Mom Steps Away From Her Six-Figure Job to Take a Gap Year — Her Boldness Inspires People Around the World

By | Food for thought, midlife, midlife gap year, mom, Motivation, uplifting news

At some point in nearly everyone’s life, a person stops, looks around at their life, and wonders, “Is this really it? Am I living the life I’m supposed to be living?”

Most of us chalk it up to a midlife crisis and continue on with the status quo. But what if we decided to do something about it instead?

What if, rather than living our lives, we chose to live our dreams instead?

Well, one mom set out to do just that. And man, it is inspiring.

Why One Mom Decided to Take a Midlife Gap Year

Feeling trapped in a job that wasn’t a good fit and burnt out from juggling all.the.things. 42-year-old Kym Wootton decided she’d had enough.

So, in January 2023, she quit the rat race. She gave up her six-figure salary job as a chief administrative officer at a consultancy agency. Her plan? To take an entire year to “reimagine” herself and focus on what she loves most.

She’s calling it her “midlife gap year.”

“Today is the first day of my midlife gap year,” she shares in a video posted to her TikTok account, @kymmersfullofsunshine.

She explains that the idea is similar to the gap year usually reserved for college-bound kids. The one where they just take “a year to work or travel or have fun or rest or relax or whatever,” first.

She continues: “It’s crazy to me that once we start working, we start our careers — that’s it. We work, we grind, until we are in our late 60s and we can retire, hopefully.”

She’s not wrong. Most of us will spend 40-plus years working, day in and day out, taking our two weeks of vacation a year (or more if we’re really lucky), never having the time or the energy to do the things we really want to do.

It’s not the kind of life she dreams of (does any of us? Really?). So, instead of grinding away at a soul-sucking job for the next twenty-five years or so of her life, she decided to take a leap.

It was now or never.

What One Mom Plans On Doing During Her Midlife Gap Year

“Even when I was with [my kids], I was thinking about work,” Kym told Good Morning America. “So the idea that I could just step away from it, that I could walk away from a successful career to reimagine what I wanted to do, and at the same time, getting the opportunity to be around my family all the time, that was really exciting for me.”

Kym says she plans on using the year to “slow down” and “take some of the rush out of life.” She’ll rest, exercise, write the novel she’s always wanted to write, and spend quality time with her family — sons Finn, 16, and Will, 13 — and husband, Mike, 49.

One thing is for sure, she has no plans of squandering it. She knows what an incredible gift it is. One that has the full support of her husband.

It’s a goal they’ve been working towards for years. They paid off debt and spent 7 months living off of Mike’s salary and saving her own in preparation for the financial toll her gap year would take.

As for her plans after the year is up? That’s TBD (to be determined) however she does know one thing; she has zero plans on returning to her life pre-gap year.

It’s a Midlife Gap Year, NOT a Sabbatical

(ABC News)

In another TikTok, Kym explains that, contrary to popular belief, she’s NOT on sabbatical. For her, there is no going back.

“A gap year is a reset. I am trying to dream up something totally new for myself. I’m not going back to what I did before. I am going forward,” she says.

And going forward means figuring out what she’s really meant to do in the world.

Turns out, Kym is not alone. Midlife gap years are a thing. She has received countless messages from other women who are either in the midst of taking one or are planning to take one.

Her TikTok comments are also filled with women sharing their own stories.

“i’m in a midlife gap year too! i start the PCT on monday,” one person writes.

“Yes, 42 and started this a year and a half ago. I honestly have never been happier.”

“Girl same sold my preschool moved out of state and bought 75 acres and another horse working on changing professions completely! Best decision ever!”

Another writes, “THIS ME! I just quit my job last month. I’m “rewiring” not “retiring”!”

How She Hopes Her Gap Year Will Inspire Others

(ABC News)

The biggest message Kym hopes people take away from hearing about her journey is this: “If you have an ache inside of you…if there is something in you that is saying you need to be doing this, will you please pursue it?”

Kym knows that not everyone can afford to take an entire year off. But she hopes that doesn’t stop people from pursuing their passions.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities and routines and forget about the things that truly bring us joy and fulfillment.

So often, life gets in the way of our dreams. We put them on a shelf where they end up lost or forgotten. But sometimes, they’re not lost at all, they’re just waiting.

And it’s up to us to chase them.

21-Year-Old Single Dad Wakes Up at Midnight to Walk to Work Every Day – So His Co-workers Arrange a Special Surprise

By | career, family, Food for thought, hard work, inspiring, Motivation, stories, success, uplifting news

There’s something noble about working in silence. Many people struggle with maintaining hard work over long periods of time and complain the whole way through. But not Trenton Lewis.

Why One Young Dad Wakes Up at Midnight

man holding a bag walking on the street
Photo by Rahul Shah

Trenton Lewis is a 21-year-old single father from Little Rock, Arkansas. He values hard work and has a 14-month-old daughter, Karmen, to take care of. Trenton works in the shadows, literally. 

Every day for roughly half a year Trenton used to wake up around midnight, kiss Karmen goodbye and go to work. Trenton’s shifts at UPS began at 4 a.m.

Without a car, he would walk 17 km in the middle of the night to get there on time. “I don’t want to miss work at all,” Trenton said. “I had figured I had wanted to be with my daughter to get to support her because I want to be a father.”

RELATED: Pizza Hut Deliveryman Has Worked the Same Job for 31 Years – So His Customers Tip Him With a Brand New Car

Trenton was never late for work. He did what he needed to do and never complained. He even managed to keep the details of his walk a secret. As an Arkansas native, he takes pride in not making excuses. “I made it to work and everyone was late,” Trenton mentioned, “I’m doing this for my daughter.”

Eventually one of his co-workers, Kenneth Bryant, found out about Trentons daily travels. He was shocked to see the standard Trenton holds himself to. “If somebody got that much determination, I’d be willing to help them,” Kenneth told reporters, “Here’s a young man who wants to work and will do whatever it takes to be successful.”

Inspired by his story, Kenneth began asking around the office if people would be interested in secretly getting Trenton a new vehicle. Many of their co-workers agreed, even people who had never met Trenton.

How a Single Dad Proved Hard Work Is Always Rewarded

Kenneth went to a local car dealership and explained to the salesperson his co-workers’ story. Impressed, the salesperson told Kenneth they’d be willing to get the 21-year-old a good deal. 

