How can we develop our critical thinking abilities?

My answer to How can we develop our critical thinking abilities?

Answer by Yuri Kruman:

Many intriguing explorations in this thread.

Here are a few results-oriented actions that have helped me a great deal to develop my critical thinking ability over the years:

  1. Read widely and constantly. Read far outside of your chosen discipline(s). To find great selections of high-level articles, studies and discussions on many intellectual subjects, visit Arts and Letters Daily, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Browser, etc. Here’s one very good list and here’s another. Also look into The Atlantic, Harper’s, NY Times Magazine, Harvard Business Review, etc. No shortage of intelligent people publishing magazines and books these days. Your job is to read on many subjects and there is no excuse for being unable to find the sharpest thinkers our there.
  2. Work in multiple roles, industries and professions over your career. For some of us, this may happen serendipitously and for others, by design. There are few things as enriching of the mind and help acquire new perspectives on life and people and ideas as working across a spectrum of professions.
  3. Travel widely. There are few things are enriching of one’s understanding of human history, nature, cultures, languages, psychologies, religions, architecture, movement, urban design, transportation systems and the inter-relationship between all of them as one can receive through traveling around the world with an eye and ear to learn and process and teach all of these to someone else.
  4. Take the time to listen more than you speak. When you have the patience to listen to other people, no matter their station in life, age, financial or social status, you can learn a tremendous deal about human nature, history, culture, language, psychology, religion and any number of other disciplines in a way that you never heard before.
  5. Seek practical experience alongside - and in at least equal measure to - theoretical knowledge. It is a sad truth that our education system rarely prepares us for the vicissitudes of life, with all its nasty surprises, turns, setbacks and thumbscrews. Theoretical frameworks that sit in your mind as a result of going to school need to be heavily adjusted for real-world applications, psychology, technology, timing, economic cycle and any number of other “normalizing” factors.
  6. Invest in yourself constantly. Take courses in subjects you never learned. Learn new languages (spoken and coding). Learn new skills. Take internships in things you’ve never done before that interest you.
  7. Learn from everyone. Some people will teach you by the example of their successes (how to do certain things very well). Others will teach you by virtue of their failures (what not to do). Take everything you hear with a grain of salt, since people tend to minimize their failures and maximize their successes in equal measure.
  8. Get out of your various comfort zones. Go to an art gallery in new town. Meet new people through Meetups. Get older people to tell you their life stories, successes and failures, feathers and all.
  9. Invest in experiences, not in material goods. You grow, make connections between phenomena, ideas and disciplines in the most interest and novel ways by engaging with the world and other people, not by acquiring and consuming goods.
  10. Practice moderation in everything, especially moderation. Passion and curiosity will take you much farther in helping you grow as a human, professional and critical thinker than moderation in your 20s. Your moderation will prevent you from a lot of mistakes, waste of time and disappointment in your 30s and later.
  11. Postpone your gratification. The best learnings come your way when you don’t get what you want right away - and yet you stay the course and persevere.
  12. Remain open to being vulnerable with others, especially your loved ones and close friends. Your humanity, curiosity, progress as a human being and remaining childhood all depend on it. These are the traits that you must maintain to remain a child inside your mind and keep always growing as you get older and more set in your ways.

There are other guidelines that have been helpful, but these are the best ones that come to mind.

Now get out there and drop your premises and promises! You will never be the same.


Want to learn more about the Crtitical Thinking Toolset?

Visit BlueprintToThrive.com

How can we develop our critical thinking abilities?

What is the most difficult thing you have ever convinced someone of?

My answer to What is the most difficult thing you have ever convinced someone of?

Answer by Yuri Kruman:

If you’ve ever tried convincing an ex-Soviet scientist (especially biologist) about the value of religious faith, you may know some share of my pain for the past 10 years.

In my personal journey from a Soviet upbringing with two scientist parents (a biologist mother, a physicist father and a sister who married a former altar boy who hates organized religious with a passion), there has been no harder argument in my career (including as a lawyer, financier, startup executive, published author and career coach) than convincing my skeptic mother of the sincerity of my acquired religious faith.

In what has been a decade-long series of (often painful) conversations about the value of religious rituals to me (which she derides, citing the right intent and ethical framework as far more important) and now, to my children (which she no longer dismisses), my dearest mother has often questioned the sincerity of my religious observance and (mostly) politely dismissed it as extraneous and distracting, not to mention a childish caprice. <A rhetorical stab to the heart>

Only in recent times, when religious ritual and community have provided a tremendous support and coping system for me and my family through very tiring times (serious health issues), has she fully come around to the value of religious ritual and community and religious observance.

