Thought Catalog

24 Things You Need To Give Yourself A Little More Credit For This Year

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 08:00 PM PST


1. All the pain you've pulled yourself through.

When our lives go off the rails, we tend to slip into survival mode – doing whatever needs to be done to change our situation and then moving on from it as swiftly as possible. We scarcely stop to acknowledge just how much strength and tenacity it takes to keep us going through those times. This year, make a point to acknowledge the person who wiped your tears, pulled you through your toughest hours and got you to where you are today. Because that person's you. And they deserve some thanks.

2. All of the times you've stayed strong for other people.

When shit hits the fan, it's an unspoken rule that at least one person has to hold it together so that everyone else can fall apart. Start giving yourself some credit for all the times when that person's been you. It's a thankless but honorable role – and it's one that not everyone can handle.

3. The failures you tried for in the first place.

We lament endlessly over our downfalls but we rarely stop to pat ourselves on the back for actually having gone after what we wanted. It doesn't always work out – that's a necessary consequence of taking risks. But in the long run, becoming the kind of person who takes those risks is a much greater feat than any one individual failure could ever eclipse.

4. The work you do just to keep yourself alive.

The job you don't love, but work anyway. The side hustle you're keeping afloat. The education you keep hacking away at, knowing it will lead you to better things or the student loans you're dutifully paying down. We rarely give ourselves credit for the 'bare minimum' behaviours we engage in to keep ourselves afloat, but in the long run, they make all the difference. And they're necessary evils that not everybody is up to fighting.

5. The second chances that you have granted.

Not all second chances are granted out of weakness. In most cases, it takes genuine strength to understand a situation from someone else's side and allow them a chance at redemption – knowing that you're risking personal pain in the process. Give yourself some credit for the people you've shown mercy to. You are deciding to be the bigger person that so many other people couldn't be for you.

6. The mornings when you don't feel like getting out of bed but do anyway.

Some people lose this battle more than they win it. If you're always (or almost always) able to pull yourself up to face the day, even when you don't want to, you're probably doing better than you think.

7. The brilliant people you've brought into and kept in your life.

The people you have in your life aren't a coincidence: they're a direct reflection of the energy you're putting out into the world. So if you're surrounded by some top-notch human beings, chances are you're pretty solid company yourself.

8. All of the unhealthy shit you've walked away from.

Recognizing that a job, relationship, situation or thought pattern is toxic is infinitely harder than most of us realize. Any time you're able to identify something that's unhealthy for you and make the conscious choice to remove it from your life, you're a step ahead of most of the population.

9. All of the healthy relationships you've nurtured.

We spend so much time focused on the relationships that have fallen apart that we rarely take the time to appreciate the ones that haven't. This year, pause to consider the friendship you have that have spanned decades, the coworkers you've turned into confidants and the family members you've grown steadily closer to as you've aged. Chances are, your life is bursting with healthy relationships – you just don't stop to fully consider or appreciate them.

10. The ambitions you haven't yet risen to.

You may not be living your dream right now, but the fact that you even have one speaks volumes. Don't discount the power of having a clear-cut goal to work towards – positive motivation is powerful. Having faith that you can get to where you want to go is so often half the battle.

11. The achievements you've collected in the past.

It's an unfortunate consequence of the human condition that our failures tend to stand out more prominently than our triumphs. This year, when you look over your past achievements, take a moment to reflect on how many challenges you've risen to and how many trials you've overcome. Chances are you have a long list of accomplishments and feats – you just keep forgetting to give yourself credit for them.

12. The well-meaning intentions you harbour.

Here's the deal: we all screw up sometimes. We all turn left when we should have turned right and we all make mistakes that we hold ourselves accountable for, sometimes for far too long.

But in the midst of that it's important to pause and consider not just what actions we took, but what our intentions were. A lot of the time, we had perfectly good intentions when we made our mistakes. And those intentions count for something. They remind us who we want to be, and who we want to be matters.

13. The determination you harness.

Take a minute. Look at all the times you've gotten knocked down in life. And then look at all of the times you've gotten back up. If those numbers are even roughly equivalent, chances are you're doing just fine. At the end of the day, it's determination that gets you through, far more than your skills or abilities. Having a strong sense of it means you also have more power than you know.

14. The support you've given others at their worst.

It's easy to love someone when things are going well. What takes true strength and endurance is loving someone through the rough spots in their lives- the times that make them into small and miserable versions of themselves. Give yourself some credit for the people you've seen through the worst – that's the mark of a real friend. The kind of friend we all need.

15. The mistakes you have realized.

Nobody gets through life without messing a few things up along the way. But a lot of people get through life without ever taking accountability for what they've messed up. If you're able to do so – and to repent for the things you've done wrong – you're ahead of the game. You have a self-awareness that most people do not possess.

