Health Risks of Inactivity

Inactivity Kills Like Cancer

A recent study published in the Lancet shows that inactivity, or lack of exercise, causes as many deaths as smoking across the globe. How many deaths is inactivity causing? The answer is an alarming number of 5.3 million deaths annually.

It is estimated that about one adult in every three are not active enough. Inactivity is causing one death in ten due to diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and so on. The Lancet report also finds that populations in rich countries were less active than poor countries due to various factors. Let’s look at some other numbers:

Inactivity Causes:

Heart Disease = 6%
Type 2 Diabetes = 9%
Breast Cancer = 10%
Colon Cancer = 10%
Premature Deaths = 9%

These numbers are based on data from 2008

It is recommended that you do 2 to 3 hours of exercise per week combining aerobic activity and strength training. A combination of moderate and vigorous activity is recommended. Moderate aerobic exercises include walking the dog, walking to the grocery, swimming, etc. Vigorous aerobic exercises include jogging, running, playing tennis, squash, etc. Strength training exercises are those to work on your major muscle groups such as arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips, and legs with the use of weight machines, resistance bands, weight bars, dumbbells, etc. Strength training activities should be done at least twice per week.

First published on Aug 18, 2012 on simplepersonaldevelopment.com

Educational Entrepreneurship

Has Your Education Paid Off?

Many people who have spent a large amount of time (and money) getting their education are finding that it has not paid off as they would have wished. People with college degrees are, finding with greater frequency that there are not as many companies sitting and waiting for someone with their skills as they hoped or were led to believe.

Often academic achievement – a worthwhile goal in its own right – is found to be of less value when looking for the perfect job than we have been led to believe. In addition, it is at times like this that people with a high level of education canfind themselves wondering why they bothered. For many reasons, this is a great shame. Not least of these reasons is the fact that it can easily trickle down to younger people that education is worthless. It is not.

If you have spent all that time and money getting an education only to find out that it has not gained you the perfect job, there are ways that you can put it to work for you. Maybe a big company does not want to take the chance on you because they simply do not have the vacancies, or it may be that, impressive though your achievement undoubtedly is, it just does not fit into an existing gap in the skills set of the companies in question.

The solution to this problem may lie in taking the bull by the horns and creating your own income stream. The most immediately obvious way to do this is to take a direct approach. The educated can become the educator. Tutoring is something that is used far more than most people realize. Despite what you are finding, the value of education is still held by many to be as high as it ever was. Parents who are despairing over their child’s academic performance are increasingly prepared – even in a shaky economy – to give their children the extra advantage when it comes to schoolwork by employing a personal tutor. And knowledge has a high premium. Many jobs in the private sector simply do not pay as highly as working for yourself, selling something more important than any perishable goods.

Even if your education is not in a field that is so easily transferable – for example, parents will often want to employ a math tutor or a language expert, but are less likely to call for a textile major – you do have a level of knowledge in your chosen field that most people simply cannot call upon. So if a company finds itself in need of someone who can – for example – make a necessary component for an item they are selling, but have no-one in their work force who has that skill, they will often be prepared to pay an outside contractor to show them how. Outsourcing is becoming more and more of a key issue in business. Having an expertise in a certain area can really pay off. It is about seeing how you can make it pay off for you, and if you can do that then you can show the world – and yourself – why you bothered getting that education.

First Published: Feb 28, 2009 on EntrepreneurJourney.com

China’s Plunging Foreign Reserves

Yuan Continues to Outflow

Chinese currency remains worrisome to the global economy as Yuan continues to outflow causing declining foreign exchange reserve. As the Yuan is losing value, Chinese consumers are rushing to exchange them for U.S. dollars to preserve their value.

As there is a limit of exchanging Chinese currency annually to $50,000, consumers are trying to get around this rule by buying other tangible assets such as real estate, fine art, expensive wine, and so on. Another popular method to get around this rule is to use the quota of other people who have room and sometimes paying to use their quota.

The Chinese government is intervening in the market to stop rapid depreciation of Yuan by selling dollars and buying Chinese currency. However, this intervention is causing the plunging of the foreign exchange reserve. Chinese authorities are assuring everyone that there is nothing to worry about and these fluctuations are normal economic conditions.

January data shows that the foreign reserve declined by $12.3 billion to $2.9 trillion. Also, debt is rising rapidly and growth in GDP is slowing down. And there are more things to worry about as President Trump made it a priority to balance the trade deficit with China. China has been running trade surplus with the rest of the world persistently for the last decade. The USA had a trade deficit of $347 billion in 2016.

A declining Yuan, slowing GDP, and rising debt will likely contribute to bigger surplus as exports to China will suffer the most from all these.

Will Toronto Skyscrapers Fall?

Toronto Skyscrapers Aren't Falling In Prices

It should not take us by surprise that World Class City Toronto, one of the best liveable cities on earth, is the leader in constructing the most skyscrapers. However, the Canadian government implements tighter mortgage rules to cool down the Canadian housing market and there have been many talks about the oversupply due to disproportionate over-building of downtown Toronto condos. According to most of the analysts, sky-high prices for downtown condos are bound to fall due to less demand as supplies are exuberant and buyers are reluctant to enter the market because of the eminent housing market crash due to tighter mortgage rules. But is this the case?