This is not least because scientific studies have regularly shown that religious faith and community are the strongest factors in recovery from chronic and terminal diseases like cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

While Soviet habits (religion was illegal and derided as opium for the masses) die hard and a skeptical scientist’s worldview will rarely change after decades of systemic, peer-reviewed thinking and reasoning based on empirical evidence, difficult times do sometimes convince even the greatest skeptic of the value of religious faith and community.

One just never knows. If one’s faith is sincere, it will overcome even the strongest skepticism from a non-believer.

What is the most difficult thing you have ever convinced someone of?

6.5 miles and Personal Records This Morning!

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PLEASE HELP ME BY SUPPORTING Chai Lifeline as I run the Miami half-marathon in late January: http://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172

Buoyed by a little help from my friends this week, I ran the longest distance yet in my training, 6.5 miles.

Only 3 weeks left to raise the $3600. EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS. Thanks in advance for your support!

Here's the link again:

http://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172

On This #Giving Tuesday, Join Me in Helping the Kids of Chai Lifeline!

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Dear Friend: You may already know that I’m training to run the Miami Half-Marathon in January. As it happens, today is also #GivingTuesday, the perfect time to maximize your contribution.

Running a marathon/half marathon is a personal challenge, but I'm not in this just for the glory. I'm running for something important. I don't want, I NEED to raise money for Chai Lifeline, a wonderful organization dedicated to helping very sick children and their families. I heard about this and I had to do something.

However, I know I can't do it alone. I NEED your help.

Chai Lifeline is an international organization that provides year-round emotional, social, and financial support to more than 3,000 children and their families every year. Chai Lifeline's goal is to bring joy to children and hope to their families, enabling them to live full and happy lives despite the presence of illness. Their most famous program is Camp Simcha (and its sister camp, Camp Simcha Special); every year these two camps offer 400 kids a chance to forget about illness and just be kids again.

(To learn more about Chai Lifeline, visit my embedded website, https://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172.)

Because I believe so strongly in Chai Lifeline’s work, I’ve decided to run the Miami Marathon and Half-Marathon. I plan to raise over $3,600 by race day and I hope you will help me reach this goal by making a small tax-deductible donation of $100. Your support is a critical part of this effort and I know that together we can make a difference to these children. All donations are 100% tax-deductible and the Team Lifeline website makes donations quick, easy, and secure.

The Team Lifeline website is easy to use and making a donation will only take a minute, so please visit my personal web page at the Team Lifeline site (insert your Team Lifeline web address here) today. You can also send a check, made payable to Chai Lifeline, to me at (your address). If your company has a matching gift program, your gift may be doubled or tripled. If you send the paperwork to me with your check, Chai Lifeline will complete the form and send it to your employer.

Thank you for supporting me, and in doing so, helping children and their families cope with the diagnosis, treatment, and aftermath of serious pediatric illness.

The link to donate, once more, ishttps://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172.

I look forward to keeping you informed of my progress as a runner.

Best regards,

Yuri Kruman

P.S. I hope you will also forward this to anyone you feel might be interested in supporting Chai Lifeline. Together we will make a difference.

Getting Back on Track After Being Sick for 2 Weeks...

2 weeks of coughing, wheezing, throat aches and no running have just passed. Relief! Today, after what seemed like ages, I got out again around the park. Nothing impressive, time-wise, but it's good to be back on.

Less than 2 months left to get ready for Miami! 

Help me help the amazing Chai Lifeline kids and support my run:

http://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172

EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS! Thank you in advance for your generosity :)

Pain, blisters... And satisfaction.

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Pushed myself to do another half-round to make it to 6.2 miles. Same pace as usual! Asher S., thanks for pushing me beyond my comfort zone.

Friends - help me make it to 13.1 miles in Miami in January. It's all for these remarkable kids, who are living with often crippling disabilities. Chai Lifeline is doing incredible things to raise their quality of life. 

Contribute here and thanks in advance: http://www.teamlifeline.org/my/61172

8 High-Impact Principles To Transform Your Life

W11Y1VS4CT Most days, it's really hard to stop and smell the roses. It might be raining or you're rushed, not in the mood, too busy, stressed, confused and tired. You look to weekends for salvation, but it never comes.

Day after day, your life begins to seem a shadow race to enrich bosses, landlords and loan servicers, then spend your free time running from the weekday drudgery and bills, often with frenemies, not friends. Slowly, but surely, you begin to lose control.

How do you stop the vicious circle? Get a grip.

Here are the principles I've used to overcome hard circumstances, time and time again, and keep on chugging right along, no matter what:

1) Always be filtering and calibrating.

