Anthony's Library and Resources

Anthony's Library and Resources

A blog about Health, Business, Relationship and Life Tips.

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Humility in the Workplace

April 22, 2018 0
According to “The Times of India” published in 2014, blowing your own trumpet at workplace may no longer get you an extra point on your performance sheet, so just turn down the volume a bit. A flashy and braggadocio behaviour, which may have helped boost an individual's career, is unlikely to win many friends in office. Humility is making a quiet entry as one of the virtues at workplace with some companies including it as a key behavioural trait in the performance management system.

The $1.3-billion Piramal Group has included humility as one of the success factors in its high-performance behaviour chart. The conglomerate, with interests as diverse as healthcare and financial services, has come out with 'Piramal Success Factors', which include "think big", "serve customers", "collaborate" and "humility". "Our performance management process considers humility as an important input. Additionally, we also look for this competency in high potential identification and development and recruitment," said Nandini Piramal, Executive Director, Piramal Enterprises. "Our values are closely linked to our enduring success. We have, therefore, converted these core values into a set of everyday observable behaviours that will help employees succeed," said Piramal.

The fondness for the virtue comes from the realisation that humility does not undermine an individual's assertiveness to realise his or her goals. Organisations are increasingly giving equal weightage to both hard goals as well as soft behaviours.

In an age where authoritarian power is being questioned from the classroom to the boardroom, the emerging research is conclusive - humility is a dramatically more powerful and effective way of leading.  Scientific inquiry into the power and effectiveness of humility in the workplace has shown that it offers a significant “competitive advantage” to leaders.

According to a study from the University of Washington Foster School of Business, humble people tend to make the most effective leaders (that’s right, the most) and are more likely to be high performers in both individual and team settings, according to associate professor Michael Johnson.

Unsurprisingly, researchers found that employees who rated their managers as humble reported feeling more engaged and less likely to quit. They also reported being more committed to a leader’s vision, and more trusting and receptive to their ideas.

“Our study suggests that a ‘quieter’ leadership approach - listening, being transparent, aware of your limitations and appreciating co-workers strengths and contributions, is an effective way to engage employees,” Johnson and fellow researchers Bradley Owens and Terence Mitchell write in the study.

The risks of lacking humility.
It’s no secret that executives are often hired based on skills and experience, but fired based on personality. Arrogance, narcissism, and Machiavellianism are factors that we now know regularly precipitates executive failure.

Former CEO of Enron Jeff Skilling, junk bond king and white collar criminal Michael Milken, and one-time leader at American International Group (AIG) Joe Cassano were all executives lionized by business publications as if their overconfidence was a clear indicator of paranormal abilities, super intelligence, infallible strategic vision and magical oratory skills. Yet, all of these leaders were credited as the cause for the collapse of their organizations.

More recently we’ve seen former Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries and Thorstein Hein of Blackberry exemplifying how leaders should not behave at the top. Yet while their behaviour may seem obvious to some, it remains largely ignored by most boardrooms, who often look the other way because of the preconception that overconfidence equates to wisdom, when it can often be just a mask to hide self-doubt.

Humility may not be what you think it is.
One of the challenges in proposing a power in humility is that many of us associate it with weakness and an inability to stand up for ourselves. But humility, as it turns out, has nothing to do with weakness precisely because it requires a substantial inner strength to embody - one that not only welcomes feedback and criticism but knows that it is one of the fundamental ways that we grow. In this way, the ability to ruthlessly self-reflect and accurately see our limitations, as much as our strengths, is essential to reaping the benefits of humility.

Dean of HBS, Nita Nohria, whose department has conducted extensive research on various types of leaders, found that all of those who were successful shared one quality in common: reflectiveness, or the ability to possess an accurate view of themselves - warts and all. In practical terms this means that humble leaders have trained themselves to see the world around them with a much deeper level of clarity. 

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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The Basics of Blogging for Beginners

April 22, 2018 0
A blog is sometimes called web log or weblog.   At first, they were used as a personal place, for collecting links, sharing commentary – but now; they are a valid and VALUED form of communication for business people of all types.  From the basics of blogging, to the intermediate areas – such as social bookmarking, and article marketing, to the advanced techniques using autoresponders and more, there's something for every affiliate marketer to put into motion. 

The great thing about blogs is that people read them for fun and for information – in fact, blogging is one of the few areas of the internet that covers business, pleasure, networking and play. They do for your company what face to face marketing could only do in the past – they provide you with a real, interesting connection to your readers – personalised contact, and information about your company that will allow them to empathise, and discuss your most important points, and anything that ties in with hot button topics and your business.

Blogs give your readers and consumers a chance, not only to read and connect with you, but a chance to comment and discuss with you, and your team, the information that you're sharing – allowing them to further relate to your message.  And a consumer that relates to you is a customer in waiting!

