How to seem good at everything

At some point, I caved and made the mistake of asking him what the quickest way for me to improve my chess skills was. What followed was some of the most insulting and profound advice I’ve ever received in my life. He pulled me aside and bluntly said “Josh, stop doing stupid shit.”

After that, I gave up chess for some time, as I was busy working on a piano performance degree while maintaining a healthy competition and performance schedule. Later, after renewing my interest in the game, I took his advice to heart. The impact it had was profound.

What constitutes “not doing stupid shit” at the chessboard? At the most basic level, it means not hanging pieces or falling for basic tactics. I spent about a month addressing these issues. I bought a couple of chess books and spent a couple hours a day drilling tactics that involved spotting pieces that could be captured “en prise” (about to be hanged) and basic tactics such as forks, pins and skewers. I should mention that at the end of the month I read up on a couple of openings.

After a month had passed, I decided to start playing again. I was shocked by the drastic improvement in my playing. I was regularly wiping the floor with people rated between 1400-1550. In case you’re wondering, that’s about the rating of an average adult tournament player, most of whom have been playing for years.

The experience of improving so quickly and so much by “eliminating stupid shit” was profound. After some reflection, I found that it applied to so many other areas of my life.

Playing the piano has always been a big part of my life. Growing up, I was always better than the average piano student. In high school and college, I won several competitions and even gave a few concerts in fairly large venues. Looking back though, the biggest moment in my musical career was the moment I “stopped doing stupid shit.” At that point, I had been playing for about 8 years and had just switched to a new piano teacher. She spent about a month beating numerous idiotic habits out of me. After that, followed the most productive two years of my musical career. My skills grew explosively during this time.

Even without the explosive growth in skill that eliminating stupidity usually comes with, it’s surprising how far just not making dumb mistakes will get people. Looking back on some piano competitions, it seems like the vast majority of the time, winners were chosen simply because they didn’t do anything that was stupid enough to be easily criticized.

This seems to apply to software too. Not doing anything dumb will place you firmly above the average in terms of developer quality.

Since I’ve received that bit of advice, it’s been my firm goal to approach new skills with the mindset of “learning how to not do anything stupid.” It’s amazing how much this has revolutionized the way I learn.

Learning how to reflexively avoid stupidity is a key ingredient to attaining great heights with any skill. It’s amazing how many hours you can piss away trying add new and interesting techniques to your repertoire before you’ve really mopped up the basics.

As a parting shot, I’d like to make a reference to the Pareto Principle. It’s been my experience that “Not doing stupid shit” will get you past the bottom 80% really fast.

How to seem good at everything

Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox

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You are renovating because you want your house to look more beautiful and feel more comfortable. Consider your home renovation plan as a business plan or as your special project you are starting from scratch.

If you hire an architecture he plan for you, but if you want to save money the first step is to take charge of the project and do it to yourself. In this article we are sharing some DIY ideas on, how to renovate your house on budget?

How to seem good at everything

The key to renovating your house on budget yet beautifully is primarily to plan the entire process effectively. The following sections will demonstrate how you can divide your entire renovation plans into sub-plans, according to the space you have and renovate your home effectively. If you are looking to find out top 10 ways to renovate your house beautifully yet economically then read below:

Divide and Conquer

As mentioned earlier effective planning is the key to effective renovation. If you are renovating yourself then you need to focus on both the bigger picture and the smaller parts. You might have heard the phrase “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, you can apply the same strategy to your home renovation project and devise a renovation plan for each area in your house. If you hire an architect for renovation, he will assess your requirements and then renovate accordingly. In this case since you’re in charge, you will brainstorm your requirements, write your end goal for each space in the house and decide the overall goal, and then move on to:

How to seem good at everything

Since you want to renovate your house economically it is important for you to decide the total expenditure requirements/limit. It is important to remember in budgeting that you cannot overestimate your budget, keep your budget underestimated and then move on to researching for things you need.