16. The love you don't question.

The people you support without hesitation. The people whose sides you rush to when things go wrong. The love you dole out without a second thought – that kind of devotion is rare. And if it's a love that you're actively practicing, you're probably making a much stronger impact on the people around you than you realize.

17. The love you do question.

Just as important as the love that comes naturally to you is the love that doesn't. The family members you've struggled to reconcile with. The relationships you've worked hard to salvage. The love that you continue to choose when times are tough – all of it says infinitely more about you than the love that you choose when the sailing's smooth. This year, take the time to appreciate the relationships you have fostered and salvaged against all odds.

18. Your optimism when things are grim.

When the cards are stacked against us, giving into self-pity and pessimism is the easiest thing in the world. Remaining optimistic and headstrong throughout the storms that life sends our way is an immensely underrated quality. And it's one that you're probably not giving yourself enough credit for.

19. The humour you can shed on tough situations.

The ability to laugh at oneself is a truly underrated one. If you are able to find any semblance of humor within the pain and heartache that life sends your way, you're the exact kind of person the world needs more of. Laughter is a healing quality. And those who can dole it out are absolutely irreplaceable.

20. The values you refuse to compromise on.

Many of our values shift and evolve over the course of our lives. But a select few remain consistent, and we rarely stop to give ourselves props for holding true to those. Those are almost always the values we intuitively know to be right. And to remain true to what we know to be right over the course of an entire lifetime is definitely no easy feat.

21. The lofty pipe dream you're still holding onto.

Being wildly idealistic is often a frowned upon quality – but it shouldn't be. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." Keeping your lofty dreams alive in a world of realists is a noble battle to fight – and those who win it are the ones who go on to make real changes.

22. The humility you practice when you need to.

The unglamorous jobs you work to support yourself while you pursue bigger dreams. The apologies you offer up when you know they're warranted. The hard, gritty work that you don't shy away from when you know you need to buckle down. Humility is an underrated quality in our current society and it's one that takes you further than you probably give it credit for.

23. All the times you've proven yourself wrong.

Think of all the people, situations, failures, misgivings and mistakes that it once felt like you'd never get over. And yet here you are, still living. Still growing. Still striving and thriving and carrying on. You have proven yourself wrong an infinite number of times in the past and you will absolutely do so again in the future. Give yourself some credit for all of the odds you've already overcome.

24. The ways in which you've already changed for the better.

It's easy to become so focused on who we want to become that we forget about all the people we've been in the past – and all the ways in which we've already evolved into stronger, kinder, bolder versions of ourselves. This year, take a moment to consider not just where you want to go, but where you've been. And all the awesome changes you have already made for yourself. TC mark

20 Relationship Hiccups Even The Happiest Couples Experience

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 07:00 PM PST

Twenty20, neoklik
Twenty20, neoklik

1. When one person asks, "Why do you love me?" and the other struggles to answer readily, or provides a canned reply instead of saying something sincere.

2. When your significant other says something so deeply offensive, you have to wonder whether they like—let alone love—you enough to justify staying together.

3. When you realize that the lust you once felt during the early stages of dating isn't quite there anymore, and even though something more remarkable and lasting has taken its place, you ache to resurrect the blind, obsessive passion that first drew you to each other. Knowing that you can’t definitely sucks.

4. When you wake up from an awesomely sexy dream starring someone other than your boyfriend or girlfriend and the awareness that you can’t make your fantasy a reality because you’re in an exclusive relationship brings you down, at least until you drink your morning coffee.

5. When you’re thinking about a lifetime of fidelity with the person you adore, and you just can’t shake the skeptical, how-the-fuck-do-couples-actually-do-it? thoughts from tainting your heart.

6. When something about your partner's past is revealed that makes you cringe out of disdain for who they once were, or what they once stood for.

7. When accepting the fact that your partner is a living, breathing accumulation of every choice they've ever made—including the decision to fuck all those other people (before you saved them)—proves more difficult than you wish.

8. When one person is caught lying about even the most innocuous thing and that minor fib inevitably undermines their credibility, at least temporarily.

9. When you fail to comfort your partner in the aftermath of a devastating life event or a typical bad day, and then someone else—a friend, a sibling, or a parent—steps in and proves way more helpful, kind of compromising your position as Most Important Person in your lover’s life.

10. When a tough period or a nasty fight inspires someone to wonder, out loud, what life would look like if they’d never broken up with their ex.

11. When you both have to acknowledge that you'd probably benefit from an afternoon apart, doing separate things, even though you don't get all that much time together.

12. When jealousy prevents you from being genuinely happy for your significant other, or makes you act like an asshole rather than being supportive.

13. When one person behaves in a mind-blowing way, forcing you to question how well you really know each other.

14. When someone’s new friend or hobby totally turns the other off, and you both start to doubt how much you have in common.

15. When the idea of having kids leads you to draft a mental checklist of the traits you hope your baby does (and doesn’t) inherit from your significant other.

