Self Sabotage is Your Biggest Hurdle to an Extraordinary Life

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Self-sabotage. It’s the timeless tale of potential gone wrong and opportunities missed. It’s the hidden enemy that launches an attack when we least expect it. And it causes us to engage in all sorts of behaviours and habits that we never would logically conduct. 

From procrastination to jumping into the wrong opportunity without due diligence, from skipping the gym to not paying our taxes, from staying in a relationship laden with red flags to turning to alcohol, drugs or any other numbing activity…there is no behaviour so low that self-sabotage won’t stoop to. All these behaviours are designed with one goal in mind – to stop us from following through or reaching our full potential.

There is a misconception that our unconscious mind works against us. Despite Freud’s belief that the unconscious mind is this big, bad, dark thing that wants to see you fail, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, our unconscious mind exists to serve us. It wants us to succeed. 

The trouble is, most people communicate ineffectively with themselves, leaving their unconscious mind to create a reality out of limiting beliefs and negative experiences. When we’re creating a reality from a negative and disempowering foundation, we can’t help but find ways to be let down, miss opportunities and sabotage ourselves.

To further add fuel to the fire, we are also wired to always be right. So even when the opportunity does arise to make more money, find more fulfilling and loving relationships, advance in our careers or grow our business – our unconscious mind pulls the proverbial handbrake before we move into unchartered (and therefore the potentially unsafe) territory of our reality not aligning with our beliefs, thereby proving them wrong. And so, like a fish out of water, we find a way to flop.

So despite our best efforts to show up as our best selves and achieve our full potential, how does self-sabotage still sneak in to derail us? Let’s take a look inside the mind:

Step 1: You experience a situation that threatens to challenge one of your belief systems

It could be finding a relationship where you feel loved and supported (when you believe that you’re not good enough). In business, it could be where you have opportunities to increase your income through high paying clients, high profile opportunities or company growth (when you believe you’re unworthy of success).

Step 2: There is an incongruency between your conscious and unconscious mind as the fear of the unknown kicks in

Consciously, we enjoy the opportunities that come our way, however, our conscious mind is only 4% of our minds capacity. Our unconscious mind is 96% of the minds capacity, and it goes into panic mode because the beliefs it has long held to be true are being challenged. The amygdala, the fear center of the brain, goes on high alert from the perceived threat of this new reality that is unfolding.

“You can conquer almost any fear if you will only make up your mind to do so. For remember, fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in the mind.” – Dale Carnegie

Step 3: Course correction begins

The unconscious mind will kick into action to bring you back to the reality you’ve always known and begin taking action to undermine the new relationship or extinguish the opportunities in your business.

In the relationship, you will start misinterpreting their communication or their tone. You’ll go back into your old patterns of not being able to trust the person or not believing what they say to you. You’ll start questioning everything they say and do, and find reasons to discredit them by any means necessary. Over time, this will lead to a complete and total breakdown of a relationship that once held so much promise.

In business, you find logical reasons to justify buying unneeded items, or you overpromise and underdeliver for a client so they decline to continue working with you. You make business decisions or take risks that are unnecessary or costly. Or you procrastinate on getting important tasks done until your cash flow is scarce and the business is financially stressed. Slowly, but surely, any business success you were finding disappears – further validating that you aren’t good enough.

Step 4: Nothing changes

The reality that we’ve created for ourselves is one that never changes, because we’ve never taken the time to work on the belief systems that reside in the dark recesses of our minds. Our relationships progressively get worse and worse. In business, we experience crushing blows after any amount of success. We may even get drawn into the victim mentality cycle of “why me” and “poor me.”

The good news is, we can change! We can stop self-sabotage in its tracks and create a reality that has everything we’ve ever wanted…and more! How? It starts with recognizing that our behaviours and habits are nothing more than symptoms of our belief systems. 

When we have enough self-awareness to recognize the patterns that we continually engage in that derail our forward progression, we can begin the process of questioning them and digging deeper to find out the belief that is at play.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Victor Frankl

Once we know the root of the problem (the belief) we can do the work needed to revisit the circumstances in our life that created the belief in the first place. We can reframe our perceptions of these events to recreate the old belief. 

The truth is – the bulk of the belief systems we carry around in our adult years were created between the ages of 0 and 7. These beliefs are then further cemented in place in our unconscious mind by how we choose to view other events that occurred in our life.

For example, what if that significant other who cheated on you, leading to the belief that you can’t trust anyone, didn’t cheat because you weren’t good enough, rather they were demonstrating their own lack of confidence or self-worth. Or maybe they were just a jerk with no self-control. Either way, none of those realities have anything to do with your personal self-worth.

In business, what if those challenges and obstacles that popped up were designed to help you tap into the internal resources you needed to cultivate (like strength, resilience, tenacity, compassion or grit) to help you become more effective in reaching your potential? What if failure was an event and you had made the unconscious choice in the past to take it on as your identity?

Being able to see the failures of others that are considered successful by society helps reframe these beliefs quickly as well. Afterall, it’s hard to feel like a failure when one or two ventures didn’t go your way, when Thomas Edison “failed” thousands of times at creating the lightbulb!

Take the time to reflect on the habits that you continually engage in that seem to derail your progress or success. Be willing to dig in and ask the question “what is the purpose of doing this?” so that you can, like so many other successful entrepreneurs and business people have before you, say goodbye to self-sabotage and fully embrace your potential!

