Through the Lens: How Celebrity Photographer David Molnar Scaled Explosive Growth

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David Molnar – Your Photography Mentor

A picture can express a myriad of emotions and moments, playing host to vivid imaginations and capturing memories. With photos featured across the New York Times, People magazine, American Idol and millions of Pepsi cans, celebrity photographer David Molnar has brought to life a string of popular brands that we see today. Albeit the success story, a glimpse into his journey to clinching success will narrate a different take on life. At just about 19, Molnar was involved in a terrible accident which forced him to undergo several reconstructive knee surgeries, nearly bringing most of his career plans to halt. Despite the odds, he took this to be an opportunity and channeled his energy into building an ultra-successful business and one of the fastest-growing platforms online. He found very early success by realizing his life’s calling, persevering to build a company that is now mentoring over 80,000 students in photography – right from understanding camera aperture, to shooting natural light portraits – helping them realize their goals.

David started out with plans of becoming a pilot, while continuing his love for sports. He enjoyed surfing, and was taking up wrestling. He decided to leverage his exceptional progress in wrestling to get a scholarship for college, eventually using his college degree when trying to earn his pilot’s license. Ambitious and career-driven, David wanted to push his boundaries and explore the many opportunities outside of the idyllic town where he grew up. However, his plans came to a halt after the tragic car accident. The accident left him shattered, particularly because he had pinned his hopes on building a successful sporting career. At a time when David was performing extremely well in the wrestling arena, the accident left him physically and mentally shaken.

Over time, David’s attempts at rebuilding his life and piecing together his goals paid off. Although devastated, he knew that he had to prod himself to move on and forge his path. Not knowing what to kickstart next, he took up volunteering projects with a non-profit organization. The experience there really helped his perception, and he was encouraged to use his photography skills to build his career. Through a mutual friend, he was able to connect with Tammy, his now-wife, who helped him score a gig to photograph one of his favorite bands. This launched one of his first projects with the camera, and he was smitten. Photography was more than a passion to him, and he was soon driven to make it his career.

David spent over two years working as an assistant to other photographers. He hustled. One project led to another, and his sheer hard work opened up ample opportunities for him in other areas of photography. David scored gigs in the entertainment industry, eventually becoming a full-time photographer. The going wasn’t an easy road. David had to reach out to multiple contacts across Nashville, until one of them reached out to him and checked if he could turn up right then for a gig. He grabbed the opportunity and didn’t look back. He spent years honing his skills and learning from the experiences he gained, soaking up as much knowledge as he could.

His career as a photographer took him places, and after spending over a decade as a wedding photographer, he decided to switch directions and find a more scalable way to get work done. Despite the hiccups that came his way, David did not shy away from taking up the various challenges. He had planned to write a book for around two years, but once it was out in the bookshelves, it was one of the biggest factors that spurred him to chase his other dreams. David decided to re-prioritize his projects and spend more time with his family, focusing on work that he was passionate about. His plan was to automate his business activities, and transition to curating educational content, tutorials, online courses, and building an audience for his book. The business took off extraordinarily well, and his initial audience base more than doubled – from around 500 subscribers, it touched over 13,000.

The biggest takeaway? He picked up a lot of learning on the way, and stayed committed to what he wanted to achieve. David began by reading a lot on running the business, and provided his subscribers with free and extremely useful resources they could tap into. Although his distribution base doubled overnight, he stayed committed to meeting his deadlines. Oftentimes, it’s easier to hold back and not provide free and useful services, but what one misses is the scope for building a new relationship. To amplify your business, this is crucial. David didn’t stop at just one model – he tried to find more ways to bring value to his services, and it worked exceptionally well, helping his business achieve robust growth.

Sleep becoming an exceedingly fruitful business

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Sleep is something that is vital to our very survival. This is a fundamental fact of life. The healthier our sleeping habits, the happier and more functional we are throughout the days and into the nights before the next night’s sleep reaches us. Another fact of modern life is that we are the busiest we have ever been, and so we are sleeping less and doing more throughout the day. This has obviously created an imbalance that many people struggle to right once it has taken hold. Alas, the entire world is trying to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, sleep is one of the leading topics of research in recent years. With so much focus on sleep (focus that, even now when we are busier than ever, continues to expand), it is little wonder that the mattress industry is going through something of a high run right now. The mattress industry is worth a staggering $30 billion US dollars currently, and is expected to balloon even further in coming years, reaching a projected $42 billion US by the year 2023.

