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The 30 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2017, if your new year resolution is to Travel
Time to start packing your bags: 2017 is shaping up to be a banner year for budget travel. The dollar is enjoying historic highs — meaning your money goes much further in many destinations around the globe — and according to an American Express Global Business Travel report, airfares are expected to fall in 2017.
1. Mazatlan, Mexico
Why: The current exchange rate ($1 = 20.69 Mexican pesos) makes Mexico one of the most affordable destinations.
For the frugal traveler who wants to enjoy more culture than they might in the Riviera Maya, my top pick is Mazatlan. As the shrimp capital of Mexico and a foodie paradise, Mazatlan is teeming with awesome eateries and fresh, interesting dishes. Hotels (including all-inclusive properties) are extremely inexpensive and authentic since most aren't part of the huge chains. El Cid Marina has awesome pools that are perfect for families, great food and huge rooms. (Rates are as low as $100 for a family of four.)
You can also enjoy superb dining at a top-notch restaurant like Casa 46 for less than half what you'd pay in the United States.
Side note: Sinaloa (the state where Mazatlan resides) grows the bulk of produce in Mexico, so Mazatlan produce is unbelievably cheap as a result. You see this reflected in top restaurants all the way down to street markets.
2. South Africa
Why: In South Africa, the exchange rate is in our favor, but so is the fact that it's a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. In spending a month in Cape Town earlier this year and relying on Uber to get me to and from meetings, activities and lunches, I averaged under $20 in transportation per day — a major win.
Hotels are cheaper, too: Take a standard room at Taj Hotels & Resorts in New York, and you are out about $786 a night, whereas in Cape Town, a room at a similar luxury property costs $266. Remember, South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite: Consider going in low season (our summer) when hotels and safari lodges are even less expensive.
Airbnb and private villa rentals are also reliable and cheap options in the major cities. Travelers should also consider booking domestic airfare in advance for the greatest cost savings, since flights on South African Airways can sell out quickly.
The best value of all is the wine: Travelers can order a glass of one of the best locally produced varietals for less than the cost of a can of soda. For more information on travel in South Africa, watch "Michaela's Map: First Timers' Guide to Southern Africa."
3. San Juan, Puerto Rico
Why: The best way to get a deal in the Caribbean is to travel during the low season (end of April through mid-December) to destinations that have direct and frequent fights from your gateway; plenty of hotel inventory; and economies that aren't euro-based.
Puerto Rico fits the bill, and I'm a big fan of San Juan, which I think is seriously underrated as an easy and affordable getaway, especially for visitors from the East Coast of the U.S. Old San Juan oozes charm, and if you stay within the old city's two-square-mile radius you won't need a car rental to access great restaurants, sightseeing and shopping.
U.S. citizens can save themselves the cost of a passport since it's not required to visit, and since the U.S. dollar is the legal tender, there's no money lost on currency exchange. Hotel Casa Blanca and Villa Herencia are two of my favorite high-style/low-cost boutique hotels.
Why: Europe is on everyone's list of value-added trips this year and for good reason — the exchange rate is more favorable for American travelers than it has been in years. But the destinations I most dream about and long to return to are in South America, a destination that has long given travelers great value for money.
In Chile, I love Santiago for its vibrant food and wine scene — think tucked-away wine bars, delicious tapas and hip hotels in a beautifully chaotic city. For a lesser-known and truly special corner of the world, I love the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas. It is part of the lakes district in Chile and the northern start of Patagonia.
It is easy (and cheap!) to rent a car and explore this area. There is a surprising German heritage, so you'll see signs for "kuchen" (cake). With Puerto Varas as a hub, you can explore great places within a two-hour drive from the city: going to the top of a volcano, exploring waterfalls, finding the best cakes and food.
This area sees very few American visitors and everything is CHEAP. It's one of those places I almost want to keep to myself, but it's so special that I can't.
Why: With the U.S. dollar strong against the euro right now and the economic crisis in Greece keeping prices lower than other parts of Europe, it’s the perfect time to visit the beautiful island of Crete. Crete is a foodie dream come true.
A place where farm-to-table isn’t a new fad, it’s a way of life. The people here often live to be well over 100 years old so they must be doing something right! With truly stunning natural beauty (like Balos beach) and locals that welcome tourists with open arms, you are bound to have the trip of a lifetime and save a few dollars at the same time.
Why: For many, Morocco is the ultimate dream trip, and yet cost tends to keep most from visiting. But what you might not know is that it's one of the most affordable African countries, particularly when comparing flight costs. R
eaching Marrakech from cities such as Lisbon, Madrid and Paris may only set you back $40 to $100 roundtrip with many budget airlines. And this past Black Friday, flights from New York were a mere $400 roundtrip.
Food is by far my main reason for visiting as often as I do, and typical meals can range from $2.50 to $15 for two, which includes appetizers, entree and unlimited mint tea. For vegetarians and vegans, the country is especially great, as veggies are cheaper than meat and fresh fruit smoothies are barely $1.
Souvenir shopping can get a bit intense when you realize leather goods such as wallets, handbags and weekenders run from $5 to $60. (A shopaholics dream!) When it comes to accommodations there's something to fit everyone's budget, my favorite being Riad Yasmine (only $80-$160 per night).
For those looking for Moroccan luxury while still on a budget, my go-to is Riad Kheirredine, which will have you living like a queen without breaking the bank and even provides a cell phone during your stay to ensure guest safety.
Why: Modern conveniences and history collide in Belize. It's a perfect place to take a budget romantic vacation. Many of the four-star hotels offer extras, like bicycle rentals, included in their low rates, as well as Belize's excellent local wines.
Some affordable resorts to check out are George Hardie's Las Vegas Hotel in Corozal (Northern Belize) and the oceanside Royal Caribbean Resort in San Pedro along Ambergris Caye. Both can be booked for under $100 per night.
Meals are also crazy cheap, but delicious. Two can eat at an upscale restaurant for less than $30, and much less at an everyday venue.
Why: Affordable upscale accommodations, cheap and remarkably healthy food and beautiful sights make Vietnam a standout among budget-friendly South Asian destinations.
Eat your way through historic Hanoi, kayak in the emerald waters of Halong Bay or relax in ancient Hoi An and the nearby beaches. There are clean, safe accommodations to fit everyone's wallet. In Hanoi, my favorite is the Tirant Hotel, near the old town, where you can bag a room for less than $70 a night.
Don't miss the Hanoi street food tour: For just $20 per person, a guide will lead you on foot or by scooter through backstreets, markets and footpaths.
You will eat like the locals and learn the names and ingredients in the dishes so you can order them again. And be sure to take the time to sip a bowl of steaming "pho" noodle soup in restaurants, push carts and food stalls, where a street meal and a beer can cost the same as a caramel macchiato at Starbucks.
9. Costa Rica
Why: Costa Rica is the one of the most biodiverse places on the planet and to be able to see this on a shoestring is an incredible opportunity.
There's a ton of national parks to explore, for instance, that only cost a few dollars to enter. Once there, you can then enjoy free self-guided walks that won't cost you a cent, but will deliver some great encounters with amazing wildlife like tapirs, monkeys, sloths and macaws.
Manuel Antonio and Corcovado National Parks are two of the best. Public transport is also super cheap in Costa Rica, with buses generally less than $10, even for an eight-hour ride. This makes traveling between destinations in this compact country very affordable and means you can see a lot in a short amount of time.
In addition, budget accommodation in Costa Rica — even at some of the best surf beaches — can be as little as $6 per person. And a "plato tipico" (local dish) can be enjoyed anywhere for as little as $2-3.
Why: Portugal is a pocket of affordable travel in contrast to the rest of Western Europe, especially if you get off the highways and take the back roads (where you can also avoid tolls).
A bottle of delicious port and a plate of the day with a glass of wine can be found for around €5 each. Nowhere else in the world can its "California Highway 1 meets Tuscany" landscapes be enjoyed on such a budget, especially now that the dollar is strong against the euro.
Why: Although Ecuador is not quite as inexpensive as Peru to the south, it’s an easy and affordable destination to travel to, especially if you stay a bit off the beaten path. It’s a short cheap flight from Florida with budget airlines like jetBlue and TAME, and accommodation is pretty cheap.
Shop at your local market and you can get a week’s worth of groceries for $10. And Ecuador has lots of variety; from surf beach towns like Montanita, to the volcanic Banos with famed hot springs at the gateway to the Amazon basin, to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cuenca in the high Andes, there’s a lot to see. The bus systems are good and domestic flights cheap and plentiful. F
ind a free accommodation option like house-sitting or volunteering, and your trip can be even cheaper.
Why: Barcelona is ranked right up there with cities like Paris and London as one of the most popular European cities, but it is by far the most affordable. This is thanks to low-cost tapas restaurants, endless free attractions and affordable things to do.