How do you make sure you don’t self-sabotage your potential success? Share your thoughts with us below!

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5 of the Best Proven Growth Hacking Strategies for Your Business

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Tough competition can make growing a new brand seem near impossible, despite the hundreds of new companies that are created every day. Creative solutions offer the answer, allowing you to move in a positive direction with your brand start-up at an affordable investment. To achieve this, speed is the key. Growing your user base fast will allow profits to come in fast, too. This is what growth hacking is all about. 

Read on for 5 of the best tips in the game on growth hacking:

1. Knowing your goals

Of course, you want your business to boom – who doesn’t? But clearly, knowing you want something isn’t enough, because if it was, we would all be successful business-people. 

What’s important is being specific in what you want. When do you want your finished product to be complete by? How many subscribers do you want at the end of the month? What do you want to expand your inventory with?

Knowing your goals clearly means you will start doing what it takes to achieve them. Only one in a hundred high-achieving people actually write their goals down and visualize them regularly. 

These are the people who soar above the rest. It’s also alright to set goals that seem too big for you to complete right now. Most of your goals will be since they’re not things that will happen overnight. When setting your goals, also set out how you plan to achieve them.

“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” – Andrew Carnegie

2. Self-promotion

A brilliant way to understand your customer audience is to ask them about themselves. Through blogging, you can experiment around with readers. Use questions to get them to show you things about themselves. This can be experimental, such as asking questions about scenarios to find out what really matters to them.

People like to see a balance of emotive visuals, with facts and figures. Combine the two for the most potent effect. Conduct some market research to spot trendy topics that are relevant to the product you’re selling. Base your images on factual information. Next, build accompanying stories with the images that incorporates compelling language. You’ve done great! Share your creation on as many platforms as you can.

3. Build an effective email list

Emails are by no means out-dated. It still stands tall above social media in terms of marketing strategies. Your email list will be essential to your company, so it’s important you craft useful and compelling messages that will lead potential customers to keep clicking your links.

Having been around for decades now, emails are trusted and come without some of the complicated analytics involved in social media (though, get to grips with these too). Having a subscribe button at the top of every page on your website will increase the chances that customers enter their email.

Exit intent popups appear on-screen whenever a visitor wants to click back, or navigate from your website using their bookmarked tabs. These are a highly effective strategy to implement on your website. 

Another tip to consider is asking for visitors’ names with their email addresses. This makes it easier to personalize messages later and build a better relationship with your customers.

“Why waste a sentence saying nothing?” – Seth Godin

4. Developing trust with your customers

Referrals and reviews are potentially risky and potentially brilliant keys to success. If you focus on perfecting your product, they will help your business grow rapidly. Though, if your product is mediocre, at best referrals and reviews will be few and sparse. With a good product or service, there will be a point you get to where they begin to sell themselves. This is trusting your customers. 

You can also allow your customers to grow to trust you, with a reward program. You can implement this from the moment they subscribe to your email list, by offering a special one-off discount for example. 

Once you have loyal customers, it’s an easier job to keep them with some effort. Ensure you know what it is that they like and want through research such as polls on social media. Show that you have done this by using the data you obtain directly.

5. Form partnerships with other brands

Let this be a goal you incorporate after developing your platform and email list. The other brands you build a rapport with do not have to be like your own. Instead, they must appeal to what your customers want. 

For example, if you discover through research that your customer audience like free food, but you sell headphones, try to partner with a food delivery company.

This may mean your customers get a discount for food delivery through purchasing your website’s headphones. This is a benefit to both companies through publication, purchase and peer referrals. Be inspired by online influencers – they partner with affiliate partners as part of their work.

Through guided steps and creativity, growth hacking is a cost-effective and trusted method of company enlargement. Though, applauded by many and most brands out there in the online marketplace today, ensure you give yourself time and patience. 

Traction comes before growth, and for some this can seem like a slow process. What you need to hear is that this is the most potent time. Use that slower period of expansion to really get to understand your customers and perfect your product.

Overall, growth hacking can be split up into five important P’s:

  1. Platform – Having a suitable place to market your product is the first essential.
  2. Product – Allow customers to try your product. This can be paid or unpaid, or with special discounts. This is the traction stage of slowly getting bigger. 
  3. Partnership – Developing long-running consumer-supplier relationships with customers is key to having constant business.
  4. Promotion – This is how you get heard about beyond the limits of self-promotion. This is when your growth stage will begin; without proper foundation, your product won’t truly stand out when it becomes better known, so it is crucial that you focus on perfecting your product before the promotion stage. 
  5. Permanence – Develop methods for constant self-referral. This way, your business will continue to grow effortlessly.

Have you tried growth hacking? If so, what tips and suggestions do you have for the people starting out? Let us know below!

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Fervent Push for Regulatory Approval by STO Issuers

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The crypto industry is making great strides in establishing Security Token Offerings (STOs) as a secure fundraising method. With the market’s attention diverted to the first-ever SEC-supported STO, and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pledging “plain English” directives on ICOs, 2019 could finally see security tokens used as fundraising tools.

In 2018, the digital market registered significant drops in ICO numbers. Although investors saw great potential in the fundraising system at the beginning of the year, financial analysts exposed 80% of ICOs as scams by March 2018.