Starting a blog is as simple as finding a space online to write – and the time to write. To start though, you'll need to work through a brief list of steps to create your space. Before you even consider your blog though, you have to think about WHAT you're going to blog about.  It’s important to stop and think about your blog, before starting it because, to be quite honest, without purpose, blogs are pointless.  And this pointlessness will dilute your message considerably.

So, you need to think about what you're writing and why.  Consider your theme – and then build some keywords around it, because for the first little while, you should try to include at least some of them in every post.  You'll get archived in all of the right places that way, which will lead valuable NON COMMENT generated traffic to your blog.  You'll also be commenting on blogs similar to yours and hopefully, generating more traffic based on the links you leave.

You can choose your topic, keyword, and theme simply by considering what, in connection to your business you're an expert in.  Once you've looked at that, you can decide whether it’s profitable, or viable to pursue it.  If not, look at a related area that you can cover – your blog should always relate to your business choices, and give you interested traffic.  Having said that, your blog isn't a free advertising system and nothing more – you've got to remember that people will be turned off by blatant advertising.

Choosing your keywords
You can use this to research your general keywords – and check on their general profitability, if you're using CPM advertising.  You might not be – but most blogs make a residual income from AdSense or similar, and it’s not something you should overlook, for your long term stratagem.  Niche blogs can earn well.

Once you've found a profitable overall keyword, you'll need to check out your competition
Though considered less effective now – it’s still a good tool for finding your competition levels.  You'll be able to assess your competition – basically, you're looking for a niche that's either tiny, if it’s narrow, or large, if it’s broader.  Your narrower niches can only support a tiny amount of blogs – whereas the broader your definition, the more your niche will support – but the flip side to that, is that you've got more competition.

Once you've worked out your profitability, and competition, you can also use the keyword search at Overture to evaluate your other keywords (and get an idea on where to start blogging from). You can place that information in a spreadsheet for reference – or use programs like article architect to extend on your research (affiliate link for article architect)

Once you've made a list of your keywords – and paced them into a spread sheet, you can take your research a step further. Article architect does it for you, but if you've not got that piece of software, or a similar one that researches keywords, you can do it manually. Open up both Google and Yahoo, and start plugging your keywords into it – at the top you'll see a listing 1 of (a number) – you can then divide your 'competition' number by the total of your searches (a number) – that will give you a rating for that keyword – and the keyword with the 'best' ratings are the ones you'll probably want to focus on.

Article architect does this automatically – highlighting the 'optimum' keywords – and there are other pieces of software will do the same.
The reason you're doing this is to see where your keywords will have the best chance of ranking – you'll be able to find the best place to 'position yourself' this way.

Keep those keywords handy – you'll need them when you start writing content. Got your keywords?  What do you want to blog about? 
Once you've got your keywords, you'll have an idea, at least, of the profitable areas of your niche that you can take advantage of.  Yo[u'll be able to choose an interesting niche – for both you to write in, and your prospective readers.

You'll find that you can narrow it down pretty easily based on what you've got on your keyword lists – and what YOU feel like you want to write. While it is important to work out what you want to do with your blog, based on your view of profitability, it’s also important to remember that working based on keywords alone is a sure fire way to build an impersonal, and possibly unmotivated blog for your readers.

Look at what you're ABOUT to do from a reader's perspective
One of the more important actions anyone creating or 'cleaning up' a blog can do is look at what you're doing or about to do from the perspective of average Joe reader.

Average Joe doesn't care about profitability. He doesn't care that you're optimising to make the most out of PPC clicks.  He REALLY doesn't care that you've worked hard in getting your information into the search engine – and in front of them. ALL he cares about is what they are looking for – and they are hoping that YOUR site is the site that will provide it.

Average Joe will remain on your site and read ONE POST in for anywhere up to 30 seconds.  They might then click on your PPC advertising – they might sign up for your newsletter – they might read more of your posts (yes!) or, if your site doesn't live up to what they were expecting – what they were looking for, they'll click away, either back to the search engine, or to their next option from the search engine.

Blogging isn't just about eyeballs on your page – it’s about eyeballs on your page, and comments in your inbox.  People have to have a reason to come back, and the simplest way to ensure that is to ensure you've got a reason for them to WANT to visit your site again. This stickivity is what makes blogging so tantalising - if you can get it right, your blog will attract Average Joe, Average Jane and all of their friends, because the best blogs get commented on in other places – and shared with others.

So, from a reader's perspective is your blog going to fulfil a) your niche and b) give your readers quality, quantitative content that will either strike a controversial or empathic chord with them, giving them something to comment on.

Give Your Readers What They Want
Studies suggest that there's up to a quarter of the internet reads blogs – that's a lot of eyeballs.  And on top of that, another study suggests that there's two blogs founded every minute.  Two blogs a minute is 120 blogs an hour – and nearly 3000 a day.  Take that to its logical conclusions and that's a lot of blogs competing for a less rapidly increasing source of traffic.