Have a meal of tapas and wine at El Xampanyet for around €10-15. Soak up the rays on the beach at Barceloneta. Get lost in the La Boqueria Market.
And take the tram up to Tibidabo (only €5) for sweeping panoramic views of the city; it's also where you can experience a vintage amusement park and a gorgeous cathedral.
13. Where: Guatemala
Why: Often bypassed in favor of nearby Costa Rica, Guatemala is unique unto itself in Central America. And because it's a bit more "off the path" in the region, it's also easy on the budget and a nice place to splurge.
The villas and hotels rimming Lake Atitlán have all the beauty you could want for a small fraction of the price you'd pay in Europe or elsewhere. From the lake, you can then delve into the country's unique culture by visiting the indigenous markets and villages in the Guatemalan highlands.
Lush Atitlan is a gorgeous, affordable place to stay in San Marcos La Laguna, the prettiest and most culturally interesting of Lake Atitlan's villages.
14. Bonaire & Curaçao
Why: In the deep Southern Caribbean, Bonaire and Curaçao are always out there on the edge of everyone's Caribbean consciousness. Both are known for scuba diving, but also for other water sports, hiking and amazing secluded beaches.
Vacation villas that let you live like a local are plentiful and affordable on both islands, but chain hotels like the Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino are an option on Curaçao (great if you're using points).
Bonaire gets its very first chain hotel at the end of 2016 when a Marriott Courtyard opens.
15. Las Vegas
Why: If you can avoid the slots, there are lots of free things to do in Vegas: The Flamingo's flamingo habitat, the fountains and conservatory at the Bellagio and the outdoor movies at the Container Park are just a few.
You can also find many places for cheap eats if you are willing to get off The Strip to do so. Check out the nearby Crown and Anchor, which serves up delicious British favorites, and Ninja Teriyaki Sushi 2 Go for fresh-made amazing sushi rolls in a no-frills setting.
Why: Sadly, the average income in Cambodia is about $950 per year. What does this mean for international travelers? Your international airfare might be expensive, but once you are in Cambodia, you can live well. Tuks tuks (a combo bike/taxi) and food cost just pennies. Even international hotel chains and luxury river boats down the Mekong are more affordable than other Asian destinations.
Before visiting, I suggest doing your homework to support luxury companies like the Shinta Mani Resort, whose foundation plays a large role in its community, building water wells, schools and farms and providing the best healthcare in the country to its employees. Culturally conscious companies like Aqua Expeditions sustainably introduce their guests to the communities along the Mekong River, including the floating markets and the farmers in the rice fields; the company can even arrange a conversation with a local Buddhist monk to discuss the significance of his journey from childhood to monkhood.
Why: If you're looking into an exotic long-haul trip, Bali offers a ton of high quality experiences for a great value. You can easily stay in a private villa overlooking stunning rice paddies with a private pool for around $50 per night. (Airbnb is a great way to go).
However, if you want to splurge a bit but not go overboard, a stay at a high-end luxury resort will still cost you less than a stay at a luxury resort, for example, in Maui. Not to mention, spa and transportation costs are quite low relative to other exotic locales, as well as the amazing and healthy food options that end up being a fraction of the cost elsewhere in the world.
Why: The weakened euro has made any trip to Europe more affordable, but this is especially true in Greece. The struggling economy craves tourist dollars and makes it known with affordable pricing on everything from hotels to food.
In Athens, you can book a three- or four-star hotel for well under $100, like 360 Degrees, a nice and modern hotel with a huge breakfast buffet included and an awesome location directly on Monastiraki Square.
Throughout the countryside, prices may be even better. Best of all, you can sit down to an amazing Greek meal with drinks (Mythos or Ouzo?), appetizers (Saganaki, anyone?) and entrees of your choosing for less than half what you'd pay in the States. Heck, you can pick up Souvlaki or a gyro for $1-$2. Souvenirs are insanely cheap, too.
Why: This forgotten corner of Europe is a wonderfully off-the-beaten-track budget destination in an otherwise very touristy and expensive continent.
With fantastic beaches along its coastline, including the fishing port of Saranda, Albania gives visitors the chance to enjoy the Mediterranean waters for a fraction of the usual price. Accommodation starts from as little as $5 per person and fishing trips or boat rides to the nearby islands are similarly well priced.
There's also some fascinating historical sites across Albania that are either free to enter or cost only $2-$5. From the moutainous medieval town of Gjirokastër to the Roman ruins at Butrint, this is a diverse and very different side of Europe, which is definitely worth visiting before the crowds do.
20. San Luis Potosí, México
Picture a perfect class III white water rafting experience through a limestone canyon of turquoise waters, a visit to a living garden of eden, complete with art sculptures, hidden pools, butterflies and waterfalls, a hike to the largest known cave shaft in the world, which you can rappel into, and a series of waterfalls for cliff jumping.
Top this all off with a plate of homemade tacos and a local beer for $2, and you've got yourself a piece of adventure paradise on a budget.
Still very much under the radar to anyone outside of Mexico, San Luis Potosí could be compared to Costa Rica in terms of adventure and Cambodia in terms of affordability. Since Election Day, the dollar has been especially strong in Mexico, offering an even better excuse to travel south of the border.
21. Quebec City, Canada
Why: Take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar and travel north for a 25% discount on prices.
Enjoy a slice of Old Europe without the jet lag or the cost of a transatlantic flight. Indulge in some of the best French food outside France — steak-frites, oysters and pastries at a bargain price. Stroll and shop in the narrow cobblestone streets of the picturesque Old Town and enjoy night parades and ice canoe races during the colorful Winter Festival in January and February.
22. Buenos Aires
Why: One of the world's most intoxicating cities, Buenos Aires has only grown in popularity, but it's still relatively cheap compared to European and Asian capital cities. There are many green parks, French-inspired architecture, late-night dancing, custom leather shops and fantastic food.
Taxis are relatively cheap (around $5-8 a ride), but you should also walk for miles in all of the distinct neighborhoods, like Palermo (try Salon Canning, a super casual milonga, or dance hall, after midnight). Must-try cheap eat in Buenos Aires: anything dulce de leche. It is everywhere — inside crepes, drizzled over grilled bananas and in gelato.
Tip: Bring a ton of American cash and you'll get better deals in many places. For example, I bought my custom leather jacket at a shop called Uru Recoleta (close to the famous Recoleta Cemetery) and was able to buy it for much less than using my credit card because I brought American dollars.
On Sundays, the place to be is the San Telmo market for browsing leather, antiques, watches, jewelry and more.
Why: While Haiti still remains under the radar as a travel destination, many people have been flocking to the vibrant country, and I can see why: The island provides all the stunning Caribbean characteristics without the high costs. Outside of holiday seasons and the later part of the summer, flights from New York range from $300 to $500, and even cheaper when flying from cities in Florida.
The real gem is how cheap the hotels are, with many starting at $50 to $150 per night including airport transfers. Even the newest Marriott Port-au-Prince will only set you back $130 to under $200 a night for larger rooms.
One of my favorites is Wahoo Bay Beach, which has epic mountain and ocean views from its stunning pool and rooms. You can take small boat tours around the area for a couple of dollars per person. Lobster, conch and crab can be caught right from the water and prepared for you without costing more than $10.
24. Santa Catalina Island, California
Why: Santa Catalina Island is one of my new favorite places. It is way more than a weekend SoCal jaunt. Hotels are quaint and average under the $200 per night mark. The Avalon Hotel is a charming choice. It’s right in the center of town, making it an easy walk to almost any activity. There is plenty to do, like kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, ziplining, hiking or just beach sitting.
The Catalina Island Museum is a must-visit stop to get the full story of the island's fascinating history, including its Hollywood connection. Food and shopping choices are extensive.
And you don’t need a rental car. Getting to the island is easy: Catalina Express Ferry whisks you to there from three different ports, Long Beach, Dana Point and San Pedro. I prefer Long Beach because flights there are often lower priced than neighboring LAX.
Why: With 17,000 islands, you are bound to find the ideal paradise to suit your travel and budget in Indonesia.
There are stunning untouched beaches that offer world-class snorkelling and scuba diving in Raja Ampat, fascinating Unesco World Heritage Sites dating back to the 9th century in Yogyakarta and — everywhere you turn — the friendliest locals. In Raja Ampat, we found a homestay that included breakfast, lunch and dinner — plus it was right on the beach for around $29 USD per person per night. For more, see Food Fun Travel's "Bali Food Guide."
Why: The entire Balkans region is an excellent option for budget travel, and if you haven't been before, I recommend starting with Bulgaria.