You will be surprised at the number of options you have once you start your research. The beautiful lamp that you liked at a high end store can be purchased at a lower price from elsewhere as well. So, when renovating your house on budget please remember that if you research to find the furniture you like, paint you want or the decorations you would like in your house, you are likely to find most of the supplies at an inexpensive price. Take advantage of online shopping, thrift stores and second hand furniture shops and see how far you will go. For step by step instructions on how you can decorate your house beautifully yet economically please read below:

The first impression of your house is your door. If you are unable to change the door completely and if your existing door is in a good condition then you should repaint your door. Your doors could also affect the lighting of your room, and you could benefit from this great technique interior designed Amy Lau uses, “When dealing with a dark room, whatever color is used on the walls, I paint the ceiling, trim, and doors the same color but 50 percent lighter. Too much of one shade can overpower a space.” So, when renovating on a budget if you are repainting your door try to use different shades according to the concentration of light in your house to optimize the lighting of your house the way you want to.

Paint Affects Lighting

As mentioned earlier painting affects lighting and when renovating your house you might opt for a new paint. In that case if you are already on a budget purchasing different colored pallets might seem counterintuitive. If you are on a tight budget then opt for a black and white palette, it will give your house a modern sophisticated look and you will have the guarantee that you can never go wrong with white or black.

How to seem good at everything

Small Rooms don’t have to Look Small

If you are renovating to make a small house look bigger than an inexpensive and beautiful way of achieving that goal is to use mirrors. It’s an inexpensive technique but it’s used by one of the most famous architects of his time, Sir John Soane, who used mirrors in the breakfast room of his London house.

Kitchens and Storage

If you are decorating/renovating your house then you are probably trying to de-clutter and maximize your storage as well. Utilizing your kitchen to its maximum capacity can help you minimize your storage problems. In order to do this on a low budget you can either DIY kitchen cabinets or storages from recycled material at your house, or take advantage of thrift shops in your area.

How to seem good at everything

No one knows your kitchen space better than you do and your storage needs building DIY storage kitchen cabinets will not only help you save money and reuse old materials at your house but it will also ensure that you’re building exactly what you need. If you already have cabinets which are enough for storage then you don’t need to replace them you can just repaint them to make your kitchen look as good as new.

Light Comes through the Windows

According to Marc Appleton, “half the experience of living indoors is seeing the outdoors” So when remodeling your house install large windows. However, you might not have the budget to change your windows in that case play around with paint and paint your windows a shade lighter than the rest of the room to maximize the light coming through the windows.

Bathroom Renovation

You would be surprised at the number of inexpensive yet quality products you can purchase to renovate your bathroom. If you are looking to install new toilet fixture you can check our Toto Toilet, and if you are not planning to install any new items, you can fix up your existing toilet by changing the paint, changing cabinet paints and by fixing the pressure of shower etc.

Floor Renovation

If you are on a budget then floor renovation might seem expensive, and if you cannot find a flooring installation under your budget then you should invest in renovating everything else according to your floor design.

How to seem good at everything

The key to renovating or redecorating your house beautifully yet inexpensively is to devise a goal for yourself, and paint an entire picture of what you want and then step by step renovate each part of your house like mentioned above.

A new feature called Center Stage will help beautify all your video calls.

Though it feels like we’ve been Zooming and FaceTiming and using Google Hangouts for an eternity, most of us have still not figured out how to look good on a video call. Luckily, a new feature on iPad Pro called Center Stage has launched, and without much effort, it can make you look just a little bit better on camera.

Center Stage only works on the ultra-wide front-facing cameras on the iPad Pro, and seeks to keep you in focus even as you move around the frame. That means if you have your iPad Pro propped up, the camera will follow you around, and automatically keep refocusing even as you move closer, further away, or to the s ide.

