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How Secure Are Your Passwords?

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Likely answer. Not very.

According to security reports as many as 90% of all passwords are vulnerable to hacking…pretty easily. Why? Because hackers and hacking programs have become incredibly intelligent…and we have become incredibly complacent.

The good news is that it’s not that hard to create stronger passwords, (just make sure you can remember them) that will give you added security from an internet attack.

I found some good advice on creating more secure passwords – no sense in re-creating the wheel when good info already exists…

Password Protection: How to Create Strong Passwords via pcmag.com

Creating strong passwords is easier than you think via infoworld.com – some great tips on password reset questions here as well.

Want to know how secure your password is? How Secure is My Password will tell you how long it will take a computer to figure out your password…

Shockingly my older password would have only taken 11 minutes! That’s scary. The newer one that I had started using would take 275 days…better, but I’m not taking chances…

Using the tips on these websites, I’m now good for 4 million years…or until the hackers get more sophisticated…which is probably about 6 months…

And one last word of caution…DON’T trust your browser to remember your passwords! Just recently, it was discovered that Google was not encrypting its Chrome users’ passwords…crazy.

If you need help remembering passwords (and I sure do,) use a Secure Password Manager like LastPass (which I personally use,) or RoboForm.

My disclaimer…NOTHING is perfectly secure. But with a little bit of effort we can at least make the hacker’s job a bit harder…and maybe we can sleep a little better at night.

How secure are your passwords? 

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think…

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Most of the thoughts we have aren’t even our own. So why do we believe them?

We like to believe that we’re thinking for ourselves, but when we delve deeper we often find that many of our thoughts are really the thoughts of our societal and familial influences; advertising, media, education, parents, peers and partners.

And even when they are our own, they can be warped by fear, by preconceptions, by expectations, by surroundings, or by our feelings in the moment.

So when we have a thought, maybe we need to think about whether or not we should believe it.

And if it doesn’t feel right or true, just say “Next” and move onto the next thought – make no mistake they will continue to come without any intention on our part – until we arrive at a thought that feels right, that serves us. Not that indulges us, but that resonates, that rings true, and authentic.

This week try to sift or filter your thoughts and let the ones that truly aren’t yours to just float on by… 

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What Happened to Original Thought? Have We Edged it Out?

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Do you ever find that you’re so busy taking in information, that you have no time or space for original thoughts?

I sure do…the noise gets quite loud in there sometimes.

I have to wonder if it’s that we’re obsessed with gathering information…that we’re afraid to miss out on something…or that we’re trying to distract ourselves from the need to think for ourselves, because we’re afraid we don’t have the answers or perhaps because we’re afraid we do and we don’t really want to know what they are.

Is it information overload, obsessive curiosity, or plausible self-deniability?

An interesting question…

It’s true there are some people who are prolific thought originators despite the noise, but that’s simply not most of us and it’s certainly not me.

This week, try to slow the information deluge to a dribble and see if you can’t make some room for original thoughts. They don’t have to be earth-shatteringly creative, or innovative, they just need to be yours instead of regurgitation of someone else’s…

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How Do You Deal With the Elephant? And Why It’s Important

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Just think about this for a minute. Think about how you react when faced with a situation where there is an obvious “elephant in the room.” You know what I’m referring to – unresolved conflicts, difficult conversations, hard feelings, anger, embarrassment, hurt feelings, touchy subjects, things that make you fidget internally (maybe externally too.)

It’s that uncomfortable “thing” that’s there, you can’t see it, but you can sure feel it.

How do you behave? What are you thinking? What’s your strategy for getting through the discomfort?

We pretty much fall into 3 camps.

The Evader“If I ignore it, it’ll just go away.” To this person the thought of conflict causes a great deal of anxiety. They prefer to leave it alone and live with the discomfort. Perhaps they’re afraid of the consequences, perhaps they simply don’t know what to do.

Either way they turn away from the elephant and try to pretend he’s not there – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t…

The Prompter“This must be resolved. It’s driving me nuts. I have to do something.” To this person anything unresolved or uncomfortable that’s left hanging out there is a source of great frustration and anxiety, a thorn in the side.

They can’t rest until the elephant is addressed…so they poke it to prompt a dialogue, sometimes with a gentle nudge to start the conversation, sometimes with a sharp jab to get the elephant’s full attention. Again sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t – resolution or escalation…

The Accepter “I really don’t need to address this.” This person believes either the elephant is not a big deal, it’s not their responsibility, there is nothing they can do to resolve the issue or it’s simply not the appropriate circumstance. This is different from avoiding or ignoring. This person accepts that the elephant is there, but has intellectually determined that it does not require addressing for whatever reason.

What differentiates this person from their cousin, The Evader, is that there is no anxiety, only acknowledgement. It certainly seems that this strategy would be less stressful, but there is a risk of evasion being masked as acceptance and a reluctance to act even when appropriate. It’s a balancing act and again sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

One is not necessarily better than the other; it’s often a matter of personality, priorities and communication style.

But the reality is that the way we deal with the elephant in the room is also the way we handle life in general. (Feel free to Tweet that.)

So the question to be asked is not whether your style and strategy is wrong or right, but whether it best serves you. Does it cause or alleviate stress? Does it help get the results you want or interfere?

Something to think about…

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Get Your Dose of Calm the Easy Way: By Watching

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I’m all about doing things the easy way. I used to be all about the hard way – though I didn’t think of it that way – but I’m reforming. Life’s too short.

So back to the calm thing. “Stay calm.” “Calm down.” and the ever-present “Keep calm.” The key to lowering stress is to cultivate calm we’re told – meditate, yoga, hobbies, fun…

But sometimes it just seems like one more thing on the to-do list. Maybe it’s just me, but some days I just don’t have the energy…

So I’ve decided when I need a dose of calm, I’m going to try “observing calm.”

I like to sit on the deck and watch the water ripple in the pool. I never swim in the pool, ever. (the kids do) But still something about the water is calming. So instead of berating myself for not “doing” swimming (the hard way,) I’m going to just be content to sit and observe the calming effect of the water (the easy way.)

I’ve started to notice that I find my calm by “watching” the calm around me in other ways too. First, you have to look for it, but when you start noticing it, it’s everywhere.

Once I got started, it was kind of like a game. Let’s see where I can find it…

I notice the people walking their dogs and the kids playing hop scotch as I’m driving by (instead of getting caught up in what I have to do and where I have to go.)

I notice the clouds floating by and the birds outside the office window.

I notice the elderly man who is very patiently waiting in the store line.

I notice my dogs snoozing in the slice of sun without a care.

As I’ve begun to look for, “watch” for, these instances of calm, I see them all around me…though I never paid much attention to them before.

The terrific thing about this practice is that it doesn’t take any extra time out of my schedule and I don’t actually have to “do” anything, but somehow the calm rubs off on me anyway.

It’s an easy win…and who doesn’t love that.

So, while I’m not advocating giving up on meditation or yoga or journaling or whatever activities you find calming, what I am saying is that there are other ways to get your dose of calm – or an extra dose – when you need it.

As I’m working on reforming…I’m trying out a new philosophy…

Do whatever works for you (not necessarily the prescribed solution.)

And why not do it the easy way if you can. 

I challenge you today to give it a try and share what calm you’re “watching.”

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