From wine country to snowy peaks to the Black Sea coast, it's an adventure playground that every budget can afford. In Bulgaria's wine country you can get a full winery tour with multiple tastings plus bread and cheese for about $5 (check out Villa Melnik winery), take a hike through Bulgaria's famous sandstone pyramids and then sleep in a beautiful authentic style hotel like Zlaten Rozhen with breakfast included for about $30.
27. Cusco, Peru
Why: Most people who pass through Cusco are en route to the very popular Machu Picchu, but you should make sure to spend a few days, maybe even a few weeks in this colorful city. Not only is the city absolutely stunning and oozing with culture, most accommodations range from $20 to $100 a night. Peruvian textiles are extremely affordable and the vibrant colors are stunning.
Eating out in Cusco can be extremely cheap, if you know where to eat. Restaurants are quite affordable compared to most American and European restaurants, but street food here is the real winner. I'm personally addicted to ceviche and can't find it cheaper than $15 for a small portion in the states, but in Cusco's San Pedro Market you can find ceviche plus Peruvian fried rice for only $3.
On my last trip, I had steak and ceviche nearly every day and never spent more than $15 for two including a drink and soup.
Why: Meagen Collins: This ancient European country is starting to grab the attention of travelers from all over the world. Georgia has so much to offer — beautiful scenery, unique culture and tradition everywhere you look, and the food will leave you drooling for more.
Add to that the fact this country lays claim to being the birthplace of wine (winemaking here goes back 8,000 years) and you have the ultimate new travel destination.
In Georgia, you can get a full meal plus copious amounts of wine for two people in a higher end restaurant, with live entertainment and still spend less than $30 — total. But get there fast: Word is getting around about this little gem and it won’t be tourist-free for long.
Why: This country is one of Africa's best budget travel destinations, with some extremely affordable accommodation situated along white sand beaches and next to an azure ocean. (Check out Villa Sands or Terraço das Quitandas.)
There's great scuba diving, too, and you can easily feel like a millionaire here for nothing! For more ideas, see Big World Small Pocket's "17 Incredible Budget Travel Destinations Still On My List (That Should Be On Yours Too!)."
30. Dallas, Texas
Why: Dallas is often overlooked, but packed with fun, food and great places to stay at prices far below the national average. (The city was voted the most affordable destination in the U.S. last year by Priceline and continues to remain a great value.) Downtown buzzes with excitement and culture, and the nearby Design District is exploding with eclectic shopping for home décor.
The high-rise Omni Dallas has rooms with stunning floor-to-ceiling views of the city starting at just under $200, putting you in the center of the action. With a rental car, you can fully explore everything the city has to offer. Look at fringe cities like Grapevine and Plano for the charm of small towns of yesteryear with main street shops and eateries.
The Gaylord Texan Hotel in Grapevine is convenient to DFW airport and offers full-out luxury at rates around the $200 mark.
Content Distribution Tools #Notes
When you’re creating useful, actionable, epic content, everyone deserves to see it. So how do you get your hard work and effort seen by the largest audience possible?
The 3 Types of Content Distribution Channels
Before we dive into the tools, let’s start with an overview of content distribution. Essentially, when you distribute your content, you do so in three basic channels.
OwnedEarnedPaidOwned media includes the channels that belong to you, where you control the content. This can be your blog, website, email newsletter, and social media profiles.
Earned media involves others sharing your content. This can take the form of social media shares, guest posts, media coverage, and product reviews.
Paid media is the exposure you pay for, be it pay-per-click ads, display ads, social ads, or otherwise.
When viewed in a Venn diagram, you can see that these channels provide a bit of overlap with one another as content distribution can touch on many different channels for the same piece of content.
With this idea framework in mind, let’s look at some tools that help accomplish content distribution in each of the three major distribution channels: owned, earned, and paid.
The 17 Best Tools for Widespread Content Distribution
We’ve found Buffer to be the simplest way to share your content to your social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can schedule your posts to publish at ideal times (or let Buffer decide when is best), and you can reshare older content by re-buffering straight from the app dashboard.
A new tool for reposting content from your archives, Edgar helps with evergreen promotion by linking to your social channels and sharing old content at a regular drip.
A complete, beautiful email signature that can contain the typical contact information plus a host of other social media, RSS, and content distribution tidbits. You can show your latest tweet or hook up your RSS feed to show your latest blogpost.
Create an email newsletter full of amazing links (including the content of yours you want to distribute). Goodbits lets you drag-and-drop content from a queue made up of any RSS feed you connect as well as any articles you add via the bookmarklet or browser extension. You can then customize, edit, and send to your contacts, including your MailChimp list and segments.
Speaking of email newsletters, MailChimp is one of the biggest and best (and free) ways to send email to your list of contacts. You can set up automated campaigns that deliver each new post that you write, or you can create campaigns from scratch. MailChimp offers free accounts for those with fewer than 2,000 contacts in their list.
The suite of tools offered by the SumoMe WordPress plugin helps considerably with owned media and earned media. For owned media, SumoMe offers list building tools that include a subscription scroll box, a signup bar, list popup, and incentives/giveaways widget.
In terms of earned media, SumoMe makes it easy for others to share images on your blogposts as well as the posts themselves.
7. OnePress Social Locker
This WordPress plugin allows you to lock a portion of your content behind a social share button so that the content can only be accessed once a user shares to Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.
8. Help a Reporter (HARO)
HARO lets you connect with journalists looking for a source. If you’ve got an expertise or experience in a certain area, you can sign up at HARO and a reporter could get in touch!
9. PR Newswire
Got something newsworthy to share? Consider going the press route. PR Newswire can help with distribution of news, announcements, and events to a variety of sources. If you sign up, a rep from PR Newswire will get in touch directly to authorize your account and help with any press release promotion you need.
Build a list about anything—resources for your niche, articles you love, helpful tools, recommended books, etc. Grab links from around the web (including yours), and publish and share—and even embed—your list so that others can see.
Buzzstream provides a host of services that assist with link building. You can find influencers in your niche who may want to share your content, and you can organize outreach efforts all the way from list building to measuring responses.
12. Boomerang for Gmail
Outreach to fellow bloggers and influencers may require a bit of followup. With Boomerang, you can schedule your emails and automate follow-ups.
Writers, authors, and journalists can create a portfolio at Contently, which can then be viewed and shared by just about anyone—readers, social media users, and even potential employers. The Contently platform helps connect content producers with those in need of content, and the service acts as a great way to distribute your own writing in one consistent place.
Collect content from across the web—blogposts, tweets, and more—and place it into a Storify page. We use Storify for recaps of our Bufferchats on Twitter. The service integrates all types of media from videos to articles and everything in between.
Have you ever come across a series of links at the end of an article? Would it be cool to see your content there? You can sign up for this kind of service at Outbrain, which feeds related/interesting content to pages all over the Internet.
Similar services include Disqus, Taboola, Skyword, and SimpleReach. Contently did a great breakdown of the pros and cons (and costs) of these paid channels, and Powered By Search has a list of great options, too.
16. Facebook sponsored posts
In a similar way to Facebook ads, you can pay to have your page’s posts seen by more users on the network. You can boost any post from your page and target the boost to reach a particular demographic of location, age, gender, or interest.
17. Promoted tweets
Like Facebook sponsored posts, you can get more views on your tweets by paying to promote a tweet to a larger audience. This occurs through the Twitter ads dashboard where you can compose an original tweet to promote or grab one from your stream that you’d like more people to see.
50 Healthy Resolutions That Aren't Losing Weight
It’s fair to say that 2016 wasn’t a popular year (to put it mildly).
But while we may be ready to embrace 2017 with open arms, there’s one mistake many of us will probably bring into the New Year: focusing on the wrong resolution.
If data published in 2015 is any indication, many of us will pledge to lose weight. However, the problem with focusing solely on the scale is that it isn’t necessarily beneficial or indicative of our well-being. Not to mention the fact that concentrating on a pants size may make us ignore all the other aspects of wellness (like self-esteem or empathy, for example).
Of course, if losing weight is imperative to your physical health, it’s necessary to complete those goals and follow a plan outlined by a doctor. But if you’re searching for a way to prioritize wellness, there are additional options.
We’ve rounded up some healthy resolutions that have nothing to do with dropping pounds. Check them out below and then vow to make 2017 your best year yet.
1. Sleep more.
Commit to those eight hours. Proper shuteye is linked to better mental health and a lower risk for physical health conditions.
2. Cut back on sugar.
It’s difficult but it can be life changing if you pull it off. Here are a few tips on how to give it up.
3. Limit sodium intake.
Dietary guidelines recommend consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams per day (but the average American may consume more than 3,400 milligrams in a day ― yikes!). Too much sodium is linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and more.
4. Start meditating.
The benefits of a meditation practice are boundless, from improved mental health to better concentration to a lower risk for disease.
5. Pick up crafting.
Experts say activities like knitting can ease anxiety and put you in a meditative state. And you get a scarf in the process? Score.