To activate Center Stage for FaceTime, open up “Settings” and tap “FaceTime. ” M ake sure the Center Stage switch is toggled on (just toggle it back off if/when you want to disable it ). If you’re already on a FaceTime call, you can swipe up from the bottom of the screen and toggle on or off from the menu that arises.

If you are not a regular user of Apple’s proprietary video calling app, they’ve also allowed the feature to be enabled on other video calling platforms, including Zoom. While on a Zoom call on an iPad Pro, you’ll see the option to turn Center Stage on or off on the left-hand side bar, just below the options to switch your camera and active speaker view.

The Bible not only tells us what society will be like in the end times, but it also gives us instruction to stay as clear of the mess as possible and that God will take care of the rest:

  • What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow for those who are wise in their own eyes and think themselves so clever. What sorrow for those who are heroes at drinking wine and boast about all the alcohol they can hold. They take bribes to let the wicked go free, and they punish the innocent. Therefore, just as fire licks up stubble and dry grass shrivels in the flame, so their roots will rot and their flowers wither. For they have rejected the law of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies; they have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 5:20-24 NLT)
  • You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. People will be cruel and hate what is good. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that! (2 Timothy 3:1, 3b, 5 NLT)

Certain things, even though much to our dislike, must come to pass . It’s all in God’s plan of what must take place before the second coming of His Son. Nothing we do or say will stop it. It is according to God the Father’s will:

  • And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass ? But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass ; but the end is not by and by. And when these things begin to come to pass , then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass , know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away , till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away : but my words shall not pass away . Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass , and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:7, 9, 28, 31-33, 36 KJV)

There is not one place in the Book of Acts or any of the Epistles where Christians got sidetracked with the issues of the day even though their world was filled with injustices, corruption, cruelty, and evil. They always addressed those in authority with the proper respect. Look what both Paul and Peter command us in Romans 13:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:13-14, keeping in mind that they were both martyred by these government authorities they told Christians to submit to. Paul could of very easily debated with the greatest minds of his time about the issues of the day. Instead he chose to preach Christ to everyone he came in contact with. The world needs to have lives transformed, not swayed! So please do not get angry as you see the blatant moral decline of our society and the unrighteous decisions of our governmental leaders. You may be correct with what you say or write, but what good is it if you alienate and taint your witness for Christ. Look around my friend for there are sinners all around that need Christ and the simple Gospel.

  • But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh. (Jude 1:20-23 NKJV)

Do not get me wrong, this does not mean that we do not join the conversation around the coffee maker at work and speak out against the present blatant sin issues of the day like our society’s acceptance with open arms of homosexuality and the abortion pill. As Jude tells us in the verses above that we must ‘save’ some with fear, but we must make a distinction of when to speak out and when not to. There is a Christian song that says, “Sometimes Christians should be seen and not heard.” This is where we need to pray in the Holy Spirit, as Jude tells us, and look for discernment from the Lord.

There is a very dangerous liberality that has crept into the Christian Church. Not only does it candy coat evil, but it also makes the evil poison seem almost right. This is what Charles Spurgeon warned us of: “Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.”

This is the problem with so many big name, so called ‘Christian Pastors’. It seems that the modern Christian Church is infatuated with numbers. “How can someone with so many followers and so many book sales be wrong?” It’s because of ‘itchy ears’, especially in these end times that Scriptures warn us of.

Take a look on the horizon. Persecution is just around the corner for those who hold onto what the Bible truly teaches. Those with twisted liberal views will be pointing the finger at those who stand true with what the Word of God rightfully says and they will declare us ‘intolerant’. At that point we will become a threat to society and labelled ‘terrorists’.

One prominent pastor presents the view that when Paul denounced homosexuality in Romans 1, he was referring only to those who were established heterosexuals that would turn to homosexuality rather than established homosexuals. This makes it OK for Gays to continue with their lifestyle. This pastor forgets that Jesus Himself (Matthew 19:4-6) continued to cement the command found in Genesis that only a man and a woman are to be joined together sexually and that is only after marriage.