A research conducted by Bitmex observed a 97% slump in ICO markets in Quarter 1 of 2019. While utility tokens only give access to protocols, STOs allow an investor to own a company’s assets much like stocks and bonds. This gives investors the right to vote, as well as share profits, interests, and dividends. Although utility tokens are not direct investments, some companies cling to them with the hope that they will increase in value.

However, there is no assurance that the prices will rise in the future. Not only that, utility tokens involve uncontrolled token sales. STOs, on the other hand, enjoy regulatory oversight which ensures investors` interests are protected. On the whole, it is possible to organize security tokens according to securities laws so that the rights of token custodians match the ones provided when buying shares with a publicly listed company.

STOs in Figures

The total number of STOs launched worldwide in 2018 exceeded 1200. In spite of the SEC’s failure to approve any STO, launches increased by a margin of 60% in the United States. With only 174 STOs in 2017, the number was just shy of 300 in Q4 of 2018.

Interestingly, STOs rose beyond 130% in Q1 2019. This surge did not come as a surprise considering the efforts by regulators to make sure security norms are observed. Even so, this pressure made it difficult to establish public token offerings. Besides, numerous STO service providers are joining the digital market, therefore, setting the pace for organizations to launch STOs.

It is imperative to note that security tokens are not limited to only trading STOs or investments. It is possible to fractionalize security tokens kept on the blockchain. Therefore, retail investors can inject small sums into venture capital initiatives like gaming and medical care.

Building a Credible Asset Class and Regulation

Industry players are keen on ensuring security tokens together with their supporting infrastructure conform to regulatory stipulations. As long as the underlying infrastructure is in good condition, security tokens are capable of providing numerous investment opportunities to entrepreneurs with likely secondary market liquidity. Within the United States, security tokens fall under different regulations. They include:

      Regulation S

This offers an SEC-compliant procedure for both US-based and non-US investors to raise funds outside of the United States. In this case, security offerings can accommodate both Equity as well as debt securities. Although Regulation S offerings do not need SEC registration, an investor should ensure to sell their non-US tokens in line with US laws.

Even so, the sale proposal might encounter limitations when the investor is an American organization. As such, it is prudent to combine two regulations. Since their concurrent use is legal, an investor can fuse Regulation S with D. The only variation between these two rules is that Regulation S allows an investor to raise cash from overseas without investor accreditation. So to say, Regulation D enables an investor to raise funds from US financiers while Regulation S guides contributions from outside the U.S.

      Regulation D

It allows the provision of securities to both US and foreign organizations alike. Moreover, it neither has limits on the maximum fundraising nor the size of a single participant’s investment. Thus, it is appropriate for all securities types. Even so, the regulation only allows certified American investors to participate. According to SEC’s section 506B, around 35 unapproved players can take part. Furthermore, Section 506C urges investors to get verified and only provide truthful information during their solicitation.

      Regulation A+

This allows creators to present non-accredited investors with SEC-approved securities. The highest investment for this option is a $50 million sum or $20 million in the case of Tier 1. Tier 2, on the other hand, bars investors from committing above 10% of their annual income alone or together with their spouse. Regulation A+ issuance can take longer than other alternatives and is usually more complex and expensive. However, it is reliable because it does not have restrictions for prospective entrepreneurs (excluding US citizenship).

What Does the Industry Have in Store?

Despite the crypto industry being a budding market, it has shown tremendous growth in the recent past. This is evidenced by the increasing SEC applications for security tokens. Furthermore, organizations are now building their own digital commodities.

The industry has high expectations that the SEC will release additional guidelines on STOs. There is mounting pressure to align regulations with vibrant markets like Switzerland. Overall, security tokens are a valuable instrument for accessing substitute investment openings in global markets amidst a secondary market liquidity chance.

Featured image via BigStock.

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The 3 Types of Confidence You Need to Know and Understand

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We’ve all heard it before, confidence is everything. Those that seem to have it, have it all. They, themselves, are not necessarily perfect human beings, but they seemingly have the charisma to attract whatever they want in life.

I remember way back in middle school during those awkward years looking at some of the popular kids questioning what they had that I didn’t. Were they just amazing at sports or were they cool since they wore the coolest designer clothes? What was it that they had that others didn’t?

I thought about it and came to the conclusion that they really weren’t any better than anyone else. They simply possessed the “I know I’ve got it” factor. They walked around with a certain swagger. For what reason you might ask? I’m not entirely sure. But, I realized people like them – that look like they have it all – all seem to have confidence.

So, I figured confidence must be the secret sauce to attracting good things in life. Look at some of the most successful people in this world – They all seemed to have confidence even when others didn’t believe in them. While some people might hypothesize confidence only comes as a result of excelling in certain areas, I decided that confidence was going to come first. I figured if I can be self-assured, I’ll simply attract good things in life.

So from then on, confidence was going to be my thing. No questions – From standing up straight to speaking with certainty, I decided I would learn everything I could about confidence so that it would become part of my very identity.

Here are the 3 types of confidence one can have:

1. Self-Centered Confidence

We’ve all seen what I like to call self-centered confidence or just straight cockiness. This level of self-praise is a bit nauseating for everyone around that person. It’s a result of self-obsession. Basically, the world revolves around this person, so when things are going well, they are cocky and when things are not going their way, they are secretly insecure. This type of confidence is unwarranted because it assumes “I’m better than you” for no reason. In my book, no one’s better than me and I’m no better than anyone else.