6. Spend time alone.
Introverts are onto something. There’s power in a little “me time.”
7. Plan a trip.
You’ll boost your mood instantly. Research suggests planning a vacation can increase happiness ― and just think, you’ll have an adventurous city or a white sand beach to look forward to after you book it.
8. Keep a journal.
This could be a book that gives you prompts or just an empty place to scribble out your frustrations. Studies show journaling can be cathartic for your mental health.
9. Go for strolls more often.
It’s actually a really healthy exercise, according to science. Hit the pavement.
10. Cut back on complaining.
Negative thought patterns can increase stress levels. Try a mindful experiment where when you catch yourself complaining ― or thinking negatively ― you counteract it with something positive. Here’s a little inspiration to get started.
11. Give up diet soda.
Let’s face it: The zero-calorie coke alternative is not doing anyone any favors. It has the potential to hurt your health and studies have found it doesn’t help with losing weight.
12. Compliment someone once a day.
And not just on their appearance. Genuine compliments can go a long way for both you and the other person.
13. Practice gratitude.
Studies suggest that gratitude can improve overall well-being and may even boost physical health. Try keeping score of what you appreciate every day. Need some ideas to get started? Here are 100.
14. Go to therapy.
Therapy can be an incredibly useful tool for self discovery or as a way to work out life’s challenges. If you’re dealing with a particularly rough period ― or just want to know more about your inner world ― mental health professionals can help.
15. Volunteer regularly.
Donating your time to people or an organization in need can do a world of good. And if you needed more reason: Research shows volunteering can improve your health. It may also increase your happiness levels thanks to a circular effect. Kindness makes you happy, and happiness makes you kind.
16. Drink more water.
Forget what you were told about drinking eight glasses a day and aim for hydration instead. Here’s a handy guide to know when you’re actually feeling parched (it might be happening sooner than you realize).
17. Cook at home more frequently.
You’ll end up getting healthier in the process. Research says homemade meals can help you skip out on excess calories.
18. Commit to a strength-training routine.
Building muscle can help protect you against injury and even sharpen your cognitive skills. Start small ― even just using your body weight ― and increase as you get stronger.
19. Talk to more strangers.
It pays to make a little eye contact. Research shows smiling at someone you don’t know could help increase feelings of social connection.
20. Say “no” more often.
Burnout is real and it can happen in a blink of an eye. Make sure you’re prioritizing yourself and not saying “yes” to everything because it feels like an obligation. Self care isn’t selfish.
21. Handwrite letters instead of emailing people.
Make an effort to communicate via snail mail this year. Handwritten correspondence is a lost art form ― but there are real benefits to putting pen to paper, from better creativity to a smaller risk of multitasking.
22. Schedule walking meetings once a week.
You’ll get far more out of it than if you were holed up in the office. And that added physical activity may just get your creativity flowing.
23. Use all of your vacation days.
Those who are lucky enough to get vacation time often don’t put it to use. A recent survey found that 32 percent of people used zero of their allocated days last year. But taking a break is super important for your well-being. Don’t feel like taking a vacation? Try a mental health day, instead.
24. Call your family more often.
Chances are they’d love to hear from you and you can benefit from it, too. Research shows calling loved ones like your mom can ease stress.
25. Cut back on material spending.
Money does not buy happiness, according to science. Take your hard-earned cash and use it for an experience instead. There’s evidence it will bring you more joy.
26. Try team sports.
The camaraderie is great and you’ll pick up a new hobby in the process. Plus, it’s ― you guessed it ― good for your mental health.
27. Learn a language.
Say “hola” or “bonjour” to a new life skill. Research even supports the theory that it’ll boost your brain.
28. Forgive someone.
Anger and resentment is like holding onto internal poison and can even harm your physical health. Life’s too short to not move on.
29. Make regular doctors’ appointments.
Research shows that ― for the most part ― it’s okay to forgo annual physicals if you’re generally healthy individual. But that doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and ignore your body. If you’re sick or something is off, see a doctor. That includes specialists like dermatologists and dentists.
30. Donate to an important cause.
That same kindness feedback loop that happens when you volunteer may also apply in this case as well. Here’s a list of organizations that may need your help right now, in particular.
31. Read one book a month.
Research shows reading can boost empathy and emotional intelligence. If you’re committed to diving into multiple novels this year, check out this list of tips and benefits that will help keep you motivated.
32. Bring your lunch to work every day.
Trust us, your wallet will thank you. Take a look at this breakdown to see just how much you’ll save.
33. Practice self-acceptance.
It’s actually a key to a happier life but it’s a habit people rarely practice. Make your internal dialogue as kind as it would be if you were talking to your best friend.
34. Say a mantra every day.
Mantras can keep you grounded in the moment, allowing you to reap the rewards of mindfulness, and they could help you actually believe what you’re saying after a while. (Yes, you are beautiful. And yes, you should repeat that to yourself every day if that’s what you need.)
35. Wear sunscreen.
Skin cancer is no joke. Luckily, there are tons of moisturizers that contain a little SPF.
36. Eat more (good!) carbohydrates.
Psst, the healthiest people in the world actually consume a lot of carbs. (Yep, you read that correctly.) Check out how to incorporate more of these important nutrients into your diet.
37. Cut back on alcohol.
Sure, a little is fine (who doesn’t love a good glass of Pinot Grigio?). But the negatives outweigh the positives in the long term in this case.
38. Go outside more often.
Not only does it improve your mood, you get the added perks of exercise. Win-win.
39. Give up the snooze button.
Seriously, you’ll feel much better for it. And maybe you’ll finally become one of those successful morning people.
40. Floss regularly.
There’s a reason your dentist nags you about that tiny string. Clearing your gums of bacteria is necessary for oral health, so do what you can to make sure they’re in good condition.
41. Make your bed every day.
No act of organization is too small. And it may make you happier.
42. Don’t use your smartphone before bed.
The type of light that’s emitted from screens can disrupt your sleep and keep you awake longer. Try ditching your device at least 30 minutes before you shut your eyes.
43. Do an activity outside of your comfort zone.
There’s a whole life to discover on the other side of your routine. Not to mention the fact that doing something different may boost creativity.
44. Pick a theme for the year.
If you’re starting to feel like this whole “resolution” thing isn’t for you, try sticking to a theme instead. Instead of picking a goal, pick a word you want to abide by for 2017. It could be “brave” or “confident” or “compassionate.” Whatever you want to start doing ― or being ― more of.
45. Fix your posture.
Straightening up is not only an instant confidence booster, it can also prevent back problems and reduce stress. Your future self may just thank you.
46. Sign up for a race.
There’s something satisfying about crossing a real finish line. Running comes with a lot of physical and mental health perks, from lower risk of disease to improved mood. Why not celebrate a running routine with a tangible medal of your accomplishments?
47. Marie Kondo your space.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, is the champion of the tidying method where you only keep items that bring you joy. Since then, the trend has gained traction and for a good reason. Not only does it keep your home clutter-free, there’s also a psychological health component to focusing on the materials that make you happy.
48. Cut back on social media.
Research shows that constant scrolling through a newsfeed can lead to social comparison, or the need to stack your life up against someone else’s. This can then lead to depressive symptoms. Take a step back from all of it and live your life based on how you feel ― not on how cool it’s supposed to look with a filter.
49. Spend time with people who think differently than you do.
Empathy, or the ability to walk in another’s shoes, is the foundation for a lot of positive perks. The more you expand yourself and open your eyes to different perspectives, the more open minded you become.
50. Love yourself.
Because you’re all you’ve got ― no matter what
The best thing you can learn from Inception of 'Alphabet' by Larry Page
This is something best I've read in long time, so just wants to keep this piece in my collection.
Written by: James Altucher
========================I visited Google a few weeks ago and, after almost getting arrested, my mind was blown.
First, Claudia wandered into the garage where they were actually making or fixing the driverless cars. When they finally realized she was wandering around, security had to escort her out.
We got scared and we thought we were going to get in trouble or thrown out.
Then we met with a friend high up at Google and learned some of the things Google was working on.
Nothing was related to search. Everything was related to curing cancer (a bracelet that can make all the cancer cells in your body move towards the bracelet), automating everything (cars just one of those things), Wi-Fi everywhere (Project Loon) and solving other “billion person problems”.
A problem wasn’t considered worthy unless it could solve a problem for a billion people.
So now Alphabet is aligning itself towards this strategy: a holding company that owns and invests in other companies that can solve billion person problems.
It’s not divided up by money. It’s divided up by mission.
I want to do this in my personal life also.
Just analyzing Larry Page’s quotes from the past ten years is a guidebook for “billion person success” and for personal success.
Here Are Some Of His Quotes:
"If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning."
