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How Early Should We Make Children Aware of Their Potential?

Are we putting too much pressure on the younger generation, forcing them to learn too many things in too little time? Should education become less intensive and more intuitive? How young is too young for making children aware of the responsibility for realizing their potential?

Letting Children Realize Their Potential on Their Own Time

It’s unhealthy to push children to start working towards life and professional success at a tender age. We ought to let our children play just as we had the opportunity to. Children are children, and they need play and fun, just as they need the experiences and lessons that come from the interactions they have with others in their age group, whether that’s getting (or giving) comfort for a skinned leg, becoming a leader (or an outcast), or inviting new schoolmates to join the group.

That being said, by letting children be children you help them cultivate — even unknowingly — social skills necessary for their growing up and advancement. What’s more, letting children savor their childhood enables them to become conscious of their potential on their own time. A child will come to understand he has leadership skills, when every single friend he has follows him and copies his actions, for instance.

Gradually Introducing Essential Skills to Make It A Bit Easier For Them

The most efficient way for letting children become aware of their potential is to indirectly equip them with skills, knowledge and tools they can use towards that end.

Don’t directly tell them “You’d be a good ____, you know.” Let them discover on their own what they can be in life and what they enjoy. You might think you know best, but your guess might be wrong, and you’re putting too much pressure on a child when you try to dictate their future.

Encourage Potential Discovery

So, instead of pinpointing what they should do, why not encourage them to discover it themselves? Urge them for instance to take part in a school spelling bee contest, or in the swimming club competition. This way you give them ample time and support to discover their call.

Ultimately, there’s no particular age for starting to make children aware of their potential. This is an ongoing process that can begin as young as 2 years old if you use the indirect, encouraging manner just described.

Remember to praise your child every step along the way too. Praise their efforts, even if these didn’t turn out to be sufficient. Praising them inspires them to become better spellers or swimmers, even if they seem to be terribly bad at it at first. In the end, the child will – in their own time – start to understand their potential and once they do, this is where you come in, supporting and guiding them through the hard work it takes to realize that potential.

Getting Access To Library Materials Today Is Easy As 1-2-3

Ever since the 1990s it’s been the case that people have less and less need to head straight for the local library to find references to use for a school report. Resources at home were usually sketchy before that time – if you were lucky enough you would have a 20+ volume encyclopedia you could browse through and find relevant but somewhat dated information. However, even the libraries had their limits, and information wasn’t always at the tips of your fingers.

Things have drastically changed today. Our access to quality information is more widespread, instant and effortless today. All we need to do is search for information online. Be it a book, video, DVD or audiobook, any type of information product can be retrieved and accessed through online libraries.


This website lets you search for titles in a number of libraries worldwide and offers you access to them online. It also has a feature for recommending nearby libraries that have the title you’re looking for. The website collaborates with a worldwide library network to ensure there are enough resources for whatever a person is looking for.

Something like the Google of libraries, WorldCat provides resources (some free, others requiring library subscription/membership) to about 71,000 libraries in more than 100 countries. WorldCat provides easy and quick access to valuable information, sparing you the need to visit local libraries.

Everybody’s Libraries

Everybody’s Libraries is a blog run by John Mark Ockerbloom, digital library planner and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania. Ockerbloom is also the developer of an online book catalogue which indexes over 1 million books available free online.

The rationale behind Everybody’s Libraries and the Online Books Page is that books and information should be easy to access online, as well as free of charge. Information access in the 21st century is gradually becoming a streamlined process that’s decidedly democratic. These two online book indexing services allow us to easily gain access to knowledge reliably, quickly, and electronically.

Libraries are no longer independent hubs of information, because the Internet makes it possible for these knowledge banks to connect with each other and form an infinite network of information people can access to educate themselves.

15 Facts About English You Should Know

English is an extraordinary language. Its history and growth, its little secrets, and its idiosyncrasies all make up a magnificent structure people love to love. Did you know any of these facts about English?

  1. English is the language with the richest and widest-ranging vocabulary. The Oxford English Dictionary numbers over 500,000 words and when regional and technical vocabulary sets are also considered, English vocabulary can boast of over a million distinct words.

  2. English is the most widely spoken language on Earth. About 375 million people have English as their mother tongue while about 750 million speak English as a second language. Others estimate the English speaking population at well over 2 billion.