Filter and calibrate the words you say to others - you can't take them back. The less you say, the more you're heard. Filter the words you choose to hear from others. Set your limits. Filter information carefully. Between email, FB and LinkedIN, filter news feeds for the useful things you need.

Listen, much more than speak. Take time to understand what's going on before making conclusions. Choose carefully the food you eat, music you hear, the books and articles you read, people you spend your time with, HOW you spend your time.

Filter the crap out every day, in every part of life. Leave only good things, things that move you forward toward goals. Your desk, your house show quickly how your mind is. Remind yourself that life is short and you have limits to your health and energy. Make your experiences count.

2) Embrace uncertainty. Don't run from it.

Create a plan for how to deal with stress (that doesn't end up with you drunk or high, but rested and refreshed).

Create a plan for how to get to information that you need to make decisions that make sense. Take *calculated* risks. Ask people that have been through this, but earlier in life. Use Quora to ask questions. Use your social networks. There's always help out there. You never have to "brave it" by yourself (and often make mistakes, for no good reason).

Go with the flow. Sometimes there is no beaten path or wisdom you can use. Uncertainty brings out the best in you - your ingenuity, your wit, your problem-solving skills - and often, your true character. Use your best judgment and don't be afraid to make mistakes. The vast majority of us adults have made mistakes - some of us, each and everyone inside that book. Still, here we are, still kicking.

Worst case, you go through crazy times and write a book or blog.

3) Prepare beforehand, not last-minute.

Always do careful research before making big decisions (your housing, schooling, choosing mates and jobs). Prepare your lunch the night before. Wash dishes and take out the trash each day. Clean up after yourself right now, not later. Create a plan for finances. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Sit down before the meeting and prepare your talking points. Learn carefully who's sitting on the other side before giving someone your money (or before you take it).  Don't "wing it," hoping for the best. Serious people see right through frivolity.

4) Be kind. Don't rush to judge - yourself or others.

You don't know what the other person's dealing with in life. You haven't walked inside their shoes. As for yourself, you're always capable of greater things than you expect. When you are judging yourself harshly always, you are stifling your potential. Leave room for missteps and mistakes. Measure yourself against your own potential, not what others think. When you can learn to be more kind to self, you will become more kind to others, too. The two go hand-in-hand.

5) Leave no person worse off for having dealt with you (Hippocratic Oath).

This way, people will find you valuable. People include employers, friends and mates, as well as business partners, customers, investors and so on. Once you resolve to add some value to each person's life you meet, you push your boundaries beyond the social norms to greater creativity, experiences and success in whatever you do. Some call it good karma, others good sense, but either way, when you do good for others, you do well.

6) Choose Yourself (thanks, James Altucher).

That means putting away your phone at dinner, checking email at only set times in the day, making time to do the things you love with people you love. It means focusing on your mission in life (and first, finding that mission) and not letting yourself be led astray by manipulators and people that unduly want your money and time. Stand firm and don't be easily swayed. Move on from bad experiences and learn from them, with the goal to never repeat them.

7) Guard your time zealously.

As the old saying goes, the way you spend your days is the way you spend your life. Don't waste time with people that add nothing positive to your life. Don't waste time on worthless experiences. It's ok to be bored and not on your phone or computer. That's when long-lost thoughts about the meaning of life may show up and lead to great insights. That's when business ideas may pop into your head. That's when you may remember to call your Mom, for once, or a long-lost friend. Re-connect with yourself and your values by valuing your time above every other resource, including money.

8) Focus on your own mission and fulfilling your own potential, not comparing yourself or caring what others think of you. 

Friends come and go. Celebrities in the news come and go. Your Facebook news feed changes every second. You are still here and have things to do in life. Focus on improving yourself and getting things done, day in day out. Don't worry about others and what they're doing, what they own or where they vacation. When you focus on what you enjoy doing in life, you ultimately do well and good things happen. Be patient and stay focused and thirsty, my friend.

 

Print this out and keep it above your desk. I promise your life will be the better for it.

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Do you have other principles that have transformed your life? Please share them with the Community in Comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

– –

Like what you see? Visit BlueprintToThrive.com for more great strategies and tips for better health and wealth, plus improved productivity.

Follow us @Blueprint2Thriv

Yuri Kruman is a Healthcare Product Manager, published author, blogger at BlueprintToThrive.com and health tech entrepreneur based in New York.

*The views expressed herein are his own*

10 Things To Give Thanks For RIGHT NOW

DeathtoStock_NotStock7 Having another sluggish Thursday at your desk? Got the dog-days-of-summer blues? Can't wait to hit the beach this weekend and annoyed by life?