More than that though, blogs are competing for a specific NICHE of readers – though its true that some blogs will pull in readers from search engines, blogs still don't have the impact of static sites – and the average internet user may not know HOW to search blogs – let alone that even exists, so you can't rely on them finding you UNLESS you are not only good – but one of the best in your niche. 

Once you've got the absolute best information in your niche, you can be sure that you'll attract the right kinds of traffic, and that they'll attract MORE traffic by referencing you on their sites – bookmarking you, and more.

Blogging is all about the reader – ultimately, its not about how well you position yourself, or how strongly you optimise your site – though you can bookmark yourself, and generate a certain amount of traffic that way – the best sites have faithful readers that bookmark and discuss the site independently of ANY input from the site owner (you).

The best blogs are one or a mix of tips and advice, hobby or interest discussion, technique and connection.  When blogging, if you can make a connection with your reader, then you've won most of the battle.  'Connecting' with your readers is as simple as being personable, and approachable, and giving people a chance to empathise with you.

Who is your reader?  Thinking about what your reader wants to see lets you work out WHO your reader is.  Which you'll need later too, to advertise your blog effectively. So who IS your ideal reader?  Do they have a specific interest, within your niche? 

ULTIMATELY, when you know who your reader is, you can plan the creation of a blog that will fully appeal to any readers you attract.  If you've planned on whom you're targeting, you'll find it far easier to write content that will continue to satisfy your readers, whilst giving you room to evolve and plan more content as you grow.

Got all of that sorted out?  Now you can move onto the technical stuff!

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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Sunday, 8 April 2018

Working from Home: The Pros and Cons

April 08, 2018 0
If you run a business from home, it is important to recognize that it is going to mean living a completely different lifestyle from the majority of people you know. Not having to commute in the morning, not spending all-day sitting in an office and being able to generally create your own working hours puts you on an entirely different pedestal from most people. For the most part, this is a good thing. 

Being able to set your working hours, to dictate the way you work and when you work and getting to spend time doing something you love can all contribute to a much happier and healthier lifestyle on the whole. In fact, it is a starting point for improving overall health. At the same time though, this type of lifestyle also brings with it, its own challenges. And because very few people live the same lifestyle as you do, that means you are going to be somewhat 'on your own' when it comes to finding advice on how to manage this work-life balance.

The long and short of it is that being self-employed and working from home gives you the freedom to begin your own 'lifestyle design'. This is pretty much the way things are moving and is likely the future of working. Technology is making it possible for us to work remotely in more and more industries and more and more roles. The benefits of this kind of work drastically outweigh the disadvantages – for both the employee and employer – and so the traditional office may soon become a rarity rather than the norm. That means the emphasis is on us to look after our own health and work-life balance.

The Possible Health Benefits
As mentioned, when done right, working from home has the potential to lead to incredible health benefits.  Most of the population is overweight, overtired and overstressed. If you can still remember working in an office, then no doubt you will recall what it felt like to have a full day in office, to travel home for an hour on the train/bus or in the car and then to have to cook dinner when you got back. What did you most often end up doing? You threw something in the microwave and you collapsed in front of the television. And then when your friends called to invite you out, you ignored that and carried on 'vegging out'.

Many of us talk about 'time management' and we say that the reason we don't stick to a training regime/weight loss programme is that we don't have the time. This is in fact all wrong. Most of us have plenty of time but what we lack is the energy. Without energy, we do not have will-power. Without willpower, things don't get done and we start to drown in a list of things we need to be doing and become incredibly stressed. Our bodies suffer, our relationships suffer and we don't live life to the fullest.

Working from home can change all that. Working from home means that you can choose to work out in the morning or in the afternoon – you just have to choose the time that you have the most energy. At the same time, it means you can put food on the gas cooker while you're working and watch it simmer. Working from home means you can sit outside and feel the sun on your face, instead of being cooped up in an office (which is known to contribute to stress and depression). 

Working from home means that you don't have to commute down busy streets with hundreds of people walking at you during rush hour – this wreaks havoc with your heart rate. In short, when you work from home, you get to choose your priorities and you reduce the stress of working several times over. Now you can put yourself first and that's an incredibly important and valuable thing to be able to do. The potential health benefits are transforming and life-changing.

The Health Risks
Working from home also has some health risks, so make no mistake about it. Think that being shouted at by your boss is stressful? How about being shouted at by 10 angry clients who are dissatisfied with your product or service?

And here's the difference between working for someone versus working for yourself: when you work for someone else and you have an unproductive day, you still get paid. When you work for yourself and you have an unproductive day?  You get nothing. Have a bad month? You still get nothing. Working for yourself is highly volatile and unpredictable and that's why some people refer to bipolar depression as 'the entrepreneur's disease'. 