It does not take someone very long, who has Holy Spirit discernment, to determine whether or not a Bible teacher should be listened to or not. Just scratching the surface on one, I found something he wrote on Christians suffering for Christ. He explained how if he has a sore throat or fever while preparing a sermon that he is suffering for Christ. First of all, we live in a fallen world where both Christians and non-Christians get sick. Secondly, there is nothing outside of normal duties (see Luke 17:7-10) of a pastor to prepare a sermon. Thirdly, it is a mockery to compare yourself to someone who takes a stand for Christ and suffers loss, or is physically tortured or killed because of it (see Hebrews 11:35-38).

So my friends, be very careful who you listen to, or watch, or read their books. Research for yourself. Once poison is ingested, it can sometimes be too late to stop the damage. Remember, those that preach ‘evil is good and good is evil’ are more prevalent than you think. Also, prepare yourself now for the persecution that is coming in the days ahead. Look up and know that your redemption draws nigh! (see Luke 21:28).

How to seem good at everything

By Dr. Megan Petroff, DVM

For people, anxiety can feel overwhelming and debilitating at times. If you have a dog that struggles with fear, anxiety, or stress, it’s important to be supportive and patient.

Calming a frequently anxious dog is possible, but it may require collaboration between you and your veterinarian, or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist.

If you have a nervous dog, here’s some insight you can use to identify the signs and triggers, and steps you can take to help calm your dog’s anxiety and improve their quality of life.

Recognize the Signs of Dog Anxiety

“Dogs use body language to communicate how they are feeling,” says Ashley Atkinson, CPDT-KA and behavior consultant at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.

For example, if your dog seems uneasy or is fixated on licking, they could be communicating nervousness, stress, or fear. There are many subtle signs of dog anxiety.

According to Dr. Susan Konecny, RN, DVM, medical director of Best Friends Animal Society, some clinical signs include:

She also says that some physiological effects of anxiety can include:

Increased salivation or drooling

Increased heart rate and panting

Skin lesions from self-trauma

Talk With Your Veterinarian About Your Dog’s Anxiety

Once you learn how to detect when your dog is anxious, you can begin to identify the triggers that are causing the anxiety. Write down the signs that you see and describe the situations and circumstances when your dog showed these signs. Then schedule an appointment with your vet so they can rule out underlying medical issues,and help you get the right treatment for your dog.

Anytime a behavior change is noted in a pet, medical problems in other areas of the body could be at play. Your veterinarian can perform diagnostic tests to confirm that your pet is otherwise healthy.

In all cases, it’s best to seek the help of your veterinarian to make sure you are doing everything you can for your dog. When no other cause is found, your veterinarian can prescribe anxiety medication if needed, and/or recommend a veterinary behaviorist.

Board-Certified Veterinary Behaviorists

If your veterinarian thinks it’s necessary, they may refer you to a board-certified veterinary behaviorist to help your dog.

These veterinarians are specialists who have done a residency for three or more years in clinical behavior medicine, and passed a board-certification exam. Board-certified veterinary behaviorists are experts in treating fear, anxiety, and aggression in pets.

The American College of Veterinary Behaviorists has a directory on their website with the current board-certified veterinary behaviorists near you.

Tips for Calming Your Dog’s Anxiety

Your veterinarian can help create a plan for relieving your dog’s anxiety, and it may include the following steps. Some are simple actions you can try at home, and others require your veterinarian’s oversight.

Remove Triggers That Cause Your Dog’s Anxiety

If you’ve already gone to your veterinarian to rule out other illnesses, and they’ve helped identify possible stressors, then it may be as simple as removing those stressors and seeing if your dog’s anxiety lessens.

For example, if your dog is afraid of other dogs or people, you can skip the dog park. Alternatively, you can take your dog for walks when fewer people will be outside, play in a fenced yard if you have one, and play games inside the home.