Work may be stressful, life confusing, your relationships a mess. You've got too many bills to pay, too many social obligations, chores and worries. How do you gain the energy to power through until tomorrow afternoon?

Be thankful! This is as good a time as any to round up and count your blessings, friend.

Let's think of all the ways in which you're blessed:

1) You've got a roof above your head. Think of the tens of thousands homeless people all around New York and every city right this moment. That's a BIG one.

2) You've got clean drinking water and a working toilet you can use783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

3) If you are reading this, you likely own a smartphone or a laptop or a desktop - or all three. The world is at your fingertips. You have fast access to an endless wealth of information you can use to learn a skill or take a class, create and share your talents with the world, to start a business, access millions of books and movies, articles on any subject. That's better than 4 billion people all around the world.

4) The odds are, if you're reading this, you've got a good degree or two from a good school. Unless you are the rare self-made Harvard dropout, an entrepreneur and millionaire, you likely have a strong support network of friends and family looking out for you and are there to catch you if you fall. The great majority of people around the world don't have the same opportunities for self-advancement, with the same strong infrastructure for them to succeed as you. Take a pause and appreciate the people around you who make you who you are.

5) You have time for leisure. Most people around the world have to work 6 or 7 days a week to make ends meet. Even if you're an I-Banker or Consultant, at least you have your mandated day off to fly to Vegas, do a marathon, attend a friend's wedding, etc.

6) You have your health. Presuming you are reading this blog and are a busy urban 20- or 30- (40-?) something, you have at least some self-awareness about what you eat and how you live and have adjusted your habits to live a reasonable healthy lifestyle. You can choose to join a gym, shop (and even overpay) at Whole Foods, walk regularly, breathe relatively fresh air, get around town with relative ease to meet people and conduct business.

You're far ahead of two-thirds of humanity, amigo/amiga. Savor that thought and be profoundly thankful.

7) You have access to fresh food, including fruits and vegetables at a reasonable price (Whole Foods excluded). Even in the US, tens of millions of inner city dwellers have no access to fresh fruits and veggies, never mind the developing world. Enjoy that fresh green market in your neighborhood. It's LaLa Land compared to what most people have to do to get access to healthy food.

8) You are free to express your opinions and to act upon them within the confines of the Constitution. You're free from political oppression, war and strife (even the draft), state-sponsored discrimination based on gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin and other factors. You can freely practice what you preach, preach what you practice or do neither.

Imagine living in North Korea, Cuba, the Soviet Union or Venezuela. Yeah, count your lucky stars quick, buddy.

9) You are lucky enough to live in a time when you can fix almost any problem you have in life by instantly learning how to DIY from others (YouTube, Wikipedia, online forums) or by hiring someone to do it for you (TaskRabbit, Elance, Alfred). Now stop complaining and start fixing your problems!

10) You have the tools to communicate for free and instantly with family and others half a world away and won't have to travel more than a couple days to see them, if you want to and can afford it. That's never been the case before and most people around the world still have no such opportunity.

Now stop whining, pull up your breeches and get on with your day, soldier! Life's much better than you thought, even despite your First World Problems.

Do you have other things you're thankful for? Please share them with the Community in Comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

– –

Like what you see? Visit BlueprintToThrive.com for more great strategies and tips for better health and wealth, plus improved productivity.

Follow us @Blueprint2Thriv

Yuri Kruman is a Healthcare Product Manager, published author, blogger at BlueprintToThrive.com and health tech entrepreneur based in New York.

*The views expressed herein are his own*

How to Improve Your Skin (For Good)

girl-flowers Back from another holiday weekend, you look into the mirror. All that fatty, oily, heavy food over the weekend. Going to sleep late, face unwashed. So stressed at work. Burnt by the sun. Yekh. The skin's not happy. And it shows.

What do you do?!

The skin's your largest organ, a reflection of the state of things inside your body and your mind. Your facial skin, especially, is a signal of your overall health. When you break out or otherwise are not taking good care of health, your face will show it.

Not all is lost. There are some lifestyle elements to change, but you can have good skin, even if you were not exactly born with it. Take it from someone who had acne issues all through teenage years and college. You learn to live a healthy lifestyle, tailor your skin regimen to what G-d gave you and tweak your diet, sleep schedule and the way you manage stress.

Here are some concrete steps to take to get your skin in working order and in better shape.

1) Wash your skin regularly (every night before bed and morning, upon awaking). Use a good glycolic cleanser that doesn't strip your skin of oil completely, cleans your pores and yet conditions skin. Use plenty of lukewarm water. Make sure the cleanser you use contains only conditioning natural ingredients (such as avocado or argan oil, shea butter, olive oil and aloe juice) and nothing to which you're allergic (more on that later). Good facial skin hygiene is critical to looking and feeling your best every day.

2) Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. Avoid touching your face often, especially picking your acne. When you pick your acne, you invite bacteria, spread it around your face to other pores and make it more likely that further acne will appear. Keep your hands off and let your facial hygiene routine take care of the rest.

3) Get a good night's sleep, every night. Sleep clears out toxins from your body. If your sleep is of poor quality or quantity, your skin will suffer. Pores will get clogged and erupt. Toxins will collect and cause further damage.

4) Stay properly hydrated throughout the day. Drink water before meals and at least 30 minutes after, NOT during meals (this messes up digestion). Proper hydration ensures faster toxin removal, improves digestion (which also plays a role in skin health). Drink lukewarm water better than just cold. Add lemon juice and honey for a morning cleanse. Make it a habit.

5) Make it a habit to use sun screen of the SPF that's right for your skin color and type. Wear a hat when out in the sun for prolonged periods. Use common sense to prevent burning and apply pure aloe vera on your skin after sun exposure to counter the effects of burning and skin aging.

6) Avoid steroidal treatments for acne. Try elimination diet and natural remedies first. Put on a clay mask to dry out persistent cystic acne. Steroidal treatments are very commonly prescribed and yet are dangerous for their long-term effects, which include weight gain and others.

7) Eliminate allergens, both in food and your home and office. If you have persistent acne, do an elimination diet, where you eliminate the candidates for allergies for you - whether it's gluten, dairy, peanuts or whatever else. Once you figure out what's giving you digesting problems, it should also help clear up your skin. In terms of your environment at home and in the office, dust frequently and avoid other allergens that may be causing your skin to break out.

8) Don't eat junk that's too salty or too sweet, fatty, yeasty, spicy or oily. These are all strong candidates for causing acne. Just. Stay. Away.

9) Don't eat late and don't eat a heavy dinner. When you eat heavy food and/or eat late (after 7 PM), your digestive system will have to work harder beyond its night capacity (which is lower due to circadian rhythms and the day's fatigue), which means more toxins are released right before and during sleep, which will affect the quality of your sleep and may lead to skin problems. If you do eat heavy food and late in the evening, make sure to follow up with a cup of decaf tea to help digestion along.

10) Learn to manage your stress more effectively. Here is a detailed blog post on this subject.

11) Eliminate and neutralize the largest sources of inflammation and oxidation in your diet. Eat more anti-oxidants such as berries, green leafy vegetables, etc. Drink red wine to get your dose of phenols to fight oxidation and inflammation in your body from heavy food (see 8 above). Drink green tea after your meals for another anti-oxidant boost. Manage the damage from heavy or difficult-to-digest food in your digestive system, which results in heavy oxidation and inflammation. These two are the causes of many chronic diseases such as diabetes II and heart disease.

12) Sweat! Let your skin breathe! Whether through vigorous walking or exercise or even by eating spicy food, make sure to sweat regularly. Sweat helps release and eliminate toxins from the body and skin and to keep the pores clean.

13) Use lotion in the winter to stay hydrated, preferably one that's plant-based, not petroleum-based.

14) Eat a balanced diet full of fruits and veggies, yogurt for intestinal flora health (to maintain efficient digestion), fiber and a full range of food-based vitamins. A balanced diet is by far the most important factor in your skin's health.

15) Maintain good dental hygiene. When your teeth are in bad shape, it means your organism is not healthy. When you brush, floss and use mouthwash twice every day, you are well on the way to good dental health. A mouth with sores or open wounds lets in bacteria that endanger your skin health equally, as toxins get in the blood and circulate, causing serious problems  Remember, all the functions of the body are connected to the skin.

16) if all other natural remedies fail, seek medical attention. It may be a sign of more serious medical problems in need of diagnosis and treatment.

The list above is not exhaustive, but addresses the main strategies for keeping your skin healthy.

Enjoy and here's to good skin health!

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Do you have other strategies for healthy, happy skin? Please share them with the Community in Comments below. We’d love to hear from you!

– –

Like what you see? Visit BlueprintToThrive.com for more great strategies and tips for better health and wealth, plus improved productivity.

Follow us @Blueprint2Thriv

Yuri Kruman is a Healthcare Product Manager, published author, blogger at BlueprintToThrive.com and health tech entrepreneur based in New York.

*The views expressed herein are his own*

How To Decide If You Want to Work In a Startup (or Stay Corporate)

DeathtoStock_NotStock5 How To Decide If You Want to Work In a Startup (or Stay Corporate)

Many of us have been there. Tired of the boring job at a large company, resigned to being ten levels under management with no room to grow, running in place, not growing as a human being. We start to daydream - what if I was a Startup Guy or Startup Girl?

