendencies. Relieve yourself by talking about your experience to a trustable person. However the important thing to do is to move on!
Assuming issues will sort out on their own
Workplace bullying is not an impulsive snort that comes out during a rough situation. Rather it’s a compulsive habit, the bully carries forward right from his childhood. So unless you take substantive action against the bully, it will not stop!
It’s very important that you monitor and document every encounter with the bully. Only then will you be able to prove the abusive pattern to your higher authorities. While documenting the incidents, you must be verbatim and not jot down your assumptions or ponderings. Or you may run the risk of trivialising your experience!
Never confront or try to sort out issues with the bully in private. After any meeting, immediately send an official email listing down the points of discussion. If not you might run the risk of being blamed and shamed for not adhering to any allegedly discussed action points. That’s running your head right into a guillotine!
Remember that you have as much right to be at the work spot as does the bully. So don’t be intimidated when the bully asks you to leave or shouts down at you. Address the inappropriate words in a polite but firm tone.
Always remember that isolating yourself or waiting too long to ask for help will only be detrimental to you. So call out and speak up without getting overwhelmed. Never listen to pessimists who say you do not have a case!
Brace up for a startling fact!
Did you know that earth is on its way towards sixth mass extinction? We’ve already lost 58% of the vertebrates. Just like how the dinosaurs were wiped out, our world with all its inhabitants too would be completely gone in a few decades. Habitat loss, mass exploitation and degradation are considered to be the few top reasons behind this apocalypse. The first few signs are the extinction of species such as tigers, gorillas, pandas, orangutans, elephants, rhinos, whales etc. So what can we do to stop or rather slow down the annihilation?
We should preserve, nurture and encourage natural habitats. As responsible world citizens we must avoid and discourage places such as the zoo where animals are raised in captivity. Ensure you visit endangered species in their own home turf, to show your solidarity towards preserving them.
To kick start your engine, here’s a list of few endangered species and where you can visit them.
Royal Bengal Tiger
Elusive and hard to track, witnessing a royal bengal tiger is a great wildlife experience by itself. Though their numbers have fallen rapidly by 95%, we can still spot them in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan. The mixed deciduous forest, thickets of bamboo and expansive grasslands in Bandhavgarh National Park and Kanha National Park, India are one of the best spots in the world to see the tiger in all its glory.
Adorning the forests of Sumatra and Borneo, these auburn-haired orangutans are critically endangered. They are infact our closest cousins who share around 97% of our human DNA. Having lost over 55% of them, the best place to visit these endearing, intelligent, and puckish creatures is the Tanjung Puting National Park located in the central west of Kalimantan, Indonesia.
One of the world's rarest mammals, the giant panda is an exquisite sight in black and white. Living among misty dense bamboo forests along the rainy mountains of south western China, these shy creatures were classified under the critically endangered category. But now due to the consistent efforts of the patrons and Governments, their population has risen by around 17%. The best place to visit these beautiful creatures is at the Chengdu Giant Panda Base and Dujiangyan Panda Valley in China.
One Horned Rhino
The largest of the rhinoceros species, the one horned rhino is one the most endangered animals in the world. Constant poaching and habitat loss has contributed to the loss of these solitary creatures. Found across forest, grassland and desert habitats of the Indian subcontinent, the armour-plated rhinos were largely spotted in Nepal, India, Burma and Bangladesh years ago. Then the population suddenly declined close to extinction. However due to rigorous conservation efforts by the Governments and NGOs, the rhino populations is steadily reviving. The best place to visit these magnificent animals is at the Manas National Park and Kaziranga National Park in India.
Explore these exotic endangered species in peace without worrying about carrying cash and getting forex. Just carry a prepaid multicurrency travel card for hassle-free travel.
Did you know that money is the major reason behind friction in many marriages?
Financial harmony is a must among married couple for their relationship to be successful. Though money is all about validation, freedom, respect, security, and happiness, it is more a source of power. It’s the financial power struggle that causes major stress in marriages. This is more so when one spouse earns and the other doesn’t. Overtime this power play gets ugly and eventually wears down the marriage.
So, how do you save your marriage from money struggles? Here are a few tips.
Talk about money
Don’t sweep any financial detail under the rug. Frankly speak with your spouse about your individual financial position. Share your goals, values, habits and expectations. If your spouse does not have an income, or if you earn more than your spouse, ensure you are considerate with the decision making powers, instead of just trying to dominate the relationship.
It’s very important to keep your money discussions as transparent as possible. Refrain from having money secrets with your spouse. If you’ve lost money trading or have won a bonanza, let your spouse know about it. Hiding these financial details will surely take a toll on your marriage. However remember not to nag or shame your partner for past mistakes. Just remember to make the talk productive by looking only at the way forward.