16. When you dare to "go there"—to that place you know better than to visit because doing so will lead to the worst kind of hurt—and then quickly regret it, but the damage is already done.

17. When an apology rings false, exacerbating an already prickly situation.

18. When someone secretly isn't all that amped for a special occasion or a date night that's been planned forever so they try to feign excitement but it’s frustratingly obvious that they're not in the mood or as present as they should be.

19. When you realize that maybe you're the one who's behavior is toxic to the relationship and you're not quite sure how to make things better.

20. When you think about what exactly keeps you together and the truth isn’t all that romantic. The glue might just be something banal, like shared stubbornness, or a mutual appreciation for Game of Thrones and a consistent desire to go to bed early. And yet, it works. TC mark

Never Be Afraid That I Will Stop Loving You

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 06:00 PM PST


You are the city I grew up in.

You are the playground where I met my best friend, the familiar roads which I walked from school with a skip in my step, the white house with the blue door which always seemed so friendly because it meant I was two minutes away from home. You are those familiar feelings of complete content to me.

You are the pond I walked to as refuge for my tears, the castle ruins where I played hide and seek as a child, the oak tree that I climbed just to get away from the whole world for a little while. You are all these emotions I had never named as a child come alive.

You are that feeling of quiet wonder I had when I saw a glittering skyline in the night from a balcony for the first time, and the silent early mornings when I would stay awake to see the dawn as it rose over a just waking city. All of these feelings that I have called home, wrapped into the body that I can wrap my arms around and hold.

Your eyes are the colour of the earth just as the rain had kissed it, your hands are as the same warm, safe places I always loved, your mouth the whispers of the wind when it rained against my bedroom window.

Please never feel afraid of my ever knowing you too well, so well that I forget the value of you or of how you smell of places I have loved, and places I have grown up in.

Never feel afraid that I will stop loving you.

Because, even after living my whole life in it, I have never known my city well enough to stop loving it. And I will never treat you like I have known you too well, well enough to stop loving you.

You are the city I grew up in.

Your eyes are the gates,
Your soul is my companion
Your veins the roads I travel. TC mark

Why The Reaction Of The Two Little White Girls Getting Black Dolls Is Important

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 05:15 PM PST

Flickr / teadrinker

A few days ago, a video of two little white girls receiving black dolls surfaced on the Internet. The two girls were visibly disappointed, the younger one expressly more so than her sister. Children, for better or worse, tend to be the most honest of creatures. What we see in the video is an honest reflection of the social conditioning that takes place at an early age with regard to race, color, and maybe even beauty.

The foundation of race, and by extension racism, is not an easy concept to explain. For hundreds of years, (racist) science, along with many other institutions from the religious to the political, declared that there was a fundamental difference between people of different races. Thanks to genetics, what we now know is that the genome of an individual can be tracked and assigned to a race. But we also know that regardless of race, human beings have the same set of genetics. It’s why modern science is unable to logically support racism.

How we understand race however, and its implications, is the result of its social construction. This is to say the way societies imagine race and its implications don’t exist in the natural world as much as it exists in the social world as a function of history, group interactions, and power. The biggest implication of race is racism, which is a real consequence of the social construction of race. Real consequences need to be emphasized because social constructions are often confused for not having effects in reality, despite their non-existence in nature. But the importance of a social construction is not its lack of existence or evidence in nature, but its outcome that can be identified, observed, and measured.

The reaction of the girls in the video is a result of this social construction of race and racism. The little girls, I argue, are simply responding to a society that has taught them that black is undesirable, and perhaps even ugly. Might I add that from the reaction of her parents or guardians (The laughter in the video suggests this is all just a “joke” to them.), and even in the action of uploading such a video, suggests that racism has been learned, and most likely from the actions and inactions in the context of the home. Social scientists have been arguing for a few decades now that racism, fundamentally, is learned.

That is to say, the day a child is born in the United States, is the day they learn how to be a racist.

Evolutionary biologists however, sometimes disagree. While the racist science that is eugenics has been discredited since the second half of the twentieth century, there persists an idea that racism may exist prior to birth. Evolutionary anthropologists have been known to hypothesize that racism may be the result of evolution and group survival. While there is no real scientific basis to support a genetic rationale for racism, an argument that is worthy of examination is that because of the presence of racism, and the mother who bears the child living in a racist world, and in particular a racist American society, an individual cannot escape racism by their birth. That is to say, the day a child is born in the United States, is the day they learn how to be a racist.

Racism of course manifests itself in different ways and for different people. But the type that is of greatest concern is institutional racism. No one can live in a country where institutional racism exists and expect to not hold some racist beliefs. This includes those who are also institutionally speaking, the victims of racism. It’s often not understood that people of color themselves hold onto racist ideals (against each other and themselves). But that is among many reasons why racism is so insidious and extremely difficult to combat.