Here's another difference: when you work for yourself, none of your friends or relatives will respect the fact that you have to work during the week.  Never mind that you promised your clients their work would be finished at 4.00 p.m. Never mind that you'll now have to work until 5.00 a.m. through the night. And on the flip side of this, your clients won't respect that your home time is your home time. They'll think nothing of e-mailing you at 5.00 a.m. on a Sunday to tell you the work you handed in three days ago was sub-standard.

And you'll have the same problem: you'll always be tempted to finish a little early on a Friday, or to work a little late on a Wednesday. Goodbye body clock! Goodbye healthy sleep! Goodbye good quality work. Then there's the fact that working from home means working on your own, with no one around, in the same room you're likely to spend your evening in. You never get to leave this space and you never get any outside interaction or input. Working from home gives you freedom and that freedom can give you the option to become incredibly healthy, happy and effective. At the same time though, freedom also comes with responsibility. Fail to manage that time well and everything can all go wrong.

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Resume (Curriculum Vitae) Writing Secrets

April 07, 2018 0
Everyone in the business world knows that having a good and strong Resume (also known as Curriculum Vitae or simply CV) can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job.  You will need to have a resume that is crafted professionally and that will reflect you, your job abilities, and your experience.

Having a good looking resume is so important when you are searching for a job that it should be your number one priority.  There are all sorts of ways you can go about crafting a resume that works, but there is no magic formula for a resume that will work all the time. 

The choice is really up to you how you put together your resume, but there are certain nuances that you will need to include in your resume that every employer looks for. It is not difficult to put together a resume that works, but it is important that you do not overlook what makes your resume most effective.  This one or two page document speaks about you, your abilities, your experience, your education, and your accomplishments. It is the first thing that a potential employer will see before they meet you, so you want it to really be compelling and make them want to pick up the phone and call you for an interview!

There are many schools of thought regarding how a resume should look like, what information it should contain, and how to put it together.  However, most business people agree that when they look at a resume of a potential employee, they want the resume to be concise, to the point, and easy to read.

Whichever school of thought you, as a job seeker, subscribe to, you will still want your resume to be what a potential employer wants to see.  That is why you will want as much information about resumes as possible so you can have something that you can be proud of, to send out as an introduction to you and what you can do for a company. The resume is a selling tool that outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer's workplace. Your resume has to sell you in short order.

While you may have all the requirements for a particular position, your resume is a failure if the employer does not instantly come to the conclusion that you "have what it takes." The first hurdle your resume has to pass - whether it ends up in the "consider file" or the "reject file" - may take less than thirty seconds.

The most effective resumes are clearly focused on a specific job title and address the employer's stated requirements for the position. The more you know about the duties and skills required for the job - and organize your resume around these points - the more effective the resume will be.

You will need information to write a good resume. Not just information about jobs you have held in the past but also information to select the most relevant accomplishments, skills and experience for THIS position. The more you know about the employer and the position, the more you can tailor your resume to fit the job.

Some people think of a resume as their "life on a page," but how could anyone put everything important about themselves on a single piece of paper (or two)? Actually, resumes are much more specific, including only relevant information about you for specific employers.

Like a life, however, a resume is always growing and changing. As your career goals shift or the job market changes - as you grow personally and professionally - chances are you will need to re-write your resume or at least create new versions. Writing a resume is a lifelong process.

How do you know what in your life - past, present, and future - is most relevant to prospective employers? How do you select which information to include? The quick answer to both these questions is "it depends." It depends on your individual career goals as well as on the professional goals of the companies hiring in your area or field of interest.

In the end, only you, through research, planning, questioning and self-reflection, can determine the shape and content of your resume, but the strategies here along with those on the job search can help you ask the right questions and begin exploring your options.

Depending on whom you ask, a resume may be viewed as the single most important vehicle to securing your next job, or it may be viewed as an unnecessary nuisance. In both cases, this is incorrect. A resume is a professional introduction meant to encourage a one-on-one interview situation - the opportunity for communication that can lead to a job offer. It is a rare candidate who is hired by his or her resume alone. It is just as rare to be offered an interview without one.

A resume is often the first line of contact. It establishes a first impression of a potential job candidate's skills, background and hiring value. If written well, this impression can be a positive one, offering the reader a sense of the candidate's "fit" for the position and company being targeted. If written really well, it may convince the reader that the job candidate is ideally suited for the job. When coupled with an effective cover letter, the resume can be a very strong marketing tool.

Preparing a resume may be seen as a nuisance, but having a well-constructed, well-designed resume is an important part of your job search. Consider that for each available job opening there may be as many as 100 to 1000 resumes submitted.

If your resume fails to adequately and accurately convey your hiring value (for the specific position), fails to establish your hiring value over competing candidates, or is difficult to follow, your ability to compete against those 100 to 1000 professionals, vying for the same position you are, will be greatly diminished.

If your resume secures an interview, it has done its job. If it sets you ahead of the competition in the mind of your interviewer, then it has given you a distinct advantage, and has gone beyond its job. A great resume does what all good marketing pieces do: it sells the "consumer" (the potential employer or hiring manager) on the "product" (you).

