Month: February 2016

Overcoming the Obstacles of Entrepreneurship

Bored with your routine job and thinking of starting your own business, or are you in desperate need of money? By now you must have heard that 90% of all small businesses fail: poor planning, competitiveness, insufficient advertisement and lack of capital being some of the factors.

Do you think you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? Experts like Peter Drucker, the educator, author and management consultant who invented the term management by objectives and self-control says that entrepreneurs ‘create something new, something different; they change or transmute values.’[i] If this is you and you are here to make an impression on the world, you will have to have a novel or fresh concept and you will have to overcome your doubters by being your own boss.

Being stereotyped is one of the main obstacles an entrepreneur will have to overcome. If you start from scratch -zero dollar-, people will judge. When people talk, they speak their fears for your new idea. To them because you are coming with something new, you are bound to fail.

The average person does not want to work with a non-established entity, unless the business is first class and the average person has little tolerance for the growing pains of a usually single staffed company. People prefer top service at an affordable price. If you can make your company seem as if you are at the top of your industry but come at a reasonable price, you have done the trick.

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The personality traits at the entrepreneur’s disposal impact greatly on her or his success. Nader Seyed Amiri and Mohammad Reza Marimaei from the University of Tehran say entrepreneurs demonstrate ‘confidence, perseverance, determination, energy, diligence, resourcefulness, the ability to take calculated risks, dynamism, leadership mistakes, optimism, the need to achieve, versatility, knowledge of the product and creativity’.[ii]

Look at your list of people skills and on a case-by-case basis, determine which quality to use when dealing with difficult people and challenges in the business.

Be frank and ask yourself, ‘what kind of lifestyle do I want? How do I want to operate? How much time am I prepared to devote to building my business? How big do I want my business to grow? What kind of business culture do I want to have? How will the business change my life?’[iii]

IMG_20160229_140513Money is the main culprit thwarting startups. People do not have enough money to pay for the goods or services when you wished to charge them to maximize profit.

Sometimes it is impossible to predict the number of customers and difficult to price products and services. There are times when most entrepreneurs will be unable to pay staff or self. If you dip into your business’ pocket, you have robbed it of its chance to succeed. Whatever little is earned from the business is to keep it afloat. The most important use of money is to purchase stock and pay staff. Self is the last to be paid from any new business.

If you are starting with zero dollars or a year security, have faith. Seek and learn what funding is available for small business operators. Most of funding is for already established small businesses. Remember, every dollar that can be accessed will come in handy.

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So you are the pig-headed one, who is determined to prove you can succeed at everything you try, then by now, you know that knowledge is the key. Jumping into an area of business that you know nothing about can be very costly. Every entrepreneur must have knowledge about their industry of choice. It is often best to start a business in which you have experience. This is where your skills can best be used. But if you have no experience, please, educate yourself about the business you are venturing into before investing all your resources and time into it.

Be the humble servant. Everybody you meet and everyone you know is a potential customer. Remember that business people are here to serve the needs of the community. As the servants of our customers, we know that a well-pleased customer is money in our pockets. We keep our clients satisfied.

Listen to the Voice within. Have the guts to follow your dreams and follow your own path. The 10% successful entrepreneurs did it their own way because they listened to that Voice within.

[i] Van Sickle, Heather. Defining Entrepreneurship: Starting A Dialogue on the Meaning of the “E” in NACCE. National Association For Community Colleges. 2010.

[ii] Amiri, Nader Seyed & Marimaei, Mohammad Reza. Concept of Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurs Traits and Characteristics. Public Management, University of Tehran, Faculty of Management MA in Agricultural Economics Accepted 23 November, 2012.

[iii] Taylor, Andre. Are You Helping Entrepreneurs Plan for the Future? Defining Entrepreneurship: Starting A Dialogue on the Meaning of the “E” in NACCE. National Association For Community Colleges. 2010.

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11 Tips On How To Improve Your Memory

Are you having a problem recalling information in quizzes and exams? If the teacher just spoke the answers, will you forget parts b) and c) while putting ink to paper? You are not alone. Memory loss spans all groups of society, not just those in school. As we age, many adults forget personal experiences and the faces and names of people known because we do not regenerate our brain cells, as we did when we are young and active. The key is activity. It is true that the aging process and genetics do affect memory but the brain was created as a powerful organ that renews its cells for the duration of our lifetime. With lifestyle changes there is no reason most people cannot improve short-term and long-term brain functions at any age.