In watching the video of the two little white girls having such a negative reaction to the black dolls they received as a gift, it made me immediately think of the famous Clark Doll Experiment of 1939. The experiment has been reproduced in different eras but the result has been the same: children of all races in an experiment asking them to choose between black dolls and dolls of color, are more likely to choose white dolls. This is important because as is the case with the video, people have suggested that all children just prefer dolls that “look like them.” But social science and experimentation have demonstrated otherwise.

So what are we to do about the reactions of mere children? After all, they are just children. It would be the wrong reaction, I think, to get angry at these two young children. They are simply reacting to what they have learned, and are certainly not (yet) in the position to make choices for themselves. While one might put the responsibility on their parents (and rightly so), the conversation is much bigger than this one interaction or this one viral video.

The conversation surrounding this incident is ultimately one of un-learning as much as it is of learning. Un-learning to see black as something undesirable and bad and ugly and dangerous; learning to see black as something similar and identifiable and perhaps even “good.” It is true that no matter how much society tries to combat racism in institutions, the home will continue to be the foundation of what we learn about the world – race, color, beauty, and all. We must admit to our limited control in that sphere, and must be persistent in our efforts away from it.

In thinking about the home, however, it made me think of my own home. Specifically a doll that my father bought for me. She was black. Until adulthood, I didn’t understand that my father and mother had done this intentionally. It’s important for white people, I think, to see the humanity of black people – little white girls included. But it is of greater importance that little girls of color, and especially little black girls, to be able to see their own humanity, to see their representations, and to think of themselves and their representations as desirable and beautiful and good.

Every so often, I send my dad an email or a text thanking him for getting me that little black doll. The little white girls in the video will hopefully learn and un-learn some things about blackness. But for little black girls who grow up to be black women, we often still have to tell the little girl who lives inside us to be kind to herself when the world says that we are not desirable, not good, and not beautiful by virtue of simply being us. We often have to tell her what my dad told me once in a response to one of my emails, “I wanted you to know that the world is wrong and that your skin is beautiful. I wanted you to be able to choose you. I wanted you to be able able to tell your own story.”

Thanks dad. TC mark

This Is How You Find The Perfect Travel Buddy To Go On Your Next Adventure

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 05:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / danjohntho
Twenty20 / danjohntho

Finding an authentic connection with another person in the age of technology is a rare occurrence. As you can imagine, finding a person who is willing to take a spontaneous beach trip or get up at 3am to go snowboarding with you is even more difficult. If you are a fan of wild living and are looking for your next partner-in-crime but have no idea where to start, begin with who they are as a person. Here are some tips to keep in mind when it comes to finding your next adventure ally:

1. Expect the unexpected.

It is good to have standards for your friendships, but it does not hurt to give most people a chance (maybe even several chances) before you realize a relationship will not work out. Some people may surprise you and keeping your options open instead of being too selective about who your next friend will be will benefit you in the long-run.

2. They accept you for who you are, instead of who they want you to be.

There is not always a need to get deep with everyone in your friend group. Sometimes you just need to have fun and be able to show the quirkiest parts of yourself without feeling judged. That being said, having a few select people to show your inner demons to without judgment is also necessary. It is the only path to growth and the only way you will move forward. This does not mean they will let you make destructive decisions but that they will be there throughout the messy process if you do end up making a mistake.

3. They encourage you to push your boundaries.

Inner strength and confidence are important to cultivate and it does not always come naturally. Everyone needs a good "kick in the pants" from time to time and if you find someone who keeps your safety in mind but wholeheartedly believes in your ability to try something new—you have found someone special.

4. They are there for you even when there is no adventure to be found.

If you find a person who is only willing to hang out with you when you are doing something exciting, you may want to reevaluate your friendship.

Now, you may have already realized what you desire, character-wise, for the people you choose to surround yourself with but you are in a new location and have no idea where to start when it comes to finding others in your area. Here are four action-oriented tips on how to seek out other adventurous people in your lives:

1. Short and simple—get outside!

This may seem a little obvious but that is only because it is a logical first step. Whether it be getting out of your house to take your dog to the park, hitting up your local rock climbing gym, or going on a hike; you never know when you could run into a new friend.

2. Social Media.

For women, Rad Girls Collective posts "community connections" on Instagram. These community connections feature outdoor women who are seeking someone in their area that share the same passion for their favorite outdoor hobbies. See if you can be featured or be on the lookout for anyone that may live in your area. To my knowledge, there are not many (if any) organizations that facilitate outdoorsmen connecting with other outdoorsmen or others who do not identify as male or female. Just be bold and if you come across someone you find interesting, PM them. You could also encourage companies or non-profits to begin their own "community connections" posts. As always, be mindful when making those connections.