Like it or not, the job of looking for employment is a job in sales and marketing. The product you are "selling" is you, and the "customer," who has unique needs and interests, needs to be sold on the fact that you have what it takes to get the job done and to meet the needs of the position.

He or she is going to want to know how you are going to solve his or her problems, and he or she is going to give your resume about 15 seconds, or less, to sell this. Fifteen seconds is the average time a hiring manager will allot to a new resume - before giving it a potential "yes" or "no" response.

The resume will not get you the job (well, it has happened, but it is extremely rare), but it can certainly secure your chances of being seen and interviewed, just as it can cause you to be passed over in favour of a candidate who offers a better presentation.

As with any type of marketing campaign, use your resume as one tool in your search. Continue to network, improve your interviewing skills, and use every avenue available to you to better your chances and opportunities. And, after you have secured that next position, do this all over again. Always be prepared for the next opportunity. Keep your resume up-to-date and stay career fit.

So, essentially, a resume is you in short form on paper.  That is why having a good looking, easy to read resume is so important. 

For in-depth coverage of the subject matter, including cover letters, references and interviews, consider getting yourself a copy of Resume Writing Secrets.

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks

December 19, 2017 0

Anxiety is a mental disorder in which a person fears almost anything and they think every result will turn out for the worst.  This fear is terrifying since it is so strong that the individual always fears that someone is after them.  If you have any kind of disorder that is associated with anxiety, your mind will be focused on being terrified for no reason.  You will always believe that there is no solution for your unfounded fear and that there is no way out.  You are feeling paralyzed as if you cannot do anything.  You are frozen with fear.  This disorder can strike at any time. 

There are several people who suffer from anxiety attacks.  If you are not suffering from them, you might know someone who is.   If it is you, you should know how to help yourself.  If it's another person, you should know how to help them too.  The feeling of anxiety originates from your brain.  According to studies that deal with this, there are at least two areas of the human brain that activate the sense of fear and anxiety in our thoughts.  It causes your brain to have a defense mechanism and then you react

There are drugs that can induce an anxiety attack from side effects or withdrawals. These include alcohol, caffeine containing drinks, cold medication, decongestants, nicotine, weight loss supplements and numerous other medications that people take for various health conditions and illnesses.  Not eating right may also be a contributor to anxiety.  There are some situations, where you may have to take a test or face a lot of people.  If you are not ready, you can get nervous, anxious or jittery.

Who Suffers From Anxiety?
Anxiety is a respecter of no person. It can attack anyone.  It could be your family member, your good friend, co-worker or anyone you may know.  Frequently, it could be those that you know and you would have never thought that they would suffer from this type of health condition.  Unfortunately, anxiety disorders affect and have a tendency to interfere with people who try to live a normal life.  When you have excessive anxiety attacks, it could be related to a psychiatric condition. When these disorders become serious and last a longer time, they are considered abnormal.  Along with the symptoms of an anxiety attack, the brain relays messages to other parts of the body. Certain parts of the body, like the lungs and heart, work overtime as the anxiety attack is going on.  The brain ends up releasing a whole lot of adrenaline.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD, deals with people who are frequent worriers and are always anxious.  The thing about this is the fact that there really isn't a cause for this, nor is anyone or anything responsible to provoke it.  They look for the worst and are always extremely concerned about work, family health and money.  They even feel anxiety throughout their normal day.  It is difficult for them to relax; they are easily startled by people or sounds and they have trouble concentrating.  Sometimes they cannot sleep during the night or awaken in the morning on their own.  Below are a few other symptoms of Generalized Anxiety Disorder:  
§  Tiredness
§  Aching muscles
§  Irritation
§  Nausea
§  Sweating
§  Lightheadedness
§  Shortness of breath
§  Shaking or trembling
§  Hot flashes
There are other anxiety disorders that happen together with GAD, such as drug abuse and depression. If treated properly, the individual affected can get over their worries with whatever problems they may be dealing with.

Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, happens whenever a person is extremely self-conscious and anxious. It happens every day in various social situations.  They are extremely fearful of being watched.  Also, they are fearful of being judged by others.  They make efforts to be extremely careful and go out of their way not to do things that could cause them embarrassment. 

For a while, they are really fearful prior to a situation that they feel may become a disaster.  It could become so bad that they lose concentration and cannot think straight. With social anxiety disorder, they can allow this fear to lead them to lose focus.  No matter whether it happens at school, work or at home, having social anxiety disorder makes it difficult for the affected individual to cultivate healthy relationships with others. 

With social anxiety disorder, it might be somewhat difficult for people to overcome their excessive fears and concerns.  This is true even if they know that what they feel is not reasonable.  Some will attempt to make amends.  Even then, there is a feeling of anxiety and they don't feel comfortable when other people are around them. They are overly concerned about how others think of them following the encounter.