  3. Every English syllable has a vowel, but not necessarily a consonant.

  4. The consonant with the most English words using it as the initial letter is the letter S.

  5. One in four people is capable of speaking English with a satisfactory competence level. Wherever you might be in the world there’s a 25% chance you will find someone you can easily communicate in English with!

  6. The letter cluster “ough” has many different English pronunciations. Can you pronounce these correctly? Dough, rough, plough, thoughtful, slough, through, coughed.

  7. There are only four widely used English words ending in –dous: hazardous, tremendous, horrendous, and stupendous. Technical and less commonly-used words exist, however, such as apodous and phyllocladous.

  8. The world of the Internet is primarily built and conducted in English. It’s the language most Internet users use online.

  9. Half the scientific publications and journals are in English which makes it easier for English speaking professionals to access the latest research.

  10. If you’re spelling out number words in English, you will have to spell a number above 99 to use a word that’s spelled with an ‘a’!

  11. There’s a reason why English is notorious for its pronunciation, and it’s aptly illustrated by this sentence: I deserted my dessert in the middle of the desert.

  12. Eggplants have no eggs and hamburgers contain no ham, and if you’ve ever tasted pineapple, it tastes nothing like either pine or apple! However, English is a creative and illustrative language.

  13. Shakespeare often invented words in order to capture the concepts he wished to describe. He came up with these words, among others: compromise, champion, lackluster, gust and dwindle.

  14. The English language is officially getting larger by about 4,000 words each year, based on the amount of words officially added to dictionaries annually.

  15. “Crutch words” are words we turn to when we need to fill in time when thinking, and they’re not the best aspect of English vocabulary. These words include basically, seriously, honestly, actually and the most-loathed of all, like. Improve your communication by minimizing these words in your everyday conversations!

Google Tool Updates You May Have Missed

Google has been introducing services and tools over the years that offer valuable help to the public. Apart from emailing and searching, Google offers many ingenious tools and features designed to make our life more fascinating and to make us more knowledgeable. Two of these tools are Google Helpouts and the revamped Google Maps.

Google Helpouts

How does the idea of an online personal SAT tutor sound? What about a chemistry Helpout before the finals? Google Helpouts is a video tutoring marketplace that allows experts to share their knowledge and skills with those that seek them out. Launched in November 2013, Google Helpouts lets experts – teachers, chefs, plumbers and everything else in between – provide one-to-one Helpout sessions. Some Helpouts are free, other cost up to $120 an hour.

The one-to-one model used ensures the user gets the expert’s full attention, making learning and problem solving practically foolproof. This paid advice service by Google makes it possible to find an expert to help you with virtually anything, whether that’s understanding the reason for your cat’s weird coughing to troubleshooting your bathroom leak. Google Helpouts runs a money-back guarantee for Helpouts that, well, didn’t help out much.

This is especially useful for students, because Google Helpouts can offer solutions on many levels. Assistance in many fields is available, to help students figure out how to use complex math formulas, improve reading efficiency, or take better lecture notes. With the help of experts, any issue becomes solvable.

The fact that Helpouts is a service globally available that can be solicited almost instantly makes this new Google service stand out. How many times have you wished an expert could be within reach to help you on the spot? Well, now it’s possible.

The New Google Maps

Learning about your travel destination, whether it’s 2 miles away or across an ocean, is now a complete experience with the new Google Maps and its advanced features. The new version of Google’s mapping program makes visually visiting and learning about unknown destinations easy and enjoyable.

Whereas previously it was only possible to obtain fundamental information when planning a journey from destination A to destination B, the new integrated technologies now make it possible to plan a journey that also includes airplane flights and combine it with public transit and other forms of transport to have the most complete itinerary.

Also, you are now able to plan a journey that has more than one set destination, allowing you to find the quickest and most traffic-free way to do your chores and then arrive at your desired destination. It’s a tool that many people are already using daily as it saves time and frustration and helps avoid being stuck in traffic jams.

A complete visual experience for Google Map users

A new image carousel at the bottom of the page allows the user to have a sneak peek into their destination, whether that’s a sushi restaurant or a new pop-up gallery.  Even if you’re not planning to visit a place, Google still offers you a visual tour to cities big and small around the world, unveiling fascinating new aspects of the world’s urban tribes.