3. Pick up a new hobby.

Purposefully pick your new hobby. Look for something you have been interested in for a while but have yet to try. It is also crucial that the hobby you choose be something that gets you out of the house and into your community. It can be anything from yoga to surfing, or even poetry readings at your local coffee shop.

4. Go on a trip.

So, the first three options did not connect you with anyone. Plan a trip! Perhaps with an organization that encourages people to get outside or one that is associated with one of your favorite hobbies. It may be unnerving to enter a new social situation alone but these trips are designed to bring people together, not to keep them isolated. Keep an open mind and you will be just fine.

Do you have any tips for finding your next adventure ally? Comment below! TC mark

11 Ways To Kick Your Seasonal Affective Disorder In The Ass

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 04:00 PM PST

Nikita Emiilia
Nikita Emiilia

Research shows that over millions of people around the world are affected by winter blues, which has a shrewd acronym "SAD"—also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. This disorder could strike up to any person, in any age—including children.

While I am currently struggling from the blues, I am sharing with you my techniques on how to slay it. Now one trick may work for one person, while it won't for another. So try as much as you can and never give up until something works for you!


1. Open those damn blinds.

Although there are a lot of factors contributing to SAD aside from not getting enough sunshine, studies say that people affected from winter blues have one thing in common: sensitivity to light, or lack of it. Make sure you get your daily dose of sunlight at the right time too, which is in the morning. I personally dislike being exposed to direct sunlight. So what I do is just open the blinds or curtains and let the light come in, which I find just as effective.

2. Listen to some upbeat music.

They say that the music you listen to affects how you perceive the outside world. I am stubborn myself by listening to melancholic vibes whenever I feel down. But realize that a shift of mood is just a click away. There are a lot of music websites and apps out there, but I highly recommend 8tracks.

3. Make hot chocolate your best friend.

Not only this will help keep you warm and comfy, but chocolate adds up to feeling good inside by its serotonin releasing chemicals. Make sure it's dark variety though. Otherwise you'll get even more depressed when you get chunky from too much sweet treats. Green tea is an alternative that is also very helpful.

4. Don't be a hermit.

This is apparently not the best option for introverts like me, but as long as you have at least one person to talk to, that's more than enough. Talk it through. Cry it out. With shameless grace and confidence. You'll feel lighten up afterwards. And don't forget to thank that person too.

5. Discover your inner potential.

Try new things out. Build a new hobby. Like cooking, reading, dancing, blogging, or absolutely anything! It's always nice to have your mind occupied with interesting things rather than curling up in the bed with your week-old pajamas lamenting. After all, new experiences feel rewarding.

6. Move on.

Stop from fuming and fretting. Realize that the world doesn't stop turning when you do. Trust me, it goes on. Level up your clamoring game and put those dancing shoes on. Nobody cares if you have two left feet, everyone's on their phone and so busy they’re not watching you.

7. Keep Moving.

I understand the tussle you have to go through when the weather is chilly and all you want to do is be lazy. You don't even have to do your entire workout session (although it is nice), just a quick cardio or even merely organize your room, a good mood is surely to come your way.

8. Eat healthy.

I believe in the "you are what you eat" cliché. If you consume junk, chances are, you feel all gross inside. But if you stick into a good meal, then you'll feel like an actual human being. I am not a nutritionist or dietician of any sort, but lean proteins, fatty fish, fresh veggies and fruits, and low fat dairy products are always good to go for.

9. Get the right amount of sleep.

People with SAD tend to oversleep. But having low to no energy mimics the feelings of depression, and can even spiral into full fledged depression. So if you're feeling off, sleep it off. But don't ever be a slugabed. Just saying…

10. Take over control on your emotions.

Master yourself. Own it. It takes a tremendous amount of practice, but your mind is powerful and very susceptible. But let me remind you that it only gives you back what you have given it. Learn some tips on how to feel grateful every single day.

11. Be connected with something spiritual.

No matter what you believe in, have huge faith in it. Give the prayer power a shot — it's healing. You'll be greatly astonished by the results if you just believe in it. TC mark

15 Adjustments That Will Make You Infinitely Happier With The Daily Grind Of Your 9 To 5

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 03:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / horvathmark113
Twenty20 / horvathmark113

To anyone who's unsatisfied in their current job, especially big corporate roles where it feels like you're doing nothing but exchanging time for money, this is your survival guide. I want you to keep your big dreams alive, but also see the huge benefits and opportunities sitting on your doorstep every morning as you saunter into the same office, holding the same cup of coffee, greeting the same colleagues, and working on the same computer. Just wait until you discover how a slight change of attitude can make a huge, career-defining difference.

1. Be an intrapreneur first.

Undoubtedly there are things you don't like about your company (if there weren't, would you be so eager to leave?) so take it upon yourself to see how you can improve things while you're still around. If you notice a lack of community, start a weekly happy hour. If you're frustrated by the lack of skill-sharing, bring people together for a speakers series. If you haven't found a mentor, create a new mentorship program and sign up the people you'd otherwise need an excuse to meet. Take all the reasons you're dissatisfied in your current role and turn them into opportunities to demonstrate your leadership, expand your network, experiment with a form of entrepreneurship, and get noticed by your peers and managers alike.