Try Dog Appeasing Pheromones

Dog appeasing pheromones are synthetic pheromones similar to the calming pheromones that female dogs give off while nursing puppies.

These pheromones can help reduce anxiety in some dogs and are available in a few different forms. There are collars, sprays, and diffusers, so you can choose the best option for your dog.

Exercise With Your Dog

Exercise can help with our own anxiety, and research studies have shown that greater levels of exercise in dogs are associated with lower levels of aggression, fear, and separation anxiety. 1

Create a Sanctuary Space

Some dogs get so anxious in certain situations that no amount of calming, praising, or rewarding will give them relief. “When this is the case, they need a quiet space with no stimulation where they can turn off all the input and simply unwind,” says Dr. Konecny.

This can help in many situations, such as if they are nervous:

When visitors come to your home

Drowning out ambient sounds with white noise may also help them relax in their sanctuary room.

Ask Your Veterinarian About Anti-Anxiety Medications

If your dog is truly struggling with anxiety, you can talk to your veterinarian about whether anti-anxiety medications would be beneficial.

Some pet owners worry about using these medications:

Will it make their dog sleepy all the time?

Will it change their personality?

Will these types of medications shorten their dog’s lifespan?

When treated with the proper medications, your pet should exhibit less anxiety, seem happier, and still have the same personality. If your veterinarian isn’t sure what to prescribe, a board-certified veterinary behaviorist can help you find the best medication for your dog to help them thrive.

Try Behavior Modification

Sometimes, additional modalities are needed to treat behavior problems in pets. Behavior modification can help you change the emotional response your dog has to offending situations or triggers.

Through this cognitive therapy, your dog can learn to become less afraid of stressors and more calm. In some cases, behavior modification can help a dog to the point where they will no longer need to be on medications.

This is something a veterinary behaviorist can help you with as well.

Be Supportive

Learning and avoiding what causes your dog stress, ruling out possible underlying illnesses, and seeking professional help will all improve the quality of life for your anxious dog.

Scientific evidence has shown that stress has negative effects on health in people, and this is true in dogs as well. A 2010 study of 721 dogs concluded that, “The stress of living with a fear or anxiety disorder can have negative effects on health and lifespan in the domestic dog.” 2 For this reason it’s important to be proactive to help your dog with their anxieties.

Don’t give up. The solution may not be quick or easy, but with dedication and the right professional assistance, you can help your dog be happier and healthier.

Citations

1. Lofgren, Sarah E., et al. “Management and Personality in Labrador Retriever Dogs.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 156, 2014, pp. 44-53.

2. Dreschel, Nancy A. “The Effects of Fear and Anxiety on Health and Lifespan in Pet Dogs.” Applied Animal Behaviour Science, vol. 125, no. 3-4, 2010, pp. 157-162.

A company’s balance sheet, also known as a “statement of financial position,” reveals the firm’s assets, liabilities and owners’ equity (net worth). The balance sheet, together with the income statement and cash flow statement, make up the cornerstone of any company’s financial statements.

If you are a shareholder of a company or a potential investor, it is important to understand how the balance sheet is structured, how to analyze it and how to read it.

How the Balance Sheet Works

The balance sheet is divided into two parts that, based on the following equation, must equal each other or balance each other out. The main formula behind a balance sheet is:

Assets = Liabilities + Shareholders’ Equity

This means that assets, or the means used to operate the company, are balanced by a company’s financial obligations, along with the equity investment brought into the company and its retained earnings.

Assets are what a company uses to operate its business, while its liabilities and equity are two sources that support these assets. Owners’ equity, referred to as shareholders’ equity, in a publicly traded company, is the amount of money initially invested into the company plus any retained earnings, and it represents a source of funding for the business.

It is important to note that a balance sheet is a snapshot of the company’s financial position at a single point in time.