The advanced but still user-friendly new Google Maps service makes journey planning to campus and across the Pacific equally easy. Efficiency and real-life integration seem to be two things Google has perfectly mastered, and it has never been more evident than it is with Helpouts and the new Google Maps services.

Attributes You Need to Polish in Order to Succeed at Anything

With a simple internet search, you’ll quickly realize that there is a plethora of resources designed to equip you with the qualities you need to rise to the top and be the ultimate success.  While these can be very interesting and even helpful, there are many other practical attributes that often get dismissed in the process.  The development of leadership qualities often tends to take the forefront in the “how to succeed” literature in the blogosphere, and there is no doubt that these are attributes you cannot be without in order to make it and maintain your hard earned success. However, it might be time to take a closer look at the lesser noticed but nonetheless highly valuable skills sets that will assist in growing your business and helping you reach the goals you want.

Regular Reading- Informational and Otherwise

Reading. Boring? Maybe. But not if you’re doing it right.  Outside of your regular workload, do you read anything that expands your mental capacity? Are you learning anything new? Chances are that if you are not reading anything new, your ability to process information is diminishing, or at best stagnating.  The creativity it takes to succeed doesn’t just happen – it comes from being able to focus as well as gain vision.  Vision comes from constructing a picture in your mind based on word description; this can be fiction, non-fiction, and even directions.  It provides an exercise in fine-tuning your ability to focus on one particular task while improving memory.  Furthermore, one of the most underrated and overlooked values of becoming well-read in today’s society is a markedly improved vocabulary, along with communication smarts, and refined oratory prowess. Any successful individual will tell you that speaking well is key. Creativity is great.  Creativity you can communicate?  A priceless characteristic.

Secretarial Know-How

Don’t forego what you might regard as menial tasks and the dexterity it takes to do them, and concentrate solely on power in your drive to become successful.  If you can’t operate a multi-line phone system, run the all-in-one fax/printer/copier in the center of your office complex, alphabetize those files and touch type, you will not be as successful as you hope to be. Why? Because you can’t multi-task.  Secretarial know-how is defined as multi-tasking savvy. Organizing, scheduling, answering calls, performing the art of touch typing with finesse and running that all-in-one office machinery at the same time is something that keeps any office running smoothly. Secretarial dexterity ensures you won’t soon forget how to manage these humble but vital tasks. Keep doing some of your own secretarial work.  This skillset is the lifeblood of success, and it will keep you appreciating those who work under you.

Appropriate Optimism

Having a good attitude and outcome-driven outlook is important.  Also important is appropriate optimism.  Many people sacrifice honesty for optimism in the hopes that it will be the magic ingredient to changing a flat-lining operation. Becoming discouraged is not helpful either. What you need is a fine balance between the two extremes.  No one appreciates the sugary, hyperactive optimist when the reality of difficulty is facing them. This often reads as disingenuous (even deceitful) to your workplace contemporaries.  On the other side, the doomsday, freakout, all-is-lost approach kills any creativity and productivity you might have otherwise inspired.  Without losing sight of the situation – good, bad or indifferent – you will rouse others to their fullest potential by building your reputation as someone who can be counted on to be honest about the circumstances.  Sometimes the optimism comes from your ability to get creative (and here’s where you can rely on your well-read mind). Sometimes it’s communicated by your willingness to lend a hand in menial task accomplishment (where your secretarial know-how shines) that creates an atmosphere of caring, teamwork, possibility and optimism.

In closing, you don’t rise to the top by dusting off your prior experience, and not solely by the latest and greatest tips on success.  You rise to the top by polishing even further the attributes you may once have assumed were a waste of your time, the attributes you assumed you would get to never do again once you succeeded. Never forget where you came from, and you’ll never struggle to remember where you’re going.

Bookstores Haven’t Lost Their Magic

Some would argue that bookstores are becoming a thing of the past given today’s digital age and the rise of e-reading. Many point to international book retailer Borders as an example. At one point, there were over 500 Borders superstores in the United States, with additional stores in Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. The company was eventually forced into bankruptcy, both due to poor business planning and foresight and also due to the increasing selection of online booksellers and the rise of digital media.

While Borders was undone, this doesn’t need to be the fate of all bookstores in the 21st century. As convenient as e-reading is today, it cannot replace human contact. Bookstores around the world are showing real innovation in how they’re working to keep the magic of the written word alive and make the corner bookstore a fun place to spend an afternoon, catch up with friends and even work on English skills in a comfortable setting.