Shortly after, Kenneth and the UPS employees had gathered enough money to get Trenton a car. They brought him to the office parking lot for what they said was a “union meeting.” There, Kenneth held a short speech, and surprised Trenton with the keys to a 2006 Saturn Ion. 

RELATED: Teen Is Photographed Walking at 4 AM to Reach His Graduation – So a Stranger Gifts Him a Brand New Car

Trenton was surprised and grateful for people like Kenneth. For a guy that shows little emotion, he was seen smiling from cheek to cheek. “I had no idea, I guess they’re very good secret holders. This was my first car, I have awesome co-workers,” Trenton said.

For his first ride, Trenton stopped by his home, picked up his daughter and went to get a bite to eat. The first of many meals out in the new ride.

Its great to see a young man doing all he can for his family. He knows that the best way to support his daughter is to put his nose down and work hard. “I knew days were going to get better if I kept coming to work,” he said, “And that’s just what I did.” Because of his unrelenting determination, Kenneth was awarded something that will make his days a little easier.

Baby Miraculously Survives Earthquake After Nearly 130 Hours Without Food or Milk (VIDEO)

By | Food for thought, Motivation

A remarkable story has come out of a devastating situation in Turkey.

In an incredible video shared widely across social media, men helping to look for survivors after a catastrophic earthquake his Turkey and Syria at the beginning of February.

A man wearing a hard hat and front lap clears construction debris and unbelievably pulls a small infant out from the debris.

Bruised and wide-eyed, the baby is silent as she is handed to workers who wrap it up and transport it to an ambulance to be taken to the hospital. But the crowd that has gathered around them is anything but silent.

Before he hands her off, the man that pulled the infant from the rubble kisses it on the forehead as the crowd cheers.

February’s earthquake brought down hundreds of buildings in Turkey’s Hatay province along the Mediterranean coast, including the young baby’s home.

Not only did the baby survive the earthquake and subsequent physical damage — but also endured being under the rubble for over 120 hours without milk, water, or food.

Adding to the miraculous discovery, the baby is said to have endured sub-zero temperatures at nighttime.

RELATED: Woman Trusts Her Instincts And Delivers Her Own Baby Inside of a Car

Social media users are thanking God for the baby’s survival. Many of them wondering what the future will hold for the infant. Astonisghly, local authorities are claiming the baby did not suffer any long-term physical injuries.

The baby’s gender differs per source. It had been reported that the baby was a boy, but German journalist and photographer Hamdi Gökbulut — who was allowed to visit the baby in the Adana hospital — confirmed that the baby is a girl.

Unfortunately, the baby’s parents or other family members have not yet been found. Gökbulut confirmed that a midwife has been attentively caring for the baby since it’s been rescued.

As the days go by since the earthquake struck on February 6, the death toll has mounted. It currently stands at over 41,000 deaths.

Despite continued efforts to sift through the rubble, rescue, and recovery situations are dwindling rapidly.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is working “around the clock” to rush essential relief to those impacted. People wishing to donate can visit the UNHCFR website.

While accurate facts relating to the tragedy are still unfolding, the small takeaway is appreciating more stories of hope that trickle through.

ALS Forces Young Man Into Early Retirement — Check Out His Powerful Message That Might Change Your Perspective on Life

By | Food for thought, Motivation

How would you change your day-to-day approach if you knew what the future had in store for you? Would you be more optimistic? Would you appreciate the little things more?

Because a young man named Joey Porrello is asking. He wants you to appreciate your independence and embrace the beauty in the ordinary — and with good reason.

Porrello retired from his Civil Engineer job at Kimley-Horn, a Las Vegas-based planning and design consulting firm, in early February. Whereas retiring at 29 years old might seem like the dream, that’s not the case for Porrello.

Only a year prior, Porrello was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) disease. His ALS had rapidly progressed to a point where he was no longer able to continue working in the capacity he wanted.

RELATED: 98-Year-Old’s Powerful Thoughts on Not Being Afraid of Death Goes TikTok Viral

In a viral and courageous LinkedIn post, Porrello emphasized that his muscles began to deteriorate as “more motor neurons continue to die.” The civil engineer said it became harder to “talk clearly” and to move his arms and fingers.

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a rare neurological disease that affects motor neurons—”those nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement,” says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH). The diseases specifically target voluntary muscles — those we use to produce movements like chewing, walking, and talking. The disease is progressive, meaning symptoms get worse over time. ALS has no cure and there is no effective treatment to reverse its progression.

Now that’s been forced to retire, Porrello intends to raise awareness about the disease which affects about five people per 100,000 in the US population.

In his motivational LinkedIn post that has since garnered more than 100,000 likes, Porrello says your natural response to his diagnosis might be along the lines of “I can’t even imagine how I’d feel if that was me – being forced to retire so young because my body is malfunctioning to the point that simple tasks are impossible and total paralysis is inevitable.” Well, he says, “I’m going to ask you to. Seriously, take a minute right now.”

“How would you change what you’re doing every day if you knew this was your fate?” he asks. “I hope you’d be kinder, to others and yourself.”

He asks people to keep “the important things in focus” and to “be a reason for others’ joy.” Mostly, he’s asking people to “embrace the beauty in the ordinary” and highlights how your “perspective and attitude might shift for the better,” by doing so.

In a powerful closing line to his post, he says, “what I would give for just another ‘boring’ day.”


In a phone call with Goalcast, Porrello — who was diagnosed with ALS in May 2022 — says he’s been given a “bad situation but wants to find the good in it.”

“I hope that by sharing my story, people will have an opportunity to appreciate what they have,” he tells Goalcast.

Porrello is now transitioning into “bettering the ALS community” by sharing his journey and partnering a program established in conjunction with ALSA Nevada to pursue a cure. He’s also developing his namesake foundation, the Porello Project, which focuses on improving the human experience of coping with the disease.

“I wanted to partner with passionate people already helping as opposed to trying to lay new foundations,” he added.

He says his passion will endure, regardless of how his body progresses.

“You know, I wanted to be open about it all,” says Porrello. “People say it’s brave and courageous, I don’t know any other way — to me, it’s so obvious.”