2. Nurture your relationship with your manager.

Feeling truly supported by your manager can make a monotonous, meaningless job far more enjoyable. A good manager can help you (her hard-working, ambitious, and proactive employee) land better assignments, score opportunities overseas, and get introduced to people you admire within the company. Also, when you eventually have to give her your two weeks notice, a strong relationship can lead to an attractive counter-offer, a warm invitation to return if things don't work out with your next step, and a positive reference for the rest of your career.

3. Learn how to use your idle time.

In any job, there will be lulls in the action. The smart corporate-escapee-to-be won't be scrolling through Facebook or reading the news, she'll be looking for extra projects, taking online courses, shadowing a manager in another area of the business, meeting her mentors for coffee, working on a side hustle, writing blog posts, or setting up other job interviews. Use every minute of the time you're getting paid to learn more, do more, and ultimately secure your way out.

4. Get up a little earlier.

While routine may be one of the things you dislike most about working a "9 to 5," you can also use the predictability your advantage. It's been shown that the most successful people are up early prioritizing their day, knocking out small stages of bigger side projects, and investing in themselves in other ways. Schedule time for things you love to do, the things you dream about doing while you're "stuck" at work: reading, writing, meditating, side-hustling, spending time with family, exercising, or brainstorming.

5. Manage a side hustle.

This is one of the most important things you can do while working for someone else: dedicate time out of your nights and weekends (and that aforementioned idle time) to build something for yourself. That could mean landing your first freelancing client, starting a book, or outlining a business plan. It doesn't even have to earn money to be worthwhile. One of my best friends started an arts program for young professionals in Toronto in her spare time, which is teaching her a lot about management, public relations, and branding. As long as it's something you love doing and serves as a creative outlet for your talents outside of the workplace, it's headed in the right direction.

6. Enjoy your paycheck while still saving money.

There will probably come a day when you'll feel the enormous pressure of reeling in clients one at a time, struggling to break even or earn a meager profit as your own boss. You might have a really good month followed by two bad ones, and you'll miss those days when you knew exactly how much money was coming in and had the freedom to splurge. By all means, enjoy and appreciate that corporate paycheck, but at the same time, make sure you have a strategic savings regimen to grow your "freedom fund." When you're a starving entrepreneur or long-term travel bum, you'll be grateful you had the wherewithal to squirrel away a healthy sum when it was relatively easy to do so.

7. Work extra hard.

This might seem counter-intuitive when you probably dislike what you're doing, but suck it up and put your nose to the grindstone. Take on extra projects when you can and even volunteer on other teams if it means exposure to new parts of the business. When I was at IBM, I volunteered on projects in the marketing and global communications department and gained over a year of additional experience that way. Stockpile as many skills and experiences as you can while you're surrounded by the opportunity.

8. Use your corporate benefits.

Free tickets to the theater? VIP seating at the football games? Discounts and hotel points and frequent flier miles? Most companies offer exactly these kinds of perks, so take advantage of them while you can. If you're not sure about your benefits, just contact HR and ask.

9. Track your experience.

You're probably familiar with spreadsheets, so start one dedicated to your professional development. Document important projects you completed, challenges overcome, stories about difficult colleagues, major clients you worked with, and other lessons learned. This will come in handy when going after a promotion, preparing for other job interviews, applying for graduate school, or writing your work bio for a new business pitch.

10. Surround yourself with mentors.

Even if you don't see your career taking the same shape as the people in the upper ranks of your company, they still have more work — and life — experience than you do. Best of all, you never know who your mentors know. If you're able to appropriately express your interest in a different field and they respect you for the hard work you've put into your present position, they may be able to connect you with a senior-level friend of theirs elsewhere.

11. Always be interviewing.

Even if you don't really want a new job, spend a few hours a month sending your resume around and contacting organizations or people that interest you. Take any interview you can get and use it as a chance to periodically assess your personal and professional development. Remember, the best time to look for a job is when you already have one, so always keep your eyes open for new opportunities.

12. Take your vacation.

Some company cultures may subtly, or not so subtly, discourage employees from taking their rightfully earned vacation time. Don't fall into this trap. Be pleasant but firm about using your time off. Give plenty of advance notice and be prepared to work harder in the weeks leading up to it, but don't be discouraged or intimidated out of what you're entitled to as a gainfully employed corporate citizen.

13. Have networking goals.

Decide what kind of people you want to meet and what fields you want to explore, and then have a manageable plan in place to introduce those people and activities into your life. In a major city, you should at least be going to one event and having coffee with two new people in your field every month.