A person could be in a social environment (for example, at dinner with someone or even more than one person) and they will experience anxiety because they are fearful.  They will sweat a great deal, blush, tremble, or find it hard to hold a discussion with other people at the table. They always appear to feel that other people are observing them.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
People that deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, constantly have thoughts that can make them upset.  To get their anxiety under control, they use compulsions (rituals). However, the tables end up turning on them because the rituals assume control over their mind. For example, there are some people that are obsessed with being clean. They may be known as "clean freaks".  Needless to say, it's a good practice to want everything to remain clean, however they can reach the point of being overly controlling about germs and bacteria or dirty areas.  They have a compulsion to clean their hands frequently.  They don't really want any germs or dirt and mud to touch their hands.  If they go to the bathroom, they will take a paper towel to open and close the door, just to avoid getting germs on their hands.

If people that have OCD don't feel like they look their best, they will look in the mirror many times until they feel they are presentable.  They don't really want to feel as if they look out of place in the midst of other people.  These actions provide them with a short-term release of the anxiety they have been feeling.  People who have this disorder are always compelled to check things repeatedly, or ensure that things are in the same place consistently. 

Sometimes, they may be obsessed with ideas of assault or injury to others.  They also have thoughts of crazy things that people would not normally think about.  Periodically they feel they need to hoard and keep things that they don't really need.  There are others that have rituals in their home.  One of the most common ones is checking the stove many times before they leave to ensure it is off. Having obsessive-compulsive disorder can turn into havoc and an unwelcome interruption when it happens on a regular basis.

Whenever a person is ingrained with obsessive-compulsive disorder, they know very well that what they may be doing may not make much sense, but they don't look at their behaviour as something that is abnormal.

The symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder can come and go at any time.  If it really gets bad, it can severely affect a person from acting in a normal capacity and doing certain tasks.  It's a good idea for those that are dealing with this not to use alcohol or drugs to calm them down.  It just makes the situation worse for them.

There are certain treatments and medications that can be used to ward off obsessive-compulsive disorder.  They can help people that are in fear or anxiety to be desensitized to what is going on around them.

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Monday, 18 December 2017

How to Write Your Blog Contents

December 18, 2017 0

Writing for the web is not a case of collecting your ideas and putting them.  Before you actually write one phrase of content, you need to think about what you are going to say.  You ought to have your keywords organised into some sort of coherent list - and you should be weeding out those you're not thinking about using.  Once you've done that, you need to sit back and plan down your site.  You will need to plan at least 20 contents and choose some kind of posting schedule.

Once you've prepared your content, you can begin writing your posts.  You can queue your articles as you are writing them, providing you the additional benefit of having the ability to post series and have them ready to go, without dropping your flow.  We always advise that you stay at least three posts ahead of your posting timetable - because of this, if you strike a dry area, or find yourself too busy to create; you've kept 'disaster' content on tap, till you can re-evaluate.

What should a blog post BE?
Blog posts should follow one of a few formulae, but before you look at them - you should probably consider what they can and can't contain.  There are always a couple of 'no no's' in blogging.

To start with - your blog should be advertising light.  People don't want to read about your latest and greatest advert.  They would like to read about your thoughts and your topic. They want to know that you actually know what you're discussing, and most importantly, they would like to discuss, not be sold to; which means that though your blog will do the work of promoting your product, you have to do it without being blatantly advertorial.

You CAN write about products - talk about why you're so passionate about them - their features, things that cause you to want to utilize them - or the services, or problems they solve. You also won't need to just WRITE - you can upload pictures, podcasts (audio), video, multimedia system - in truth, the more interactive your blog is, without intruding on the knowledge of the common visitor, the increased traffic and return site visitors you'll get and the more comments your site will garner.

Writing for the web
Writing for the web is an art.  You should employ short phrases, with sub-headings, usually one per paragraph. Those sub-headings should be bolded, to stand out, because studies have proven, without a shadow of a doubt that most internet users, especially people that have a lower technical savvy than typical, skim read.  They skim read because we have been conditioned to trust a couple of things about the internet: there's a lot of good information out there - but it can be incredibly hard to find, even on 'trusted' sites.  Google's quality, page rank and duplicate content algorithms go a long way to assisting to sift the dross from the perfect, but we are still left with people gaming the machine, or even worse, not having the ability to clearly state what we, ourselves are looking for.

Keyword searching is a really good technique to learn, but for most people, keying in short phrases, or whole questions, is the way to go, filled with punctuation.  Depending on the sophistication of the software used, they might get just what they want, but the same studies that suggest people skim read, also tell us that people really do not understand how to get the most from the internet.  It is the case of knowing that the truth is out there.  But where?

Effective Blog Post Formula
Blogging has fallen into several styles, like articles in newspapers and magazines.  You are able to write and opt for several different formulae, but in the long run, you have to find a way, and a method of writing that is comfortable for you.