The 29-year-old tells Goalcast he has scrolled through a lot of the 3,000-plus comments but hasn’t had time to read them all. He says he’s also received about 300 messages from strangers reaching out to him, telling him what an impact he’s made.

“I really appreciate every person who took time to send a message,” he says. “I want to give them the same time back.”

Now that he’s retired, Porrello tells Goalcast his days are busier, planning for ALS. But his priority is always spending time with his family — his wife and two kids (a two-and-a-half-year-old and a six-month-old). “We’re busy at home,” he says.

Porrello says the “most fulfilling” part of his viral post is that he asked people to “take a minute” and over 100,000 people have reacted and started to talk about ALS.

“To me, that’s something.”

Use Porrello’s inspiring outlook to help guide you today. “The world is magic, it’s up to you to find it” — he found it and so can you.

30 of the Best Motivational Books of All Time

By | books, Food for thought, Motivation, reading, shopping, success

Whether you’re looking for a gift that will satisfy the mindful bookworm in your life or you’re a bookworm yourself, the best motivational books approach the art of living from different angles: The practical, the spiritual, the philosophical…Every voracious reader is different, and figuring out what supportive and inspirational resources are best for you or your loved one can be difficult. To make it easy for you, we’ve narrowed it down to thirty of the very best motivational books on the market today. From inspirational tales to actionable advice, these reads are guaranteed to inspire growth and positivity.

This book elaborates on the concept of fixed and growth mindsets that both hold you back and propel you forward.

Who it’s best for: A change-maker

Why it’s a motivational gift: It teaches you how to dream realistically and embrace failure

Buyers are saying: “I can honestly say that this book was eye-opening for me.” – Nicolas

SEE IT: $8.55 at

Sincero’s book is a guide for how to believe in yourself – in her words, “stop doubting your greatness, and start living an awesome life!”

Who it’s best for: The secret badass

Why it’s a motivational gift: It reminds you how to have confidence and self-reliance

Buyers are saying: “It’s easy to read and very motivational. I highly recommend this to anyone needing a friendly nudge in the right direction.” – Sarah A.

SEE IT: $9.99 at

A memoir from WWI concentration camp survivor and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl, this book will teach you how to believe in miserable times.

Who it’s best for: A lifelong fighter

Why it’s a motivational gift: It gives a glimmer of hope 

Buyers are saying: “Overall, this is worth reading, especially If the reader struggles with suffering, and the meaning thereof, and how to move with dignity through that suffering.” – Matt F.

SEE IT: $9.99 at

According to Mel Robbins’ 5 Second Rule, you must physically move within five seconds of the drive to act on a goal – read more in this self-help book.

Who it’s best for: Someone who has trouble starting

Why it’s a motivational gift: It gets you in the mood to start achieving

Buyers are saying: “The book is filled with solid, actionable information that I am putting into action in my own life with awesome success.” – Cindy C.

SEE IT: $15.59 at

Live and let live and only sweat the stuff you can control, says Mark Manson in this book about how to find meaning in life.

Who it’s best for: The worry wart 

Why it’s a motivational gift: It instructs on active ways to control anxiety

Buyers are saying: “A much-needed reminder to choose your battles wisely.” – Aria U.

SEE IT: $13.99 at

Clear has several atomic habits that you can follow if you want to succeed, like getting 1% better at something every day. 

Who it’s best for: The diligently scheduled

Why it’s a motivational gift: It’ll be loved by someone who already loves being regimented or needs some help getting there

Buyers are saying: “I definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking to improve their lives even in a small way!” – Emma

SEE IT: $11.98 at

Burnett uses this self-help book to teach readers about applying design thinking to larger life planning.

Who it’s best for: The creative

Why it’s a motivational gift: It stimulates a sense of control and innovation

Buyers are saying: “It gave me clarity and a different perspective.” – Jorge D.

SEE IT: $22.79 at

Having a positive mental attitude and perseverance is all it takes to get through tough times, says Duckworth – check out more about her definition of “grit” in this book.

Who it’s best for: One who needs strength

Why it’s a motivational gift: It’s a gentle push in the right direction for someone who needs to learn about courage

Buyers are saying: “Written in an easy-to-read style and full of real people and real stories about success as it pertains to grittiness!” – Cymru K.

SEE IT: $14.99 at

These everyday lessons from Greek Stoics teach about moderation, controlling emotions, and thinking analytically.

Who it’s best for: A philosophy junkie

Why it’s a motivational gift: The lessons of the Stoics are timeless

Buyers are saying: “The small meditations help me keep my reading streak while I learn more about Stoicism and improve myself.” – Renata

SEE IT: $12.99 at

This classic self-help book is always a safe bet for someone who wants to take their productivity to the next level.

Who it’s best for: The hustle culture lover 

Why it’s a motivational gift: From Wall Street to Main Street, every entrepreneur can see value in this work

Buyers are saying: “This book will change your life if you implement it.” – Zabo

SEE IT: $13.99 at

The little things can make the biggest difference in your life, says Admiral McRaven, and even something like making your bed can change your mindset.

Who it’s best for: The messy friend

Why it’s a motivational gift: It grounds you in tiny but meaningful daily practices

Buyers are saying: “Retired Admiral McRaven does a wonderful job of relating his life lessons gleaned from thirty-seven years of service as a Navy SEAL.” – Anthony S.

SEE IT: $12.99 at

Psychologist Brené Brown says that the basic need of all human beings is connection – and this book tells you how to get it for yourself by being vulnerable.

Who it’s best for: Someone who needs to learn to trust

Why it’s a motivational gift: The book is a guide for how to love healthily and with strength

Buyers are saying: “This is an insightful book about navigating through life.” – Alexander J.

SEE IT: $13.00 at

Two of the greatest minds of our time get together and discuss thought-provoking beliefs: The Dalai Lama and anti-apartheid activist Desmond Tutu.

Who it’s best for: A deep thinker

Why it’s a motivational gift: It shows that two different viewpoints can discuss things civilly and with mutual interest

Buyers are saying: “Two minds and bodies and hearts coming from different philosophies, meeting in the center, with the conclusion and commitment to show our sameness (and not division) to all the world.” – Kathleen

SEE IT: $13.99 at

West’s book is all about how to get rid of resistance to change and overcome some of your greatest inner hindrances. 

