8 Essential Books All Graduate Students Must Read

8 Essential Books All Graduate Students Must Read

We all know that graduation is an incredible rite of passage, but what if that isn’t the end of your academic career?

In the U.S.A, an estimated 5.5 million people hold a doctorate of some kind. That’s around 1.77% of the population, and I’m one of those people.

Even for the most passionate and organized student, studying for a PhD is a relentless, difficult, and lonely road. It’s a decision that oftentimes cannot be understood by those who are close to us, with friends, family members, or people we meet on a daily basis, questioning why we on earth we would want to undertake yet another degree.

If you search on Google, chances are you’ll stumble across a myriad of articles containing all the reasons you absolutely shouldn’t do a PhD, why graduate school is unnecessary, and the many stories of those who struggled to meet the demands of higher education.

And yet, the pursuit of knowledge – the thirst to know more, to investigate the uninvestigated, and expand our horizons – keeps thousands of us going back to graduate school for more, every year. Graduate school offers unparalleled opportunities for learning new skills (including languages), foreign travel, public speaking, teaching, and more. For me? My genuine love of research and writing made the four years of my PhD some of the best of my life so far.

I’ve put together a definitive list of the most helpful and encouraging titles I encountered during my time at graduate school, mostly because I wish someone had been able to recommend them to me when I needed them. So whether you’re just embarking on a PhD, or are almost ready to submit your thesis, you’ll find something of interest here.

1. One Hundred Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned along the Way, William M. Chace

William Chace entered graduate school in English at the University of California at Berkeley in 1961. He was just one of an astonishing 120 new students who embarked on graduate study that year – in his department alone. Among his cohort, however, just 12 students ended up receiving their PhD. The professors who taught him were unsurprised that only 10% of the 1961 cohort actually completed their studies, a fact Chace puts down to their view of graduate school as a calling. “Graduate students were being considered for membership in a secular priesthood,” he writes – and those of you who are already at graduate school today might empathize with his sentiments.

In One Hundred Semesters, Chace combines incisive analysis with his personal memoir to create a larger picture of the way American higher education has evolved during the past half century. We journey with Chace through the decades of his own education, from his undergraduate degree at Haverford College; the boredom and confusion he felt as a graduate student during the Free Speech movement at Berkeley; a trip to jail following his support of his own students at a civil rights protest at Stillman College, Alabama; his days as a professor at Stanford; and his later appointment as president of both Wesleyan University and Emory University.

Chace’s memoir – and his research – is born out of his own rich, varied, and incredibly complex experience; portraying the unique importance of the classroom with as much insight and vigor as the peculiar rituals, rewards, and difficulties of administrative office. One Hundred Semesters is vital reading for students today, because it reminds us that although there is much to despair over (costs, underfunding, institutional marketing) the true purpose of higher education remains the same.

2. The Dissertation Warrior: The Ultimate Guide to Being the Kind of Person Who Finishes a Doctoral Dissertation or Thesis, Guy White

There are so, so many dissertation writing guides that I could’ve pointed you to here, but I also know it’s highly likely you’ve already found them on your own. So, I chose Guy White’s Dissertation Warrior instead, for several reasons.

Though the ‘classic’ guides like Destination Dissertation and Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day are still interesting and relevant – and indispensable if you aim to familiarize yourself with the full breadth of dissertation writing advice – they have also become somewhat outdated. In addition, the interactive, online only challenge of AcWriMo has essentially rendered the latter unnecessary. But White’s book is different, because it reaffirms what I now know to be true: that doing a PhD is a transformative process that leads to being the best version of yourself, not about just finishing your thesis.

While he does talk about conquering your introduction (the hardest part!), creating alignment in your argument, and tackling the literature review, White goes far beyond providing tips for attacking the thesis. He provides an important – and much needed – sense of perspective on the actual process of getting a PhD; transforming yourself into a scholar with something to say, and maintaining your personal relationships along the way.

Though this book isn’t a dissertation how-to, it’s the perfect gift for a friend or relative who is about to embark on the PhD process. It’s motivational yet realistic, and it’ll get anyone into the kind of mindset that’s necessary for getting through graduate school.

3. Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student’s Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D, Robert Peters

Some books are classics for a reason, and Getting What You Came For fits into that category nicely. First published in 1997 and subsequently revised, you might find that some parts of this book – including an appendix on buying a computer – are a little irrelevant, but others are worth their weight in gold.

Unlike many other guides, it starts at the very beginning – asking questions like, is graduate school right for you? Should you get a Masters or PhD? How can you choose the right school? At almost 400 pages, this is a substantial book that covers all the bases, from selecting a school and applying, to defending your thesis, graduation, and beyond. Based on interviews with career counsellors, graduate students, and professors, Getting What You Came For is full of real-life experiences that have, surprisingly, stood the test of time. The experience of going to graduate school – from applying for grants and financial help to dealing with departmental politics – has actually changed very little in the last twenty years or so.

Don’t read Peters’ work if you’re looking for a reassuring, motivational title that will take you by the hand and tell you that everything is going to be OK. Every chapter is a reminder of the commitment you’ve made – to yourself, your education, your supervisor, and your institution – and the hard work that will be necessary to graduate at the end of it.

Nonetheless, whatever you’re studying – from science, to humanities, education, and beyond – you’ll find some valuable insights to help you get what you came to graduate school for.

4. Playing the Game: The Streetsmart Guide to Graduate School, Frederick Frank & Karl Stein

If you’re looking for a realistic, down to brass tacks guide to going to graduate school, this is for you. Both Frank and Stein graduated from prestigious doctoral programmes, and used their combined experience in publishing, researching, conference presentations, doctoral committee service, consulting, grant writing, and teaching graduate school to write this no-nonsense guide.

One reviewer described Playing the Game as “lewd and rude,” but it’s also incredibly helpful and insightful. It’s broken down into three sections: getting in, getting through, and getting the hell out. Whatever stage of the PhD process you’re at, you’ll find something relevant among the boys’ own brand of intelligent, humorous wisdom.

Frank and Stein simplify the process of getting into graduate school, translate the complex jargon you’re expected to know from day one, and impart a series of personal, relevant, but comedic stories based on their own experiences. Personal experience has taught me that it’s easy to get caught up in, well, the game of graduate school, which encourages competitive spirit, unhealthy habits, and self-doubt. Reading Playing the Game is a reminder that everyone working towards a PhD feels – and goes through – the same things, even if they are more successful at hiding it from other people.

When you’re knee deep in literature or trying to learn an entire semester’s worth of teaching material, this is welcome light relief. I guarantee you’ll pick it up again and again during your graduate school journey, and find something of value every time.

5. How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, Paul J. Silvia

Whatever your discipline, one thing is for certain: if you’re studying for a PhD, you’re going to have to write – a lot. The sheer volume of writing, as well as the many distractions we face along the way (teaching, conferences, and other commitments) can make it really difficult to fill our graduate school word quota.

Paul Silvia wrote his book – now in its second edition – in recognition of the fact that though all academics have to write, many struggle to finish their dissertations, articles, books, or grant proposals. Writing is hard work and can be all consuming – surely there has to be a way to write and still have a life? How to Write a Lot covers bad habits, common excuses, and practical strategies to help students, researchers, and professors become more prolific writers.

Silvia draws on his own experiences to explain how to write, submit, and revise academic work, without sacrificing your evenings, weekends, and vacations. This edition has new sections on writing grant and fellowship proposals, which is helpful for post-doctoral researchers and early career fellows. It’s pretty much universally loved among academics of all ages, and it’s easy to see why.

How to Write a Lot is a really useful guide – probably the most useful on this list – wherever you are in your graduate school career. At some point, everyone faces the infamous writers block, but reading this makes it both less likely that you’ll end up there, and more likely that you’ll break out of it faster. It’s ideal for all PhD students, as his advice is universal and transcends disciplinary boundaries.