If these figures hold any weight, this mattress boom is far from over. In fact, it is just beginning. But let’s look at exactly why this boom has hit us so hard. Sleep literally makes us more productive. Recent studies show that 90% of executives wake up before six in the morning. 50% of self-made millionaires wake up at least three hours before they get to work for the day. These are facts, tried and tested, time and again. It speaks volumes of the issue with sleep the world over that despite us all being busier than any past generation, and thus more exhausted at the end of the day, we are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. And surprisingly, many people do not even attempt to go through simple searches to find solutions. It can be much easier than many thing to change sleeping patterns. Of course, this is not always the case, but it is for millions of people, every year. So, how has the mattress industry becoming such a booming success?

Well, the increase of people purchasing new mattresses in the pursuit of a better night’s sleep, of course. People today are busier than ever, and they understand the importance of having a mattress that does the job perfectly. The rise in consumer interest has led to a consequential rise in mattress reviews online. Consumers today value word-of-mouth recommendations just as much as they do the impressions they get from the companies they are potentially buying their mattresses from. These reviews for mattresses speak volumes for the improvements that have been made to the industry across the board. Sleep Junkie reviews are infinitely more positive than those that were online five years ago. The mattress industry the world over has moved leaps and bounds in the right direction, paying more attention to the finer details that make all the difference for its consumers.

Given that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, it makes perfect sense that we should be investing as much effort, time, and money into selecting the perfect mattress as we would a new car or a new house. The fact of the matter is that sleep and performance go hand in hand. This is something that has been backed up time and again in various studies and research surveys. This is not just blind assumption gaining attention. This is scientific fact and consumer awareness working collaboratively and gaining [much-needed] traction in the right direction. As in any industry, the customer is always right, and the mattress industry has used this ideal to their distinct advantage, earning more respect and longevity in an ever-changing economy in the process. The mattress industry today is a glowing evolution of the mattress industry in years past, and it is near impossible to know just how it will look in another twenty years. Odds are, though, it will be positively thriving.

When it comes to booming industries, the mattress industry is one that quietly makes its billions in the background, doing its thing and helping people the world over have a better relationship with their sleeping patterns. Worth $30 billion globally right now, the mattress industry is only set to expand even more. With the population continuing to grow, and the increased awareness of the importance of a good night’s sleep, the projected value of the mattress industry worldwide is expected to hit an astronomical $42 billion by 2023. This is an incredible feat, and one that brilliantly showcases just how instrumental this industry is to our health and performance. This is where we are at, and millions of people all over the world are buying into the increasingly lucrative industry that is giving them the rest they deserve and need. This is only the beginning for the blooming mattress industry.

How Smart Technology Can Help Improve Air-Quality

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When we think about technology, we think about our smartphones, televisions, and laptops. Our thoughts about technology don’t reach past these things because these devices are the most important pieces of technology. But, there are other smart technologies which are now being used for more important things. Nine out of 10 people around the world are breathing in polluted air. As each year passes and the global population increases, more resources are used and air pollution continues to rise. Every year approximately 7 million people die due to ambient and household air pollution.

In the west, many homes are switching to smart tech, installing smart faucets and solar windows to their homes to reduce consumption and improve air quality. But which country pays the price when it comes to air pollution? Sadly, when it comes to air pollution and health, nations that are socio-economically deprived and marginalized receive most of the burden. India is currently one of the most polluted countries in the world with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Egypt not far behind. But, could smart tech be the ticket to clean air for Indian homes? Before we answer this, we need to explain what smart home tech is and how it works.

What is smart home technology?