Who it’s best for: The self-battler

Why it’s a motivational gift: It teaches you that you can work with yourself instead of against yourself

Buyers are saying: “This book, even from page one, gives me hope of gaining confidence and understanding myself” – Kenisha W. 

SEE IT: $9.99 at

This classic book from 1937 never goes out of style for those who want to be a little more prosperous in business.

Who it’s best for: An old-school theorist

Why it’s a motivational gift: It tells you that money isn’t the only key to success

Buyers are saying: “Absolutely timeless, perfectly written book. Extremely life-changing.” – Magdalena C.

SEE IT: $8.49 at

This amalgamation of lifestyles from billionaires, performers, and global icons is used to inform the habits of everyday people.

Who it’s best for: The future Steve Jobs

Why it’s a motivational gift: It shows you that acting like a billionaire isn’t so hard

Buyers are saying: “If you really want to learn about the mindset of successful people, then you must read this.” – Garvit

SEE IT: $17.99 at

In this second book about stoicism, Holiday explores the idea from Stoicism founder Marcus Aurelius that “what stands in the way becomes the way.”

Who it’s best for: The young academic 

Why it’s a motivational gift: Stoicism is known to grant inner peace and understanding if practiced dutifully

Buyers are saying: “This is one of those books that you will want to read with a notepad nearby to write down some thought-provoking idea.” – Kevin J.

SEE IT: $10.99 at

You can do whatever you put your mind to, says Forleo – as long as you start taking accountability for your life.

Who it’s best for: The chronically unresponsible

Why it’s a motivational gift: It’s a gentle reminder that if you persist, you can do anything

Buyers are saying: “This book might stir up some unexpected feelings in you—which might be a good thing.” – Sarah P.

SEE IT: $13.99 at

Cardone’s book on the 10x rule is about how in order to succeed, you must set goals that are ten times more aspirational than what you think you can do. 

Who it’s best for: The big dreamer 

Why it’s a motivational gift: It doesn’t just tell you how to set crazy goals – it tells you how to reach them

Buyers are saying: “It certainly has shifted my mindset in my business and wants possible in my lifetime and working career.” – Tyler L.

SEE IT: $16.00 at

There are four agreements you need to make with yourself to live a serene life, says Ruiz, like “don’t take anything too personally.” 

Who it’s best for: The unbalanced friend

Why it’s a motivational gift: You use it to learn moderation and reasonable expectations

Buyers are saying: “This is not a “new age” self-help book! This book is based on modern linguistic theory and philosophical precepts.” – Meme 

SEE IT: $7.74 at

Using marketing principles, Sinek says that you need to reverse your priorities in life and start every task by asking yourself why you’re doing it. 

Who it’s best for: The impulsive pal

Why it’s a motivational gift: This book teaches you to stop and think before you act

Buyers are saying: “The book is certainly inspiring and relevant to some areas of marketing.” – David M.

SEE IT: $12.99 at

Famous self-help guru Eckhart Tolle teaches about spiritual enlightenment through mindfulness.

Who it’s best for: The friend who lost their faith

Why it’s a motivational gift: It gets you in touch with your true desires

Buyers are saying: “The way I see problems and approach them is vastly different to my former state. Highly recommended!” – Jaime Tanna

SEE IT: $7.13 at

Success and happiness are one and the same, says Achor, and this book tells you how.

Who it’s best for: Anyone stuck chasing goals without ever being satisfied

Why it’s a motivational gift: It helps you rethink what achieving your goals in life truly means

Buyers are saying: “If you take the advice to heart, you will have a distinct advantage in the workplace.” – Ian M.

SEE IT: $12.99 at

Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps in an untraditional way, says Kiyosaki, who details his own personal experience to inspire others.

Who it’s best for: The idealist

Why it’s a motivational gift: It shows that anyone can triumph if they just put their mind to it

Buyers are saying: “A great read for anyone starting out in life or who wants to break out of the system of “get an education, earn a living.” – Graham M.

SEE IT: $6.82 at

In sports, “mental toughness” is the ability to endure stress with grace – and Zahariades teaches you how to apply it in real life too.

Who it’s best for: The one who gives up easily

Why it’s a motivational gift: In a soft way, this book tells readers how to buck up without being too hard on them

Buyers are saying: “The writing is comprehensive and continually builds a can-do feeling throughout his work.” – F.B.

SEE IT: $9.99 at

If you can dream it, you can be it, says Schwartz, even if the idea seems too lofty or unachievable! 

Who it’s best for: The practical one

Why it’s an motivational gift: We all have that one friend who’s too scared to have big dreams – this book will teach you how to have huge aspirations without feeling huge letdowns

Buyers are saying: “It teaches you how to allow your mind to create the greatest reality.” – Abraham N.

SEE IT: $15.99 at

Early risers, rise up – it’s time to own your mornings, says Sharma! And even if you aren’t typically a morning person, Sharma has some habits to instill in even the biggest night owls.

Who it’s best for: The 4-alarm snoozer

Why it’s a motivational gift: It de-mystifies waking up early

Buyers are saying: “This was a self-help book wrapped in a great story. So much applicable wisdom and insight. This book was truly life-changing.” – Kristi

SEE IT: $11.99 at

Until your one thing is completed, says Keller, everything else is just an interference – check out this book to find out how to find your focus and finish your tasks.

Who it’s best for: The busybody

Why it’s a motivational gift: In a world with dozens of disruptions every second, this gives you tools to remember how to concentrate

Buyers are saying: “Asking yourself that question of the one thing you need to work on to either make everything else easier or unnecessary is incredible.” – T.W.

SEE IT: $2.99 at

29. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Iconic modern philosopher and writer Malcolm Gladwell examines the power and strength of the little guy by looking at how we view pitfalls in our own lives.

Who it’s best for: The persistent underdog

Why it’s a motivational gift: It shows you that even the most unexpected heroes can rise

Buyers are saying: “Here Gladwell comes again with new revelations to knock you off your feet.” – Ally

SEE IT: $11.99 at

This fictional story about a shepherd boy looking for buried treasure is actually a deep and profound metaphor about following your dreams. 

Who it’s best for: The fairytale fan

Why it’s a motivational gift: It’s an immersive and sweet tale you can find peace in

Buyers are saying: “I can’t explain how, but this book found and gave me what I needed.” – Cody S.