The brain’s memory center is where we store our knowledge and experiences. It is called the hippocampus. This is a Latin word for seahorse because the hippocampus is supposed to resemble a seahorse and not a hippopotamus. The hippocampus is part of the limbic system located in the brain’s medial temporal lobe, near the center and gives us our ability to recall facts and events. The hippocampus does not control short-term memory, which we use in our day-to-day activities. The cortex and the cerebellum, both of which are structures in the limbic system, regulate short-term memory and procedural memory.

So how do we ensure that our entire limbic system, especially our hippocampus is at optimal peak to remember stuff? Here are some useful tips:

Forming New Habits

There are three processes to remembering things –attention, storage and retrieval. In order to remember someone or something, they or it must have made an impression on our minds, otherwise the bus passes by but we see no one on it, even though people were sitting in it. Once you paid attention to the thing, the brain then stores it and when it is needed, the brain recalls it.

Dr. D. A. Williams and Dr. M. Carey of the University of Michigan suggests that those of us who are forgetting to do things, such as to lock the door or turn off the light when we leave a room, pay attention. We must tell ourselves out loud not to forget to turn off the light and close the door. If we still forget, keep trying until the old habit is broken and a new habit is created. Or we must repeat people’s names to ourselves when we meet them or to them –like hello John, good-bye John, so the next time we see them we remember their names.

Dr. D. A. Williams and Dr. M. Carey also suggest developing our senses –what we see, hear, smell, taste and touch. By paying attention to what is going on around us, we live less in our distracting thoughts and stay present in what is going on in the now.

Getting Organized

Rearranging our homes and throwing away things that should not be there, placing things in the right places and repetitively doing new stuff to wake our sleeping brains helps with memory recall. The more new activities added to our lives, the more our brain grows to facilitate us learning. It is a genius creation.

Activities for the Brain

Engage in brain activities that stimulate the brain. There are tons of brain games online that are geared towards improving memory and cognitive skills. There are also techniques like mnemonics that are taught from the pre-school level to the tertiary level to improve memory. Mnemonics is the use of letters and symbols to represent nouns and objects –like ‘my very educated mother just showed us nine planets (MVEMJSUNP –Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.

Socialize and Pick Up Hobbies

Socializing can be tough because many of us do not know how to get along with different personalities but by taking up new interests and hobbies, we automatically meet new people and stimulate our brains both ways –for everything about new people and new tasks is challenging. Doing the same routine lulls the brain to sleep. To build new brain cells the brain must be challenged. Learning to paint, sew, kick-box, play the piano or write stories engages the brain. Every discarded skill you wished you had but failed to even try, pick it up. Picking up hobbies and interest come highly recommended as activities to challenge and strengthen the brain.

Better Nutrition

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Omega 3 improves memory and brain health. It is found in fish oil but for those vegans who are not interested in supplements, Omega-3 is also found in walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans, pinto beans, soybeans, spinach, broccoli and in high doses in coconut oil. Reduce the consumption of Omega 6 (processed vegetable oils) and balance the ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6 with uncooked coconut oil.

What we eat or do not eat nourishes or malnourishes the brain. Sugars and simple carbs do not energize the brain, in fact they malnourish the brain. Biscuits, buns, bullas and white bread are simple carbs and sodas, drinks and most juices not purchased in a supermarket are made of simple sugars that drain the body of energy. Juices made from raw fruits are best for the brain.

The brain is fuelled by ketones, which the body derives from fatty acids when deprived of carbohydrates for an extended period of time. Coconut oil and other sources of healthy fatty acids nourish the body to generate ketones. Eating between ten o’clock in the morning and six in the evening facilitates the 16 hours of fasting the body requires to begin metabolizing its brain fuel or going on a ketogenic diet can do the trick. Ketogenic diets are high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates and are best designed by a doctor because it affects blood sugar levels, the heart and the kidneys.

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Two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 35 ml or 7 level teaspoons) supplies 20 grams of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) will help to prevent and treat some degenerative neurological diseases.

Sunlight

Getting sufficient sunlight also increases nerve growth in the brain. Sunlight provides the body with vitamin D, which affects the brain’s ability to plan, to process information and to form new memory cells. Vitamin D receptors are located in the in the hippocampus and cerebellum.