14. Get to know your colleagues.

Are you eating lunch at your desk everyday? Are you taking the presence of your colleagues for granted? Are you investing in those relationships and developing new ones with people outside of your immediate department? Never underestimate where the people around you will be in ten, twenty years and a bond formed "way back in our McKinsey days" could open up unanticipated pathways throughout your life — as close friends or even business partners.

15. Appreciate your ultimate lack of responsibility.

If you're in a "typical office job," most likely your neck isn't on the line fighting for the company's bottom line. The firm could lose out on a huge deal, but you'll still get your paycheck. You don't have to lose sleep about major clients or the Board of Directors approving new corporate policies. Someday you might, when you're the CEO or when you've invested a large sum of money into a business, but for now, you're just a piece of the puzzle. It's important that you excel in managing that piece, but you can enjoy making your very best contribution without the weight of what it's really like to be responsible for an entire company on your shoulders.

Now get back out there and love where you are in your life and career. It doesn't matter if this job is the farthest thing from your ultimate professional goals; you're still building transferable skills, meeting people, earning money, and gaining valuable work — and, more importantly, life — experience. You're surrounded by opportunity, you just have to make the effort to see it, seize it, and appreciate it. TC mark

This post originally appeared at Life Before 30.

6 Fool Proof Ways To Know You’re In Between ‘Like’ And ‘Love’

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 02:00 PM PST

cat klein
cat klein

Why isn't there a word to describe the feeling between liking and loving someone? The stage after you've been on a handful of dates, but before you become entwined in each other's lives. Before you've made commitments to each other of any kind, but have seen the most intimate parts of their body.

Just as Woody Allen couldn't find a word for how strongly he felt for Diane Keaton in Annie Hall, "Love is too weak a word for what I feel for you, I lurve you, I loave you, I luff you," there isn't a word that perfectly encapsulates the feeling between like and love.

I don't know that I have the answer to what we should call this stage of dating, but if we combine the words 'like' and 'love,' we get 'live'. So I say let's live. Let's recognize this feeling and just live in it. Let's not rush into love and all of the commitments and possible heartache that comes with it. Let's enjoy this beautiful and nameless in between.


1. The mundane becomes fascinating.

This is two fold: you suddenly start to see the most mundane details about your day in a totally new way. You put a creative spin on your trip to the doctor, that crazy thing you saw on the way to work or what you had for lunch. You also become fascinated by the small details of their day: a new haircut, a conversation with their boss, what they had for dinner: so long as you're talking to them, you're happy.

2. You’ll find yourself losing all sense of reality when you're together.

You’ll be spinning elaborately robust inside jokes that build worlds only the two of you inhabit. Other people don't just fade away; they simply cease to exist when the two of you are together.

3. You constantly risk being late just to spend a couple more seconds with them.

Parting has never seemed like such sweet sorrow. You will gladly risk your boss's wrath for just one more laugh, one last kiss, one more tryst in bed. When you're with them, everything else is an afterthought.

4. You no longer play games.

When you first start dating someone, it's all about how you play the game. How long do you wait to text them? How many days until you ask for another date? But once you're past 'liking' someone, the guards we put up start to fade away. You can text them whenever you damn well please. A date every weekend is almost a given. And you can let them know the real you without the constant fear of rejection.

5. You’re always being tired, but in a good way.

You're still getting used to this new person in your life and somehow they have to fit in with all of the other things it already contained: work, school, friends, passion projects. And on top of that, when you're not with them, you spend every waking moment thinking about them. As a result, sleep tends to suffer.

6. You're not quite used to this new person in your bed.

After waking up from a deep sleep, you begin to re-enter the world of consciousness. When your eyes open, for a moment your brain doesn't recognize the person lying next to you. The split second after that happens, a flutter in your heart, a warm happiness, a slight nervousness…that's the in between. TC mark

This Is What You Need To Remember When You Feel Like Things Are Falling Apart

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / nei.cruz
Twenty20 / nei.cruz

One of the most remarkable things about being a life coach is having a front row seat when someone's life comes apart at the seams. Or rather, when the mindset that's kept all the little pieces of their life in one particular order comes totally unglued.

One minute I'm asking a question or giving my client space to think, the next minute the person in front of me is having a meltdown, one part excitement, two parts terror at the realization that they have absolutely no idea why they're doing what they're doing and no better idea about where to go next.

It's completely normal, and in most cases, very necessary for any kind of progress to take place. When we experience a paradigm shift that really knocks us off our feet, we all feel disappointment, confusion, pain, and exasperation.

But there's one emotion that doesn't often occur naturally, one I have ready to bring to the table at a moment's notice in these dire circumstances: gratitude.

"Rejoice that you're having this moment!" I chirp at everyone in this state of agony. "Many people never even have this realization. Be grateful that you've been gifted with the ability, space, and time to reflect on your life and understand that maybe you need to be on a different track. This is exciting! This is the beginning of something new."

