The 7 Definitive Steps to Self-Mastery

The pursuit of self-mastery is a life-long endeavor. Unfortunately, it’s not something you can be naturally gifted at, or pick up with relative ease. It’s rooted in the conscious application of your knowledge to make better life choices. You can’t “game” any system or resort to hacks that will accelerate the process. In short, it involves a lot of trial and error. Achieving mastery over anything requires consistency. That’s the real secret – if there is one at all.

So how do you actually do it? The answer will vary depending on who you’re asking. Some will undoubtedly point to the spiritual path, while others will offer a more pragmatic approach. Neither is wrong. In fact, they’re both necessary and ultimately lead to the same destination. Self-mastery is about building a sense of inner fortitude that can’t be swayed by negative influences. It’s not a singular quality, but the sum total of your thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

Here’s how you can align your intentions to bring out the best of yourself in every situation:

1.          Start Taking Accountability for Your Actions

You can’t deny the influence your actions have on both yourself and others. When you refuse to acknowledge your part in events that don’t turn out as expected, you stagnate. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in your relationships, work-life, or even your hobbies. You’ll never find the solution to your problems if you’re unable to look at yourself from a critical perspective. You can’t shift blame onto others indefinitely and continue to develop as a human being – your personal responsibility is non-negotiable. Accountability starts with your introspection and being completely honest about why you’re in your current situation. If you’re not getting to where you want to be, then ask yourself, ‘when did this slide begin?’ Only you are capable of correcting your course. No one is coming to save you but yourself, and there is no reward for playing the victim.

2.          Use Your “Failures” as an Opportunity to Improve

Throughout life, you’re going to experience setbacks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t turn them to your advantage. The defining quality that separates those who succeed and those who fall by the wayside is how they respond. Life is a learning game. You don’t need to be perfect every time you turn your hand to something new. But you do need to approach it with an attitude of perseverance. It takes approximately 10,000 hours to gain mastery over a new skill. That’s a lot of mistakes. But then, even if you need to change directions completely, don’t view those efforts as dead-ends or “failures.” Use your hindsight to make better decisions in the future. “Fail forwards.” Invert your thinking and turn your missteps into an opportunity for growth. Instead of asking yourself, ‘Why me?’ ask yourself, ‘Why now? What is this experience here to teach me?’

3.          Move Away from Instant Gratification and Start Playing the Long Game

One of the unfortunate side effects modern technology – and social media – has gifted us with is the desire to experience everything now. It’s reasonable to want our meals when we’re hungry and public services to run on time. But today’s world moves at such a rate that we want almost everything else yesterday. However, there’s a lot to be said for playing a more deliberate game in life. By delaying gratification, you’re no longer ruled by your urges. It allows you to direct your energy into a more clearly defined vision for the future, which will ultimately yield bigger rewards. Sure, living for the moment does have a certain appeal. But if it becomes your default position, you risk falling into entitlement. You lose the ability to be flexible, which can lead to tensions within your relationships and emotionally charged decisions that you may later come to regret.

4.          Replace the Idea ‘Hope’ with Positive Action 

Hope may sound harmless enough. But if you invest so much of yourself into the idea that everything is going to ‘work out,’ it can take you away from what you could be doing right now. It replaces pragmatism with fantasy-based “what if’s?” What makes hope such a negative emotion is that it’s rooted in a ‘possible future.’ There’s no certainty that what you wish for is going to come true. And when it doesn’t, the crashing low you experience can feel like the end of the world. Hope leads to hopelessness. The more active you can be in improving your situation, the more likely you are to achieve your goals. Be accepting of your circumstances, but don’t fall into the trap of becoming the ‘passive observer.’ You can make a difference, no matter how small it might appear. Hope has killed more dreams than positive action ever will.

5.          Become the Objective Observer and Use Your Discernment

From an early age, the subconscious mind is processing all your experiences and cataloging them as reference points that will inform your future behavior. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this, as you’re too young to realize what’s going on. In later life, however, you can challenge your programming. But to do this, you must become completely unbiased. You need to develop the habit of questioning yourself relentlessly – and be accepting of some hard truths. This allows you to become the objective observer. In essence, it’s a more expansive way of practicing mindfulness. From this perspective, you can side-step your ego and distinguish between what’s a true need and just a want. By exercising your discernment on a regular basis, you create your own value system that supersedes your subconscious. You create your own identity and filter of truth, which in turn increases your problem-solving skills.