Healthy Gut

The gut is also very important to brain function, our psychological state and our behavior. Bacteria are transmitted from the gut to the brain via the vagus nerve. Abnormal gut flora correlates with abnormal brain development. The gut is also where neurotransmitters like serotonin -which affects mood- are produced. Avoiding sugars, simple carbs and eating healthy bacteria found in brewer’s yeast and yogurt are three of the best ways to support a healthy gut.

Exercise

Aerobic exercise such as anything adrenaline based, like running, skipping, hiking or brisk walking is good for improving memory. Aerobic exercises, cardiovascular training, simple weight training and movement therapy are recommended to improve the memory. The body is able to burn excess carbohydrates and sugar, which makes it turn to its fat stored, synthesizing Ketone –brain fuel.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation affects problem solving, as well as creative and critical thinking skills. Napping during the day is known to improve memory recall and restore brainpower. Sleeping or napping after study sessions causes better recognition in patterns of new information. Get restful sleep at nights. Sleep enhances your memory. Sleeping four to six hours improves the clarity of your thinking.

No multitasking

Avoid TVs, laptops, tablets and phones at least an hour before bed. The blue light emitted by the screens of these devices trigger alertness and suppress hormones such as melatonin that make the body sleepy. Avoid energy boosting beverages and black tea; they keep the body awake.

Meditation

Meditation improves depression, anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure, focus, concentration, creativity, memory and learning.

Movement Is The Answer To Pain

“Is anybody in the kitchen?” called a voice from the living room.

Lisa got up and walked to the living room, reached out her hand and took the tray with the empty breakfast plate from her blind eighty-three year old father.

Every day that passed he was losing his mobility and reluctant to feel his way from room to room. She glanced at his feet that had been gradually swelling for the past few months because of his inactivity and knew any mention of taking him to the doctor would be met with resistance. What was she to do?

Lisa’s situation is not an uncommon one. Watching an aging parent lose physical mobility is not easy, especially since they are losing their independence. Physiotherapy can help them, or anyone -even small infants who have lost or are experiencing diminished movement in any area of the body.

Physiotherapy is movement therapy. According to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, ‘physiotherapy helps restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability.’ It is not just for persons who have been in accidents –as is the commonly held view.

Often we live very sedentary lives –only moving from the couch to the fridge, or from our desk to our cars and into our beds. We do not move our bodies as often as we need to and our muscles, tissues and bones lose their functions or become stiff and pain ridden from being in one position too long. Whenever the muscles begin to get weary from being immobile, the body will start sending out discomfort and pain signals that it is being strained. To combat the strain on the muscle walk around the room and do some stretches to get the body moving, if this will not cause further injury to the body.

With a physiotherapist, the movement and functions of the body can be restored in a safe environment with someone who is professionally trained to re-educate the body. As simple as it sounds someone limping or hobbling across a room can be due to their lifestyle, and simply retraining the body in movement is all that is needed to be rid of the limp.

“I took dad to a physiotherapist but he is reluctant to move around the room and he won’t try the exercises,” Lisa says.

What Lisa needs is a specialist physiotherapist, who engages in ergonomics. Ergonomics is a discipline of physiotherapy which recognizes that the physical surrounding of the individual impacts on the individual’s physical wellbeing. In the case of Lisa’s dad and many more like him, simply moving the furniture to least obstruct or to aid him can be beneficial to him becoming mobile. Understanding the layout of the room can allow persons who are visually impaired to use the furniture to map the room and the removal of objects that would cause him to trip or fall from off the floor will make him feel safe to venture from his usual spot. It is all about the objects being an aid rather than an impediment to his mobility.

“But what about pain? Isn’t physiotherapy painful?”

In its February 2012 Position Paper, the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) says ‘injury or surgery or an active disease process within the tissues’ may cause pain and the number one remedy for pain which affects 1 in every 5 Australians is physiotherapy but there are not enough physiotherapist. The APA states the role of a physiotherapist is to ‘assist people to live with chronic pain and to work across the lifespan continuum assisting patients with their pain in primary care settings with the aim of diminishing pain, improving quality of life where possible and preventing acute and sub-acute painful conditions developing into chronic pain.’

The young and healthy can benefit from physiotherapy too. Physiotherapy is necessary for all age groups because injury of the musculoskeletal system occurs at all ages. People tend to strain their muscles lifting heavy objects because they do not understand body dynamics. The muscles contract and relax around the joints from which we pivot to push and pull all objects. With physiotherapist individuals can be reeducated on the proper techniques of lifting a pan of water or a dumbbell that there will be no reoccurrence of the injury. Movement education is for everyone.