Immediately, we think of airy lofts and open floor plans, tons of snacks, open vacation, equity, being buddy-buddy with the founders, helping build an awesome product that will change the world, etc. We talk to friends who work at startups and they seem so driven and excited all the time. I want my freedom! Screw this corporate crap!

Now, back to earth. Just like in any other company, a startup job can be amazingly rewarding - or pure hell.

Here's what to look for when you think of jumping to a startup:

1) How do you look at risk? Is it excitement for you or a heart attack? Are you gung-ho about new challenges and run with them and own the problem or are you used to doing what you're told?

Frankly, can you survive if suddenly, the company goes under or the job doesn't work out? What if your job description changes drastically? How flexible are you to go get coffee/donuts, even if you're high in management? If suddenly the founders need to pivot or to cut the workforce, it could be a sudden shock.

If you're ok financially and otherwise with this scenario, then it could be for you. Don't take the startup gig it if you can't take the sudden changes in direction, moving quickly, daily shifts in mood and job description. 

2) How do you work? Are you methodical and thorough, harping on every detail to perfection? Then stay away.

Or are you of the 80/20 mindset, focusing on things of greatest impact first and then the rest? This might be for you.

Do you take ownership or do you always defer to others? If it's the first, then you might be a Startup Guy or Girl.

3) What is your learning style? Do you learn best by doing or through books and manuals and specialized trainings? A startup job will often have you doing things well outside of your comfort zone (what you learned in college, what you did in previous jobs, etc.) If learning things by doing is your forte, working for a startup might just be the thing for you.

4) What sort of people push you toward doing your best work? If you're not used to Type A, crazy people cracking whips around you, you will not enjoy it. Startups are different, but their founders tend toward having a very strong vision and a mission. If you're not in line, then often, you'll be yelled at, overruled or sidelined.

5) How stable is the company, especially its finances? Have the founders built companies previously? Have they worked successfully as a team before? How much does the company have in the bank (runway/burn) to achieve its mission and how well is this money being managed?

6) How do you get along with the founder(s) and the team you would work with? Make sure to take the beer test, ask detailed questions and OBSERVE their behavior, above all. If you don't like how people treat each other or how they react to stress (ask!) or other aspects of the culture, then it will wear you down and burn you out. Is the startup full of mature adults or a bunch of bros? It often depends on your function. FInance will be quite conservative and experienced people, whereas the Product Team and Devs will often be 20-something hipsters or bros. Know with which teams and people you would be working and make sure to meet them and estimate how well you can work with them.

7) Where can you grow in your role? Up or out? Don't settle for vague answers from founders. If you're a Product Manager, you will want to grow into a Director of Product Management, for example. If you're an account manager, you may want to become a Sales Director down the line. Be clear in where you want to go and that the founders and management know it and are on board with helping you reach your goals.

8) What is the company's mission and how closely aligned with it is the vision and the execution? Why do you want to work for a startup? Is it because you identify with the mission or because you're after the equity? Don't be seduced by wanting to "change the world" or the Perk Trap or "moving fast and breaking shit."

The work is often insanely hard and the hours beyond crazy. Equity almost always vests after a year and even then may not be worth anything. Too many free snacks make you fat and sick. You can't actually take as much vacation as you want (you'll be fired immediately when you try). Most of what you do will not come close to changing the world. You may want to move fast and break stuff, but there are always constraints like money and hours in the day and personality conflicts.

9) How happy will you be just to lay out your everything on the line for the company and learn as much as you can and work with super-smart people on an important problem (unless you're building yet another video or chat app) and then walk away? In the end, this is by far the greatest benefit, unless you actually build something world-changing, your equity actually vests and is actually worth something.

10) Does your family situation give you breathing room to work for a startup? If you're a single, urban 20-something, you have little to lose except sleep and hair and life enjoyment. You'll be fine. If you have a family and commitments, then it may not be the best bet to work for a startup, given the insane hours and constant stress and often unpredictable schedule. It takes a toll on you because you live your job (or you lose it).

In the end, there is no magic formula for whether it makes sense for you to take the plunge. An overwhelming number of startups fail each year. Nobody but you can decide what lifestyle you want or what skills you want to learn, with what people to work or what your mission in life is.

That said, if you are lucky to find a startup job that aligns with your mission and values and gets you in the door, working with amazingly smart people on an important problem with money and a great team behind you, ABSOLUTELY GO FOR IT!

Your life will never be the same and despite the hellish stress, it will open a wealth of opportunities for you. Just know, the startup journey ain't for the faint of heart.