6. How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading, Mortimer Adler & Charles Van Doren

Though graduate school is about finding your written voice and learning to articulate your own argument clearly, reading other people’s work is equally – if not, for a while, more – important. The often dreaded literature review will form a crucial part of your thesis, as well as informing the other papers, talks, lectures, and proposals you write.

For that reason, the classic How to Read a Book is an important addition to this list. With over half a million copies in print, this is an enormously successful guide to why and how we should read books. Originally published in 1940 by Adler, a philosopher, it was heavily revised in 1972 when editor Van Doren came on board. Though it provides guidelines for critically good reading books of all types, the sections on analytical reading, speed reading, and extracting the author’s message from a given text are particularly useful to graduate students.

I’d argue that How to Read a Book is a must-read for anyone, but it’s especially important when you’re studying for a PhD. It’s no surprise that some of the best writers are avid readers, because we learn, assimilate, and create our own writing style based on what we read and our responses to it (if it was clear, concise, florid, wandering, dense, and so on and so forth).

You might think that writing and writing well is the skill you need to focus on honing during graduate school, but I’d argue that reading well is just as important. This isn’t a short book, but it’s something you can dip in and out of at will.

7. Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students, Norman Eng

Whatever your course of study, chances are you’ll need to do some teaching at some point in your PhD. Presenting at conferences is also a vital method of disseminating your research, networking, and entering the job market – so it’s important that you can do it well.

Norman Eng is a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) with a background in teaching and marketing. Working as a marketing executive, he realized that his clients needed to know and engage with their target audience in order to communicate effectively and be successful. Eng then went on to be an elementary teacher, and was nominated as one of the Honor Roll’s Outstanding American Teachers in the mid 2000s. Later a college professor, he found that much of his experience in marketing and elementary teaching held true for college instructors – that students, undergraduate or graduate, need to see the value of what you are teaching to their lives.

Teaching College is an approachable blueprint for learning the necessary graduate school skills of presenting, lecturing, teaching, and engaging students. Eng’s goal is that adjunct professors, lecturers, assistant professors, and graduate assistants alike can learn effective teaching methods – and in that, he’s incredibly successful.

Whatever the level of the reader, Eng’s guide has been highly praised and recognized as a stellar resource. His practical tips and down-to-earth advice make this an excellent, approachable read, whether you currently have teaching experience or not.

8. The Professor Is In: The Essential Guide To Turning Your Ph.D. Into a Job, Karen Kelsky

I hate to say it, but the long and arduous journey of getting a PhD might be just the beginning. Sure, some people see getting a PhD as a personal academic challenge, but the vast majority go through graduate school with the aim of securing the job at the end of it.

As Kelsky tells us, “for every comfortably tenured professor or well-paid former academic, there are countless underpaid and overworked adjuncts, and many more who simply give up in frustration.” The small minority who don’t fall within these two groups have one thing in common: a plan. The Professor Is In is a definitive guide to setting yourself up for success when you already have a PhD in hand. Kelsky covers a myriad of valuable topics; providing the lowdown on academic job searches, the common mistakes made by unsuccessful applicants, and when and how to point your PhD to other, non-academic options.

This is a wonderful, non-judgemental book that is essential reading for new PhDs. Learn when, where and what to publish; how to write a grant application; tips for job talks and campus interviews; creating the perfect Curriculum Vitae and more. And if you don’t land the perfect tenure-track job, or become disenchanted with the process along the way? Don’t worry about it. You aren’t alone, and there are many, many things you can do with a PhD outside academia. The Professor Is In and she is here to help!

A college library full of graduate students reading books they must read

I set about writing this article with the aim of helping students find the resources necessary to support and encourage them on their journey through graduate school. Doing so helped me to relive some of the many highlights – and low points – of the years I spent working towards my PhD. It remains one of my biggest achievements, and the thing I am most proud of.

Graduate school isn’t always easy, and sometimes you won’t see all the positives until the PhD is defended and done. But wherever you are now, good luck. And in case no-one else has told you this lately: what you are doing is relevant, your argument is valid, and you deserve to be right where you are.