“At the end of the day, the king & the pawn go in the same box.” – Italian Proverb

2. Perfection-Seeking Confidence

The next type of confidence is what I like to call Perfection-seeking confidence. The thought here is that if I perform in all of these areas, then I will be confident. This is exactly what I subscribed to in middle school. I figured, if I work really hard in all these areas and simply exemplify confidence, I will in turn be unshakeable.

You see this type plastered all over the internet these days – There is so much messaging out there about independent women or guys that hustle like no other. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve always been inspired by girl power. I dreamt about becoming a career woman who made things happen.

But, what about those times when you’re stuck in a job you don’t like? Can you still label yourself as an independent, powerful woman then? How does that affect your identity? You need a different kind of confidence that will be there not only when you’re doing well, but also when you’re at your worst.

3. Faith-filled Confidence

This brings me to the last and ultimate kind of confidence. Faith-filled confidence, which is not dependent on outside circumstances, but an underlying faith that tomorrow can be better than today through hard work and grit. This is the type of confidence that brings you peace in understanding that you might not have it all together today, but you trust that you have the values to get you there.

This is the type that might say, “Hey I might currently suck at this particular skill, but I know I’ll get there eventually.” It brings you peace. It’s the type of confidence that can carry you when the going gets tough. It’s not focused on yourself, but a belief that whether through friends, family, God or the good of this world, everything will eventually be all right. It’s saying, “Like wine, I’ll get better with time.”

“It is confidence in our bodies, minds and spirits that allows us to keep looking for new adventures.” – Oprah Winfrey

In all, not all confidence is created equal. There are various types, but not all of them will take you where you need to be. So ask yourself – which type of confidence are you seeking? Are you seeking the kind that places yourself at the forefront or are you seeking an inner peace type of confidence that trusts in the good of tomorrow beyond yourself? This will make all the difference. 

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3 Simple Tips to Strengthen Your Emotional Intelligence for Better Relationships

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Relationships are challenging. They make you examine yourself from all angles, and that can be triggering. For example, have you ever had a friend or significant other say something that sparked an argument instantly—only to find out you misheard what they said in the first place?

Imagine what life would be like if you had the skills to completely avoid the majority of the arguments, disagreements, and confrontations you experience with the people in your life. You don’t have to run away from confrontation and bury your head in the sand in order to have peace in your relationships. There are simple steps you can take to develop your emotional awareness and intelligence to build stronger relationships that will help you navigate any communication landmines you find yourself in.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Check In

Even though the world is more connected than ever, feelings of loneliness are actually on the rise. UCLA conducted a study that found 76% of people exhibited serious signs of loneliness. Chances are, the people that you care about and the people who are important to you, are feeling lonely from time to time. One of the best things you can do for any relationship you have is check in to see how the other person is doing or feeling.

In a romantic relationship, this looks like putting your phone or computer down and giving your partner your undivided attention or asking them questions that give them the opportunity to open up to you. Questions like: 

  • How are you doing?
  • How are things going with work?
  • Did you have any wins today that we can celebrate together?
  • How are you doing with that thing you told me about last week?
  • You’ve got that thing coming up, how are you feeling about it?
  • Is there something I can do to support you better?

In a work relationship or friendship, the questions are similar, but you can initiate the conversation over the phone, text, email, or whatever way you best communicate with the other person.

Checking in gives the people in your life an opportunity to be heard, and gives you the opportunity to shift things before big problems arise. This keeps you on the same page and moving in the same direction.

2. Implement Communication Standards

Communicating isn’t something that most people consciously think about when they’re speaking or typing—it’s just something they do on autopilot. How often do you really think through how someone might perceive the emoji you just sent? Typically, not that often, which can create some miscommunications and unnecessary arguments because it puts you in responsive mode.

The most important communication standard to implement is “the benefit of doubt plus verification” process. This means that when you’re communicating with someone, you take the position of “this person cares about me and wouldn’t intentionally say something to hurt me”. This first step creates some space before responding when someone in your life says something that triggers you or hurts your feelings. When you have a moment to remember that this person wouldn’t intentionally hurt you, it reminds you to clarify what they said. This is how you do that: 

“Hey, I heard you say this. . And I took it to mean this . Is that what you were trying to get across?” More often than not, the other person will either clarify that the words you heard weren’t the actual words they said or that the meaning of the words was off the mark and they will explain.

Here’s why it’s important to keep your calm and verify: If you’re triggered and you go into why the other person is wrong or how they hurt you, it’s easy (and natural!) for the other person to get defensive. By verifying, you get to see where the communication breakdowns are happening and you get the opportunity to better understand each other. Wins all around.

3. Prioritize Growth

Growth is vital for success, especially in relationships. When things get stagnant, emotional bonds begin to break down. However, it’s important to avoid the self-help trap— that place where a lot of growth happens in your journal and you get massive “ah has!” during your reading time, but then it doesn’t translate into your actual behavior, expression, and relationships.

Here’s how to get all of your intellectual awareness implemented into your life, not just your talking points.

First, understand that patience is a non-negotiable. There are many moments where you’re going to be frustrated and you’re going to need to take a breather before actually communicating. That’s where your communication standards come in to support you.