The most common and most effective way of blogging is 'problem - solution'.  You take one universal problem or current trend, or newsworthy subject, and you 'solve' it.  Solving it could be as easy as providing your thoughts and opinions, showing where you stand on any given issue, or it could be offering a genuine solution to a problem most of us encounter.

Problem - solution or 'action - reaction' blogs are extremely popular with a vast majority of visitors, but aren't without their inherent problems.  For a start, if you are 'solving' a current newsworthy problem, although you are giving people a view of the fact that you are human, you can also find that unless you are being careful about expressing your views, you are going to upset someone, somewhere along the line.  This can be a good thing, however, as it can promote conversation on your blog. You must take the good with the bad and accept that whatever one does, you will always ruffle some feathers - just like in real life.

A different type of highly popular blog post is the review.  It is fairly straight forward to write a review post, but you've got to be careful.  If it generally does not match the theme of your blog, you'll find that it actually damages your overall traffic.  Your blog should always be laser beam focused on the niche you want to talk about, and related areas to the niche market.  You can't set off topic! The very popular blog, is full of these techniques - an article centred on resolving a problem.  The issue may well not be implicitly stated, but instead handled in general terms.  The alternatives are always bang on the money, which makes this blog a good read.  Its style is easy to emulate too.  What problems does your specific niche market have? Are there other alternatives that you know of?  And is it possible to express them basically?

The final type of post that is very popular and easy to create is the feature - features can be one article, or several long articles, with links to one another.  They have to cover something important and become packed filled with information.  Keyword rich, you want your readers to come away feeling like they've really discovered something, and search engines to come away with a complete new platter of wonderful content to increase their indexes.

The Art of Writing Itself
You have to remember that though some blogs are founded for personal gains, if you're working on it to make any kind of income in any way, you will need to consider that your blog is a marketing project.  You're either marketing this content, your business, or in some cases, yourself.  Once you have come to terms with that, you'll also understand why you can't use slang, or make spelling or grammar mistakes, but more importantly, you'll realize that blogging might be the main 'voice' or face you show people, so you'll need to offer a dependable and interesting brand.

There are specific types of post that work well with blogs from an internet marketer’s point of view – like information about your business. Go beyond FAQ's and contact details, and share information about your operation.  Make your blog readers feel like they are getting in on a secret of some description. Or share something that wouldn't ordinarily be online – such as your motivation for going into business. You can also recommend other marketers that you like, without appearing too fawning, if you're honest.   Talking about experience is a sure fire way to improve on both your customer image, and your professional image.

You can use your blog to archive articles and other freebies for your business.  More importantly, always ensure that you have somewhere on your blog where people can join your mailing list.  Giving them the option to do that will also mean that you've got multiple streams of traffic to and from your blog.  People are more likely sign up for your newsletter if they like what you're posting on your blog. 

It has been suggested that there's a definite link between people that sign up for your newsletter, and people that comment on blogs attached to newsletters – and these people are the ones that are interested, interactive readers.  They have a vested interest in commenting on your blog.

Final Thoughts
Blogging isn't just about providing search engine content, and though it’s a great way to make connections with your customer base, the most important thing to remember is that shallow content breeds shallow contacts.  What this means is that if you're posting trivial stuff, people that are interested in little more than the trivial stuff will read your blog, and no one else.

Though you will start out with a strong plan, and should try to stick to that as much as possible for the first few months (so as not to confuse yourself or waste the research you did in founding the blog) you should also consider the needs, wants and interests of your readers.  Do THEY comment on more of one type of content?  Can you write to fit the things they are raising?

Blogging is about sharing your passion, your enthusiasm, and your experience with others, and to do that, you've got to believe in what you're writing.  If you don't, then how can you expect your readers to enjoy and comment?

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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Sunday, 17 December 2017

Understanding Insurance Frauds and their Ramifications

December 17, 2017 0

Insurance fraud is any act committed with the intent to fraudulently obtain payment from an insurerInsurance fraud has existed ever since the beginning of insurance as a commercial enterprise. Fraudulent claims account for a significant portion of all claims received by insurers, and cost billions of dollars annually worldwide.

Types of insurance fraud are very diverse, and occur in all areas of insurance. Insurance crimes also range in severity, from slightly exaggerating claims to deliberately causing accidents or damage. Fraudulent activities also affect the lives of innocent people, both directly through accidental or purposeful injury or damage, and indirectly as these crimes cause insurance premiums to be higher.  Insurance fraud poses a very significant problem, and governments and other organizations are making efforts to deter such activities.


The chief motive in all insurance crimes is financial profit.  Insurance contracts provide both the insured and the insurer with opportunities for exploitation.  One reason that this opportunity arises is in the case of over-insurance, when the amount insured is greater than the actual value of the property insured.  This condition can be very difficult to avoid, especially since an insurance provider might sometimes encourage it in order to obtain greater profits.  This allows fraudsters to make profits by destroying their property because the payment they receive from their insurers is of greater value than the property they destroy.