Maintain both individual and joint accounts
Though having separate finances may seem ideal and empowering initiatially, in the long run it may not be very easy to deal with the dynamics of family expenses. When factors such as children, home purchases, mortgages and other debts come your way, the best strategy would be to have both individual and merged accounts in the right proportion. One school of thought suggests that 80% of both your incomes can go into a joint account while the remaining 20% can be divided equally in your individual accounts. This way, the joint account can be used to handle expenses like groceries, dine outs, medical and utility bills, school fees, investments, mortgages, and other big purchases. The individual account can be used for personal expenses.
In any relationship, appreciating the differences and playing to each other‘s strengths is a sure recipe for winning. This applies to marriages too. If your spouse is a great saver, then let her take care of budgeting, investments, and savings. If your partner is a risk taker, then give her some space with timeframe associated goals. This way even though her strength is capitalised, the risk of money loss is taken into consideration.
Realise that strength is in unity
Now that you are a couple, the first thing you need to know is that, you are strongest when united. So, if one person has more debt than the other, then instead of getting aloof, think of ways you can jointly repay the debt, without any delay. By being together you will be able to solve any money issue easily.
Remember finances need not be a marriage killer! It can infact be an invisible bond that binds you together with love.
Heard about the counter-productive hiring reality happening at workplaces?
Managers hire team members who are very much identical to them in most aspects. This is a complacent productivity disaster in the making. What they fail to understand when they choose their work twin, is that a team’s strength lies in the differences and not in similarities!
Mckinsey research finding goes on to prove this fact. According to a detailed study in 2015, organisations that were high on ethnic and gender diversity levels, were more likely to outperform their homogenous counterparts by 35% and 15% respectively!
Curious to know how diversity improves productivity? Here are the reasons.
Brings in wider experience
Today diversity in human capital is one of the most competitive differentiators in any team or business. It implies a bigger palate of varied experience, which could cumulatively increase the collective productivity of any team.
Creates constructive conflicts
Winning teams usually comprise of a mixture of men, women, introverts, extroverts, dreamers, analytical thinkers, etc. These diverse personalities lend their ideas which might be contradictory. Constructively discussing the pros and cons of these contradictions usually result in ground breaking ideas and action plans.
Cultivates attitude change
Employee attitude greatly affects the performance of any team. Having a diverse team, helps mould the attitude of people in an optimal way. It helps people be open minded, free from prejudice and more understanding towards other people’s perspectives, beliefs and sensitivities. This broadens the team’s thinking capabilities, thus leading to better performance.
Forges productive collaborations
Team members should never function in isolation. The diverse skills and expertise of the team members will be put to best use only when they collaborate. The team members learn to communicate freely, understand emotional intelligence, share ideas, knowledge and also be flexible and more receptive to comments, only when they collaborate.
Increases customer satisfaction
In retail businesses, when customer’s see that team members are from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities, they are able to relate better with the company. This helps them develop a comfort zone with the brand. They express their feelings or grievances to executives they share a commonality with. This ensures more personalised service and superior customer satisfaction. Naturally the performance of the company goes up.
Nurtures goodwill ambassadors
When employees from diverse backgrounds, realise the value addition their perspective brings to the table, they begin appreciating their workplace for fostering diversity. They become goodwill ambassadors to the company, never badmouthing their employers. This results in increased employee retention and decreased absenteeism.
Now that you know the benefits of having a diverse team, go ahead and revisit your team strategy!
Here’s a thought provoking research finding.
70% of children think their parents spend too much time on electronic devices. In addition to this they also accuse their parents of double standards, when checked for the over usage of gadgets! This is according to a research conducted by US based Dr. Steiner-Adair, renowned clinical psychologist, school and child development consultant.
Today television, smart phones, ipads and video games have invaded our homes and personal spaces. Concerns have been raised from all fronts about the harmful effects these gadgets have on physical, mental and emotional health of children. So, if you’re worried and stressed at seeing your children stuck to their gadgets all the time, then here are few tips, which should make a difference.
Engage them with hobbies
Abruptly stopping the usage of gadgets is more likely to create little rebels at home. So instead divert them into pursuing a hobby such as music, sports, gardening or outdoor photography. Schedule limited time for using gadgets, and plan physical activities to engage your children at other times.
Place electronic gadgets in the common area
Never install television or electronic gadgets in your child’s bedroom. Having the child enjoy screen time in a common area filled with family members will automatically reduce unnecessary exposure.
Be consistent about tech-free zones
Bedroom and dining room should be tech free areas to ensure that you bond with your children. And make sure you are consistent in your decision about these areas being free from gadget usage.