Second, realize that your natural instinct is to defend yourself whenever your subconscious believes you’re under attack. When your emotions are triggered, it’s difficult for your mind to realize you’re not in physical danger. That’s why it’s easy to have an over-the-top reaction to something someone says to you instead of staying calm. By keeping this top of mind in your awareness, you can calm yourself down when you find yourself triggered and get out of defense mode.

Third, focus on finding solutions. Even if you end up in an argument, every conflict is an opportunity to make your relationship stronger. It’s easy to get along, play nice, and have surface relationships that don’t actually mean anything. But when you dig deeper and find places of divergence, you give yourself and the other person the opportunity to think about things differently, see other perspectives, and strengthen your love and respect for one another. How you handle conflict is more important than never getting into conflict in the first place.

These are the three foundations to strengthening your emotional awareness and intelligence so you can find more success in your relationships. It all starts with you, and when you learn the secrets to navigating your relationships with patience, understanding, and acceptance, you’ll find yourself surrounded with quality connections that truly last.

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Trump Says The R-word – How Bitcoin Wins From Recession and The Thucydides Trap

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The R-word – recession – passed the lips of US president Donald Trump yesterday, and despite recent price action, that’s a positive for bitcoin.

The consensus of analyst opinion is that there will not be a recession in the US this year or next.

But, as we shall see, those comforting findings do not tell the whole story and it is one in which bitcoin will be making an appearance.

Bitcoin is currently priced at $10,180 after failing twice in as many days to break above $11,000.

Anthony Pompliano from Morgan Creek Digital Assets was in conversation with Joe Kernen on CNBC yesterday and he was in typically bullish mood, although he does see possible temporary setbacks for bitcoin from regulatory pressures and the of use/entry issues that still haven’t been solved. 

The Pomp didn’t think Libra fallout would affect bitcoin because of the differences between the two. 

In Libra’s defence against the regulators, however, Pompliano said: “It’s going to be hard to label going up from 27 plus to 100 companies anti-competitive behaviour.”

So what’s going to push mass adoption forward asked Kernen? “Every single week we are seeing more and more infrastructure built around bitcoin. Hashrate…, Bakkt – the more infrastructure, the more likely it is that bitcoin will never go away – it will be in every institutions’ portfolio.”

But what are the near-term prospects for bitcoin in this world of inverted yield curves?

The fact that you now have to pay the German government to buy its bonds as the country stares recession in the face, has led to talk of stimulus packages and, for Trump’s part, more tax cuts. The US president spoke yesterday about a possible cut to capital gains tax but was non-committal on a timeline.

Although unemployment is low, inflation is low and the economy is still growing, the deceleration of the US economy is noticeable in durable goods orders and the purchasing managers index readings.

And besides, how long can the US economy hold out in the midst of global shrinkage in commerce and trade?

However, it does not necessarily follow that what is bad for the economy is good for bitcoin.

If people are losing their jobs, companies stop investing and consumer stop spending, then the feel bad factor will have a knock-on effect on sentiment. That would cast a pall over both traditional and nascent asset classes such as crypto.

But the real question is not so much how bitcoin performs in a recession as the interplay of a global recession with the developing geopolitical tensions.

Fear born of economic insecurity will collide with fears of war, both cold and hot. That feels like it should provide the basis for the continued deployment of the safe haven interpretation of bitcoin value.

Bitcoin against such a back drop could remain well-placed to benefit from the haven status, no matter how unjustified that may be given its volatility. 

However, that’s not how it feels right now with bitcoin battling to keep its head above $10,000. Up against gold, bitcoin is, let’s say, a safe haven that is still proving its worth, as opposed to gold having established its trusted store of value status over millennia.

Does that mean abandoned the safe haven theses or instead revise it? It should revised – or emphasised – to apply in a setting which it competes with other haven assets. So when yield curves are inverting – where it becomes cheaper to lend for longer terms compared to shorter terms (a reversal of the norm), that’s a powerful signal not just of recession ahead but of the level of fear.

Bitcoin could not compete with those avalanche-like flows into fixed income. More than that, the recent run-up to $13,800 is still unravelling weeks later as the price struggles to establish a baseline at $10,000.

Bitcoin and the Thucydides trap 

It is difficult to ignore just how dangerous the international outlook is.

As we mentioned yesterday, the US would likely give the green light for the sale of the F-16 fighter to Taiwan, a US ally that China considers to be a renegade province. That has now happened. The Hong Kong protest movement continues on a line of march towards confrontation with mainland forces.

Thucydides wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War 

Recent news of US deficiencies in hypersonic vehicles, in which both Russia and especially China have a substantial lead, underscores for the more hawkish elements in the US the imperative to escape the Thucydides Trap.

The ancient Greek Thucydides wrote upon how Spartan fears about the rising power of Athens made war between the two inevitable.

And in China itself, the nightmare scenario for the rulers is that the Hong Kong revolution becomes an example that other cities and regions follow. 

The advantages in the portability of bitcoin digital gold will not be lost on Chinese investors seeking out a “weightless” currency to store their value in.

Protest might seem n unlikely response by the working people of China, but they have shown themselves perfectly capable of striking over unpaid wages and poor pay or to defend jobs. Expect the pressures of the stand-off with the US and a slowing economy as part of a wider global downturn, to bear down on the Chinese leadership. 