Twenty years ago, when we thought about smart homes, The Jetsons would pop into our heads. Self-opening doors and windows, talking fridges, and touch screen devices – these were things we saw in our dreams. Today, 2.5 billion people own smartphones. When it comes to smart technology, it’s already here, and it’s going strong. The term “smart homes” refers to homes which have appliances, heating, lighting, electronics, and camera systems that communicate with each other from any room in the house and even in remote locations around the world.

Smart homes provide owners with a heightened awareness of their dwelling, and allow them to observe their consumption. Of course, most homeowners have incorporated smart tech for monitoring usage and financial motives. If you’re able to understand how your home functions and reduce consumption, it’ll ultimately result in savings. But, as our environment worsens, smart tech is now being used to focus on improving health.

Improving air quality in Indian homes

Naturally, an important factor is the environmental causes of air pollution. The Indian government clearly needs to focus on reducing these causes if they want to reduce air pollution. Cities such as Delhi and Mumbai are severely struggling with the quality of their air. In October and November or 2019, Dehli suffered its highest pollution spike, with the government forced to ban outdoor construction and waste burning temporarily. We all know this isn’t enough effort; drastic changes must be made.

However, for the average citizen, this process of improving the environment is going to produce immediate results for air quality. This is where smart home technology can play a crucial role in improving the quality of air right away. At the end of the day, people need fresh and clean air to breathe. By changing the quality of air in their homes, they’ll be able to offset the pollution they breathe in when outside. Smart home tech can improve the standard of living directly in any home.  

Until recently, people were not able to monitor their CO2 consumption, VOCs (Volatile Organic Chemicals) and dust. Most importantly, even if someone was able to track these factors, there was no way to respond to them. However, thanks to smart technology, there are now several ways people can monitor the quality of air. With air quality monitors they give real-time analysis of the condition of air in a house. This is the first step when improving air quality in the home. The next step is finding a solution. Through smart air purifiers, it allows the air to be cleaned. With Somfy motorized shades, these blinds will automatically close to reduce the temperature in the home, or can be programmed to open based on conditions outside. Smart tech takes over that role and protects those inside the home.

Though smart technology can and will help the population of India until the lives of those who are marginalized improve, the real causes of pollution will not go away. But change is slowly being made. India is working on a poverty strategy by increasing economic growth and investing in healthcare. By elevating the lives of marginalized communities, environmentally-friendly alternatives to burning fossil fuels, for example, will be used. However, philanthropists are also finding ways to incorporate smart tech to improve living conditions. Bill Gates is investing in developing 100 smart cities in India through his Smart Cities Mission project. These smart cities will focus on enhancing the quality of life by reducing traffic, saving energy, and improving safety.

With all levels of society working on cleaning the environment, real change can be made. As India works on increasing the socio-economic status of its citizens, air pollution will improve. Of course, fixing the issue of pollution head-on is ideal. However, in the meantime, smart home tech is one of the ways Indians can work on revamping the air quality inside their homes.

Impact of Industry 4.0 on Education

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Industry 4.0 is a term that stands for the fourth industrial revolution. According to the explanation provided by the World Economic Forum, this is the logical step that builds on the third industrial revolution, also known as the digital revolution. In this stage, the lines between the biological, digital, and physical aspects of life are blurred.

This is an era characterized by automation of all kinds of tasks, artificial intelligence in all spheres of living, robots, and endless possibilities that technology opens up for us. What does it mean for the educational system? Is there a phenomenon that we could call education 4.0?

Yes; the educational industry is already being influenced by cognitive and cloud computing, IoT, and other trends imposed by the industry 4.0.

These are only few of the changes that this industrial revolution directly impacts:

  1. Students Have Technology-Driven Expectations

Do you know what influences the expectations of students? – The expectations of future job markets. Clearly, future workers will be expected to be not only knowledgeable in their industries, but trained in emerging technologies as well.

This may be the right time for professors to stop assigning textual projects and focus on practical assignments instead. When it comes to textual assignments, students don’t benefit from them too much. Most of them can easily buy essays. Essays and research papers remain an important aspect of education. Still, the educational system must be reinvented in another direction. Students need to develop practical skills in terms of using the technology they will encounter at their future jobs.