6.          Let Go of What No Longer Serves You

Letting go can be a hard skill to master. But everything has a finite existence. This may be hard to accept, as there’s a certain level of comfort in the familiar. It’s something we can predict. But over time, we allow toxic people into our lives, fall into negative habits, and take on limiting beliefs. It means we have to go through a purging process. We need to rid ourselves of the dead weight that’s adding nothing to our life and only making demands of our energy. This isn’t always easy. You might have to make some tough decisions about who’s really on your side and who’s holding you back. But what’s worse is allowing your self-limiting beliefs to keep you where you are right now. Remember, you aren’t closing yourself off from experiences, but simply making room to allow new ones in.

7.          Never Believe You’ve Got It All Figured Out

The true master never stops learning. And allowing your beliefs to be challenged is one of the greatest character traits there is – you can learn far more by saying less and being receptive to what others have to share. Everyone possesses their own nuggets of truth based on their unique set of experiences. And even if there is a lot of common ground, there are multiple ways of expressing a concept – each one coming from a different angle. Perspective is such a valuable commodity; it does no harm to have an old idea reaffirmed in a new context. Whenever you enter into a conversation, leave your ego at the door, and adopt a stance of listening first. The moment you think there’s nothing left to learn is the moment you start losing touch with the world around you. Your assumptions are the mother of arrogance, which in turn is one step away from bias.  

Author Bio

Sam Boomer

Sam is a Beyond Quantum Healing Hypnosis practitioner. He creates profound transformations in those he works with, helping them resolve deep-seated emotional traumas, chronic health issues, and discover their true purpose in life. If you’re ready to take the next step in your personaldevelopment and healing journey, you can find out more at Awake and Align

The post The 7 Definitive Steps to Self-Mastery appeared first on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement.


A Guide in Picking The Best WordPress Host

According to Google’s Best Practices, a website should load in 3 seconds or less. Any longer, and visitors may click away from growing impatient. According to research, a 9-second increase in page load time increases mobile bounce rate by 123%. Now that we know that, it’s more important than ever to optimize your website.

This starts from the ground up when choosing your hosting provider. What’s more, it has never been more important than now to have a well-functioning website for your business. Here are a few ways you can give your website a boost in curb appeal.

The Types of WordPress Hosts

WordPress is the most popular open-source content management system available. With that comes many types of hosting.

Shared Hosting allows multiple websites to be stored and run on one server. This is done using the shared server resources, such as CPU and RAM. In contrast, Dedicated Server Hosting stores each site on its own server. In this type of hosting, site owners and administrators are able to control all aspects of their hosting.

With Cloud Hosting, resources are spread across multiple servers so that applications can use combined computing resources. However, the most complex form of WordPress hosting is Managed WordPress Hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting is a concierge hosting service where all technical aspects of WordPress (speed, security, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, scalability) are managed by the host.

Technical aspects are so important because they speed up your website. As mentioned before, speeding up your website can improve your user experience. However, this isn’t the only benefit of a zippy landing page. High load speeds can increase your domain’s conversion rates, as well as improve its search ranking.

The Key Factors Contributing To Speed

site speed

External scripts are a primary influencer of reduced site speed. Removing ads, font leaders, and similar external scripts may help your site load faster. Furthermore, bad plugins – such as fragmented codes or expired plugins – can do a great amount of damage to the speed of your website. To prevent this, make sure your plugins are properly installed and optimized.

Also contributing to speed is how your WordPress website has been configured. For example, pages failing out to cache can go on to overload your servers. This may ultimately cause your website to run slow – or crash completely.

Similarly, page size can show effects on the speed of your website. Any busy, overcrowded pages – or pages with too many elements – are more prone to load slowly. As a precaution, remove any extra fat from your landing pages.

Finally, you’ll want to assess your web host itself. Generally speaking, shared hosting is optimal for allowing others to consume the resources your site needs.

Choosing The Right WordPress Host

As a rule of thumb, the key to a quick-loading WordPress website is to find the right host. To do so, you’ll first need to pinpoint the needs of your website. Every host will offer different features, so making a list of what your website needs will help you sort through the hay. However, there are a few basic features that every WordPress host should offer to keep your eye peeled out for.

For example, pre-installed WordPress software. This way, you can administrate your website regardless of the device. Additionally, automatic nightly backups are a common feature most WordPress hosts should offer, as well as automatic updates for WordPress. Other features to keep an eye out for are 24/7 security and tech support, expert support, and web services built specifically for websites hosted on WordPress.

In your search for a host, you’ll also want to compare the prices offered by each various provider, as well as take advantage of any free trial periods offered. This way, you can try the host out for a spin.

More commonly unbeknownst, but not to be confused with features, WordPress hosts typically offer many services. When you’re down your options, compare the subscription price in correspondence to the services the host is offering.