Also, Jerome Powell at the Fed may be running out of road as far as policy tools go but he’s not alone among the central bankers in that respect. 

In Japan nothing has worked to kickstart the country’s economy out of two decades of stagnation, while in Europe the European Central Bank is going to start buying bonds again, despite QEs negligible impact on the productive capacity of the eurozone last time round.

Libra still a positive for crypto

Libra has got central bank digital currencies CBDCs moving rapidly up the agenda; it has also added to the rush to issue stablecoins too. 

Sure, the Libra pushback has the danger of impacting crypto more widely but the Pomp is surely right to say we should’t overstate that. Instead, Facebook’s Libra project is a net positive in the way that it points to a future that many corporations think they need to be a part of.

The fight over which bloc will come out on top in the digital payments race is on, with China jolted by Libra as it looks to guard its lead in the space.

Europe looks like the also-ran in all this. It lacks a homegrown tech success story to rival Facebook, Google or Apple. 

From once leading in mobile telephony, the EU has slipped behind. Although mobile payments is well established in Europe and much more advanced than in the US, the EU has not grown a Venmo, Pay Pal or WeChat. 

And despite worries about Libra, central banks are open to developing distributed ledger technology to improve efficiency and reduce costs. 

With China rumoured to be close to launching a CBDC of some sort, the day is drawing nearer when bitcoin will be stored in the vaults of the Bank of England.

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Hong Kong Protests Are Now Deeply Connected To Crypto Adoption And Use

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The protests in Hong Kong, which have been taking place since late March, now represent the most significant domestic disturbance in China in thirty years. Fearing government reprisals, protesters are employing a wide variety of methods to evade the sophisticated surveillance techniques the authorities are believed to be using. These include wearing masks to block facial recognition systems, purchasing mass-transit tickets anonymously, and using encrypted social media apps to communicate. Cryptocurrency is now playing a key role as well, as protesters are using it to avoid government detection when making purchases. This use is having an impact on the overall crypto ecosystem, and it very well may impact China’s future policies toward blockchain assets. 

There is no question that Bitcoin has become the defacto currency of the Hong Kong protestors. It presently carries a substantial premium in the city that ranges from USD $80-$160. The official digital payment system, known as Octopus, is widely mistrusted as it enables purchase history to be recorded and thus tracked. Tracking Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency is, of course, extremely difficult.

Unlike mainland China, which has banned exchanges and discourages crypto use, blockchain assets have been thriving in Hong Kong for some time. The city has dozens of Bitcoin ATMs, is home to several exchanges, and crypto is accepted at many shops, restaurants, and retail businesses. This scenario is possible because Hong Kong has a different political and economic structure than the rest of the country. In fact, the current protests are rooted in fears that the Chinese government is attempting to undermine the port city’s unique, quasi-sovereign status. 

There is presently no way to know when the demonstrations will end, and a violent crackdown from the Chinese military may yet happen. Nevertheless, this ordeal must come to an end at some point. When it does, there is little doubt that the Chinese government will take a very close look at how blockchain assets, and the technology behind them, played a role in protest activity. It is quite possible that the government’s anti-crypto sentiment will strengthen as a result. The same can be said of other governments that face potential domestic uprisings. 

The events in Hong Kong have not had a positive impact on the cryptocurrency market, as Bitcoin and altcoins have been sliding in value for almost three months. However, given that recently there have been numerous forces acting on the crypto space, it is difficult to gauge the role of one event. The protests have definitely given publicity to the role that decentralized, distributed ledgers can play in protecting anonymity and securing wealth during times of strife.

Hopefully the Hong Kong protests will come to a peaceful and productive conclusion. Regardless of what happens, dissidents have learned that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used to their advantage. Moving forward the use of cryptocurrency by individuals involved in anti-authoritarian and protest activity across the globe is certain to become commonplace.

 

Featured Image via BigStock.

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5 Ways To Prevent Burnout & Still Be Successful

Forex stock trading

How often have you felt like time is going by so fast, and you wish it could just slow down a little so you could be more accomplished? With technology expanding faster than ever (and only increasing with speed), it can feel like a race toward success. The good news is, that is only a thought running amok in your head that’s not true. In fact, last year the United States alone added 250,000 new millionaires.

You may feel like you have to pick up the pace to accomplish your goals—that you don’t have time to slow down. But the truth is, you’ll get there much faster by taking care of yourself, and it doesn’t require a lot of time for you to put some of these success promoting exercises into your day.

Here are five simple ways for you to reach your goals and prevent burnout along the way:

1. Streamline & Prioritize Your Work

Have you ever gone through your day wondering what to do next, spending way longer than you’d like to admit trying to choose the next thing to do? Usually when this happens, you’re dealing with lost transition time and you’re going back and forth between a few projects, which can make you feel like you’re in constant reactionary mode, putting out fires. This is what a lack of systems will do. Luckily, the fix is simple and fast to implement.

The first thing to do is understand what a system is. It’s not the fancy new SaaS trending on your Instagram ads (although those are cool too!). A system is just a process you use to get things done efficiently, on repeat. Here’s a good example using a system for getting the mail, which might look like this: 

  • Put on your shoes
  • Walk to the mailbox
  • Grab the mail
  • Walk back to your house
  • Come inside
  • Sort the mail
  • Give the mail to the right recipient in your household

Simple, straightforward, efficient, and repeatable. That’s a system. This is what you can do with your work (and life) to make things run smoother and with more efficiency so you’re kicking your productivity into overdrive, while actually giving yourself more time off. Systems kill the dead space in between activities. That time where you’re staring at the screen, stressing over how much to do, and what to do first— you get that time back.