An Introduction To The Balance Sheet

Know the Types of Assets

Current Assets

Current assets have a lifespan of one year or less, meaning they can be converted easily into cash. Such asset classes include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable and inventory.

Cash, the most fundamental of current assets, also includes non-restricted bank accounts and checks. Cash equivalents are very safe assets that can be readily converted into cash; U.S. Treasuries are one such example.

Accounts receivables consist of the short-term obligations owed to the company by its clients. Companies often sell products or services to customers on credit; these obligations are held in the current assets account until they are paid off by the clients.

Lastly, inventory represents the company’s raw materials, work-in-progress goods and finished goods. Depending on the company, the exact makeup of the inventory account will differ. For example, a manufacturing firm will carry a large number of raw materials, while a retail firm carries none. The makeup of a retailer’s inventory typically consists of goods purchased from manufacturers and wholesalers.

Non-Current Assets

Depreciation is calculated and deducted from most of these assets, which represents the economic cost of the asset over its useful life.

Learn the Different Liabilities

On the other side of the balance sheet are the liabilities. These are the financial obligations a company owes to outside parties. Like assets, they can be both current and long-term.

Long-term liabilities are debts and other non-debt financial obligations, which are due after a period of at least one year from the date of the balance sheet. Current liabilities are the company’s liabilities that will come due, or must be paid, within one year. This includes both shorter-term borrowings, such as accounts payables, along with the current portion of longer-term borrowing, such as the latest interest payment on a 10-year loan.

Shareholders’ Equity

Shareholders’ equity is the initial amount of money invested in a business. If at the end of the fiscal year, a company decides to reinvest its net earnings into the company (after taxes), these retained earnings will be transferred from the income statement onto the balance sheet and into the shareholder’s equity account. This account represents a company’s total net worth. In order for the balance sheet to balance, total assets on one side have to equal total liabilities plus shareholders’ equity on the other side.

Read a Balance Sheet

Below is an example of a corporate balance sheet for Walmart, circa 2016:

How to seem good at everything

As you can see from the balance sheet above, it is broken into two main areas. Assets are on the top, and below them are the company’s liabilities and shareholders’ equity. It is also clear that this balance sheet is in balance where the value of the assets equals the combined value of the liabilities and shareholders’ equity.

Another interesting aspect of the balance sheet is how it is organized. The assets and liabilities sections of the balance sheet are organized by how current the account is. So for the asset side, the accounts are classified typically from most liquid to least liquid. For the liabilities side, the accounts are organized from short to long-term borrowings and other obligations.

Analyze a Balance Sheet with Ratios

With a greater understanding of a balance sheet and how it is constructed, we can review some techniques used to analyze the information contained within a balance sheet. The main technique is financial ratio analysis.

Financial ratio analysis uses formulas to gain insight into a company and its operations. For a balance sheet, using financial ratios (like the debt-to-equity ratio) can provide a good sense of the company’s financial condition, along with its operational efficiency. It is important to note that some ratios will need information from more than one financial statement, such as from the balance sheet and the income statement.

The main types of ratios that use information from a balance sheet are financial strength ratios and activity ratios. Financial strength ratios, such as the working capital and debt-to-equity ratios, provide information on how well the company can meet its obligations and how the obligations are leveraged.

This can give investors an idea of how financially stable the company is and how the company finances itself. Activity ratios focus mainly on current accounts to show how well the company manages its operating cycle (which include receivables, inventory, and payables). These ratios can provide insight into the company’s operational efficiency.

The Bottom Line

A balance sheet, along with the income and cash flow statement, is an important tool for investors to gain insight into a company and its operations. It is a snapshot at a single point in time of the company’s accountscovering its assets, liabilities and shareholders’ equity.

The purpose of a balance sheet is to give interested parties an idea of the company’s financial position, in addition to displaying what the company owns and owes. It is important that all investors know how to use, analyze and read a balance sheet. A balance sheet may give insight or reason to invest in a stock.

