5 Guilty Pleasures That Turns Out, Are Not So Guilty

It is one of the more obscure paradoxes of modern living.  We work more, to earn more so that we can experience more – and then feel guilty when doing it.  Well, feel guilty no more!  Putting off these 5 lusciously guilty pleasures, could actually be doing you more harm, than good.

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WHY YOU MUST TRAVEL

So this isn’t exactly a new school of thought. But now more than ever, it’s essential that you and yours get some time away.  Prolonged lockdowns and lack of access to services and social events are starting to have a detrimental effect on the mental health of American families and families all over the world. The elderly are most at-risk as families are often not permitted to visit nursing homes or care facilities. So the word is out – it’s time to load up the family car and hit the open road. If travel outside of your state borders or internationally is not on the cards for you right now, keep it local, you’ll not only get away from it all but you’ll also earn some extra points for helping support local business.  Feel good factor, 10 out of 10.

WHY YOU MUST EAT MORE CHOCOLATE (THE GOOD KIND)

It is believed that chocolate contains many antioxidants and some studies have even indicated that chocolate could go some way to help to prevent memory loss. Chocolate also helps reduce stress, can help maintain a healthy heart, and could help in your weight-loss endeavors.  What?  Chocolate and weight loss?  Yep.  Turns out that eating around 2 grams of dark chocolate every day could aid in your weight loss goals.  

And chocolate can also help in the fight against allergies. As the seasons change, it’s a good plan to stock up. Sadly there’s no chocolate remedy for hay fever, so you’ll still need the tried and trusted hay fever treatments.

WHY YOU MUST HAVE A BED DAY (BUT MAKE IT FIRST)

Study after study (people actually get paid to do this sort of thing) has revealed what a certain American General has known all along – as soon as you get up in the morning, make your bed.  It might seem like a small thing, but your brain’s reward system will pick up on it immediately and when you start your day with your brain rewarding you with those wonderful feel-good hormones, you instantly want to do more and achieve more.  However, every once in a while (take note of that….once in a while), it could be very beneficial…to climb back in.  Taking a bed day can help reset your mental clock and reenergize a body that’s been worn down with routine and the daily grind.   The trick is to not overuse this one.  

WHY YOU MUST TAKE “A PERSONAL DAY”

OK, so this kind of ties in with taking a bed day, but that’s only if you’re planning on using your personal day to spend the day in bed…in which case, it falls squarely into the “bed day” category.  However, there are a few very good reasons to take a personal day when, after all, they’ve been designed to help you get back on track when you need to.  We don’t suggest abusing the privilege but you could be due a personal day if you’ve been needing to see the doctor or you’re feeling really burned out.  If there are outstanding “life issues” that need dealing with and can’t be handled on weekends or if you have not taken a break in a really long time, this is your open invitation to use those days off.  If you are otherwise a top performer at work and your boss knows this, then discuss it with them and they’ll probably agree.  One day without you won’t bring the walls down, but when the desire builds to do this more than not, time to relook where you’re at.

WHY YOU MUST GO SHOPPING

This is probably the most “indulgent” guilty pleasure – but it’s valid nevertheless.  It speaks to the brains’ reward system and can also go some way to helping you realize a change you’ve been wanting to make or to celebrate achieving a goal.  But the whole idea is not to use shopping as an escape from reality, but rather as a way to validate your reality.  This means that if you land that new job, then you get to have a new work wardrobe. 

As with all of the good things, moderation is key and balance should be applied with everything.  Enjoy!

P.S. Check out my minimalist approach to meal planning.

How Does A Home Business Deal With Returns?

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Returns have made leaps and bounds in the current age of technology. Businesses are standardizing return forms and labels, and placing them in their products so when customers receive them, they can send the product back if they don’t like it. So how does a home business do this? Well, returns for a home business are not quite the same. Return labels have the addresses of depots or warehouses, not homes. You don’t want to give out your home address, but you do want to get back the product that is unwanted so you can sell it to another customer. This poses a number of questions that are not so simple. 

Returns policy

Before you think about the practical sense of the return, you need to consider what your returns policy actually is. You will need to include a number of things.