SEE IT: $13.49 at

What Is ‘Quiet Quitting’ and Why Has It Become a Viral Sensation?

By | Food for thought, Motivation

After years of scrolling Pinterest boards encouraging us to “rise and grind,” and listening to podcasts on how to boost productivity, hustle culture may have finally burned itself out.

Whether we’re asked to stay extra hours at work or to take on tasks outside of our job descriptions, hustle culture has told us these demands aren’t only acceptable but necessary. You can’t work your way to the top without, well… working.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we view many aspects of our lives. Work is no exception. With many people now working from home, the conversation about work-life balance has assumed a new meaning.

“Quiet quitting” is the most recent trending topic to enter the discussion — and it’s sparking debates across the internet.

What Is Quiet Quitting?

Workplace Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

“Quiet quitting” is the antithesis to hustle culture. Instead of committing to the grind, some employees are choosing to do only what’s outlined in their job descriptions. And nothing more.

RELATED: Is Stress Ruining Your Life? If You Don’t Understand How It Operates, You’ll Never Defeat it

While the term quiet quitting isn’t new, it’s gained fresh relevance through viral TikTok videos about the role work plays in our lives. For example, this 17-second video encourages viewers to establish a life outside of work. It reminds them their “worth is not defined by productive output.”

For some, this only makes sense. Leaving work at work, and releasing the pressure to go above and beyond, can bring a sense of relief. It also helps them to achieve peace of mind.

Others worry quiet quitters only place an extra burden on colleagues who then have to pick up the slack.

The debate has even stretched to include another term: quiet firing. Workers who are “quietly fired” have met their job requirements, only to remain in the same position for years. No promotions, no raises, no recognition.

“Quiet firing” may even go as far as treating employees poorly in the hope they will quit. That spares employers the inconvenience of firing them directly.

Why Quiet Quitting Is So Controversial

Job stress Photo by Thirdman from Pexels
Photo by Thirdman from Pexels

Quiet quitting isn’t a new phenomenon. However, it does have new relevance in light of the ways we now discuss mental health. Younger generations can be more open to discussing the ways in which work impacts their well-being, and less willing to endure situations that negatively affect their quality of life.

The quiet-quitting discussion may be less of a debate, and more of an invitation to a larger conversation about what we’re expected to do at work, and how we’re asked to do it.

RELATED: You Deserve Peace: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work for You

Opening up this conversation doesn’t mean Gen-Z and Millennials employees are lazier than those in previous generations. It simply invites us to reflect on how we’re experiencing work, and how to make it better for everyone involved.

In fact, many employees are still happy to take on additional tasks — as long as they’re given enough notice, and fairly compensated for their work.

What Quiet Quitting Reminds Us About Boundaries

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Regardless of which side of the discussion you land on, quiet quitting reminds us of the importance of setting boundaries and establishing open communication in the workplace.

Employers should have accountability to their employees, and ensure they’re not setting unrealistic expectations. Employees should feel that their work is making an impact, and feel appreciated for what they do.

RELATED: 3 Game-Changing Workplace Stressors You Can Cut Right Now

Employees also should have the freedom to leave work in the workplace. It’s possible to be dedicated to your job without having to check your email every five seconds.

Having healthy boundaries can help to prevent employees from becoming burned out, and feeling the need to “quietly quit” in the first place.

Creating an environment in which open communication between employers and employees is prioritized. If employees are confident their employer will listen, they’re more likely to open discussions about feeling overburdened, instead of silently pulling back their workload in retaliation.

While quiet quitting reminds us of the importance of a healthy work environment, it also reminds us that work isn’t the most important part of our lives.

Ultimately, work can help you to feel a sense of purpose in life, but it’s not your only purpose in life.


Working Remotely: Being Productive While Working From Home

Emily Blunt Secretly Suffered from a Surprising Disability – But One Thing Helped Her Beat It

By | Celebrities, emily blunt, Food for thought, Motivation

Emily Blunt’s resume is impressive. The British actress, most commonly known for her roles in The Devil Wears Prada, Mary Poppins, A Quiet Place I & II, and The Girl on the Train, is also a famed writer and director. She’s received numerous awards for her outstanding performances over the years, including three nominations for the British Academy Film Awards, and a Golden Globe Award and Screen Actors Guild Award win.

While “speech impediment” may not be the first phrase that comes to mind with such an accomplished orator, Blunt has struggled with a near debilitating stutter since she was a child.

Blunt recently opened up about how her stutter impacted her life and how acting helped her overcome her disability. Disabilities aren’t always addressed in Hollywood, but many appreciated Blunt’s candid depiction of what it’s like to live with a stutter.

How Did Acting Help Emily Blunt’s Stutter?

It’s not uncommon for people with a stutter to take on a creative outlet. Many individuals with stutters take on singing because their stammer doesn’t translate to music and can be a powerful form of expression. Acting gave Blunt a similar opportunity, where she can explore her own voice in a professional setting.

“I wouldn’t say that’s why I’ve ventured into acting, but it was just a bit shocking the first time I was able to speak, you know,” She said, “doing a silly voice or an accent pretending to be someone else,” Blunt explains that acting was an invitation to speaking fluently for one of the first time. Acting didn’t cure her stutter, but it did give her the confidence and practice she needed to become secure with her speech impediment.

Stuttering is a speech disorder that impedes fluency and flow when speaking. It’s also referred to as stammering and typically starts in childhood. According to the Mayo Clinic, stuttering is common in young children and can be a normal part of learning to speak.

Stutters are often developed a child’s speech abilities aren’t developed enough to keep up with what they want to say. Most children outgrow stuttering but it can be a chronic condition into adulthood. In most cases it’s caused by poor speech motor control, but can also be caused by genetics.

Blunt is involved in initiatives that educate people on stutters with The Stuttering Foundation and is adamant that raising awareness is the best course of action. She does so through her participation with the American Institute for Stuttering.

“I think it’s very often a disability that people bully and make fun of,” she stated in an interview at the Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Gala, “So I think, to raise awareness about what it’s really about, and that there’s this soft place for you to land in this amazing organization. It’s a big deal for me to be here.”

How Severe Is Emily Blunt’s Stutter?