Let’s take doctors as an example. Medical robots are not just a sci-fi dream; they are becoming reality in that industry. They will collect and classify patient data, and they will present it to the doctor in a format that’s ready to use. A student at medical school has to keep pace with all new inventions. The school should equip them with knowledge about big data and its impact on their profession.

  1. Education Is Getting Personal

It’s only time for universities to embrace big data. It’s their opportunity to understand strengths and weaknesses of an individual’s performance. We’ve been talking about personalized education for ages. That’s why online courses gained so much traction; anyone can study what they want, at their own pace. We need to go further.

When the professor measures the student’s performance and behavior, they can finally offer a personalized learning experience for them. If an individual student is facing learning disabilities, they can find a different approach in their teaching methods. If they realize that this student is intimidated by testing, they can offer them to write blog posts at home instead of essays at school. It takes a lot of training for teachers to be able to understand and use big data, but we’re making steady steps towards such a future.

  1. IoT Is Taking Over

The Internet of Things is all about our convenience. It’s about keeping our homes safe and more effective while we’re away. What does this mean for the classroom? The applications of IoT technology are not extreme at the current point. Still, many modern schools are equipped with wireless door locks, attendance tracking systems, room temperature sensors, security cameras, 3D printers, and other smart devices.

This technology is on a rapid track of development. We should expect to see more innovative applications in close future. Of course; students go to school to learn. But convenience is an important part of the process. If smart devices can keep the classroom environment more comfortable, it will be easier for the students to stay focused.

We’ll Face Challenges, But They Are Part of the Process

Greater collaboration, greater security, and technology-driven education – that’s how the future of education looks like. We still have to work on many challenges, including the inequality issue. Everyone deserves high-quality education, but not everyone has equal access to it. Can the fourth industrial revolution affect that issue in some way?

Environment Friendly Travel – The New Trendsetter

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At a time in the world when the cumulating effects of man’s actions on the environment can be felt directly and explicitly, climate change is an issue that needs to be tackled now more than ever. From rivers being replaced by plastic waste instead of water in Indonesia to a 19-mile long crack appearing in the glaciers of Antarctica to the biggest wildfire California has ever seen, man’s actions have had disastrous consequences on the ecosystem of the world, and tourism has much to do with it. Travelling has a great impact on the carbon footprint produced by individuals – aeroplanes emit harmful greenhouse gases and carbon particulates, hotels around the world utilise gallons of water to do laundry, tourists at vacation spots buy and use more plastic in the form of single-use water bottles and food packets.

In light of its environmental impact, there has been a recent trend among many travellers to be more responsible in their travelling choices and make environmentally conscious decisions while vacationing around the world. A survey by TripAdvisor shows that nearly two-thirds of travellers today want to want to make more eco-friendly choices in terms of booking hotels, modes of transport and even their meals. Many tourist locations have even started to shift their priority from mass tourism to valuing local cultures. Jon Bruno, the executive director of the International Ecotourism Society says, “Sustainable travel is all about creating a positive effect on the communities you visit”. Eco-friendly travel thus entails merely leaving a place better than it was found.

Travelling ethically and sustainably is not as difficult as it might seem – from small actions like turning off the lights while leaving the hotel room, to reusing hotel towels, to using greener modes of transport, there are multiple ways to lessen the impact on the environment and local communities while travelling. The simplest step that can be taken to ensure an eco-friendly vacation is to choose a green travel destination. The Global Green Economy Index by the consulting firm Dual Citizen found that the greenest destinations for 2018 were Sweden, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and Finland. However, more than a country’s ranking, while researching vacation spots it is more important to pay attention to how a destination embraces the green lifestyle – is there a strong public transportation system? Do they encourage farmers markets and local produce? Are there walkable neighbourhoods?