How Bookstores are Embracing the Digital Age and Staying Relevant

Across the world there are great examples of bookstores large and small that manage to stay relevant and compete with the instant access, cheap prices and huge selection on the Internet.

One small, independent bookstore in the United States opened just a few years ago as dozens of nearby bookstores shut their doors. The store didn’t just scrape by, though, it managed to turn an ever-growing profit month after month with an innovative strategy. This bookstore owner installed his own printing press to compete with the Internet’s inventory, giving him the ability to print 5 million books, including Google Books, as well as offer custom publishing. Readers can enter his store, request a hard-to-find book or out-of-print book, and have it in hand in about four minutes.

The future of bookstores may even go further in this embrace of new technology, perhaps letting shoppers download a digital copy of a book over free Wi-Fi access in the store, or offering the option of a dual pack book with an in-store book purchase that includes the printed version as well as digital or audio versions.

Bookstores Offer the Human Experience

One thing that e-books cannot offer is the human experience and the ability to socialize and get out in the world while staying informed and catching up on the latest sci-fi or thriller release. Bookstores of the past were a place to relax with friends, have a drink and take in a newspaper or a book, and many bookstores today are trying to bring that back.

A bookstore chain in China’s Shanghai region is reintroducing people to the charm of bookstores by incorporating food, beverages and even a stationary outlet into the store itself. These customer-oriented bookstores attract readers and offer a new spin on book-selling by creating a comfortable, laid-back atmosphere where people can spend some time reading.

Re-embracing the Bookstore

If it’s been a while since you’ve even set foot inside a bookstore, it may be time for you to re-embrace the charm of a neighborhood bookstore to catch up on your reading. Along with catching up on the news and current events, reading English books can be a great way to gain more familiarity with words and spelling, and there is no better way to practice your reading than finding a great book that catches your attention and sparks your imagination!

10 Things You Can Do Today to Become More Creative

Creativity, the ability to “think outside the box,” is a trait that is sought by employers in both their potential and current employees. Any individual who is creative, the thinking goes, will be able to design solutions that are innovative and yet still compatible in the existing business environment. However, many individuals struggle to tap their inner creativity. This usually results in lack of productivity and the inability to be innovative and combat change effectively. Here is a list of ten methods that you can apply in your daily life in order to become more creative.


Reading fiction that is far from reality, such as “Alice in Wonderland,” can significantly enhance the power of your subconscious to be creative. Reading is an activity can be performed before beginning or before completing a difficult task, as absurdity or unrealistic stories can allow you to unleash your creativity.

Understanding the Problem

Rather than dwelling on the complexities present within the solution to a problem, experts recommend higher focus on the problem itself. Re-conceptualizing the problem can allow you to think of creative solutions and design a solution that offers the greatest benefit.

Projecting in Time

Studies reveal that individuals are able to design more creative solutions to the task at hand by projecting the task into the future. This means that rather than thinking about the problems that you will encounter tomorrow, think about a year or a decade from now, and design solutions to your existing and potential future problems at the same time.

Letting Your Imagination Run Wild

Using counterfactuals – statements that express conditions that are contrary to existing known facts – can significantly boost creativity, a recent study revealed. Imagining the opposite of what has happened can allow individuals to tackle problems from a different perspective. Counterfactuals can involve either removing barriers that create a hindrance or adding resources that can significantly accelerate the achievement process.

Design Solutions to All Your Problems at Once

Rather than tackling one problem at a time, psychologists recommend thinking about a variety of problems simultaneously. This will allow you to enhance your creativity while also recalling similar problems that you have solved before. Memory training will help increase your ability to remember problems that you faced in the past, and the solutions you came up with.


Writing can significantly boost your creativity, and this exercise can be done on a daily basis (preferably in early morning hours before you tackle the work for the day). Writing down your problems and listing a range of solutions can allow you to be innovative and design appropriate solutions.

Avoiding Daydreams

Although many people believe that daydreaming results in the unconscious mind wandering into a creative mode, recent studies suggest that daydreaming has little or no impact on creativity. Rather than daydreaming it is advised to think and act on a problem in real time.

Argue Out Loud

In case you are working in a team and have a range of solutions on how to tackle a problem, experts advise you to argue with your colleagues out loud. Arguing out loud will allow you to understand the real-life complexities of a solution and get the team motivated to focus on the problem at hand.