Emily Blunt and Husband John Krasinski kiss in A Quiet Place

Stuttering can worsen with excitement, stress, and pressure. It can also appear more severe in situations such as speaking in front of a crowd or even talking on the phone. So how does one of the most believed actors of our time manage it all?

On Monday, July 11, 2022, Blunt hosted the American Institute for Stuttering’s 2022 Freeing Voices, Changing Lives Gala in New York City, saying that it’s essential for her to speak on “a disability people don’t know much about.” And, certainly, one that has impacted her personally, making the event all the more special to the 39-year-old actress.

Blunt had a stutter up until the age of 14 years old. In her speech at the event, she said that “Once you are a stutterer, you will always be a stutterer.” She added, “It’s biological and it’s often hereditary and it’s not your fault.”

Blunt’s stutter returned tenfold when she was pregnant with her and her husband John Krasinski’s two children, Hazel and Violet. Although, Blunt has accepted her stutter for what it is and preaches that message to others who may feel insecure. “You’ve got to fall in love with the fact that you’ve got a stutter to accept it,” She said, “Everyone’s got something – and this is just your thing.”

Other Celebrities Who Battle Stuttering Every Day

Joe Biden holding Microphone

Emily Blunt is not the only famous person in Hollywood who has been open about her strQuitettering. In fact, quite a few well-known names have had the same journey. The most famously known stutterer comes from the political field. President of the United States, Joe Biden, has had a lifelong stutter. Public speaking can be very hard for those who stutter, so for President Biden to be the first president with a stammer is quite an accomplishment. Even as an adult, Biden still catches himself stuttering when he’s tired.

“It has nothing to do with your intelligence quotient,” Biden said in regard to stuttering. While it has nothing to do with intelligence, many who are uneducated about stutters may make that association. “You know, stuttering, when you think about it,” Biden said, “Is the only handicap that people still laugh about. That they still humiliate people about. And they don’t even mean to.”

Marilyn Monroe is another household name who you may not have known had a stutter. In a 1955 discussion with Maurice Zolotow, an American columnist, Monroe described her experience with stuttering, saying, “I gave up talking for a long while. I used to be so embarrassed in school. I thought I’d die whenever a teacher called upon me. I always had the feeling of not wanting to open my mouth, that anything I said would be wrong or stupid.”

How Can We Break the Stigma Behind Stuttering?

Emily Blunt at the Freeing Voice, Changing Lives Gala 2022

As many celebrities have proven, stuttering can severely impact someone’s confidence. It can make someone feel lesser than, less intelligent than others, and even shame them into silence. As Biden pointed out, many forget that stuttering is a disability. We need to encourage the acceptance and education of all disabilities, including stutters, to eradicate ableism across the globe.

Raising awareness is the best way to solve an issue perpetuated by a lack of education. Blunt, Biden, and others with large platforms are now telling their stammering stories. By using their exposure and popularity to discuss stuttering, they are breaking the stigma that having a stutter renders you incapable of performing.

It’s up to us as a society to give the support and encouragement needed for anyone to follow their passion and purpose regardless of any disability. Blunt’s sincere speech about finding her voice through acting gives many young children at home who stutter hope that they too can overcome it.


Relationship Goals: John Krasinski and Emily Blunt Show Us Love at First Sight Exists

Hunger Vs. Appetite: Knowing the Difference Will Help Your Fitness Goals

By | diet and nutrition, Food for thought, Motivation, self

What’s the difference between feeling hungry and having an appetite? We often use these phrases interchangeably to indicate that we want something to eat. However, there’s actually a difference between hunger and appetite that many don’t realize. 

Simply put, hunger refers to the physical need to eat, while appetite indicates a psychological desire to consume food. These may seem like small nuances, but for those who want to lose weight or work toward a certain fitness goal, getting in touch with your body to understand the differences can help you reach your desired weight or physique more easily.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between hunger and appetite – what they mean, cues to look out for and how to strategically respond in order to reach your personal health and fitness goals. 

What Is the Difference Between Hunger and Appetite?

sad dinner plate pink table
(Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)

Whether you’re working toward a fitness goal or want to understand your eating patterns better, understanding the difference between hunger and appetite can be a big help. Here’s how hunger and appetite are defined and how they differ.

Hunger is defined as the need to eat. Hunger is an instinctive reaction to your body’s need for food. These physical indicators can include a grumbling stomach or even fatigue if a person goes too long without eating. A lack of focus and energy can also be signs of hunger. This is due to a person’s blood sugar levels dropping too low when they’ve gone too long without eating.

RELATED: Weight Loss Motivation Tips to Keep Your Lifestyle Goals on Track

Appetite is defined as the desire to eat. Unlike hunger, your appetite is triggered by external cues rather than the physical need to eat. However, appetite also manifests physically. For example, say you finished eating lunch just an hour ago. You walk into your office kitchen and see a plate of fresh doughnuts set out for grabs. Seeing these delicious doughnuts and smelling their sweet scents may make your mouth water and give you the feeling that you’d like to eat one at that moment. This is different than hunger in that you don’t physically need to eat that doughnut, but your body and mind desire it due to the sight and smell of it. 

Factors That Impact Appetite

young woman works out doing sit ups
(Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash)

As explained above, appetite is brought on by external factors that motivate our desire to eat. In addition to visual and sensory stimuli (ex: seeing and smelling a delicious pastry), a few other factors can increase appetite.

Poor sleep habits. Have you ever found yourself craving sweet treats after a restless night’s sleep? There’s science behind why we gravitate to sugary foods more often when running on less than optimal sleep. When we lack energy, our body looks for quick ways to boost energy. Sugary treats like cookies, soda or candy provide that fast burst of energy – but leave us crashing after that spike in blood sugar has ended. 

RELATED: How Do SMART Goals Help With Weight Loss?

Exercise. Depending on how rigorous your fitness training is, exercise can increase hunger due to the additional calories being burned each day. However, the appetite may also climb when starting a new workout regimen due to what’s known as “appetite entitlement.” When we dedicate time and effort to working out, we feel like we’re owed a reward in the form of food. Since we’ve burned it off through exercise, we reason that having a few cookies or sweet treats as a reward won’t harm our progress. This isn’t true and can end up sabotaging fitness goals if not kept in check.