Are there other factors you've found important in deciding whether to jump to a startup? Tell us in the Comments below. We would love to hear from you.

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Follow us @Blueprint2Thriv

Yuri Kruman is a Healthcare Product Manager, published author, blogger at BlueprintToThrive.com and health tech entrepreneur based in New York.

*The views expressed herein are his own*

29 Ways To Get a Grip on Life and Thrive

P1000189 Most of us hate our jobs, get less sleep that we should, get stressed out easily and far too often. We work long hours, deal with long commutes and otherwise survive, rather than thrive. It's time to stop and change the tune. Here are the strategies I've found to greatly help get out of a rut and to maintain sanity and a grip on life, as well as to make sustained progress toward my goals.

1) Prepare beforehand - to avoid the stress and incompetence of the last-minute. Review your notes a few minutes before the big meeting. Look up the meeting participants on LinkedIN beforehand to remind yourself of who is who and what connection you may have to each. Read up on the subject matter in advance. Google whoever's involved. Prepare your lunch the night before to avoid wasting time on it in the morning. Prepare your work bag and keep it by the door.

2) Always be organizing your email, information flow, news feeds, work surface and home.

3) During or after every meeting, take careful notes, re-read them 45 minutes later, use in conversation for the next couple days. This way, you will actually retain the information and not forget it immediately.

4) Use good tools to organize your life and information flow. Evernote, IFTTT, Boomerang (email), Brewster, Mailchimp/Constant Contact, etc. Optimize your Facebook, LinkedIN, Pinterest and other information flows/news feeds by blocking people who cause you envy or jealousy or disgust. 'Like' publications you actually enjoy reading (that enrich your life) and follow the opinion leaders in your field and many other fields who help you see the world in a different light.

5) Learn to make decisions quickly and according to a blueprint that fits with your values and priorities. To develop said blueprint, think long and hard about what your values and priorities actually are and in what order.

6) Minimize the number of decisions you have to make each day (AUTOMATE) - create a stable routine and follow it. Think about Zuckerberg's hoodie and Steve Jobs's black turtleneck every day. Each of us has limited bandwidth to tackle work and life's challenges and surprises, so the fewer decisions we have to make through the day, the better.

7) Outsource your decisions when possible - think about where your valuable time is spent best. Perhaps a personal or virtual assistant or concierge is worth the investment.

8) Leave room for variation from your routine - take a different road home, try a new chocolate truffle or coffee drink, get flowers for your special someone for no particular reason, go to explore a new neighborhood. Find a new favorite restaurant. Go to the bookstore and find a new book to read or have on your coffee table. Be open to new experiences. Read good (and long) stories every day. Get into the life of someone's mind regularly and develop empathy for others.

9) Write down your thoughts, impressions and new ideas every day. You'll thank yourself for the evolution of your thoughts and ideas over time and you will also find it has a therapeutic effect to tell your story, even just to yourself. Tell your stories to people who are sympathetic.

10) Value your time above all else, including money. It's your greatest and most limited asset, yet the one you waste with the greatest impunity.

11) Listen much more than you speak. But speak up often enough and at the right times or forever hold your peace. Don't be a wallflower, but also don't overshadow everything else.

12) Learn to say no. Have the balls and resolve to say no when people ask you to do something against your values or that clash with your priorities.

13) Don't compare yourself to anyone else. EVER, for any reason. You come with your own genes and upbringing and circumstances. Each of us has our unique mission and body and mind, capacities and limitations to work with in life. Just do the best with what you've got.

14) Get rid of negative people from your life. You are the average of the handful of people you spend the most time with. Choose them carefully.

15) Value experiences above things. Build memories, not resentment for others with more or better stuff than you. You most likely don't need 90% of the things you own. Extraneous "stuff" distracts you from essence - yours and that of others around you.

16) Meditate long and hard on your purpose in life. What are you here to do? Cut away all the useless crap and focus on two or three (at most) things that you enjoy doing in life. Even if you're poor and need the day job to support your passion, make sure to cultivate the passion even while maintaining the steady paycheck.

17) Learn to focus by getting rid of distractions. Outrun your temptations. Leave the phone outside the bathroom.

18) Live below your means. Set up your finances and learn to keep careful track of them, so that you pay your bills on time, don't overspend. Use Mint.com. Invest in low-fee ETFs and index funds for minimal fees (*not investment advice - this is what i do myself)

19) Meditate or pray every morning. Take stock of the past day before sleep. Remind yourself of why you go through the grind. Understand your role and your place in the universe. There is a purpose and a reason behind everything that happens to you. What is the lesson you have to draw from the bad (and good) things that happen to you? Connect them all to a unity. Zoom out from your own life to appreciate others in your life and other people in the world.