How to seem good at everything

“We can’t hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.”

Sometimes I am really terrible to myself, and I relentlessly compare myself to other people, no matter how many times I read or hear about how good enough or lovable I am.

On an almost daily basis, I meticulously look for evidence that I am a nobody, that I don’t deserve to be loved, or that I’m not living up to my full potential.

There is generally a lot of pressure to “stack up” in our culture. We feel as if there is something wrong with us if, for example, we’re still single by a certain age, don’t make a certain amount of money, don’t have a large social circle, or don’t look and act a certain way in the presence of others. The list could truly go on forever.

Sometimes in the midst of all the pressure, I seem to totally forget all the wonderful, unique things about myself.

I get stuck in my head and allow my inner critic to completely tear apart my self-esteem until I hate myself too much to do anything except eat ice cream, watch daytime television, and sleep.

The other day, while I was beating myself up over something I can’t even recall at the moment, I read a comment from one of my blog readers telling me that one of my posts literally got them through the night. Literally. And if that one simple word was used in the intended context, this person was basically telling me that one of my posts saved their life.

I get comments like these on a pretty regular basis, and they always open my eyes to just how much I matter, regardless of my inner critic’s vehement objections.

Such comments also open my eyes to all the things we beat ourselves up over that don’t matter—like whether or not we look like a Victoria’s Secret model in our bathing suit, or whether or not we should stop smiling if we’re not whitening our teeth, or whether or not the hole in our lucky shirt is worth bursting into tears over.

Lately I’ve been trying harder to catch myself when I feel a non-serving, self-depreciating thought coming on. And I may let these thoughts slip at times, but that’s okay because I’m only human.

While my self-love journey is ongoing, here are a few things I try to remember when I’m tempted to be mean to myself:

1. The people you compare yourself to compare themselves to other people too.

We all compare ourselves to other people, and I can assure you that the people who seem to have it all do not.

When you look at other people through a lens of compassion and understanding rather than judgment and jealousy, you are better able to see them for what they are—human beings. They are beautifully imperfect human beings going through the same universal challenges that we all go through.

2. Your mind can be a very convincing liar.

I saw a quote once that read, “Don’t believe everything you think.” That quote completely altered the way I react when a cruel or discouraging thought goes through my mind. Thoughts are just thoughts, and it’s unhealthy and exhausting to give so much power to the negative ones.

3. There is more right with you than wrong with you.

This powerful reminder is inspired by one of my favorite quotes from Jon Kabat-Zinn: “Until you stop breathing, there’s more right with you than wrong with you.”

As someone who sometimes tends to zoom in on all my perceived flaws, it helps to remember that there are lots of things I like about myself too—like the fact that I’m alive and breathing and able to pave new paths whenever I choose.

4. You need love the most when you feel you deserve it the least.

This was a recent epiphany of mine, although I’m sure it’s been said many times before.

I find that it is most difficult to accept love and understanding from others when I’m in a state of anger, shame, anxiety, or depression. But adopting the above truth really shifted my perspective and made me realize that love is actually the greatest gift I can receive during such times.

5. You have to fully accept and make peace with the “now” before you can reach and feel satisfied with the “later.”

One thing I’ve learned about making changes and reaching for the next rung on the ladder is that you cannot feel fully satisfied with where you’re going until you can accept, acknowledge, and appreciate where you are.

Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.

6. Focus on progress rather than perfection and on how far you’ve come rather than how far you have left to go.

One of the biggest causes of self-loathing is the hell-bent need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection and success, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless. What we don’t seem to realize is that working toward our goals and being willing to put ourselves out there are accomplishments within themselves, regardless of how many times we fail.

Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backward, give yourself a pat on the back for trying, making progress, and coming as far as you have.

7. You can’t hate your way into loving yourself.

Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful. Telling yourself you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential. Telling yourself you’re worthless and unlovable won’t make you feel any more worthy or lovable.