To have well-being in life you need three things:
A) a feeling of competence or growth.
B) good emotional relationships.
C) freedom of choice.
Being able to wake up excited in the morning is an outcome of well-being.
Feeling like every day you are working on a billion-person problem will give you those three aspects of well-being.
At the very least, when I wake up I try to remember to ask: Who can I help today?
Because I’m a superhero and this is my secret identity.
"Especially in technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change."
Too often we get stuck in “good enough”. If you build a business that supports your family and maybe provides for retirement then that is “good enough”.If you write a book that sells 1000 copies then that is “good enough.”You ever wonder why planes have gotten slower since 1965? The Dreamliner 787 is actually slower than the 747. That’s ok. It’s good enough to get people across the world and save on fuel costs.It’s only the people who push past the “good enough syndrome” that we hear about: Elon Musk building a space ship. Larry Page indexing all knowledge. Elizabeth Holmes potentially diagnosing all diseases with a pin prick.
Isaac Asimov wrote classic science fiction like “The Foundation Series” but it wasn’t good enough for him. He ended up writing 500 more books, writing more books than anyone in history.
Larry Page keeps pushing so that every day he wakes up knowing he’s going to go past “good enough” that day.
What does your “good enough” day look like. What’s one thing that moves you past that?
"My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society."
Whenever I’ve managed companies and have had the small opportunity to be a leader I’ve judged my success on only one thing:
Does the employee at night go home and call his or her parents and say, “guess what I did today!”
I’m not sure this always worked. But I do think Larry Page lifts all his employees to try to be better versions of themselves, to try to surpass him, to try and change the world.
If each employee can say, “who did I help today” and have an answer, then that is a good leader.
Empowering others, empowers you.
"Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future."
The stock market is near all time highs. And yet every company in the original Dow Jones market index (except for GE) has gone out of business.
Even US Steel, which built every building in the country for an entire century, has gone bankrupt.
Never let the practical get in the way of the possible.
It’s practical to focus on what you can do right now.
But give yourself time in your life to wonder what is possible and to make even the slightest moves in that direction.
We’re at maybe 1% of what is possible. Despite the faster change, we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. I think a lot of that is because of the negativity… Every story I read is Google vs someone else. That’s boring. We should be focusing on building the things that don’t exist.
Sometimes I want to give up on whatever I’m working on. I’m not working on major billion person problems.
And sometimes I think I write too much about the same thing. Every day I try to think, “What new thing can I write today” and I actually get depressed when I can’t think of something totally new.
But I am working on things that I think can help people. And if you are out side of people’s comfort zones, if you are breaking the normal rules of society, people will try to pull you down.
Larry Page didn’t want to be defined by Google for his entire life. He wants to be defined by what he hasn’t yet done. What he might even be afraid to do.
I wonder what my life would be like if I started doing all the things I was afraid to do. If I started defining my life by all the things I have yet to do.
"Many leaders of big organizations, I think, don’t believe that change is possible. But if you look at history, things do change, and if your business is static, you’re likely to have issues."
Guess which company had the original patent that ultimately Larry Page derived his own patent (that created google) from?
Go ahead. Think a second. Guess.
An employee of this company created the patent and tried to get them to use it to catalog information on the web.
So Robin Li, an employee of The Wall Street Journal, quit the newspaper of capitalism (who owned his patent), moved to China (a communist country), and created Baidu.
And Larry Page modified the patent, filed his own, and created Google.
And the Wall Street Journal got swallowed up by Rupert Murdoch and is dying a slow death.
"I think as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society."
A friend of mine is writing a novel but is afraid to publish it. “Maybe it will be bad,” he told me.
Fortunately we live in a world where experimentation is easy. You can make a 30 page novel, publish it on Amazon for nothing, use an assumed name, and test to see if people like it.
Heck, I’ve done it. And it was fun.
Mac Lethal is a rapper who has gotten over 200 million views on his YouTube videos. Even Ellen had him on her show to demonstrate his skills.
I asked him, “do you get nervous if one of your videos gets less views than others?”
He told me valuable advice: “Nobody remembers your bad stuff. They only remember your good stuff.”
I live by that.
"If we were motivated by money, we would have sold the company a long time ago and ended up on a beach."
Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to be academics. When they first patented Google, they tried to sell to Yahoo for $1 million (ONE MILLION DOLLARS).
When Yahoo laughed them out the door, they tried to sell to Excite for $750,000.
Excite laughed them out the door. Now an ex-employee of Google is the CEO of Yahoo. And the founder of Excite works at Google. Google dominates.
Money is a side effect of trying to help others. Trying to solve problems. Trying to move beyond the “good enough”.
So many people ask: “how do I get traffic?” That’s the wrong question.
If you ask every day, “How did I help people today?” then you will have more traffic and money than you could have imagined.
"Invention is not enough. Tesla invented the electric power we use, but he struggled to get it out to people. You have to combine both things: invention and innovation focus, plus the company that can commercialize things and get them to people."
Everyone quotes the iconic story of Thomas Edison “failing” 10,000 times to get the electric lightbulb working.
I put failing in quotes because he was doing what any scientist does. He does many experiments until one works.
But what he did that was truly remarkable was convince New York City a few weeks later to light up their downtown using his lights.
The first time ever a city was lit up at night with electricity.
That’s innovation. That’s how the entire world got lit up.
"If you say you want to automate cars and save people’s lives, the skills you need for that aren’t taught in any particular discipline. I know – I was interested in working on automating cars when I was a Ph.D. student in 1995."
Too often we get labeled by our degree and our job titles. Larry Page and Elon Musk were computer science majors. Now they build cars and space ships.
David Chang was a competitive golfer as a kid, majored in religious studies in college, and then had random gopher jobs in his 20s.
The gopher jobs all happened to be in restaurants so he became familiar with how the business was run.
Then he started probably the most popular restaurant in NYC, momofoku. A dozen or so restaurants later, he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in history.
Peter Thiel worked as a lawyer in one of the top law firms in NY. When he quit in order to become an entrepreneur, he told me that many of his colleagues came up to him and said, “I can’t believe you are escaping”.
Escaping the labels and titles and hopes that everyone else has for us is one of the first steps in Choosing Ourselves for the success we are meant to have.
We define our lives from our imagination and the things we create with our hands.
"It really matters whether people are working on generating clean energy or improving transportation or making the Internet work better and all those things. And small groups of people can have a really huge impact."
What I love about this quote is that he combines big problems with small groups.
A small group of people created Google. Not Procter & Gamble. Or AT&T.
Even at Apple, when Steve Jobs wanted to create the Macintosh, he moved his small group to a separate building so they wouldn’t get bogged down in the big corporate bureaucracy that Apple was becoming.
Ultimately, they fired him for being too far from the corporate message.
Years later, when Apple was failing, they brought him back. What did he do? He cut most of the products and put people into small groups to solve big problems.
Before his death he revolutionized the movie industry, the computer industry, the music industry, TVs, and now even watches (watch sales have plummeted after the release of the Apple Watch).
All of this from a guy who finished one semester of studying calligraphy in college before dropping out.
Studying the history of Apple is like studying a microcosm of the history of how to create big ideas. Larry Page is recreating this with his new corporate structure.
We don’t have as many managers as we should, but we would rather have too few than too many.
The 20th century was the century of middle-class corporatism. It even became a “law” called “The Peter Principle” – everyone rises to their level of incompetence.
One of the problems society is having now is that the entire middle layer of management is being demoted, outsourced, replaced by technology, and fired.
This is not a bad or a good thing (although it’s scary). But it’s a return to the role of masters and apprentices without bureaucracy and paperwork in the middle.
It’s how things get done. When ideas go from the head into action with few barriers in the middle.
To be a successful employee, you have to align your interests with those of the company, come up with ideas that further help the customers, and have the mandate to act on those ideas, whether they work or not.
That’s why the employee who wrote much of the code inside the Google search engine, Craig Silverstein, is now a billionaire.
Where is he now? He’s an employee at online education company, The Khan Academy.
If you ask an economist what’s driven economic growth, it’s been major advances in things that mattered – the mechanization of farming, mass manufacturing, things like that. The problem is, our society is not organized around doing that.
Google is now making advances in driverless cars, delivery drones, and other methods of automation.
Everyone gets worried that this will cost jobs. But just look at history. Cars didn’t ruin the horse industry. Everyone simply adjusted.
TV didn’t replace books. Everything adjusted. The VCR didn’t shut down movies.
The Internet didn’t replace face to face communication (well, the jury is still out).
"What is the one sentence summary of how you change the world? Always work hard on something uncomfortably exciting!"
Not everyone wants to create a driverless car. Or clean energy. Or solve a billion person problem.
But I have a list of things that are uncomfortably exciting to me.