Yes, there are some depressing numbers when you look at the last quarter of 2012. There were 3800 condominiums sold in downtown Toronto. This is a 23 percent decline over the last quarter of 2011. In terms of new condo sales, the number looks even worse. New condo sales were down 47 percent in downtown Toronto. However, defying these falling numbers, the total new condos under construction hits a record high of 56,900 in 2012 and new condo constructions starts a record all time high 24,390.

Now let's look at some positive numbers. During the first 2 weeks of February, there were 2800 sales in the greater Toronto area. This was down roughly 8 percent more than last year, but the number of new listings was lower too. Average home price was $509,000, which represents a 4 percent increase than last year. Average home price was $775,000 in downtown Toronto and one third of the homes were sold above the asking price.

There have been some bidding wars in downtown Toronto where supplies were low. With so much market crash speculation, downtown Toronto districts were able to keep prices fairly stable and a price increase was even noticed. For example, Toronto downtown's biggest condo district, C01, dropped only 1.66 percent in January than one year before and district C08 actually showed a 4 percent increase in prices.

So, will skyscrapers fall in Toronto in prices? It does not look like that way based on recent market activities. As Toronto downtown has enjoyed double-digit job growth from 2006 - 2011, more professionals are making skyscrapers their homes, pushing the demand high for condos. IMF recently predicted that Canadian residential real estate market is 10 percent overvalued. However, 10 percent overvalued homes, among other factors, may not be enough to make Toronto skyscrapers fall in prices.

First Published: March 12, 2013 on RealEstateExpedition.com

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

Successful Entrepreneurs

Playing To Your Strengths: The Way Forward

An entrepreneur will generally succeed because they know exactly what to do in the given situation to appeal to the market they are targeting. No-one has the time to know everything about everything. You will find that the people who are truly successful are those who have seen fit to specialize. They know whereof they speak, and they stick to what they are good at. Some people call it “being aware of your own limitations”, but really it is more about playing to your strengths.

A good entrepreneur will see the money making opportunity in the things that they are interested in. People spend so long in life working in jobs they do not like because they just applied out of sheer desperation to get a job that paid the bills. This is – sadly – inevitable. But if you can spot a situation that you can turn into a money-making opportunity, you can make sure that you do not have to take a bad job ever again.

Knowing your strengths – and playing to them – is important for any potential entrepreneur, because a lot of the problems happen when people get bogged down in the gray areas where their uncertainties lie. It is (of course) important to be able to cover as many eventualities as you can. This is where a good base of contacts will be invaluable. If you have a good base of contacts, bring them in on deals where they can help you – obviously for a percentage.

If you do not have a large contact base, there has never been a better time to start. Look for people who really know their market, who have a level of expertise in areas where you do not. Think of the area in which you are specializing, and then think of related areas. Do you know enough to deal with these areas as an expert would? If not, do you know someone who does? And if the answer to both of the above questions is “no”, then you need to bite the bullet and enlist someone in a “consultancy” capacity. You can find this someone by asking around.

Being an expert in one area will allow you to make money. Whatever that area is, you will find that there are some people who just cannot get their heads around it and either need expert tuition in the area - or just someone to do it for them. This is where entrepreneurs make their money – by servicing a need, filling a gap in a range of skills. Partly, experts really depend on having the confidence to spot that their skills are needed.

Letting yourself get bogged down with areas and details – however relevant you may see them as being – where you really do not specialize will prevent you from playing to your strengths as you can. And consequently it will prevent you from making as much money as you could.

First Published on: Feb 21, 2009 on EntrepreneurJourney.com

I Am A WordPress Veteran and Moving to Squarespace

The Beginning of AhmedDawn.com

A Dawn Journal.JPG

If you have been following my blogs, books, and YouTube channel, you know that I have several websites, with ADawnJournal being the most popular one. However, it is time for a change. I have secured a domain with my name and will build a new site from scratch.

This time I decided to go with a totally different platform for the new site and I have chosen Squarespace (SS) as my platform. All my other sites are WordPress sites, so it makes sense to try something different with my new site. WordPress may be the best platform out there and most of the big media and other big name sites run on the WordPress platform.

But it all comes with a price. If you are not a programmer or a web developer, it’s a lot of work and hassle to maintain WordPress sites. From my experience for the past 10 years, I have had lots of pain and agony running after programmers to update, change, or fix my sites. And there will be always problems you will have to deal with maintaining WP sites. I know little bit of coding to fix minor issues, but not I am not knowledgeable enough to write programming code, Mysql databases, FTP, etc. to build WP sites from scratch and fix major issues.

As SS does all these and it’s a drag and drop site builder with modern templates and features, I should be able to save lots of time and hassle. After all, I am a minimalist and live my life keeping things simple.

 I already started building my new site and expect to make it go live in 1 or 2 week (if you are reading this, it is live). My other WP sites will remain on WP for now, and I will decide on those (if I want to keep them on WP or move to SS) later. ADawnJournal will remain active for now. In the future, I will have to decide whether to leave ADawnJournal as it is or merge into AhmedDawn.com.