20) Stop and smell the roses. Create instant experiences for yourself. Look up from the street and see the clouds. Hear the birds. Walk through the forest in the rain.

21) Maintain physical activity throughout the day, not just before or after work. Stretch every 30-45 minutes and take at least three walks throughout the workday, even if it's to see a colleague on the other side of the office (but preferably in a park, with trees and oxygen).

22) Keep your home clean and organized. Your home is a reflection of your mind and lifestyle. When it's clean and orderly, it means you're on top of your game.

23) Be on time. Always. As a habit. Leave early to arrive early or at worst, on time. Be reliable and trustworthy. Good things will come your way.

24) Tell jokes to people who will appreciate them. Make others and yourself smile by sharing a pleasant experience or story. SMILE and LAUGH SINCERELY. You will only earn others' trust and create good impressions.

25) Build good habits for health and wealth to sustain your well-being. This doesn't cost you a penny in funds and requires no fancy device, diet or adviser. It starts with building mindfulness and focus (see 1-24 above), setting small and achievable goals with accountability from family/friends, regular small rewards for yourself for achieving milestones, tracking your behavior carefully and improving over time.

26) Forgive yourself regularly for mistakes, even while keeping focused on improvement. Forgive others for hurting you (but don't forget and don't get burned again).

27) Be kind to yourself and others. Life is too short and precious to beat yourself up and to complain constantly.

28) Stop complaining and be thankful for what you have. It shouldn't take poor kids in the Third World to make you count your blessings. Contribute only positive and constructive things to other people's lives.

29) Take a break from technology each evening and week. Digital Sabbath, actual Sabbath, Sundays off, whatever it takes. Turn off the phone at dinner. Don't start the day checking your phone. It can wait. Check email only 2-3 times during the day, not every 5 minutes.

Now get up out of that chair and go change your life for the better! Remember to start small and to go slowly. Rome was not built in a day.

May you be successful in your mission!

I'm rooting for you.

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Do you have other strategies for surviving and thriving that have worked for you? Tell us in the Comments below. We would love to hear from you.

Follow us @Blueprint2Thriv

Yuri Kruman is a Healthcare Product Manager, a published author, blogger at BlueprintToThrive.com and health tech entrepreneur based in New York.

*The views expressed herein are his own*

The Scientifically Best Time To Drink Your Coffee

There are good and there are terrible times during the day to drink your coffee. Be very careful not to mess up the timing, since you could easily cause your stress hormones to go haywire with coffee when they're already high during the the day. http://lifehacker.com/the-scientifically-best-time-to-drink-your-coffee-1456767721

Diagnose In Great Detail Your Personality and Behavioral Styles to Improve Work and Your Personal Life

This DISC and Values Profiling Tool on Tony Robbins's site is an excellent tool for diagnosing and better understanding your behavioral styles and personality types to help identify and maximize their personal strengths. For me, it was scarily accurate and gave some very constructive feedback about actionable improvements. Completely free and a $250 value.  Highly recommend this, if like 4/5s of all workers, you think your work sucks and want to find something more fulfilling for your life. Go for it!

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ue/disc-profile.php?redirected=1

Health experts have figured out how much time you should sit each day

Now get your behind up from the chair and stretch, take a walk, get a glass of water or coffee - just move your muscles and skeleton. Apparently two hours per day are needed to stave off all sorts of maladies like diabetes and heart disease. Sitting is slow death, friends. Avoid it as much as you can - walk!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/02/medical-researchers-have-figured-out-how-much-time-is-okay-to-spend-sitting-each-day/?tid=sm_fb

ARE YOU TOO ACIDIC?HOW YOUR BODY’S PH IMBALANCE IS AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH

This might be oversimplifying the physiological underpinnings a bit, but the conclusion is spot on. Unbalanced eating and hydration habits exacerbate stomach and blood acidity to the point where the body spends far too many metabolic resources counterbalancing the ill effects, until it starts breaking down entirely. One must be very careful about consuming lots of alkaline foods and avoiding those foods either directly acidic or the cause of hyperacidosis. Drinking water before and 30 min+ after (NOT during) meals also helps.

http://humanelevation.tonyrobbins.com/blog/health/are-you-too-acidic?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_content=acidic&utm_campaign=Editorial

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money

Don't be put off by the title. Ramit has some truly good advice on this subject (among others), which I and hundreds of thousands of people have used successfully. It's not about penny-punching, but about negotiating a higher salary (how to do it), establishing multiple streams of income, charging more for what you already love to do, etc. Highly recommend reading this all the way through. It's completely free, to boot.

http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/ultimate-guide-to-making-money/