Stress. You may have heard of “stress eating,” which refers to turning to food when we’re under pressure. It’s true that appetite increases during stress, as many people self-soothe by turning to high-calorie “comfort food” as a response. Though this may feel good at the moment, stress eating as a response to appetite will not only cause productivity to crash after spiking your blood sugar but will make achieving fitness goals difficult.

How to Know When You’re Hungry

hand holding glass of water
(Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash)

If you’re having difficulty identifying whether you’re hungry or have an appetite, here are a few steps to follow to determine what you’re feeling.

Evaluate your physical symptoms. Take a moment to identify how you’re physically feeling. Factor in the last time you ate and whether or not this was a balanced meal. Are your energy levels low? Does your stomach feel physically empty? These are strong indicators that what you’re feeling is hunger vs. appetite.

RELATED: Physical Health and Wellness: How to Hack Your Own Body with Exercise, Food and Sex

Identify your motivation for eating. What happened right before your desire to eat? Did you see or smell something desirable? Did you have a stressful meeting and learn of a new deadline you have to hit? Keeping track of things that trigger your desire to eat can help you work through them to determine whether you’re hungry or have an appetite. 

Take a break. Before reaching for something to eat, take a moment to remove yourself from the current situation for around 15-20 minutes. Drink some water, take a walk and occupy your mind with something other than what you were doing when the desire to eat hit. If you still have physical hunger symptoms, it’s a strong indicator you are, in fact, hungry rather than being influenced to eat by other factors. 

Tips for Curbing Your Appetite

red apple in a studio photo
(Photo by an_vision on Unsplash)

Being mindful of your motivations behind eating is one way to discern between hunger and appetite. Another way to keep your appetite under control is to work toward cultivating eating habits that help you feel full and satisfied. Here are a few tips to try. 

Eat nutrient-dense foods

Making a conscious effort to incorporate healthy foods that keep you feeling satiated for longer is another way to keep your appetite in check. Whole grains, high-fiber fruits and vegetables and lean protein will keep energy levels stable and help fuel your body properly throughout the day.

RELATED: 9 Foods to Improve Your Mood and Cognitive Functioning

Focus on satiety

Knowing when we’re full is just as important as identifying when we’re hungry. One way to work toward achieving this is to eat slowly and mindfully during each meal. Doing so allows us to feel the physical cues of satiety that leave us feeling nourished and satisfied without feeling too full. 


fridge full of greens
(Photo by Ello on Unsplash)

Understanding the difference between hunger and appetite can be difficult at first. It may take some practice to identify your body’s motivation for eating. Knowing the difference between hunger and appetite will not only become easier over time but can be the key to start working toward a healthier, more active lifestyle.

Train Your Brain to Shed Distracting Habits and Concentrate Better

Why Heath Ledger’s Iconic Joker Was Almost Rejected by The Dark Knight’s Director

By | actors, Food for thought, Motivation

Heath Ledger’s Joker is arguably one of the most memorable performances in American cinema. The character’s abrasive nature, unpredictability and terrifying emotion made him a fan favorite almost immediately. What many don’t know is that Ledger initially signed on to be Joker before The Dark Knight was even written and completed. Ledger had enough faith in the team and after seeing what they’d done with Batman Begins, felt confident enough to take on the part. 

A benefit to his early adoption as the joker was that he was able to incubate the role for quite some time. Ledger spent months cooped up in a hotel room, trying to figure out what his version of the joker would look and sound like. “Heath spent months and months [preparing], we cast him even before the script was written so he had a very long time to obsess about it, think about what he was going to do, to really figure it out,” director Christopher Nolan explains.

What Ledger came up with was something no one saw coming, and undoubtedly his role as Joker will be remembered forever. 

The Voice of Heath Ledger’s Joker 

Nolan admitted that there was initially a lot of doubt surrounding Joker and the role Ledger would play in bringing him to life. The character was complex, paradoxical and ever-shifting. Ledger had to completely make the character his own but still keep him recognizable to the larger audience. He had to do justice to the original interpretation of the Joker character while reinventing him all at the same time. A key facet to the character ended up being Joker’s unmistakable voice. The eerie and off-putting cadence that turned the character into one of the most unforgettable of his time. 

Heath Ledger as The Joker

“In that way he kind of snuck up on it,” Nolan said about Ledger’s Joker voice. “There were moments when you go, ‘Oh, that’s exactly right,’ and there are moments when you go, ‘I hope this is good because I have no idea.’”

That unpredictable nature in both Joker’s voice, but his character as a whole ended up being one of the most iconic portrayals in modern cinema. “The voice was certainly scary because it would shift in pitch,” Nolan said. “You never quite know which way the pitch is going to go with the voice. Just as the physical movements were [unpredictable], you didn’t know what he was going to do with his hands, the way he moved, it was always a surprise. The actual tone of his voice was a surprise too. Sometimes threatening and sometimes more sing-song and light.”

Nolan also recalls that at first the crew was utterly confused by Ledger’s portrayal. They’d been so used to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the character that they felt it was forced, unnatural and wouldn’t sell well on screen. After only a few days though, the entire cast and crew were sold. They knew they were witnessing something really special. 

The Inspiration for Heath’s Joker

There were undoubtedly many different inspirations that Ledger studied for his role as the Joker. He famously absorbed material such as A Clockwork Orange, and also immersed himself in the paintings of artist Francis Bacon to weed out the character he was looking for. It’s reported that Sid Vicious from The Sex Pistols was also an archetype that Ledger used to base his performance off of. 

Sid Vicious

Many also speculate that Ledger used artist Tom Waits as an inspiration for Joker’s voice. The artist and character have strikingly similar vocal tones and pitches, and many believe Ledger used his voice as one of the main focuses in his preparation for the role, although this hasn’t been confirmed by Nolan or Ledger. 

The Legacy and Aftermath of Heath Ledger’s Iconic Portrayal

In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine the Joker being played by anyone other than Heath Ledger. The role was honest, forthcoming and undeniably powerful. It’s become a cornerstone of cinema and one of the best villain portrayals of all time. It’s funny to think that the initial casting was met with so much backlash. Even Nolan’s brother, Jonathan Nolan who co-wrote the film was initially baffled by the decision. 