Insurance companies are also susceptible to fraud because false insurance claims can be made to appear like ordinary claims. This allows fraudsters to file claims for damage that never occurred, and so obtain payment with little or no initial cost. The most common form of insurance fraud is inflating of loss.

It is virtually impossible to determine an exact value for the amount of money stolen through insurance fraud.  Insurance fraud is designed to be undetectable, unlike visible crimes such as robbery or murder.  As such, the number of cases of insurance fraud that are detected is much lower than the number of acts that are actually committed.  The best that can be done is to provide an estimate for the losses that insurers suffer due to insurance fraud.  The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that in 2006 a total of about $80 billion was lost in the United States due to insurance fraud.  According to estimates by the Insurance Information Institute, insurance fraud accounts for about 10% of the property/casualty insurance industry’s incurred losses and loss adjustment expenses. 

The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association estimates that 3% of the healthcare industry’s expenditures in the United States are due to fraudulent activities, amounting to a cost of about $51 billion.  Other estimates attribute as much as 10% of the total healthcare spending in the United States to fraud—about $115 billion annually.  In the United Kingdom, the Insurance Fraud Bureau estimates that the loss due to insurance fraud in the United Kingdom is about £1.5 billion ($3.08 billion), causing a 5% increase in insurance premiums.  The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that personal injury fraud in Canada costs about C$500 million annually.   In Nigeria, and many other developing countries, there are no available/reliable statistics on how much is lost by insurers as a result of fraudulent claims.


Insurance fraud can be classified as either hard fraud or soft fraud.

Hard fraud occurs when someone deliberately plans or invents a loss, such as a collision, auto theft, or fire that is covered by their insurance policy in order to receive payment for damage.  Criminal rings are sometimes involved in hard fraud schemes that can steal millions of dollars.

Soft fraud, which is far more common than hard fraud, is sometimes also referred to as opportunistic fraud.  This type of fraud consists of policyholders exaggerating otherwise legitimate claims.  For example, when involved in a collision an insured person might claim more damage than was really done to his or her car.  Soft fraud can also occur when, while obtaining a new insurance policy, an individual misreports previous or existing conditions in order to obtain a lower premium on their insurance policy.

An example of life insurance fraud is the John Darwin disappearance case, a faked death of British former teacher and prison officer, John Darwin, who turned up alive in December 2007, five years after he was thought to have died in a canoeing accident. Darwin was reported as "missing" after failing to report to work following a canoeing trip on March 21, 2002. He reappeared on December 1, 2007, claiming to have no memory of the past five years.

The most common perpetrators of healthcare insurance fraud are healthcare providers. One reason for this, according to David Hyman, a Professor at the University of Maryland School of Law, is that the historically prevailing attitude in the medical profession is one of “fidelity to patients”.  This incentive can lead to fraudulent practices such as billing insurers for treatments that are not covered by the patient’s insurance policy. To do this, physicians often bill for a different service, which is covered by the policy, than that which was rendered.

Another motivation for insurance fraud in the healthcare industry, just as in all other types of insurance fraud, is a desire for financial gain.  Physicians use several fraudulent techniques to achieve this end. These can include “up-coding” or “upgrading,” which involve billing for more expensive treatments than those actually provided; providing and subsequently billing for treatments that are not medically necessary; scheduling extra visits for patients; referring patients to another physician when no further treatment is actually necessary; "phantom billing," or billing for services not rendered; and “ganging,” or billing for services to family members or other individuals who are accompanying the patient but who did not personally receive any services.

It is estimated that 21% to 36% of auto-insurance claims contained elements of suspected fraud.  There is a wide variety of schemes used to defraud automobile insurance providers. These ploys can differ greatly in complexity and severity.

Examples of soft auto-insurance fraud can include:
Ø  filing more than one claim for a single injury,
Ø  filing claims for injuries not related to an automobile accident,
Ø  misreporting wage losses due to injuries,
Ø  reporting higher costs for car repairs than those that were actually paid.

Hard auto-insurance fraud can include activities such as
Ø  staging automobile collisions,
Ø  filing claims when the claimant was not actually involved in the accident,
Ø  submitting claims for medical treatments that were not received,
Ø   inventing injuries. 
Ø  when claimants falsely report their vehicle as stolen.

Soft fraud accounts for the majority of fraudulent auto-insurance claims.

Possible motivations for this can include obtaining payment that is worth more than the value of the property destroyed, or to destroy and subsequently receive payment for goods that could not otherwise be sold. According to Alfred Manes, the majority of property insurance crimes involve arson.  One reason for this is that any evidence that a fire was started by arson is often destroyed by the fire itself.

If you found this article interesting, educative, informative, inspiring or helpful in any way, please feel free to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy the same experience. You can also subscribe to this blog to receive future posts by email, by simply entering your email address on the Newsletter Subscription Form located at the bottom of this blog.
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