I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but the only way to achieve self-love is to love yourself—regardless of who you are and where you stand, and even if you know you want to change.

You are enough just as you are. And self-love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.

You’ve waited months for this moment—the chance to prove your worth to your boss and get a leg up in your career.

Let me break it to you: You won’t get what you want if you don’t prepare properly. In fact, your review will only go well if you get organized and collect all your information before the talk.

So, with that in mind, here’s what you need to do the night of your next performance review to put yourself in a great position for a productive conversation that’ll get you ahead in your career and get you on your boss’ good side:

1. Learn How to Respond to Feedback

You know not to yell (right?). But do you know there are ways to respond to negative feedback that actually make you look good?

You’re going to want to pay attention to the following because it’s possible you’ll receive some not-so-great feedback. And even if you’ve been doing fabulous work, it’s almost guaranteed you’re going to receive some form of constructive criticism (no one’s perfect, after all).

First, as Muse Career Coach Emily Liou points out in an article about handling negative feedback, own up to your mistakes and be ready to offer a solution or show initiative to do better.

And, says Muse Writer Rich Moy, avoid blurting out things like “I didn’t realize that was wrong” or “It won’t happen again!” (Here’s what you should prepare to say instead.)

How to seem good at everything

2. Collect Your Accomplishments

Think you deserve a raise?

It’s so important to state your case by listing out your accomplishments (including how much money you’ve made for the company, the skills you’ve learned, the relationships you’ve built, and the projects you’ve completed) over the past six months or year.

We made it easy for you: Just fill out this worksheet right from your computer.

How to seem good at everything

3. Review Your Current Goals

Did you set goals at your last review? Or, do you have some personal ones of your own?

Either way, reviews are a great time to look back at what you were hoping to accomplish and see if you, well, actually did them.

If you met your goals, what did you learn along the way? Which ones are you most proud of? How can you build on them in the future?

And if you didn’t achieve them, how far did you get? Did your priorities change? What held you back? What can you do differently going forward?

Jot down some notes to discuss further with your manager when you meet. Which leads me to…

How to seem good at everything

4. Set Some New Goals

Now that you know how far you’ve come, now you can decide where you want to go.

Do this by setting some realistic, yet ambitious goals. Consider the following:

  • What skills would you like to master by your next review?
  • What responsibilities do you want to take on?
  • What projects are you passionate about pursuing?
  • What weaknesses would you like to improve upon?
  • What goals would you like to continue to build on?
  • What role do you want to shoot for one to three years from now? What can you do now to put yourself in the running?

How to seem good at everything

5. Prepare Any Lingering Questions

Especially if one-on-one time is rare in your office, reviews are super helpful for getting some of your most burning questions answered. It could be about the status of your team or department, or the goals of the company, or possibilities for career growth (like budget to get some professional development help).

How to seem good at everything

6. Prepare for a Tough Conversation

Maybe your boss will bring up some serious concerns. Maybe you even seen a performance improvement plan coming. Or, maybe it’ll be a normal review on your manager’s end, but you’re going to have to raise your hand to discuss bigger issues.

For example, now’s a good time to talk about the fact that you’re bored in your role or you’d like to consider an internal transfer.

Having these conversations is hard! But being prepared makes it a little easier.

How to seem good at everything

7. Pat Yourself on the Back

Finally, give yourself some credit for making it to this big milestone. Sure, it happens every year, and you may not even receive anything special except for a simple “Great work” from your manager, but you’ve made it through what was probably a busy, exhausting, or even tumultuous period—look back on it, pat yourself on the back for everything awesome you did, and know you’re going to kick even more butt after this review.

Now all you have to do is double-check your review time (in case you have a jam-packed day), lay out a slightly-nicer-than-usual outfit (it doesn’t hurt), and get some beauty sleep.

And no matter what happens, because you’ve prepared, you’re sure to handle it like a champ.