“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

Published at Tue, 13 Aug 2019 21:32:13 +0000

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5 Incredible Benefits of Pilates

5 Incredible Benefits of Pilates

While yoga has seen a meteoric rise in popularity during the last decade, it seems that Pilates has never quite reached the same peak.

Though many yoga studios – and there are indeed many of them, an estimated 6,000 in the U.S alone – offer some Pilates classes, this gentle practice is often overlooked in favor of its higher energy, more popular cousin.

Yet Pilates is incredibly valuable to both your body and mind, and at a time when we are focusing as much on mental health awareness as our physical health, that is important. The benefits of Pilates are extensive, and in some ways quite specific and different to those offered by a yoga practice.

Whatever your fitness level, age, or health condition, practicing Pilates can provide you with the strength, encouragement, and relief you need to feel your very best.

With that in mind, we’re providing you with all of the information you need to know about what Pilates is, and the benefits it offers.

A fit woman doing Pilates in a modern studio in Scottsdale Arizona

“Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.” – Joseph Pilates

What is Pilates?

The history of Pilates is both interesting and inspiring. It was developed as a “system” by a German man named Joseph Pilates in the early part of the twentieth century. Chronically ill as a child with asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, he became determined to strengthen his body and improve his health – a determination that set him on the path to becoming a gymnast and body builder.

As a teenager, Pilates studied anatomy and sampled as many different types of exercises as he could, recording the results as he went. He studied traditional Western methods, as well as various practices that originated in the East – yoga, tai-chi, and martial arts.

As a German living in Britain during World War I, Pilates was interned as a German alien at Lancaster Castle. His knowledge of anatomy and exercise helped him get a post as a nurse, as well as a teacher of wrestling and self-defence, and it was during this time that his Pilates method began to take form. He experimented by attaching springs to the hospital beds, and developed a series of exercises that were intended to help tone and heal wounded soldiers.

Pilates moved to America in 1923, where he opened his first studio in New York. There, he began to construct his own equipment – known as the reformer – for use in his practice. These reformers were shaped like sliding beds that used springs as resistance, and they are still used for Pilates today. Joseph Pilate’s method became an instant success among dancers, who found his method – initially called “Contrology” – to be the best way to both recover from injuries and prevent new injuries from occurring.

The popularity of Joseph Pilates method – and his reformer – spread across the country. Socialites followed ballerinas into Pilates’ studio, and the practice of his method found a larger audience. Today, his method continues to focus on correct alignment, control, breathing, flowing movement, and concentration. Believing that mind and body are inextricably linked together, Pilates is based on precise movements that focus on technique and control over repetition. Pilates believed that the core was the “powerhouse” of the body; which is why the core – that is, everything from your Transverse Abdominis, to your back muscles, to your Pelvic Floor – is at the heart of every Pilates class.

A Joseph Pilates quote about health and some apples, water bottle, and weights

“Not only is health a normal condition, nut it is our duty to not only attain it but to maintain it.” – Joseph Pilates

1. Pilates for Injury Rehabilitation

Joseph Pilates’ system was used first to assist in the healing of soldiers wounded in combat, then dancers with injuries, so it stands to reason that Pilates is especially advantageous to those who are in recovery.

While many people take up the Pilates method to gain enhanced strength, flexibility, and agility, Pilates is also recommended by physicians as a rehabilitation treatment after an injury. Whether recovering strength after a broken bone or finding a new sense of balance after an amputation, Pilates can help people with injuries recover more quickly, and lessen their chance of re-injury.

As so many of the exercises are performed in reclining or seated positions, Pilates can be both low impact and partially weight bearing. It is therefore a safe method of physical therapy, and is often part of the rehabilitation regime practiced at physical therapy centers.

Pilates also provides a higher degree of flexibility when compared to other conventional therapy options. The routine can be modified depending on the person’s ability, comfort level, and the severity of their injury, and can be adjusted to suit how the patient feels on a given day.

One of Joseph Pilates’ original motivations in creating his system was his concern that a “modern” lifestyle, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health. Attaining correct spinal and pelvic alignment is an important part of the Pilates Method, which makes it incredibly beneficial for those suffering from backache and other spinal problems.