Reward good behaviour
Praise your child even on the slightest demonstration of restraint. You can design a simple reward system at home where your child can collect stickers every time they stay within the limited gadget usage time.
Have fun together
Your children probably love technology because they think it’s fun. So make it your responsibility to create fun moments together. Play with them outdoors or at the beach, so that they enjoy the time spent with you instead of the gadgets.
Travel with children
Go on holidays, backpack and arrange outdoor camps and build cherishable moments together. Travel widens their perspective and they will never indulge in mindless online games or watch television hours together. Traveling with children can be a bit expensive. So remember to carry your multi-purpose travel card so that you can save money and move around hassle free.
Finally we do need to practice what we preach. Spend less time on your laptops, ipads, television and other gadgets and focus on having fun with your child instead!
Had a grand celebration this extended Eid weekend?
Invigorated from Ramadan fasting, followed by a celebratory Eid feasting, partying and merriment, it’s certainly a real challenge to return to routine work. Mentally and physically overwhelmed, you may be tempted to stay back home for an extra day or so. Are you still feeling pessimistic about the return to a regular nine hour job schedule?
Then, how do you ease the process of settling into the daily grind? Here are some tips.
Reset your clock
The Ramadan work schedules were shorter and different. Now you need to remember that you will be going back to your nine hour schedule. So reset the alarm clocks at home to a reasonable wake up time. Don’t wake up early as you would for your Suhoor or mid night snacks. Sleep peacefully through the night and get up refreshed, ready to take on the day.
Start off small
Begin your day with small assignments, on which you can add value quickly. This will lift your spirits up and help you recognise and appreciate your role and the work you perform.
Gone are the days where you either went without any food or drink the whole day (during Ramadan) or when you were a non-stop glutton (during Eid holidays). Now it’s time to eat right, and healthy in moderate quantities. If required go light on your food, so as to ease your tummy and digestive system on the first day at work. Then gradually pick it up, as you get used to your work environment.
Share goodies and stories
The actual fun begins only when you begin sharing your Eid goodies and stories at work. However ensure you don’t start off with them first thing in the morning. Reserve them for coffee and lunch breaks, and after office hangouts. This will keep you fuelled through the first day of your return.
Tell yourself that there are just two options available. You can either motivate yourself and feel great about getting back to work or you can just be complacent with feeling miserable. But remember that to be productive and successful, you must be happy. So, give yourself a pep talk on the possibilities you can achieve at work and stay driven.
Remember not to slog it out on the very first day after Eid. Take it slow and steady to sit back and enjoy work!
Yoga is much more than just a bunch of physical curative poses. It’s a soul healing process that lets you inhale love and exhale gratitude, the secret to a happy body, mind and soul.
Did you know that strong, real time (not virtual) social support and interaction increases the odds of you living longer by 91%?
Close, intimate and positive relationships have proven to have curative effects on people suffering from conditions such as cancer, stroke, dementia, depression, and diabetes. Several researchers have found that practising yoga facilitates and conditions the mind to be more optimistic and have a therapeutic effect on self and others.
Wondering what that means? Yes, yoga has quite a few side effects that can help you lead a happy healthy life. Read on to know more.
Calm your mind
Solutions become clear only when the mind is still. To hear intuition over fear, you need to first calm your mind. Yoga lets you tranquilise your mind, value your time, focus on inner reflection and carefully introspect in the stillness of your heart. Thus at the end of every yoga session, your mind is much calmer with a more optimistic perspective.
Unload negative baggage
Are you being a hostage to your negative emotional baggage carried on from your past? Then it’s high time you heal your heart and throw out harmful emotions such as anxiety, fear and conflict from your mind space. Yoga helps you take a closer look at your soul and rewire your psyche in a positive way so that your mind becomes more open to relationships.
Become your own healer
Are you ready to unlock your hidden healing potential? Yoga empowers you to become your own healer. By curbing bad habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption, and negating negative emotions such as acute anger and hostility, medical conditions such as heart attack, diabetes, blood pressure and elevated cholesterol can be controlled and healed slowly. This is apart from practicing appropriate yoga poses that helps create and release healing hormones in your body.
Did you know that chronic insomnia is associated with a 58% increased risk of death? It is also known to be the root cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, dementia and depression. Practicing yoga everyday fights insomnia and helps you have a sound deep sleep at night.
Are you facing relationship problems at home or work? Then, it means that you need to be more mindful about your relationships. Yoga helps you to enrich and enhance relationships by being more mindful. People who practice yoga have shown traits such as greater compassion, increased ability to solve problems, greater resilience to stress, and unconditional acceptance of self and others.
In several alternate health care centers where yoga is practised, the patients say that after every session, in addition to the healing they receive, they are also able to access their feelings and express them without the fear of being judged.
What side effects did yoga have on you?