While it takes some time for my insane enthusiasm to sink in, I watch, time and again, as it dawns on them: This is a gift. I'm encountering new parts of myself, I'm figuring things out. There are growing pains, but everything's going to be okay.

So the next time you're left with whiplash from your worldview changing so fast, don't panic; be thankful. Instead of beating yourself up for being misguided for so long, thank yourself for pumping the breaks when you did. Thank yourself for taking the time to open your eyes, ask a few questions, poke around under the surface, and come to a probably inconvenient, but life-altering conclusion.

Embrace the opportunity for change that lies in front of you, embrace the idea that you will look back one, five, or ten years from now and think, "I'm so glad I realized I was on the wrong path" or, "That was the moment that changed my whole life for the better."

The most important thing is that you woke up. Don't curse the dream or the dreamer, don't focus on the what ifs and the shoulda-woulda-coulda, and, whatever you do, don't try to come up with all the answers now.

The train you're on is moving forward, so just smile, be grateful, and get ready for the ride of your life.

This post originally appeared at Life Before 30.

5 Ways Social Media Fans The Flames Of Controversy

Posted: 04 Jan 2016 12:04 PM PST

American Crime
American Crime Season 2

1. Information spreads incredibly quickly.

Social behavior, for the most part, has not significantly changed in the last few decades. People have always said controversial things, gotten out of control at parties, and done things they regret. What's changed is that today, no matter where you are, the world is always watching. Over 190 million Americans use smartphones today, meaning almost everyone can hear about anything, immediately[1]. With cameras and social media at your fingertips, a single moment can be catapulted into a wider cultural discussion in seconds.

Photos can be uploaded instantly for better or worse, and, as we see in American Crime, young people have been conditioned to whip out their phones at lightning speed to capture any tidbit of gossip. In the premiere, a socially awkward student named Taylor, played by Connor Jessup, comes to school to find upsetting photos of himself intoxicated at a party being shared around the entire community. Given Taylor's standing among his peers as an outsider both socially and culturally, we're left to wonder what really happened at the party. Did he just have too much to drink, or did something darker take place? When we live in an era where any mistakes can be shared, retweeted, reposted, hashtagged, and screenshotted in one second – speculation like this can spread like wildfire.

2. Everything can be misinterpreted.

As soon as you post something – a picture, a video, a spur-of-the-moment rant – it is no longer yours to monitor, protect, and regulate. It now belongs to the Internet. You can upload a photo without thinking too heavily about it, you can hastily post a Snapchat to your story, you can fire off a tweet in a moment of frustration… and if someone notices something controversial about it, you will not be able to control where it goes or how it is explained. Even the troubling pictures of Taylor intoxicated in the premiere of American Crime leave everyone from school administrators, parents, teachers, coaches and community leaders all with their own biases, conclusions, and opinions on the situation.

3. It takes very little time for a tiny mistake to blow up in your face.

Celebrities have lost endorsement deals for similar reasons. Even people outside of the spotlight have lost their jobs due to social media gaffes. In fact, according to the Hiring Site, powered by Career Builder, the number of employers reviewing candidates' web profiles has risen steadily in the past few years – from 39 percent in 2013, to 43% in 2013, and 52% in 2014[2]. So it doesn't take much for a simple post, or in this series a photo upload, on social media to have very serious consequences.

4. We have a platform for unfiltered commentary.

Just fifteen years ago, if you had a strong stance on a hot-button political issue, or a television program offended you, the most you could do was vent to someone in your social circle at happy hour. But now, we have access to a portal that instantly connects us to millions of other people and their opinions. Tweets and statuses provide us with instant gratification, so we often say things without filtering ourselves or thinking twice about the consequences of what we're doing.

Students are able to create and distribute their own hurtful narratives by leaving slanderous public comments and major accusations that spread through social media and their schools. We've all heard about cyberbullying, but according to a 2015 report by the Cyberbullying Research Center it has spread so widely among youth that 34.4% reported having been victims[3]. Hiding behind a screen with the victims out of site, the consequences are less apparent. If the ramifications were more readily and publicly evident, would teens be more careful with their words online

5. Nothing is ever fully deleted.

From sex scandals involving politicians to the large-scale celebrity nude photo hack of 2014, 'deleting' something in today's world means something much different than deleting something twenty years ago. Attempts to destroy incriminating photos and comments are impossible once they're live and shared around the web.

You can throw a Polaroid in the fire, you can destroy confidential documents in your trusted paper shredder, but there's really no way to be sure that everything on your phone and computer is truly safe from the outside. In American Crime, humiliating and potentially incriminating photos are being sent around the community. Even if one person deletes them, they belong to the internet and will still be publicly accessible for better or worse. TC mark

Tune in to see how the controversy unfolds. Check out the new season, and new story of American Crime when it returns to ABC January 6 at 10|9c.