They are small, stupid things. Like I’d like to write a novel. Or perform standup comedy. Or maybe start another business based on my ideas for helping people.
Every day I wake up a tiny bit afraid. But I also try to push myself a little closer in those directions. I know then that’s how I learn and grow.
Sometimes I push forward. Sometimes I don’t. I want to get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I do think there is an important artistic component in what we do. As a technology company I’ve tried to really stress that.
Nobody knows what the definition of Art is.
How about: something that doesn’t exist except in the imagination, that you then bring out into the real world that has some mix of entertainment, enlightenment, and betterment.
I don’t know. Something like that.
Certainly the iPad is a work of art. And the iPad has created works of art. And when I first saw a driverless car I thought, “that’s beautiful”.
I’m going to try and put my fingerprint on something today. And maybe it will be art.
The idea that everyone should slavishly work so they do something inefficiently so they keep their job – that just doesn’t make any sense to me. That can’t be the right answer.
We’ve been hypnotized into thinking that the “normal life” is a “working life”.
If you don’t “go to work” then you must be sick or on the tiny bit of vacation allotted to you each year.
What if everything you did you can inject a little bit of leisure, a little bit of fun into it.
I have fun writing, except when I think I have to meet a deadline (work). I have fun making a business that people actually use except when I think about money too much (work).
When you are at the crossroads and your heart loves one path and doesn’t love the other, forget about which path has the money and the work, take the path you love.
We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone. We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren’t that many things people use twice a day.
What a great idea for a list of the day!
What are ten things that can be invented that people would use twice a day?
You need to invent things and you need to get them to people. You need to commercialize those inventions. Obviously, the best way we’ve come up with doing that is through companies.
I was speaking to Naveen Jain, who made his billions on an early search engine, InfoSpace.
He just started a company to mine rare earth minerals on the Moon.
But his real goal is extra-planetary colonization.
Somehow we got around to the question of why have a company in the middle of that. He has billions. He can just go straight for the colonization part.
He said, “Every idea has to be sustainable. Profitability is proof that an idea is sustainable.”
You may think using Google’s great, but I still think it’s terrible.
K. Anders Ericsson made famous the “10,000 hour rule” popularized later by Malcom Gladwell.
The rule is: if you practice WITH INTENT for 10,000 hours then you will be world-class.
He then wondered why typists would often reach a certain speed level and then never improve no matter how many hours.
After doing research, its because they forgot the “With intent” part. They were satisfied with “good enough”.
You have to constantly come up with new metrics to measure yourself, to compete against yourself, to better the last plateau you reached.
Google is great. But it can be better. Having this mindset always forces you to push beyond the comfort zone.
Once they changed the way typists viewed their skills (by recreating the feeling of “beginner’s mind”) the typists continued to get faster.
We have a mantra: don’t be evil, which is to do the best things we know how for our users, for our customers, for everyone. So I think if we were known for that, it would be a wonderful thing.
Many people argue whether or not Google has succeeded at this. That’s not the point.
The point is: Values before Money.
A business is a group of people with a goal to solve a problem. Values might be: we want to solve a problem, we want the customer to be happy, we want employees to feel like they have upward mobility, etc.
Once you lose your values, you’ll lost the money as well. This why family-run businesses often die by the third generation (“Shirt sleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations).
The values of the founder got diluted through his descendants until the company failed.
I think it is often easier to make progress on mega-ambitious dreams. Since no one else is crazy enough to do it, you have little competition. In fact, there are so few people this crazy that I feel like I know them all by first name.
Our parents have our best interests at heart and tell us how to be good adults.
Our schools have our best interests.
Our friends, colleagues, sometimes our bosses, sometimes government, think they have our best interests.
But it’s only when everyone thinks you are crazy that you know you are going to create something that surprises everyone and really makes your own unique handprint on the world.
And because you went out of the comfort zone, you’re only competing against the few other people as crazy as you are.
You know what it’s like to wake up in the middle of the night with a vivid dream? And you know that if you don’t have a pencil and pad by the bed, it will be completely gone by the next morning. Sometimes it’s important to wake up and stop dreaming. When a really great dream shows up, grab it.
For every article I’ve ever written, there’s at least ten more I left behind in the middle of the night thinking I would remember in the morning.
I have to beat myself in the head. I . Will. Not. Remember….Must. Write. Down.
It’s hard to wake up. And that’s the only thing worth remembering. It’s hard to wake up.
I have always believed that technology should do the hard work – discovery, organization, communication – so users can do what makes them happiest: living and loving, not messing with annoying computers! That means making our products work together seamlessly.
This is a deep question – who are you? If you have a mechanical hand, is that “you”?
Conversely, if you lose a hand, did you lose a part of you. Are you no longer a complete person? The complete you?
If an implant is put into your brain to access Google, does that effect who you view your self to be?
When books were invented, memory suffered. We no longer had to remember as much, because we can look things up.
Does that make our brains less human?
I bet memory has suffered with the rise of Google. Does this mean our consciousness has suffered?
When we created fire, we outsourced part of our digestion to this new invention. Did this make our stomachs less human?
With technology taking care of the basic tasks of our brain and body, it allows us to achieve things we couldn’t previously dream possible.
It allows us to learn and explore and to create past the current comfort zone. It allows us to find the happiness, freedom, and well-being we deserve.
Over time, our emerging high-usage products will likely generate significant new revenue streams for Google as well as for our partners, just as search does today.
This is it. This is why Larry Page has re-oriented Google into Alphabet.
Don’t waste your most productive energies solving a problem that now only has incremental improvements.
Re-focus the best energies on solving harder and harder problems.
Always keeping the value of “how can I help a billion people” will keep Google from becoming a Borders bookstore (which went out of business after outsourcing all of their sales to Amazon).
How does this apply to the personal?
Instead of being a cog in the machine for some corporation, come up with ways to automate greater abundance.
Always understand that coming up with multiple ways to help people is ultimately the way to create the biggest impact.
Impact then creates health, friendship, competence, abundance, and freedom.
But this is also why he created Alphabet and put Google underneath it.
To save the world. To save me.
Original article appeared here: http://inc42.com/buzz/20-things-ive-learned-from-l..
Very good question :D
Let's get into then.
I am becoming Christopher Nolan :D
New movie will be named- “JOKER : AFTER THE DARK KNIGHT”
Two police took one man and kicked him into the cell.
He shouted with pain, “Ahhhh! Bastards!!!! I have rights too”
Suddenly, he heard a laughing noise from a nearby cell, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
He said, “Who it is? STOP IT, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. STOP IT”
“Good doctor, I presume or should I say bad……. Scarecrow!!! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “You are Joker, aren't you?”
Joker: “We finally meet then. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “Do you know what has happened outside?”
Joker: “No. I don't care. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “Stop acting so insane all the time and listen Batman is dead”
Joker: “WHAT?!!!!!!????? CANNOT BE. ONLY I WILL KILL HIM”
Scarecrow: “Yeah, sorry to disappoint you, Buddy, but I was working for some very powerful people and they managed to inflict a far more damage to the city than you could ever possibly imagine and along with Batman”
Joker: “No, no, no, no, no”
Crying sounds was coming from other cell
Scarecrow: “Buddy, don't cry, I am sure we can find something…….”
Suddenly, sounds stopped
And then, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Scarecrow: “STOP IT. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE. STOP IT. GUARDS TAKE ME AWAY. I CAN TAKE IT ANYMORE. I WILL GO CRAZY”
Meanwhile in Gotham City-
In Wayne mansion-
Lucius Fox: “What did you say your name?”
Robin: “John Blake, I prefer to call myself, Robin”
Lucius Fox: “Do you know everything?”
Robin: “Yes. This is the message Bruce Wayne gave me”
Lucius Fox: “Oh! Are you sure that you want to do this specially after seeing the outcome Bruce Wayne had to endure. Look at him in the end loosing everything in the process even his life”
Robin: “ Batman can be anyone, it is a sign to protect the City so Bruce Wayne may have died but Batman didn't and neither did his legacy. It was Bruce's wish that I took the mantle so I have to respect that and crime isn't slowing down either in Gotham City”
Lucius Fox: “You need training though. If Bruce Wayne was alive then he would have trained you but since he isn't, I know someone who can”
Robin: “Who is it?”
Lucius Fox: “He is known as Richard Dragon. He is the best MMA fighter in this planet. He is a friend”
Robin: “Let's do it then what are we waiting for?”
Couple of days later-
Richard: “Did you ever fight professionally?”
Robin: “Nope. Just in the neighborhood. I grew up in the tough neighborhood”
Richard: “Are you interested in octagon? Because whatever I saw from you till now is very impressive. Believe me I don't ever say that. I have some old contact there”
Robin: “Thanks. But I am not interested”
Suddenly, there's some angry noise
Richard ran away towards the source
Robin followed him.