The next thing to keep in mind for a sustainable travelling experience is to choose environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Trains are the most sustainable way of travelling, and so are buses. Instead of using car rentals, taking public modes of travel reduces the carbon footprint left behind by groups of travellers. If renting a car is inevitable, opting for electric powered vehicles over traditional diesel or petrol engine cars can dramatically cut down the greenhouse gases produced. While at the destination, perhaps the most conscious choice that can be made is to ditch traditional hotels and resorts in favour of Airbnb, eco-lodges or even staying with locals in the area in homestays. Surveys have found that Airbnb and homestays consume much less energy and water, produce less waste and emit fewer greenhouse gases when compared to chain hotels. Further, staying with locals can allow for exchange of valuable cultural information in addition to directly contributing to the local economy and giving the traveller a more authentic experience.

An important thing to be kept in mind while vacationing is the ethical considerations of animal tourism. Being a responsible traveller entails researching into the treatment of animals in the tourist spots that one visits – more often than not, the demand for animal tourism in tourist countries leads to mistreatment of the indigenous animals. This can be seen in the various vacation pictures posted by people beside drugged up tigers or taking safari rides on the backs of elephants. Interaction with animals can be done in a safe and ethical way through animal rescue and rehabilitation centres where one can be assured that the animals are being treated with the love and respect they deserve.

While travelling, keep in mind to minimise the waste left behind – this involves not only generating less waste while on vacation but also trying to clean up the waste generated by others and encouraging others to be more responsible. The sight of beaches strewn with plastic bottles, chip packets, candy wrappers, empty sunscreen tubes and disposable utensils has become a sight common to many travel destinations. Some ways to tackle this problem include – travellers should try to use reusable bottles, bring their own toiletries, practice recycling, and opt for reusable stainless steel straws instead of plastic ones.

Travelling ethically and in an eco-friendly manner doesn’t have to be a huge task that requires major sacrifices. Incorporating a few of such simple changes into travel plans can lead to a positive impact on the environment of the travel destinations and of the world in the long run, in addition to providing unique experiences that conventional, luxury travel cannot.

Effective communication skills can improve the career of a medical professional

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Humans always have the opportunity to improve in every area of their life. From teachers to lawyers and even medical professionals, there are unlimited personal growth opportunities if we learn to seize the moment. For medical professionals, it may seem like all of their knowledge is at capacity. They went to undergraduate school, aced their med school entrance exams, went to medical school and completed a residency. Some when to nursing school, passed their exams and started their professional career. All medical professionals have to have some type of formal training or PALS certification before embarking on a rewarding and selfless career. After that education, one may wonder how they can improve as a medical professional. Aside from annual training, gaining extra education may seem redundant or useless. Switching jobs is not always the answer either. One of the best ways to overall be a better medical professional is to improve communication skills.

Communication skills can truly be the difference in positive or negative patient experience. For some careers, interacting with other humans isn’t required. However, for the medical field, those professionals are seemingly always interacting with patients or colleagues. Communications is key to success in the medical industry. Knowing all of the terminologies and being an expert in diagnosing someone is not enough. Learning how to understand patients through communication is crucial to the success of someone’s medical career. Communication is so nuanced, that learning basic communication theories is not enough when it comes to talking with patients.

As a medical professional, it is their job to be a listener. Theoretically, communication involves a sender and receiver. The sender decodes a message that is then sent to the receiver to encode and provide feedback. That streamline of theory seems simple and easy enough, but if even one step of that is interpreted incorrectly by either party, it faces massive negative implications. For example, when the sender decodes a verbal message, his or her nonverbal message may throw off how the receiver encodes it. Relating to medical interactions, if a physician is listening to a patient explaining their health issues, and when the doctor asks certain questions, the patient looks away when answering, the doctor may assume that the patient is lying and therefore, may have received mixed signals of communication. It is up to the patient and the doctor to both have good, open and honest communication with one another.

A communication study showed that the possibility a physician would be sued for malpractice is heavily reliant on their communication skills. When it came down to the number of physicians that were involved with malpractice suits, the common factors were not the actual medical procedures themselves, but the communication that the physicians had with their patients. Doctors who had higher amounts of malpractice suits were frequently reported as not having good listening skills when it came to their patients. They were either reported as being uninterested or essentially acting as if the patient didn’t know anything. Doctors who took the time to ask patients questions and who also asked patients if they had any questions had lower amounts of malpractice suits. Some of the malpractice suits were after doctors had referred patients to someone else because they still felt if the doctor had not listened to their concerns. Communication is crucial when it comes to physicians finding solutions to their patient’s problems.

