The End of 2014

As the end of 2014 draws near, one is often compelled to reflect on all the happenings of the year. I hope the reader will be capable of searching deep within themselves, truly ruminating on all the events of the previous year in an effort to derive wisdom which will serve to better the year that is to come. I believe that all experiences can offer a modicum of wisdom and learning that should never be squandered. From the most obscene eruption of the bowels to the most profound acts of love and intimacy; from the most banal tasks of labor to the most exquisite art crafted, each experience bequeaths one with information that can expand one’s understanding of oneself and the universe.

We are all beset by bleak circumstances and indescribable loss, often at times when one least expects it. We have all made regrettable decisions, it is part of being human. We consumed too greedily, we spoke too carelessly, we neglected too frequently, and we acted too selfishly. Consequences of such actions tend to exact a heavy price, wherein one accrues a debt that is difficult to shake. But also I encourage the reader to reflect on all the good that has taken place and remember that salvation of a kind is possible. Only we can deliver ourselves from our own sins and the first step towards any kind of redemption begins with accepting responsibility in an adult sense.

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Personalization

In a world of mass media and mass email and group messages and group texts and group meetings, it is important to keep something in mind: the messages sent may be small electrical impulses and packets of data traveling through the interwebs; however, the recipients are not those things. Indeed, I assert that the recipients are for more. Individualized and personalized messages will serve your recipient better and it will have such a positive and profound impact, the effects of which are almost too good to squander.

Take the humble birthday. How often has the reader been the recipient of a birthday card, a birthday text, or a birthday post (whether on Facebook or Twitter), and the message was a generic, poorly-thought cluster of words. It’s as if the sender’s only intention was to save themselves from grief had the sender forgotten one’s birthday.

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The science of setting goals

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How to make New Year’s resolutions that actually work out this time.

It’s the time of year when optimism strikes anew and we think to ourselves: our New Year’s resolutions will totally work out this time. Never mind that we abandoned them by Valentine’s Day last year. And the year before. And, well, you know the drill.

But what if this year really could be different?

There’s a science to setting goals. The problem is that it often stays in the ivory tower or gets muddled with misinformation. We called up Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk: How to make stress your friend), a psychologist at Stanford University, and asked her about the best way to set and accomplish a goal, scientifically speaking. Below, she shares four research-backed tips to help you craft and carry out successful goals.

Choose a goal that matters, not just an easy win.

Our brains are wired to love rewards, so…

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How to take great photos—even on your cell phone

TED Blog

8photography_tips

Taking great photos isn’t just about having a nice camera. I’m a firm believer that good photography comes from smart photographers who think creatively and know how to make the most of what they’ve got—whether they’re working with fancy DSLR or an iPhone.

On TED’s design team, where I manage TED’s Instagram account, we’re always on the lookout for beautiful, arresting images. Below are 8 non-technical, non-intimidating tips that I continue to refer to even after years of taking pictures.

  1. Keep your lens clean and your battery charged. Yes, both of these things are obvious, but they’re also very easy to forget. With my camera, I like to keep at least one extra fully-charged battery on hand, and I always keep my phone charger with me because it’s such a bummer when you want to take a photo but can’t. Phones can get especially dirty from riding around in…

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