Examples of WordPress services include hardware and software setup and configuration, hardware maintenance and replacement, software patching (and updates), and technical support and monitoring. Services such as these can be helpful all around the board. In this day and age, it’s not only important to have an optimally running website, but also a secure one.

The Host of Your Choice

choosing the best wordpress hosting

At this point, you should have all you need to make a decision on a WordPress host. Once you’ve done so, as well as configured your plugins and themes, give your site a few speed tests. IsItWP, Pingdom, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Time To First Byte, to name a few, provide reliable results. Additionally, the quiz on WordPress Beginner can help you pick the best WordPress host.

Tip: Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to produce faster-loading images, and consider using AMP to optimize your mobile experience.

Websites are the new real estate. Has your site found a home?

Please include attribution to with this graphic.

How to Choose the Best WordPress Hosting in 2020

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Stunning Landscape Photo Captures the Incredible Ever-Changing Weather of Iceland

Landscape Photograph of Iceland by Mikhail Shcheglov

“Before a Storm,” Dyrhólaey Cape, Iceland

The small country of Iceland is renowned for its natural beauty and a diverse landscape that includes volcanoes, mountains, and geysers. Due to its location, this island also has a remarkably active climate. Moscow-based photographer Mikhail Shcheglov traveled to Dyrhólaey Cape in South Iceland and managed to capture a mesmerizing change in the weather. While sunshine falls on plants in the foreground, a large rainbow appears from dark, stormy clouds, framing the coast.

“The weather in Iceland is changing dramatically—all-time strong winds draw in the sky fantastic images which follow each other rapidly,” Shcheglov tells My Modern Met. “Sometimes they are vivid, picturesque, and rich in contrast, sometimes deep and dramatic. You need to stand by holding your camera ready to shoot the outstanding moment of nature transformation.” The 51-year-old photographer managed to do just that when he snapped a shot of this incredible moment during an evening walk, prior to a thunderstorm.

Shcheglov’s brilliant photograph, entitled Before a Storm, was even shortlisted for the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS) Weather Photographer of the Year 2020 award. “As the name suggests, this image was taken just before a storm and the wispy virga are clearly visible,” RMetS explains on its website. “Virga frequently precede heavy downpours when the air below the cloud base is not yet humid enough to support full precipitation. The trails of precipitation evaporate or sublime in the drier air before they reach the ground.”

You can keep up to date with Shecheglov’s latest photography projects by following the photographer on Instagram.

Mikhail Shcheglov: Instagram | 35Photo

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Mikhail Shcheglov.

4 Ways Some People Cope Better Than Others

Ever wonder why some people seem to take things in stride no matter how tough it all gets? These people seem to bounce back from every setback and weather all the storms with what appears to be complete calm and poise.

We all experience hardships in life. Whether it’s loss of a job, divorce, illness, death of a loved one, or a myriad of other unfortunate circumstances – bad things happen to everyone. But some people just seem to be better equipped for handling them. As it turns out, they probably are.

Contributors To Successful Coping

Although temperament and a predisposition to embrace coping mechanisms have a basis in biology and personality, that’s not the whole story. While these play a role in a person’s resilience, it’s really only a small part of the equation. People aren’t born with an innate expert ability to handle stress, it’s something that’s learned and cultivated through the experiences they’ve had in their lives.

The largest contributor to developing effective coping is life experiences, both those in childhood and adulthood. These experiences provide an opportunity for each of us to choose to learn the skills necessary to become resilient. This doesn’t mean a person has to experience trauma and hardship as a child (although they may have), but rather maybe was shown by a trusted adult how to bend but not break when things become difficult.

The same learning can occur as an adult as well. Of course, not all people who are able to successfully cope with stress and trauma have had the benefit of how to do so modeled for them. Some have had to discover these things on their own.

Everyone has encountered stressful events throughout their lives, some more difficult than others. With this comes the opportunity to discover the best ways to cope. While some people may naturally embrace coping mechanisms more fully than others, it’s the experience of stressful circumstances that allow every one of us the chance to learn the practices that foster resilience. Consequently, this gives us the ability to handle things and move on more effectively.

Among the most common and useful things that active copers do are the following:

Cultivate a social support system

support group

Having people around you that you trust, care about, and care about you is crucial to effective coping. In fact, it seems to be one of the most important factors when it comes to handling stressful or traumatic situations in the healthiest manner.

When stressed or in crisis, it’s the people you trust and love that can often provide a sounding board and perspective that help keep you grounded. They can also limit the tendency to isolate, which can be a common response for some when dealing with difficult circumstances.