To better enhance their communication skills, physicians can take time to learn better listening skills. This can seem like an oblivious thing, but for many, effective communication skills are learned. Not everyone is a natural and charismatic communicator. People with outstanding communication skills are able to listen and ask the right questions. The questions they do ask when listening aren’t superficial or for their own personal gain, they are to truly better understand the details of what someone is talking about. Often, good communicators ask questions that keep the conversation flowing without changing the subject. Another key element that a communicator has is letting other people ask questions if needed. This is especially important in the case of physicians. Allowing patients the opportunity to ask questions at the end of an exam or visit shows that the doctor cares. Excellent communicators show empathy through their actions. They let the person know that they actually care and are interested in what they are talking about. They make that person feel valued and worth their time. A good communicator will make a person have reduced uncertainty which will alleviate any worries or anxieties they may have previously come into the visit with. Especially in the field of medicine, making a patient and their families feel worry-free can be very important for the outcome of a situation. Great medical communicators make every patient feel as though they are the only patient that matters at that moment and that their problems will have a logical and attainable solution.

The vitality of creative marketing in modern business

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The landscape of business has changed many times over the years. As the world has evolved and grown, so too has the way that businesses interact and respond to the needs of their consumers and the market on a worldwide level. Consumers today are more in touch with their digital devices, and they expect that the businesses they give their attention and money to are going to be able to wow them. There is a higher expectation, and the same time frame for businesses to make a positive impression. The way that a business markets can be – and often is – make or break. The best business concept in the world can fall flat if it is not marketed in an exhilarating, unforgettable way. Creative marketing is now crucial for businesses in any industry to keep their heads above water. It is no secret that the world of business is becoming more competitive by the day, and companies that want to become long-living, successful brands must be able to present themselves in ways that make them stand out from the crowd, that give them a competitive edge that consumers love and competitors remember.

The future of marketing is decidedly technological. It is the way of the world, and of course advertising and marketing has had to follow suit. But more than that, businesses here and into the future are going to have to shift their focus more and more to creative ways of utilising these feats of marketing. It is not enough to use set marketing tactics in basic ways. Of course, this has always been the case, but it is becoming a certainty in business success and longevity more and more as the world becomes more competitive. Population is increasing. Consumers are more select with what they want and will stand for. And more businesses are entering the landscape, eager to make their own lasting impressions and gain favour with consumers. The same marketing tactics that worked wonders years ago no longer make the same impressions, and there is a growing realisation that businesses must shake things up and come out swinging with exhilarating new marketing concepts. This is not the time to be a cookie-cutter success story; those companies are going to burn out hard.

Whether it be wet plate photography and graphic design, or videography and social media, creative marketing is all about pushing the boundaries of what is possible, even (and especially) when it proves to feel most difficult to do so. Creative marketing is approaching advertising and brand exposure with humour, wit, intellect, knowledge, and vibrant bursts of creativity that bring it all together swimmingly. Businesses can enhance their creative marketing efforts by making active use of videography, photographs, word play, and graphic design (to name a few key winning marketing strategies). Consumers respond best to memorable feats of marketing, and the businesses that stand out are the ones that use unique thought processing and bright approaches to win favour. Authentic business models coupled with exciting [and sometimes outrageous] marketing methods is the aim of the game. To make consumers take notice – and to keep their attention and loyalty – companies must make a lasting impression that is both decidedly positive and intriguingly unique.

Marketing strategies vary business to business, but the one constant in this increasingly-digital age is that it is simply not enough to cater to a few set traditional marketing concepts. These days, consumers are all about engagement on a digital level, and so creative marketing strategies are the glue that holds businesses together. With so many businesses in tough competition with one another all the time, it makes perfect sense that consumers forget the businesses that have nothing different to say, nothing unique to offer. When there are five-hundred other companies doing the exact same thing, the exact same way, there is not much else to be said. The world is tilted on a competitive axis when it comes to business management and longevity, and creative marketing is the back bone holding businesses firmly in place and keeping them grounded. In short, creative marketing is the magic pixie dust that elevates a brilliant business idea into a thriving business model.