You can create certain days of the week that are dedicated to specific activities, or have a specific progression throughout the day that lets you accomplish each thing on your list. The key here is to be conscious about the process so you can create and tweak something that works for you.

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done” – Bruce Lee

2. Take Reset Breaks

Staring at the screen and working hard, that’s great and all, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re actually killing your productivity. Reset breaks are pivotal for high performance. 

According to Kansas State University, the average attention span for adults is about 50 minutes. If you’re like most business owners, executives, team leaders, or employees, your life is LARGELY sedentary. Reset breaks help you take advantage of your natural attention span limits, while mixing in activities to move your lymphatic system, resetting your mind and body.

Set your alarm for every 45-50 minutes. When your alarm goes off, push away from work and spend 5-15 minutes doing the following: 

  • Deep breathing. Bring air in through your nose and let your belly expand. This helps reduce tension and move your lymphatic system.
  • Take a walk or short run. 
  • Meditate or use binaural beats
    Exercise. Do some squats, push ups, and or sit ups.
    Stretch. 

You don’t have to do the same thing every time your alarm goes off. Mix and match these methods or come up with your own. The most important thing is that you move and/or relax. This will help keep your mind and body invigorated so you can increase your productivity.

3. Inspiration Refills

Once a day, take time to consciously get inspired. Most people think they have to wait for inspiration to strike. But the truth is, inspiration is always at your fingertips if you know where to look. 

You can watch a video or listen to music that pumps you up. You can also go out into nature or make some art to unleash your inner muse. Getting inspired helps open your mind to new ideas. By keeping yourself open and inspired, it’s easier to solve problems, increase your productivity, and feel more connected to your work.

4. Pay Attention To Your Cycles

Everything and everyone has cycles. Seasons. Bodies. Sleep. Everything progresses in cycles that wax and wane. If you start following your individual cycles, you’ll be able to pinpoint when you’re at your best, and when you need more rest. This is mostly due to hormone shifts in your body, and it’s important to work with your body instead of against it. This will give you the inside scoop on when to buckle down and when to marathon Stranger Things. 

“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” – Billie Jean King

5. Get Into Your Body

You know those days where you sit in front of your computer and you’re willing yourself with all your might to do something…anything? Yet no matter how hard you try, nothing seems to happen? You can’t get any work done, which only makes you feel bad about yourself. This is what happens when you’re in your head and not in your body.

This is what being ungrounded feels like. What’s happening is your mind is not connecting to your body. Luckily, there are exercises to fix that! Here are a few to try whenever you’re feeling this way: 

  • Get your bare feet on the grass and breathe deeply into your belly
  • Lay down and progressively relax every part of your body, breathing deeply
  • Place your hands on your belly and speak into your hands, using your lower register

The goal here is to get connected with your body. Your senses should be heightened, and you should feel more of your body than normal. This helps calm the mind and direct your focus.

Play with these activities to find the special mix that works for you. The most important thing is for you to have a daily burnout prevention routine that keeps you consistently growing toward your goals, so you can have the success you desire and deserve.

How do you avoid burning out? Share your ideas with us below!

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Bitcoin Rebuffed at $11,000 But Still In Bull Territory

BTC

Bitcoin has failed the $11,000 test again although it was a
pretty half-hearted attempt.

Touching $10,948 on Coinbase, the price quickly retreated to currently trade at .

Just as the 200 MA on the day chart is providing support, it
is the 4-hour 200 MA that s the resistance that could prove a hard nut for the
bitcoin bulls to crack.

Bitcoin is $1,000 higher since the news  broke of Bakkt bitcoin futures going live on
23 September.

That Bakkt bump looks like it could be running out of breath
in the short-term.

Wall Street analyst Thomas Lee, co-founder of FundStrat noted
the attack on 11,000 seemed to confirm that tripe tops do happen, but he “boom
of the third top ha since sagged.

He also noted yesterday that bitcoin was up despite
subsiding global tensions: “Interesting global tensions de-escalating, but $BTC
up.”

You can just hear them now at FT Alphaville – “they cheer the geopolitical turmoil as causative when bitcoin is up, and when it is down too”.

Trade optimism likely misplaced

So what gives?

Actually, although there is a return of trade optimism, but we should know by now that might only last as long as president Trump’s next tweet.

Alternatively, the optimism is based on a mirage, which seems likely.

Yes, Hong Kong violence has abated, but the mass demonstration
of reportedly 1.7 million people is perhaps more a of a headache for the Chinese
state than being allowed to pursue the “violent radical rioters” narrative,
which seemed to be nearing the point of no return as far as military intervention
goes.

The US and China trade representatives are going to meet soon too, but with Huawei proclaiming today that the trade dispute is a mortal threat to its prospects and China complaining loudly about the US threatening to station missiles in Asian countries and selling advanced fighter jets to Taiwan, China-US tension is the new normal.

This new cold war will keep bitcoin in rude health.