Actively problem solve

The most resilient people are also active problem solvers. When things are tough, they automatically think, “How can I fix this?” and begin looking for solutions to their situation.

Recognize and accept help when needed

The world doesn’t rest on one person’s shoulders alone. Effectively coping with difficulty means knowing when you need help and accepting the help when given. This can be difficult for people who have trust issues and struggle with personal relationships. It can also be extremely difficult for those who feel isolated and possibly responsible for their own unhappiness.

Look for larger context

coping with stress

I knew a man once who, in the face of any difficulty, would say, “Well, they can’t kill me.” In this way he was looking at the larger picture of his own circumstances – things may be tough, but he’ll survive. People who cope well can generally put their situation in perspective and calm themselves by seeing things in a greater context. One common way people do this is through religion.

There are many other practices that effective copers do, but these are some of the most reliable.

Not All Things Can Be Solved

Probably the biggest secret of those who handle stressful situations well is their understanding that not everything can be fixed. We put a great deal of emphasis on working through things, dissecting them, fixing them, and agreeing on what to do next. The truth is that not all problems can be solved, some just have to be accepted.

Being able to get past things rather than fixing them (or fixating on them) is a difficult ability to cultivate, and it’s a slippery slope. It can be easily confused with the desire to ignore a problem or put your head in the sand when what you need to be doing is facing things head on. That being said, understanding the difference between what you have the ability to fix (or control) and what you need to accept and move past can be a very useful skill when it comes to coping.

If you are struggling with something and finding it difficult to cope, you’re not alone. The skills it takes to do this effectively take practice and sometimes coaching. If you find yourself in need of help then refer to point three above – recognize your need for help and seek it. If your social support system isn’t providing what you need, counseling with a professional who is experienced with your particular issue can be a great alternative.

The post 4 Ways Some People Cope Better Than Others appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

“The middle class has become more like poor people than they were 30 years ago.” -Jimmy Carter.

Are there 300 million Gods? NASA Says About 300 Million Habitable Planets Could Exist in the Milky Way

NASA Says About 300 Million Habitable Planets Could Exist in the Milky Way

Habitable Exoplanet

Illustration of Kepler-186f, the first validated Earth-size planet to orbit a distant star in the habitable zone. (Photo: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

Humans have long wondered if there were other planets like Earth where life could thrive. This age-old question began to resurface as more and more exoplanets were discovered in recent years. Thanks to a new study, we have an idea of just how many planets might support life, and the number might shock you.

Using data from the now-retired Kepler space telescope, a group of researchers has estimated that there are about 300 million habitable planets just in the Milky Way. And several might even be in our neighborhood. So what makes a planet habitable in the eyes of astronomers? First, the planet needs to be rocky and capable of supporting liquid water on the surface. And second, it needs to have a nearby star that is the correct temperature. To be precise, these stars need to be a similar temperature to the Sun, give or take 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Interestingly, a few exoplanets relatively close by meet the criteria. In fact, at least four are within 30 light-years of our Sun, with the closest only 20 light-years away. Of course, nothing is for certain, but this research helps us understand what exoplanets have the potential to have the right ingredients to support life. The results come about after the researchers closely examined four years of research from the Kepler space telescope.

GIF of Exoplanet in Rotation

Illustration of the possible appearance of the planet Kepler-452b, the first near-Earth-size world to be found in the habitable zone of a star similar to our Sun. (Photo: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle)

“Kepler already told us there were billions of planets, but now we know a good chunk of those planets might be rocky and habitable,” says the lead author Steve Bryson, a researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “Though this result is far from a final value, and water on a planet’s surface is only one of many factors to support life, it’s extremely exciting that we calculated these worlds are this common with such high confidence and precision.”

Until it ran out of fuel and was retired in 2018, the Kepler space telescope was on a mission to find out how many habitable planets exist in our galaxy. For this study, the information it collected was combined with data from the European Space Agency’s Gaia mission. The Gaia mission provided important information about how much energy falls on a planet from its host star, opening up a world of possibilities. In fact, taking into account the atmosphere of these planets, they found that about half of Sun-like stars have rocky planets capable of hosting liquid water on their surfaces.

Before you start thinking that we’ll be jetting off to these exoplanets anytime soon, more work must be done to see if the researchers’ predictions are correct. Still, it’s a big breakthrough for all those involved in trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe. “To me, this result is an example of how much we’ve been able to discover just with that small glimpse beyond our solar system,” said Bryson. “What we see is that our galaxy is a fascinating one, with fascinating worlds, and some that may not be too different from our own.”

h/t: [Science Alert]