“Chris had a good meeting with Heath Ledger, and no one got it,” Jonathan Nolan said in an interview. “I didn’t get it. The studio didn’t get it. Everyone was kind of coming at Chris and saying, ‘We don’t see it.’ And the fan community was….we were f*****ng pilloried for,” Nolan added. “’This is a disaster. This is the worst casting decision ever made.’ And Chris just hunkered down and stuck to his guns and just kept moving along.”

Surprisingly enough, despite the backlash and initial pushback on Ledger as the Joker, Nolan had initially envisioned him as the next Batman. He’d asked Ledger to consider the part in Batman Begins, however Ledger turned the role down. “’He was quite gracious about it, but he said, ‘I would never take a part in a superhero film,’” Nolan recalled. However, Ledger later reconsidered after seeing Nolan’s take on superheroes in Batman Begins. “I explained to him what I wanted to do with Batman Begins and I think maybe he felt I achieved it,” Nolan revealed.

Heath Ledger posthumously wins an Academy Award

Ledger went on to posthumously win an Academy Award for his performance, undoubtedly well-deserved. Sometimes the greatest characters come from the most unexpected places, and this was such a case. No one expected Ledger, who’d never really played a role as dark and provocative as this one, to forever change the face of villains in superhero films. Ledger’s role is cemented in history, and the work he did to achieve such a balance will also be remembered. The lead-up to the film took a costly role on Ledger’s health, and played a role in his eventual passing. The film-community was shocked by his death, but grateful for his courage and the role he played in delivering one of the best superhero films of all time.

Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen: Why the Child Stars Who Became Business Icons Disappeared

By | Celebrities, Food for thought, inspiring, Motivation, success

Anyone who lived through the ’90s can attest to the power of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. 

They weren’t just adorable child actors who charmed television audiences on a weekly basis, they were cultural powerhouses who dominated the teen girl zeitgeist with a broad range of brand experiences: movies, television, book series, merchandise, the list goes on and on. Most little kids at the time can recall immersing themselves in their story and fantasizing about going on adventures with their imaginary twin. Their work, seemingly mundane, was powerful, and their legacy significant. 

However, by the time they reached their twenties, their celebrity declined. The media turned their focus to other personalities, the masses moved on to other sources of entertainment, and the Olsen twins decided to venture to other areas outside of mainstream Hollywood. Why did they choose to step away from their illustrious, highly lucrative careers, and how can their rise and fall teach us something about professional fulfillment?

The Olsen Twins Needed a Moment to “Exhale” After Their ’90s Success

According to them, Mary-Kate and Ashley simply had to stop acting for the sake of maintaining their mental health. They had been consistently working through their childhood and adolescence — their first filming took place even before their first birthday — so when there was an opportunity to relax their workload, they seized it. It was initially terrifying to leave acting behind, but it also allowed them to investigate what they truly wanted to build with their platform. “We made kids smile every day. But we had done the most we could do,” said Ashley Olsen in an interview with Vogue. Her twin Mary-Kate echoed the same sentiment and added, “There was a fear, but also, an exhale,” she said. 

When they turned 18, they took ownership of the entertainment company that had been producing works on their behalf, Dualstar, and decided to foray into a new arena: fashion. They launched their own line, The Row, in 2006, and within a few years, it went on to gain over $13 million in sales. Mary-Kate and Ashley didn’t just create this enterprise to promote their brand; they took an active role in the conception, design, development, and styling of their pieces. “We wanted to explore making something of ourselves,” Ashley said in an interview with i-D. 

I am so proud of what we did. We made kids smile every day. But we had done the most we could do. There was a fear but also, an exhale.

Ashley Olsen to Vogue

Why Mary-Kate and Ashley Wanted to Run and Control Their Own Business

As they found themselves getting more and more involved in the fashion sphere, they realized that the realm of movies, television, or music didn’t really capture their interest anymore. In a 2013 Allure profile, Ashley said, “I was reading scripts, and ultimately I just said to the people who are representing me, ‘I need to do things 100%. I don’t feel like I can give you 100% of my time.’” They were investing their time and energy in their business, expanding from a tiny t-shirt collection to a leading international luxury fashion house, a pioneer in couture and bohemian chic. As a result, working in cookie-cutter Hollywood flicks didn’t spark the same level of fascination, which is why both Mary-Kate and Ashley decided to withdraw from the scene. They also felt there was too much “compromise” in Hollywood, and even though you pour your soul into each and every performance, you don’t get to control the end outcome or how the product is distributed.

On the other hand, when you’re the co-founder of a fashion line, everything is in your control. In an interview highlighting The Row’s impact on fashion, Ashley said, “I think it’s been really important for us to stay in control and to do things at a time that feels right.” They didn’t know how they were going to navigate such a foreign environment in fashion — where they’d immediately be dismissed as self-important celebrities trying to kick off a vanity project — but they kept their head down and kept executing their vision. 

There’s a lot of compromise in the entertainment industry […] I am not great at not being able to control the end product

Mary-Kate Olsen to Allure

Today, Mary-Kate and Ashley stand as dedicated entrepreneurs who are well-attuned to their aspirations both within and outside fashion. They protect their privacy with a fierce obsession and elect to keep themselves out of the press as much as it is within their control. “We didn’t want to be in front of [The Row], we didn’t necessarily even want to let people know it was us,” Ashley said, saying that they wanted their fabric to speak for their work. 

In terms of movies, Mary-Kate remained in the business a bit longer than Ashley, her last role being 2011’s Beastly. Ashley’s final filmography credit, meanwhile, was 2010’s I’m Still Here, though it’s critical to note the two haven’t been on-screen together since 2004, when they starred in the rom-com New York Minute. It’s safe to say, they might not be in the acting scene any longer, but their work remains as influential and iconic as ever. 

The Olsen Twins Proved the Best Path Forward Is the One That Feels Right

You’re always allowed to change your destination. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, what you’ve experienced, and what you’ve done to get to this point: the only thing that matters is what makes you happy and what keeps you fulfilled.

Mary-Kate and Ashley exemplify what it’s like to have the entire world in the palm of your hand and still feel brave enough to do a full 180. It’s okay to change course and concentrate on something that makes you happy, invigorates you creatively, and challenges you to the core. The best road for you isn’t the one that’s socially acceptable or easy or just whatever feels ‘default’; it’s the one that feels right.