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Repeat The Last Three Words

I’ve posted before about the incredible power of active listening and how hostage negotiators use it to build rapport.

What’s the quick and dirty way to do active listening without training?

Social skills expert and author Leil Lowndes recommends simple repetition.

Via How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships:

…simply repeat—or parrot—the last two or three words your companion said, in a sympathetic, questioning tone. That throws the conversational ball right back in your partner’s court.

It shows you’re listening, interested, and lets them get back to telling their story.

You’ve got to be slightly savvy about this one but it’s surprisingly effective.

Surprisingly effective?

Yes, it is.

It is?

Article from bakadesuyo.com

How to Stop Being Lazy

  1. To-Do Lists Are Evil. Schedule Everything.
  2. Assume You’re Going Home at 5:30, Then Plan Your Day Backwards
  3. Make A Plan For The Entire Week
  4. Do Very Few Things, But Be Awesome At Them
  5. Less Shallow Work, Focus On The Deep Stuff

Schedules and plans sound cold and clinical but the end result couldn’t be farther from that.

You’ll be less stressed, create more time for friends and family, and make things you can be proud of.

Excerpts of article from bakadesuyo.com

How The Most Successful People Manage Their Time

 

Here’s what you can learn about time management from very successful people:

Do a time log. See how long things take and when your best windows are.
Plan the whole week. Focus on your core competency and what makes you happy.
Have a morning ritual that gets you closer to your long term goals.
Set 3-5 anchor events for the weekend.
Plan something fun for Sunday night.

168 — that’s how many hours we all have every week. We need to get out of the mindset of “I don’t have time.”

We all have the same number of hours. Period. It’s what you choose to do with those hours that will shape your entire life.

To quote a video game franchise I worked on a while back:

We all make choices. But in the end, our choices make us.

Excerpts of article from bakadesuyo.com

Tax-free earnings in the world’s top 10 most expensive cities!

Did you know that as an American living and working abroad, the IRS offers certain foreign housing exclusions/deductions that can help defray some of your housing expenses?

We will use the following hypothetical case, to explain how the foreign housing exclusion/deduction works and why it is important to hire a tax professional specialized in international taxation.

An American, let’s call him Mark, was transferred to London by his employer.  Thrilled at the prospect, Mark and his family make the move and settle into a pricy London suburb.

The time comes for Mark to file his first U.S. tax return as an American living abroad. Mark compares expat tax services online, figures they are all the same, and chooses the lowest cost service.  He is pleased to find out from the tax service that in addition to his foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE), as a salaried employee of his company, he also qualifies for the foreign housing exclusion.

The IRS allows you to claim an exclusion from your gross income for your housing amount if your tax home is in a foreign country. In order to qualify you must meet a few criteria, including passing the bona fide residence test or the physical presence test. There is also a foreign housing deduction for self-employed individuals, that essentially accomplishes the same thing for self-employed individuals as the foreign housing exclusion does for employees.

Housing expenses include rent, fair rental value of housing provided in kind by your employer, repairs, utilities (other than telephone), insurance, parking, as well as various other items.  It does not include, interest and property taxes, cost of buying property, household help, or furniture.

The standard foreign housing exclusion is essentially 30% of the foreign earned income exclusion. The foreign earned income exclusion for 2016 is $101,300, which equals a foreign housing exclusion of $30,390. This amount is then reduced by the base housing amount, which is 16% of the foreign earned income exclusion, or $16,208 for 2016. This calculation results in a foreign housing exclusion of $14,182 for 2016.

Mark’s satisfaction with his tax preparer came to an end a few weeks later at a company function while talking to another American living abroad. Mark discovered that that the IRS considers London a high-cost location to live and, therefore, offers a higher foreign housing exclusion than the standard, which his tax preparer failed to take advantage of.

How does this amendment affect Mark’s return?

The higher exclusion could have saved Mark thousands of dollars! Because Mark lives in London, his maximum exclusion rate for 2016 is $82,000 not $30,390! By not doing his homework when securing a qualified tax preparer, Mark overpaid substantially on his 2016 taxes.

Don’t make the mistake Mark did. Find a tax preparer with the international expertise to accurately calculate your taxes or you may end up handing the IRS a large chunk of your hard earned money.

According to the IRS the 10 most expensive places to live outside the U.S. are:

Location                                                          Limitation on Housing Expenses

Hong Kong                                                      $114,306

Moscow                                                           108,000

Geneva                                                              93,300

Osaka-Kobe                                                      90,664

Bermuda                                                           90,000

Angola                                                               84,000

London                                                              82,000

Tokyo                                                                 81,300

Komaki and Gifu                                             74,300

Beijing                                                               71,200

Article from esquiregroup.com

No Time to Exercise? Take the Stairs

No More Excuses – Take the Stairs

running stairsResearchers at McMaster University have debunked two of the most popular excuses people use to avoid exercising: not enough time and no access to a gym. They did that by demonstrating that short, intense stair climbing has a surprising amount of health benefits.

In one experiment, a group was asked to climb stairs aggressively in 20 second intervals, while the second group was asked to simply ride an exercise bike for the same length of time. Results showed that the short 20 second bursts of stair climbing were more effective than the exercise bike.

“Interval training offers a convenient way to fit exercise into your life, rather than having to structure your life around exercise,” says study author Martin Gibala. Remember that next time you have the option to take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Article from http://www.livingfuel.com

 

Are 80% of Harvard students first-born children?

This video is from “Justice“, one of the most popular classes in Harvard’s history.

23 minutes into the video, professor Michael Sandel asks students who are first-born to raise their hand — and an eye-popping number do.

Admittedly, this is a less-than-scientific survey but apparently Sandel’s done this many many many times over the years and consistently come up with a similar result.

Of course, there are possible confounds (upper class families who send their kids to Harvard have fewer children on average, etc.) but still quite interesting to ponder.