  • Conditions for returning a product need to be clearly laid out on your website. There must also be a link to your returns policy all throughout the website, i.e. cart, checkout and product page.
  • Make sure you have set a clear time period for when returns are allowed. Even if the product is completely fine, after 30 days, the customer should not be allowed to return a product. This is usually the legally permitted time period.
  • Make sure that the damage level whereby it will be rejected as a return is explained and clearly set on your website. If you sell a mug, a scratch where it can’t be seen easily might be okay, but a chip from the rim is not. 

Somewhere to go

So when you do receive a return what should you do with it? Well, it has to go somewhere safe, where it can be stored indefinitely and away from prying eyes. Usually, a home business might want to use a garage or perhaps a storage unit. This is perfectly fine but you may also want to use a professional warehouse. Privately run warehouses are becoming more and more common, which is great for the micro-business owner. Not to mention, you should be able to receive return mail from your customers. If you are a B2B provider, then use an online private mailbox. This is where you can store and receive your contracts, documents such as business cases and more. 

Repackaging returns

Obviously, if a customer has ripped open the package of a product, it has to be repackaged and ready to be sent off to a new customer. This is something that needs to be standardized regarding the process. 

  • Make sure the product is not damaged. Do a physical check for this. Make sure any damage is logged.
  • Make sure that the right packaging material is used to repackage the product
  • Store it in the right place, ready for it to be sent off without delay.

Returns for a home business are always tricky because you have to balance between receiving the product and revealing where you live. These techniques should help you to have a more reliable and predictable returns policy and method. 

Lesser-Noted Benefits of a Working From Home Policy

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Although many businesses have been doing it for some time now as a consequence of the pandemic, the years to come will see plenty of debate over the value of working from home. Some businesses have already made a decision on the future of telecommuting, one way or the other. In the middle, there will be some businesses that aren’t sure yet. However, there are more benefits to working from home than a lot of people realize – and a look at the following side benefits might be enough to convince some employers to keep WFH even when it’s no longer a necessity…

A crowded office is a noisy office

Many of the arguments offered in favor of the return to working in offices hinge around the workplace being a vibrant place where people talk, smile and laugh. Not only does this paint a depressing picture of most homes, but it also ignores the synonyms for “vibrant” that aren’t quite so flattering: for example, “noisy”. If you’ve ever been on a work call, pressing a headset or handset against one ear while trying to shut out noise with the other, you’ll know how hard it can be to work when dozens of people are talking at the same time. Working from home is better for hearing health, as well as productivity and stress management.

Office politics and cliques can be toxic

While work would be a less thrilling experience without your workmates, moving people out of the office does make it much harder for cliques and silos of employees to form. Office politics can be destructive in a workplace, and more introverted employees can end up shrinking into themselves. Working from home doesn’t need to mean an end to social aspects – online and offline events can still be planned, your Secret Santa plans can go through Elfster rather than being picked out of a hat, and a WhatsApp group can still see the best of office banter preserved. The last few decades have shown us that the internet can bring people together more than drive them apart.

It’s not just Covid that can be passed on

The idea behind WFH for most businesses in the last year has been that by keeping employees from coming to the office, transmission rates are kept down. So, people might argue, once Covid is a thing of the past (or relatively so), there’s no reason for people to stay home. However, think back to the colds you’ve had in recent years. Were they the result of working alongside someone infected? Probably. If you’re showing symptoms but still feeling healthy enough to work, it should be possible to work without commuting in and potentially infecting dozens of people who might end up feeling a lot worse than you do.

When placed alongside the financial benefits of decentralized working to both the business and the employee, the above examples show that there is a lot to think about before considering a return to the office. 

P.S. Working from home means more time for adventures!

Keeping Yourself Fit And Healthy At Home

The current pandemic has meant many folks have had to move their office into their homes. But working from home can harbor risks that must be consciously countered. With these helpful tips, you can strengthen your health from home and prevent permanent complaints.

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1. Sitting properly

“Back pain is one of the most common ailments for workers. You can effectively prevent them by adopting a healthy sitting posture. An ergonomic chair provides the basis for this,” says Dr. Ursula Marschall. The sitting posture should be as upright as possible, with arms and legs at right angles to the body and both feet firmly on the floor.