Two police captured one kid but the kid was fighting back and giving his everything.
Richard: “Wait! Guys, I know this kid. He trains under me. What happened?”
Police: “This is a very troubled kid. That jewelry storekeeper informed us that he was stealing from them”
Richard: “Okay, take it easy, guys, he is just a kid. Let me handle it”
Police: “Mr Richard, you are a good man, we are big fan of you so we are trusting your word on this kid but that kid is anything but trouble. This is not even his first time. We are letting him go because of you, Mr Richard. Watch out. I wouldn't trust that kid”
Richard: “Thanks, guys, I have got it from here”
Robin: “What's the story with him?
Richard: “Someone from mob killed his parents and left him to rot for himself. I found him and trying to teach the good stuff. But clearly it's not working. I wish if he could identify with someone. A role model”
Robin: “Let me try”
“So you are good at causing chaos, what are the things you good at?”
Boy: “Who are you?”
Robin: “My name is Dick Grayson and I understand what is going on with you. I know you are angry all the time and you have this rage inside you and it's trying to come out and trying to destroy everything”
Boy: “Really, you can tell. How?”
Robin: “I know what it's like to grow up in a rough neighborhood without any parents”
Boy: “Your parents were also killed?”
Robin: “Nope. I was never that lucky to begin with. I never knew my parents. What is your name by the way?”
Boy said with a smile, “Jason Todd. And who are you?”
Robin: “Dick Grayson is my current name. Don't tell anyone”
Jason said with a smile, “I won't”
In the meanwhile in Arkham Asylum-
Alarm bells are ringing.
“Someone is killed by the Joker”
“And one guard's uniform is missing and along with Joker”
Commissioner Gordon came and investigated.
Suddenly, his mobile phone was ringing.
Commissioner Gordon annoyingly said, “Who is calling me now in this busy hour"
And he heard a laughing noise in other side
“Ha, ha, ha,………..”
Commissioner Gordon: “Joker”
Joker: “Commissioner Gordon. My favourite commissioner. Oh! I missed you so much. Ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon: “What do you want? We will catch you soon”
Joker: “I have no doubt about that. Ha, ha. Ha. I just want to know where is Batman?”
Commissioner Gordon: “I don't have time for this. Batman is dead”
Joker: “No. He isn't. Ha. Ha, ha. Ha”
Commissioner Gordon: “Stop this insanity Joker and give yourself up”
Joker: “Oh! My dear commissioner. Not so easily. Tell Batman that I am coming for him and you also as you didn't help me. Ha, ha. Ha, ha, ha”
Connection got disconnected
Commissioner Gordon said, “Did you find the link?”
Commissioner Gordon: “Okay, Joker. We have got you now. No more asylum. This time I will make sure that you will never ever see the daylight again”
Police: “Commissioner. Commissioner”
Commissioner Gordon: “What is it?”
Police: “Commissioner, it's coming from your house”
Commissioner Gordon: “WHAT? Oh! No! My daughter. Barbara”
When he reached his house.
He saw a card of Joker with a lot of ‘Ha, ha, ha' written on it. And Barbara was missing.
He heard a laughing noise and he ran towards the sound and found his wife's face was damaged but she was laughing constantly.
Commissioner Gordon said with tremendous shock, “OH! MY DEAR! WHAT DID THAT MONSTER DO WITH YOU?”
Later in Gotham morgue-
“Sorry, commissioner but we didn't have any drug for her. She was dead even before we tried to do something. I am very sorry”
Commissioner Gordon: “No. You did your job. This is my fault. I should have been more careful since Batman is gone. I can't even imagine what Joker is doing with her. Oh! My God! I can't think”
“Again I am very sorry. But commissioner, we analysed the drug we found from your wife's blood. It's some kind of gas mixed with scarecrow's fear gas”
Commissioner Gordon: “Scarecrow. I should have known”
Commissioner Gordon was beating the hell out of Scarecrow and asked, “Where is Joker? What he will do with Barbara. Tell me or I will kill you”
Scarecrow said with tremendous pain, “Believe me I don't know anything. He was making me crazy. I asked him to stop. He said that he wanted to know my fear gas formula. I told him. That's what I know. Believe me that's the only thing I know. I am scared of Joker too. I don't want to be anywhere near to him. Believe me I don't know anything beyond this”
Suddenly a police officer came and said, “Commissioner, there's some message from Joker”
He turned on the TV and it seemed Joker hijacked one major Gotham news station and killing people for fun and laughing and saying, “Batman, batty, batty, batty, my favourite knight, come out and play. We all know that you aren't dead. Batty, batty, batty, come out and play or I will kill one by one” in saying this he shot down the news anchor and presenter and was laughing laudly, “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Everyone let's go immediately, with our full force let's gherao the whole building”
Robin saw everything
Lucius Fox said, “You aren't properly trained yet for this”
Robin: “Look what Joker is doing. Batman should have killed him in the first time”
Lucius Fox: “Remember, Batman didn't want to do that because that's exactly what Joker wanted”
Robin: “And look at him now”
When Robin entered the newsroom, he saw everyone was laughing laudly and every one of their face was damaged.
Suddenly, he was gassed from the behind by Joker and said, “Hmmm, another Batman wannabe. Ha. Ha, ha, ha”
Robin jumped on Joker and kicked his mouth and two of his teeth were broken. Blood was coming out from Joker's mouths but still he was laughing and saying, “Ha. Ha, ha, ha. Face mask good one. Ha, ha but I was expecting Batman not batboy. Ha, ha” in saying this he brought out a detonator and said, “Good bye. Batboy. Ha, ha”
Robin jumped out of the window and the whole room was destroyed by the explosion.
Robin was injured from the blast. He was walking slowly through the Gotham slum and then tried to contact Lucius Fox but became senseless.
Just before he lost his conscience. He saw someone was coming towards him.
When he woke up. He saw Jason was sitting worried.
Robin said, “How did you find me?”
Jason said, “I live here. I was trying to steal something in night. But instead I found you. Your Mask is damaged, Robin or should I say Dick Grayson. Don't worry I won't tell anyone”
Robin: “Give me that mask”
Jason said, “But I won't tell anyone”
Robin: “I know I just have to contact someone. There's a microphone”
Jason: “Wow! Such a cool tech! Very Batman like. Wait! ARE YOU WORKING WITH BATMAN? DO YOU KNOW BATMAN? IS HE ALIVE?”
Robin: “Hold on kid. No. I am not working with him. Batman is dead”
A few minutes later, Lucius Fox came and picked up Robin into the car and said, “I told you so”
And then looking at the kid, he asked, “Who is this kid? Wait, did he know about your secret? Wow! You managed to screw up so many angles. I don't know what Bruce saw in you”
Robin: “Thanks for the vote of confidence. I know him. His name is Jason Todd”
Fox: “Can we trust him?”
Looking at the face of Jason Todd, Robin said, “Yes. Not only we can trust him, he is coming with us”
In Wayne mansion-
Jason: “Wait! Bruce Wayne is Batman. I can't believe it. Impossible”
Fox: “I am already not feeling good about this”
Robin: “Look I understand his situation. That kid is at the brink of his life. A little push and he could go dark. He needs to channel his anger correctly and I am going to help him on that”
Fox: “So now what? He is too going with you to fight crime. Wonderful. Now I have to deal with two amateurs”
Robin: “Well. Not right away but after a lot of training definitely. As you said before that we need more training and better suits and Batman's gadget. It was a mistake going against Joker like that and since he added some stuff on his own. Why not we do the same?”
Jason: “Hooray. We are Superheroes”
Fox: “I am already regretting this”
When Commissioner Gordon entered his house, he was struck from behind and he woke up, he found himself in a dark room with Joker.
Commissioner Gordon said with tremendous anger, “Where is Barbara? What did you do with her? You monster, you didn't kill her, did you?”
Joker: “Relax commissioner, she is alright, just tell me where is Batman and I will let her go”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Didn't you hear, Batman is dead. Okay. He died saving this city from a nuclear bomb”
Joker: “Ha. Ha, ha. Ha, ha. Now that's the official story but did they find any of his body parts?”
Commissioner Gordon: “You Stupid, crazy idiot, we are talking about Atom bomb here. There won't be any body parts. Batman is dead”
Joker: “Ha, ha. Ha. I know very well our cape Crusader friend. Batman don't do anything without any plan. So where is he hiding?”