Creative marketing is now a crucial element to any business’ longevity and ongoing success. It is no secret that the world of business is becoming more competitive all the time, and companies that want to not only keep their foot in the door, but flourish over an extended time, must take full advantage of their position. Thinking outside the box is just as important as knowing what works so well inside the box. These days, good business centres around the creativity of a company’s marketing strategies. Of course, this has always been the case to a degree, but the real difference now is that a business’ refusal to get creative with its marketing often – if not always – spells their end. In a world where every industry is becoming more competitive and innovative by the second, there is no room to be anything less than out-of-the-box creative. And that is the magic of creative marketing. This is the core of successful business here and into the future.

 

Enrolments in abroad study continue to soar

TPHS18_097Education is one of the pillars of global society. As we grow up, we all go through the education system, tackling the challenges and hurdles that pop up along the way. In the western world, we are all students at some point, and we take the lessons we learn in the classroom and out of it with us as we get older and progress into the next stages of our lives. In education, we go through years of personal and academic transformation, and the evolution of ourselves throughout these years is something that is unparalleled. And while education is a fundamental component of so many of our lives, it is also one of the most stressful and challenging experiences that a person can go through in their lives. There is something to be said about the power of pushing oneself to expand one’s horizons academically, but there is also something profoundly important about knowing when it is too much. Sometimes, we all need a little help to get from A to B. There is nothing wrong with admitting to a need for a change of scenery, and there is something empowering about taking that need into one’s own hands and turning it into something golden.

Whether it is using GMAT practice tests to practice for upcoming examinations, or spending entire days – and sometimes even nights – in the library trying to finish assessment, it goes without saying that sometimes being a student is just straight up hard work. It can sometimes feel a little stale to be going over the same content, in the same environment, repeatedly. At some point, we have all felt this way. And while it would not come as a surprise that enrolments were dropping as people realize the levels of commitment needed to scrape through with the bare minimum, this has not happened. In fact, quite the opposite has. Enrolments in higher education are soaring around the world – literally. More and more students are taking on abroad study to get out of their routine, see the world, and experience learning and life simultaneously, somewhere entirely new.

The thrill of studying abroad is one that is easy to understand. Education is something that most of the world is fortunate enough to have experienced, and studying abroad takes the experience of academic perseverance to a whole new level. While students around the world experience education differently, there is nothing in all the world quite like uprooting your comfort zones, your very life, and travelling across the ocean to new worlds. Throwing yourself entirely out of your comfort zone is something that thrills the soul and inspires the mind. It is a feeling that more and more people are chasing as time goes on. Abroad studying is a magical experience, and there is a lot to be said for pushing the boundaries of comfort and reliability, and reimagining where your boundaries lie. This is how great minds are sharpened. This is how dream careers are forged.

Being overseas for a semester or two and studying somewhere new, creates an innate sense of zest for life. Students not only get to learn in new and exhilarating environments, but they meet people they never would have otherwise. Studying abroad is a great way for students to build a global network of friends and industry professionals, that can prove to be immensely beneficial as life goes on. We have all heard the phrase “it’s all about who you know”, and there is nothing that rings truer when it comes to professional progression. Students who study abroad make connections that they would otherwise have perhaps never crossed paths with, and these connections can go on to become key instigators in future job offers and entrepreneurship collaborations (among many other things). The best part about abroad education is that students expand their horizons on every possible level, and they become more well-rounded people because of their unique academic experiences.

A privilege to the end, having the opportunity to study is something that many of us take for granted. It is also something that many of us underestimate the challenge in. With so much continuous stress and strain, it would be easy to assume that enrolments in higher education are dropping around the world. Understandable, however quite the opposite is true. Enrolments in higher education are growing every year, and while population growth is obviously partially responsible, it is abroad study that is the key driver for the surge in enrolments worldwide. Studying abroad is gaining more traction as a viable and popular academic method of education. And really, when students can see the world while simultaneously reaching new expanses of academic excellence, why shouldn’t abroad study be gaining more popularity? And even now, it continues to flourish. This boom is far from over, not by a long shot.