2. Align the laptop at the correct height

Anyone who works with a laptop should point it at the right angle. Between the eyes and the screen, around 50 to 70 centimeters is ideal. To protect the neck, the viewing angle should be around 20 degrees. The more you are looking down at the screen, the more tension you are holding in your neck and shoulders which can cause pain and health trouble in the future. 

3. Regular breaks with exercise

Many people end up exercising less when working from home. Regular breaks are important for productivity in the home office. This can best be combined with some exercise. Every hour you should get up and move around at least once, for example to get a glass of water or for a short yoga session. In addition, during the lunch break or after work, a walk of at least half an hour or some other moderate exercise is recommended in order to get a balance. You could look to Fitness 19 for further inspiration.

4. Don’t forget a healthy diet

Food cravings or casual snacks are more common in the home office. Determining fixed times for lunch and having healthy snacks such as fruit or nuts on hand can help. The daily structure with a lunch break that a working day in the office offers can also be created in the home office. Try shared virtual lunches! And don’t forget hydration either. Screen time can cause dry eye and headaches so you must remember to drink plenty of water. Keep a water bottle nearby.

4. Strengthen mental health

In the home office, the line between professional and private life is often blurred, you can be reached permanently or work longer. Those who actively manage their limits in the home office experience up to 14 percent less stress. According to a recent study, a conscious separation of professional and private life is helpful for many people in the home office. Fixed working hours and a non-working evening make sense here. A spatial separation such as a separate workplace also ensures that work and leisure do not mix. It is not always easy to do this at home but do your best.

How do you keep yourself fit and healthy at home? 

P.S. Fingers crossed we can travel again soon. I’ve got my Tom Bihn ready!

3 Career Ideas If You Love Health And Wellness

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have become more interested in health and wellbeing, both for themselves and others. It has been a wake-up call for a lot of people that they need to make some lifestyle changes. This newfound interest in health may also have sparked some of ambition to change careers. There are many routes to a career in this sector… 

Personal Trainer 

A personal trainer designs fitness plans, give nutritional advice and encouragement to their clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. There are many types of personal trainers, some work with clients individually, other work in gyms and health clubs. You can even choose to specialize in areas such as prenatal training or training older people. 

Whatever you choose, you’ll need to have the right qualifications to do the job safely. There are a number of certifications you can take, including an online group fitness certification so that you can give classes. 

Many personal trainers also have a strong online presence and even offer virtual training. With the move towards remote working, this is becoming a more popular way to access fitness advice and training. 

Once you’ve chosen your niche, do some research to see which platforms your target audience prefers so that you can focus your marketing. 

Life coach

A health or life coach brings a more holistic view to your overall health and wellbeing. They work with their clients to work towards their life and wellness goals with action plans and accountability.

Life coaches also work on other areas of their clients’ lives such as productivity, organization, and career. 

If you are very empathetic, motivational, and patient, then becoming a life coach could be a great career for you and offers a real opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. 

You don’t need any professional qualifications to get started but if you want to build up your client base and establish a reputation, then there are a number of certifications and courses you can take to improve your knowledge. 

Health education specialists

Specialist health educators work in a variety of situations. They teach various groups about health and behaviors that can help prevent injuries, disease, and other problems. 

Health educators can work in schools, colleges,  community settings, and workplaces. Many also develop programs based on the health concerns of their specific communities. 

If you have an aptitude for teaching and a love of health, then these skills will work well for you and provide many opportunities for you to really make a difference to the health and wellbeing of those around you. 

Health educators usually need to undertake a bachelor’s degree and clinical placements before being employed in a role. 

There are many opportunities to become involved in the health and wellness industry. From clinical roles to holistic life coaching, there is sure to be something that suits your interests, skillset, and ambitions. 

P.S. No matter what career you choose, keep your wardrobe simple with this 50 Piece All-Season Capsule.

Working From Home? Here is How to Find Balance

Depending on your job title and employer, you may have found yourself working from home for the last 18 months. And while we would like to take this moment to salute our frontline workers for keeping the world going while the rest of us were forced indoors, it has been tough on us too. 

While we may have settled into a routine of working from home, there can still be the issue of finding balance. From the looks of things, we will not be returning to the office anytime soon. If you are still struggling, here are some suggestions on how to keep your home and work life separate when they are occupying the same space.