Commissioner Gordon: “I don't know. Please, believe me. Please. Torture me all you want but please let my daughter go. Please. Joker if you have any humanity left, please let her go. Please”
Joker: “Oh! You think I am such monster. You hurt me commissioner. See I am exactly what society wants me to be. Do you think you and I are so different? Since it seems like Batman is really dead then let me rather concentrate on you. Let me show you that anyone can be like me if situation pushed him. Welcome to your new life commissioner Gordon. Enjoy the view from 360° angle. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Commissioner Gordon shouted with tremendous shock and anger and pain, “What did you do with my Barbara? You monster. I will kill you if I ever get out of here”
THERE WAS EVERYWHERE NUDE TORTURING VIDEOS OF BARBARA GORDON
Joker: “Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Bruce Wayne got a letter
Selena Kyle said, “Bruce someone sent a letter from Gotham. Who knows that you exist?”
Bruce Wayne got up quickly and read the letter, “Hey, batty, how long are you going to hide behind in France? You took early retirement. But Gotham didn't. Guess what your honest commissioner friend did? He told me about your whereabouts? Ha. Ha, ha. Looks like commissioner Gordon has lost his mind as well. As they say bad apple corrupt other apples. Ha, ha, ha, ha. Can't wait to meet you. Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Bruce Wayne said, “We can't stay here anymore. Taking retirement was the biggest mistake I made. Now everything is chaos in Gotham because of me. Batman can't take retirement”
Selena Kyle said, “Don't say such thing. You needed it more than anything”
Bruce Wayne: “Now the break is over and I won't make that same mistake again”
Selena Kyle said, “I understand, I am going to help you, Bruce”
And they were preparing to kiss
Suddenly, the house was rained with bullet and they heard a familiar voice, “Ha, ha. Ha, ha”
Bruce and Selena escaped from the underground tunnels from that old European castle”
When Bruce got up to a safe place, he realised that Selena was shot.
Bruce said, “Oh! No. Don't leave me. Selena. I need you”
Selena said, “Don't worry about it, Bruce, I am only holding you back, I made the Batman weak. Bullet has hit my kidney. I have no chance to survive now. I am releasing you from this, Bruce. Gotham needs you. Gotham needs his Batman more than it's Bruce Wayne”
Joker said with anger and disappointment, “He again managed to survive. But Bruce Wayne is Batman which means only one place he can go Wayne mansion”
In the Wayne mansion-
All the alarm bells were ringing
Fox, Dick and Jason saw Joker was laughing looking at the CCTV cameras before he destroyed each of them.
Jason said, “Now is the time to set the things straight. I will punish this psychopathic Maniac.”
Dick said, “No, we won't do any such thing. Remember last time we went without any plan. First of all, this is not Joker's style which means he is really desperate now. Let him make a mistake and we are going to capture him”
In the meantime-
Joker: “Brucy, Brucy, Brucy, look what you did, you not only left yourself vulnerable but you lost your advantage as well. I know now who are you? Ha, ha, ha, ha”
Dick turned off the electricity of the building
Joker was roaming around aimlessly and laughing and talking his usual shit.
Suddenly, Dick turned on the headlights of the building which blindsided Joker and Dick knocked him out one punch.
When Joker woke up he saw himself in some cell.
Dick Grayson came and said, “Your game is up. I heard what you did with Commissioner Gordon. He is in Arkham Asylum going through some heavy treatment and is daughter is currently in ICU because of your inhuman torture. We are sending you to California. You are going to have capital punishment since Gotham doesn't have death penalty. I am going to be your guard. Believe me you have no chance of escape”
Joker didn't say anything just clapped
Dick Grayson said with a lot of sarcasm, “Yeah, clap now. But you won't be doing that for very long”
Dick Grayson came to Jason and told him, “Don't go close to the cell, he is master manipulator, don't give him any opportunities, I am going to see how Commissioner Gordon and his daughter are doing. I will be back very soon. I am trusting you with these. Don't let me down”
But Jason being Jason, he does not listen anyone and he never did anyway. So he was very curious about Joker so he went to the cell to check him out.
He said to Joker, “So you are the joker, huh! You don't look scary to me. I never feared any clown infact I kicked their asses”
Joker said, “Didn't your babysitter ask you not to come to me?”
Jason said, “He isn't my babysitter. I am not scared of you”.
Joker said, “Good for you. Kid. I like you. I like your courage”
Jason said, “He also told me that you are a master manipulator and that you will try to manipulate me”
Joker said, “He said that, didn't he? Look I am not going to do any such thing with you. I am not going to laugh either. Do you know what is the difference between you hero type and us villain type. Nothing much. We are the same. Except we keep you from becoming us as you can then channel your aggression fighting against us. So see we are helping you becoming sane. So kid let me give you one last lecture before they took me away forever. Why are you staying here? Why can't you live like a normal people. Do you know why because you are already damaged from the very beginning just like us. If you try to lead a normal life. You will end up becoming me. Let's take an example of Bruce Wayne the Batman. Why did he need to become Batman? He could have lead a very normal life like just another rich guy but no, he had to become this Batman because otherwise he would have become me. That's also the reason even after so many crimes Batman didn't want to kill me because he feared then he will become me. So what does that tell you about your hero type?”
Jason: “Yeah, you are not trying to manipulate me. Listen clown, I grew up in a terrible rough neighborhood. I am not some snowflake that you will manipulate and I am going to be one. I am not Batman and I don't think I will ever become one either. I would have killed you in the first place if I was in Batman's place. I had no problem with sleeping after that as well. People like you don't deserve to be alive and there is nothing complicated about this.”
Joker: “You are right. I tried to manipulate you but it didn't work. I have to say that you are a very clever type. Probably even more than Batman”
Jason: “Yeah right. Now you are just boring me”
Dick came back and said to Joker, “Yeah, police is coming, you are getting very close to your death”
Joker: “Ha, ha, ha”
When Joker was going to the police van, he tried to get a gun from one last time from a fellow police officer but Dick Grayson floored him with one punch. Joker was suddenly laughing and said, “I am human bomb, I have one bomb inside my belly, and the detonator is my mouth under my tongue. If anyone of you try to touch me, I am going to bomb all of us”
Dick said, “He is bluffing”
Fox said, “Nope, he isn't. There's really a bomb under his belly. Look through this”
Dick said to Joker, “Are you really going to try that? Because I don't think you are capable of blowing yourself up. You are only capable of killing others”
Joker said with a smile, “Question is- are you going to take a chance on that or not? This is a long range bomb which means there's going to be a lot of civilian casualty, ha, ha, ha, ha”
Suddenly, Jason brought a gun and tried to shoot him and looking at that, Dick tried to stop him.
Joker bit one of the police's ear and jumped out of the van and was running away and suddenly a black van came out of nowhere. And said to Joker, “Came on, get on it. I have been sent by the Falcone family as you requested”
Joker got on it.
After a while, he realised that driver wasn't taking him to Falcone family.
Joker said, “Well played, Bruce Wayne or should I say Batman?”
Bruce took the mask off and said, “Finally we meet face to face. You wanted me and now I am here. What do you want to do now?
Joker said, “I just wanted to do this” in saying he turned on the detonator and the van was exploded.
Joker's body was destroyed completely and before he died for the final time, he realised that was just a hologram of Bruce Wayne not real
Joker died in trying to smile
Fox said to Bruce, “Why did you do this?”
Bruce Wayne said, “Because he wanted this. I just gave what he wanted. I didn't get him earlier when I figured him later, I realised what I needed to do. That's when I decided use my hologram with a remote control car. I knew Jason could not help himself. Whatever I saw of him, I can tell that he is probably more damaged than me. I need to handle him very carefully. It's not going to be easy to decipher him from Joker's manipulation”
Dick Grayson heard everything and said, “You knew about all of this. You came here before Joker????!!! Yet you didn't do anything. I am sorry, I don't understand that”
Bruce Wayne said, “You don't have to be. It's very messed up shit. Not everyone has to go through that”
Dick Grayson said, “You probably right, but since I don't understand your method, I no longer have to work with you. I am getting the hell out of here”
Bruce Wayne said, “Are you sure about that because you have lots to learn yet?”
Dick Grayson said, “Yeah, I am sure. Jason, will you come with me?”
Jason couldn't say anything
Dick Grayson said, “You don't have to say anything, I understood” in saying this he left
One month later-
Commissioner Gordon was released from Arkham Asylum.
Batman met him and said, “Friend, you did everything for me. Now let me do something for your daughter”.
Commissioner Gordon said, “Can you help her, Batman, she is completely damaged and broken, I don't think she will ever be able to function in normal society”
Batman said, “Now, let me handle that. Normal conventional medical treatment won't work with her. I know certain things that could be very helpful to her but it's going to be hard and it will take some time but I believe I can help her make again a strong independent confident Woman. But she has to stay with us with your permission of course”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Please help her Batman, please help her. Do whatever you need to do but please make her full again”
Batman said, “I promise that she will again be normal but she has to use her dark side properly. I believe I can help her with that”
Commissioner Gordon said, “Thank you so much Batman”
End not really?
This is the beginning of Batgirl, Nightwing and Red hood.