And in the equity markets participants have been cheered by hopes of a steeper interest rate cut to come than the Fed would like and murmurs from German politicians about stimulus spending as the engine of the European economy – Germany – teeters on the brink of recession.

Bitcoin still in bull territory

For a bit of perspective, Peter Brandt showed on 15 August, that bitcoin was still very much in the territory of the 2015-17 bull market as it was still trading above its moving average.

Bitcoin remains above the pace of its 2015-2017 bull run
(for now). The 2015-2017 trend tested its trend MA multiple times (green
arrows). The current trend has yet to do so. $BTC.

Also, as the stablecoin wars hots up, expect to see
established tech players joining Facebook.

But it is from within that the latest stablecoin project has
stormed on to the stage – Venus, the regional stablecoin family from Binance.

This activity, by Binance and others, is likely to generate
positive news flow going forward.

And with the hashrate continuing to grow, the price will follow as crypto booster and ardent critic of mainstream finance Max Keiser would have it.

The 100-day MA on the 1-day chart is providing strong support that suggests a drop to 8,500 is on the back burner for now. That could change if the Bakkt bounce fades

btc usd price chart
(Chart courtesy TradingView)

@bitcoin parts ways with Bitcoin Cash

Everyone’s been talking about the latest faketoshi “Satoshi Reveal’s”  and @bitcoin parting ways with Bitcoin Cash.

So, we leave you with some thoughts from Charlie Lee:

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Why Investing in Yourself Is the Best Investment You Can Make

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Ambitious professionals can increase their workplace value and relevance by taking charge of their career development. Not long ago, employers helped loyal workers build their careers. Today – as it grows more common for workers to job hop – employer-provided career development is becoming increasingly difficult to find. 

Accordingly, it’s up to you to promote your success. By learning new skills and gaining new experiences, you can improve your ability to serve in your current role and set the foundation for success in the future.

Life Is About Quality – Not Just Quantity

Before you embark on your career development journey, you should take a moment to think about the big picture. Many ambitious professionals make the mistake of letting their career goals overshadow their personal lives.

Quality of life and personal successes are equally as important as career advancement. However, paying too much attention to either your personal or professional life can lead to an unsatisfying imbalance.

Today, the scales of work-life imbalance typically tip towards work, as the now digitally-connected world keeps professionals tethered to their jobs 24 hours a day. The United States, for example, ranks 30th out of 38 countries in work-life balance.

Typically, the path toward an excessive workload begins with taking on too many responsibilities. Reclaiming your personal life begins with learning how to say “no.” Also, it’s easy to get caught up in perfectionism. By relinquishing the need for everything to be just so, you can relieve some of the burden involved with your work.

Outside of the office, you can promote work-life balance by learning to unplug. Time away from incessant work reminders will allow you to live in the moment and enjoy what life has to offer. Finally, take time to care for yourself. Exercise can give you a natural influx of endorphins. Endorphins help you to relax and maintain a positive demeanor.

Planning for Success!

Counterintuitive as it may seem, career advancement begins with personal development. If you’re new to career development, start by getting in the habit of stepping outside of your comfort zone regularly. You should aim to expand your skill set beyond your current role. You can start by taking online classes to gain skills that are in high demand by your employer.

Despite your learning vehicle, clearly define your goals. Commit them to a written plan. Figure out the skills that you intend to learn every year, and plan to complete a substantial course every quarter.

Choose your lessons carefully. It’s important to choose courses that will offer tangible opportunities. Your manager or a human resources representative can help you figure out what new skills can increase your value in the workplace. As you work through your career development plan, remain open to change. Make sure that your plans align with the evolving demands of your career. 

Also, stay informed about how your commitment to continued learning will help you reach your goals. This way, you’ll build a mental buttress that will shore up your resolve as you work to advance your career.

The Writing’s on the Wall

Companies such as Facebook, Google and Microsoft, influence millions of people around the world. However, no leading organization is content in its current role. The world’s leading organizations are always striving to surpass previous successes. Facebook estimates its value at $600 billion. The social media giant reports 1 billion users per month. Google is valued even higher at $830 billion.

Despite this kind of phenomenal success, these organizations want to do more. Facebook, for instance, is exploring the idea of expanding its social media platform using augmented reality. The company hopes to deliver remarkable experiences to users around the world.

Meanwhile, Google is working with artificial intelligence to promote the global adoption of computer-assisted technology in consumer homes. Similarly, Amazon is branching out from retail into commercial finance. All organizations desire growth. You can increase your value to employers by learning skills that will help your organization to achieve its goals.

Figuring Out Your Desires

Sometimes, career planning is easier said than done. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is an excellent tool for assessing your personal and professional goals. The bottom and widest part of Maslow’s hierarchy begins with survival needs, such as food and water.

The next level up focuses on the human need for security and safety – whether physical or financial. Next, Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes the need for love and belonging. Another level up, the pyramid concentrates on self-esteem, self-worth and self-empowerment.

Moving up Maslow’s hierarchy, the pyramid focuses on the need to be understood by others. This section encompasses curiosity, purpose and understanding. The next level of the hierarchy highlights the need for symmetry and order. The top of Maslow’s pyramid culminates in self-actualization.

By thinking about how Maslow’s theory applies to your personal and professional desires, you can develop a satisfying career plan while simultaneously finding personal fulfillment.

How have you invested in yourself already this year? Share your story below!

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