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Spare Room? How about an office?

If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, this could potentially be a great home office. Not only will this be a great excuse to decorate or tidy the space to give it purpose, but it will also create a boundary within your home for work. You may have noticed in the early days of the pandemic, you found it difficult to switch off from work mode at the end of the day. This is likely because you were working in your home, not your office. This new boundary can have a massive positive impact on your mental health and work productivity. Plus, it is better to hide your paperwork behind a closed-door than the kitchen table. That way you won’t be thinking about it when you don’t need to be.

Turn off notifications

If you find yourself checking emails and messages after hours because they keep pinging your phone, you need to turn those notifications off. If you can’t dedicate a space for your home office, you can at least dedicate time. And turn things off after your dedicated working hours have passed. The simple fact is, you are only supposed to work so many hours and calculating part time work hours while you are at home might add up to the equivalent of a full time job. If you are struggling to turn them off, you might need to invest in a separate work phone to keep things separate.

Cultivate an inner sense of work

When we had to commute to work, there was a period during the travelling to your workplace when you had time to process and transition into work mode. When you start working from home, this doesn’t happen. Instead, you must learn to make that switch to work mode before you sit down to your daily tasks. 

What you might want to do is set up a routine that helps get you into the mindset of starting your workday. One of my favorite ways is to pretend that it is still a workday and I have to leave the house. So, get up, have a quick workout and shower, pop on some clean clothes and grab a cup of coffee as you head to your workstation.

Leave work at work

This might seem a bit impossible as your workstation will be in your home, but it is still possible. When you are finished with your workday, pack all of your work stuff together, turn off those notifications, and shut the door to your office. After you are done for the day, there is no reason why you need to have your work things around you. If you are tempted to work, that’s fine. Some people find themselves in a flow and don’t want to break. But once you are finished with your tasks, it is time to put work away for the day.

Do not let your family in your office

If you are having to balance working at home with homeschooling your children, this can be tricky. If you have space, set up little workstations for them in your office, such as a kids play table and chairs. This will signal to them that this is where schoolwork is completed. But once they are finished with their work, they have to leave the office and do playtime somewhere else. It is important that they do not play in your office because it can become a distraction for you. Also, there is a good chance that you have important work documents that you don’t want to be ruined.

These are some of the ways you can create a better balance of work and home life while we are still working from home. Try these out and see if they help you to create a space of productivity and relaxation.

P.S. Check out this DIY desk decor! 😉

Setting Up a Creative Business: What You Need to Get Started

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When you want to start a creative business, it’s easy to get lost in thinking about the creative aspect and not the business side of it. But if you want to start any type of business, you need some business skills. The practical side of your business is just as important, if not more so, than the creative side. You might have a creative product or service to sell, but do you know your numbers? When you’re setting up a new creative business, there are some essential things that you’re going to need.

Find a Studio/Workshop/Office

Creative businesses often need a lot of space. Even if you’re a one-man-band, you might need a large space to house all your creations. Or maybe you’re offering a creative service, like workshops or classes, and you need a space for that. That might be one of the first things that you need to look for when you’re setting up a creative business. Whether it’s a studio, office, store, or workshop, you need somewhere to either make products to sell or offer the services that you want to provide to your customers.

Get Essential Equipment

As well as a space to carry out your work, you’re going to need the right equipment. This could include many different things, depending on what your business entails. You might need a sewing machine, a professional printer, screen printing equipment, or maybe a tattoo gun and all of the accessories, from tattoo gloves to ink. Your startup costs will increase with every piece of equipment and supplies that you need. And you’ll also need to consider which supplies need to be replenished regularly so that you can start to think about your ongoing costs.

Sell Your Products or Services

Think about the best model for selling your products or services. Are you going to set up shop in a physical store or concentrate on selling online? Even creative services can often be provided online. While you can’t give someone a tattoo over the internet, you can teach a creative class. You could even mail people packs of materials that they need to make something, then provide a live-streamed class to walk them through all of the steps. Online sales can be cheaper and more accessible for customers.