Using Your Mood

A study revealed that people are usually able to tap their inner creativity when they are in a very positive or very negative mood. This suggests that anger and happiness can both be used to think of creative solutions to problems.

Physical and Psychological Distance

Individuals are usually able to design a better solution if they physically and psychologically distance themselves from the problem. This means that rather than imagining yourself in the current location, you can imagine yourself in a different location and time and work from that perspective.

Mindful Meditation: The New Way To Pass Your Exams

How do you study for exams? Are you a dead-silence type of person or do you concentrate better while classical music plays in the background? A new study published in the Psychological Science Journal confirmed a long-standing hypothesis that mindfulness helps improve your working memory capacity and significantly reduce the tendency of your mind to wander.

The Three Ms of Studying: Memory, Mindfulness, Minimum Mind Wandering

Studying is one of the most challenging intellectual tasks children and young adults face throughout their school and university years. In order to develop an efficient study routine, with long-term storage of the information studied, you need mindfulness, minimum mind wandering, and a well-functioning memory capacity.

The study conducted by University of California researchers looked into how mindfulness affects studying, and the subsequent exam scores. While the study focused on participants taking GRE exams, its findings are applicable to a wide range of other student exams, including IELTS, SAT, and GMAT exams.

The Exciting Findings: Mindfulness Improves Test Scores

It has been long known that a wandering mind, prone to distraction, is frequently the reason why we underperform on mentally challenging tasks such as exams. Our helplessness to stop ourselves drifting into thoughts and dreams unrelated to the task at hand severely compromises productivity, performance, and efficiency in many aspects of our lives. What starts out as an issue in school can lead to even more impact on our future professional lives.

The researchers at Santa Barbara found that after a two-week mindfulness intensive training program, those participating saw their memory capacity and their mindfulness improve. The experiment succeeded because it shows that practicing mindfulness substantially reduces the tendency of the mind to wander, making it easier for people to focus on the present moment and on what requires their full attention at that instant.

The proof of the positive outcome of the training program are found in the 48 university undergraduates’ GRE scores. The students were able to perform better in the reading comprehension section of the GRE exams they were asked to take. While prior to the mindfulness training program the undergraduate students’ average GRE score was 460, post training this score increased by 60 points, becoming 520.

The study confirms that mindfulness can help improve concentration and ultimately performance at any intellectually challenging task, as it helps eliminate mind wandering and improves working memory capacity. This is obviously very useful for students who are required to frequently take all sorts of exams.

Practicing Mindful Meditation

Mindfulness is a skill. It’s the ability to suppress the urge to let your mind wander to unrelated thoughts, and instead focus entirely on a given task. It’s a skill that can be learned through practice.

Sitting meditation is a popular practice that improves mindfulness. In this practice, you focus on slowly becoming aware of your present state of being, excluding all unrelated thoughts and feelings.

Find a quiet, relaxing environment and sit cross-legged (or in a position that is comfortable for a longer period of time). Close your eyes and slowly start paying attention to your body, your breath, how your hands touch your knees, the sound of your lungs breathing air in and out. Gradually, let every thought and task blur into the background, while you become entirely aware of how your body feels in the present moment.

For mindfulness to be successful, body, thoughts and breath need to be synced with the present moment. Start with breathing to anchor yourself into the present, introduce your body to the experience by inviting each sense in one by one, and lastly, clear your mind of anything related to either the future or the past.

With daily mindfulness practice you can gradually increase your overall mindfulness capacity and reap all the benefits this brings, from improved working memory to better performance for mentally challenging tasks.

Skills to Learn Today So You Still Have A Job Tomorrow

The cut-throat market competition due to globalization, the move towards outsourcing, and the need to maintain profitability in times of recession and spiking inflation means that many organizations have adopted cost-cutting measures. This simply means that employers are no longer interested in potential employees that are unable to add value to the organization. Having outdated skills and not being technologically updated can result in losing your job.Continue Reading…

Tools and Tips to Keep Your Life Clutter Free

One of the basic reasons for a lack of productivity is the inability to focus on the task at hand. Lack of focus can come about due to many different reasons, but most have in common an unorganized system that does not allow you to think clearly. Just like you are unable to find the right pair of socks in a room that has not been cleaned for days, you are unlikely to find a way to work unless you have organized your personal and official issues systematically.Continue Reading…