The Risks Inherent In Practising Law: Is It All Worth It?

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It’s among the most ambitious and inspiring of responses to the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

“A lawyer.”

The appeal of fame, fortune and early retirement is incredibly tempting to many a young person, but how often do they properly consider the possible ramifications of such a career choice? Practicing law at the highest level is undeniably fraught with risk, and many an esteemed lawyer has met their death because of their career choice.

This week, esteemed Harvard law professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr received death threats and calls for his resignation from the distinguished American University, simply for agreeing to act as criminal defense attorney for the disdained American producer Harvey Weinstein, who faces allegations of sexual abuse following complaints from at least six women. Despite having previously overturned hundreds of wrongful convictions and having garnered widespread praise for becoming the first African American in history to be appointed as Harvard University’s law faculty dean, his accomplishments to date have all but been forgotten in the wake of his decision to uphold the most basic premise of law: that even people accused of the very worst crimes deserve a robust defense.

He is not the first lawyer to suffer public humiliation and attacks for doing so.

There were the lawyers who defended the War on Terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay, who were dubbed “The Al Qaeda seven” and questioned in a New York post article about their underlying values – and whether or not they were shared with the enemy.

There was Michael Ratner, a civil liberties lawyer who represented WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as well as Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the Bosnian Serb leader convicted of genocide and war crimes charges by the United Nations Radovan Karadzic, and numerous prisoners being detained for terrorism-related charges, and who as a result was consistently branded a traitor and threatened by his fiercest critics.

And there was the condemnation of every lawyer to have ever represented a serial killer, despite knowing of their guilt. A member of Ted Bundy’s defense team once famously described him as “the very definition of heartless evil”, but continued to defend him nonetheless, earning him an equally horrific reputation.

The risks inherent in practicing law and defending controversial clients are sorely undervalued by those aspiring to craft a future in law – and we aren’t paying enough attention to the issue. At the other end of the scale, we have lawyers like Amal Clooney who will risk their very life to uphold values held to be true to them.

Speaking to US Magazine a few years ago, the high-profile human rights lawyer admitted her decision to take ISIS to court for genocide was understandably fraught with risk, but that she was prepared to take on those risks. After meeting ISIS survivor and activist Nadia Murad, who escaped captivity from the terrorist group after being tortured and raped for many months, Amal admitted she could not deny the girl justice.

She justified her representation of Nadia as the only means of addressing the inhumanity and brutality of the terrorist group.  “I think one of the ways to take action that way is to expose their brutality and corruption, and partly you can do that through trial,” Amal said.

Amal now faces threats and uncertainty over her safety as a result of her decision to defend the damaged young Iraqi girl, begging the question of whether lawyers are truly operating in among the most dangerous of fields. Wang Fu is another human rights lawyer who faces persecution in her own country for representing clients including members of the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong, and Ilham Tohti – a well-regarded ethnic Uyghur and critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2009.

What is the safest means of practicing law in this day and age? Working as a family lawyer?  A law professor? Working as a military or estate law attorney? How can one work to defend justice without treading on the wrong toes? Is it even possible?

Even an environmental lawyer faces a high level of risk. In 2017, the Philippine lawyer who was renowned for investigating crimes against the environment was ambushed and shot dead in broad daylight. I repeat, in broad daylight. The death of Mia Manuelita Mascarinas-Green pushed the Philippines to the ranking of second most dangerous country in the world for environmental campaigners after Brazil.

Ten years ago, thousands of lawyers donning black suits and ties took to the streets of Pakistan to protest the suspension of the constitution. Over 600 were arrested as a result, but it once again demonstrated the absolute willpower and determination of those working in the field of law to uphold the most basic principles of law theory. That for modern society to continue to evolve and thrive it must uphold the very foundations of the legal institutions upon which it is founded. The law must come first – before all else.