Be Smart About Finances

Getting lost in the creative side of running your business is easy to do. You’re excited about doing something that you love, and the business element might not be as interesting. However, you can’t run a business if you don’t pay attention to the numbers. You have to know your finances and concentrate on the things that you need to do to break even and then to make a profit. If you don’t stay on top of your finances, you’re not going to get very far.

Starting a creative business might mean following your passion, but it’s not always all fun and games. You need to be on top of the business stuff too! If you have a creative business, what tips would you add?

How the Internet Can Help You Learn a Language

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could speak, read, and write in another language? Each year, millions of people decide to learn a new language. And their reasons for doing so vary.

The internet is an excellent resource for many pursuits, and one such example is learning a new language. These days, it’s entirely possible to learn a new language using nothing more than your computer or smartphone and an internet connection

Here’s how you can use the internet to help you become fluent in another language:

App-Based Learning

One of the most common and convenient methods for learning a new language is using a dedicated app on your mobile devices. Look in the Apple App Store or Google Play, and you’ll discover hundreds of apps to help you become bilingual.

The apps offer varying levels of tuition and assistance, so if you’re a beginner or are at an intermediate stage, you’ll find an app best suited to your needs. Many apps are free to use, and some have inexpensive subscriptions to help you advance your learning.

Before you download an app, make sure to read its reviews in the relevant app store. That way, you can gauge whether it’s worth your time to download it or not.

Video Lessons

Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everyone has had to do some level of learning online. These days, most people have become accustomed to online learning, and with that in mind, many have embarked on online language courses.

There are many expert language tutors online that will provide you with one-on-one language lessons via video chat software like Skype or Zoom.

An advantage of such learning is you’ll have the dedicated focus of your tutor instead of sharing it with a classroom of other students. That means you’re less likely to forget what you’ve learned as you get taught at a pace to suit your individual needs.

Internet TV and Newspapers

Because of COVID-19, travel to international destinations isn’t possible unless you’ve got an urgent reason for traveling. Ordinarily, it would have made sense to spend some time abroad in a country that speaks the language you are learning.

But, the next best thing is to watch local language TV programs and read foreign newspapers online. For example, the Jio TV app on your smartphone will let you see international programs and understand the context of words and phrases you’ve learned.

You can also read international newspapers online to find out more about how certain words and sentences get used in writing. Plus, you can always use the “translate” option in Google Chrome if you get stuck!

YouTube

Last but not least, a free and helpful resource for learning to speak and understand a new language is YouTube. There are hundreds of language tutors that upload thousands of language videos each day. The best part is you can watch all of that content for free!

So, if you’re planning to learn Spanish or any other language, and you’ve got a Google account, you can save each language channel to it. Then, whenever you visit the YouTube website, you can view the latest language videos.

Do you have any tips for studying a language online? Leave them below! xoxo

Living the Healthiest Lifestyle You Possibly Can

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Looking to live a healthy lifestyle? You’re not alone. The majority of us want to feel as good in our own bodies as we possibly can, and the good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to achieve this goal. Here are just a few items you might want to consider to get started on the right path to a healthy lifestyle!

Add Superfoods Into Your Diet

Superfoods are a category of foods that are deemed particularly good for your health and wellbeing. They tend to be extremely nutritionally dense, holding a host of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that significantly benefit your body. So, why not add a few more into your diet? Some recommended options include:

  • Blueberries – blueberries are a relatively common food that many of us have eaten at some point in our lives. Whether you decide to eat them plain by the handful, baked into muffins, scattered over oatmeal or blended into smoothies, these little berries pack a positive punch when it comes to your health and wellbeing. They provide you with vitamins, phytochemicals and soluble fiber!
  • Green Teagreen tea has a strong and distinct flavor, so not everyone likes it. But if you do take well to it, try to drink a cup each day. If you’re not used to the taste, try stirring in a spoon of honey to sweeten it. Green tea contains bioactive compounds, which prevent cell damage in the body. It has a particularly high catechin content in particular.
  • Goji Berries – goji berries are another food with a distinct taste that may take some getting used to. But once you familiarize yourself with them, you’ll find they provide you with vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, iron, zinc, and other antioxidants. Once only available from specialist sellers and health food stores, they can now be commonly found in most standard supermarkets.

Know How to Deal With Illness and Injury

We all experience illness or injury at some point in our lives. While hopefully your experience of these things will be minimal, it’s important to know how to listen to your body and to understand the right steps to take to make a full recovery.

  • Visit a doctor – the first step in your journey should be to visit a doctor. This professional will be able to diagnose any issues you may be experiencing and will be able to direct you on the right path to treatment.
  • Listen to your doctor’s advice – make sure to do as your doctor recommends. This could involve booking in follow up appointments, taking medication to a schedule or anything else.
  • Rest – rest will help you to recover. So, slow down your schedule. Take time off work if necessary. Reduce social activities. Lay off exercise if necessary. If you’re worried about the costs of resting properly, make sure to contact top personal injury attorneys, who could help gain compensation to tide you over.
  • Ease yourself back to your usual routine – once you’ve recovered, it’s important to still take things easy. Rather than diving straight back into your usual routine, ease yourself into it. This can help to prevent relapses.

Stay Hydrated

People tend to forget to stay hydrated. They have busy schedules and don’t think to get up and have a drink of water often enough. But staying hydrated really is essential to a healthy lifestyle! Roughly 60% of the adult human body is water. So it’s absolutely essential that you keep these levels topped up. Dehydration can make you feel weak, can damage your bodily functions and can even impact your skin. Try to drink around eight glasses, or two liters, of water a day. You can also help to hydrate yourself by eating water-dense foods, such as melon, tomatoes, berries and more.

There are plenty more areas you can look into, and many more things you can practice to maximize your wellbeing. But some of the options highlighted above should help to get your journey off to the best start possible!

“I Might Be Wrong”: Why These Four Words Need To Be In Your Vocabulary

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Don’t go out with your hair wet, you’ll catch a cold. Be careful with sugar – that stuff can be as addictive as drugs. Oh, and while we’re giving out advice, stop cracking your knuckles – after all, surely you know that causes arthritis?

The three assertions above probably qualify as “things that everyone knows”. But are they true? Catching a cold is entirely dependent on being in the presence of a cold virus; brain scans show none of the signs of chemical dependence arising from sugar consumption; and, while annoying to those around you, knuckle-cracking has no proven ill-effects on the anatomy. However, you will still hear people repeat these statements – and others like them – as though they were deeply-researched scientific facts. 

It’s possible that the reason these lines have gone from “blind assertion” to “everyone knows,” is simply because people state them with such confidence. And it’s a problem that while we seem to be comfortable stating inaccurate information, we have difficulty admitting to having gotten something wrong.

Why don’t we want to admit we’re wrong?

There is something pleasurable about passing on information that someone else doesn’t know; it’s why we gossip, and it’s why humans love telling anecdotes. It’s all the more fun when someone finds the information we’ve told them to be exciting, amusing or useful. If we have to then admit the information was false, we feel like we’re having to hand back the status that we gained through sharing. We worry that people will look at us as frauds. Also, all too often, while people may have cheerfully passed on the errant information, you are unlikely to see them being as eager to pass on the correction.

Why is it so important that we do admit it?

It’s often said that we learn from our mistakes. But this doesn’t paint the full picture. When we make a mistake, we are inclined to keep trying until we get something right. Study after study shows that we learn best from getting something right. The learn, unlearn and relearn process of learning is beneficial precisely because you need to go through each step to build reliable knowledge. First, you need to show a desire to learn. Then, you need to discard that which is wrong. Finally, you need to replace the incorrect information with the truth.

The power of admitting when you’re wrong

The fact is that we’re all wrong sometimes. It’s not possible to always get it right, and if you are never willing to back down in debate or any other exchange of information, then you can gain a reputation for being not only wrong about things, but pig-headed about being wrong. That’s not a reputation you want to gain. Better yet, it means your certainty carries credibility. If you are prepared to start a sentence with “Now, I may be wrong…” and then prove to be right, people will trust that you do your due diligence. From that point on you’ll be hard to accuse of spreading falsehoods or bias, and that’s no small thing.

No-one wants to be wrong with information that they pass on, but the ability to admit when you are wrong can actually benefit your credibility. We live in a world where people are often not wrong but supposedly misquoted, taken out of context or repeated in bad faith. But when you can actually admit you may be wrong, you stand to gain a lot of respect.