A woman practicing deep breathing to experience the benefits of Pilates

“Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.” – Joseph Pilates

2. Pilates for Asthma

Inefficient breathing was another of Joseph Pilates primary concerns, and it was an especially personal one for him. As a child he struggled with chronic asthma, and as an asthmatic myself, I can relate.

Breath was one of the 6 Essential Principles of Pilates, and Joseph Pilates emphasized using a very full breath in all his exercises. He suggested that we should think of the lungs as bellows, and use them strongly to pump the air fully in and out of the body. Making good use of each breath, and breathing properly, is therefore an integral part of Pilates exercise.

For those familiar with the benefits of yoga, you might remember the principle of ujjayi breath, or ocean breath. It involves completely filling the lungs while slightly contracting your throat, and breathing through the nose. Pilates focuses on lateral thoracic breathing or intercostal breathing instead. In this technique, you draw the breath upward and out of the low belly and focus on redirecting the breath into the back of the body and the sides of the ribcage. As with yoga, you coordinate exercises with your inhale and exhale pattern, and use the breath to initiate and support movement.

This type of intercostal breathing is enormously beneficial for those with asthma or other breathing difficulties, because the goal is to draw in lots of fresh air and subsequently rid the lungs of every bit of stale air with each breath cycle. Asthmatics tend to take more shallow breaths, and can struggle with shortness of breath as a result.

While breathing deeply isn’t necessarily something that comes naturally, therefore, I’ve personally found that doing a breath-focused activity like Pilates has actually improved my “breathing stamina” – and enabled me to engage in other forms of exercise like jogging or running, which previously felt completely unattainable.

A man holding himself off the ground while doing a reverse push-up

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.” – Joseph Pilates

3. Pilates for Improving Sports Performance

Asthmatics aren’t the only people to benefit from Pilates outside of the studio.

More conventional or traditional workouts like boxing, running, lifting weights, doing push-ups, and more – are weight bearing and tend to build short, bulky muscles. Though this might seem like a fast route to a great physique, this type of muscle is actually the type most prone to injury. By the same token, conventional workouts tend to work the same muscle groups over and over again – meaning that while the strong muscles tend to get stronger, weak muscles tend to get weaker.

This is called muscular imbalance, and it is the primary cause of injury and chronic back pain.

Pilates, on the other hand, works to condition the whole body – right down to your ankles and feet. It’s “whole body” approach means that no muscle group is over-trained or under-trained, and the result an evenly balanced and conditioned musculature. This balance is not just a crucial part of Pilates, but a crucial part of life. Working on your body as a whole leaves you safe to enjoy daily activities and sports, achieve better performance, and live with a lower risk of injury.

Rather than creating short, bulky muscles, practicing Pilates regularly elongates and strengthens your muscles, makes them more elastic, and gives you a greater degree of joint mobility. A stronger and more flexible body is less likely to be injured, which is why so many sports teams and olympic athletes use Pilates in their training regimen.

Three women laughing together before a Pilates class in New York City

“Everyone is the architect of their own happiness.” – Joseph Pilates

4. Pilates for the Pelvic Floor

Pilates is perhaps most beneficial for women in terms of maintaining the health of the pelvic floor muscles.

The muscles of the pelvic floor form the foundation for the core of the body, stabilizing the pelvis and supporting the organs of the lower abdominal cavity (like the bladder and uterus). The pelvic floor muscles, along with the deep muscles of the back and abdomen that I mentioned earlier, form part of what Joseph Pilates called “the powerhouse” of the body.

VeryWellFit provides a great analogy for thinking about the pelvic floor as “a web of interrelated muscles, tendons, and ligaments that form a supportive hammock at the base of the pelvic bowl.” The Pubococcygeus, also known as the PC or PCG muscle, is one of these muscles, and it extends all the way around the openings of the urethra, vagina, and anus. If the muscles of the pelvic floor become weak or are damaged, the integrity of these openings can be compromised.

Childbirth, ageing, chronic coughing, and inactivity are the usual suspects for causing weakness or damage to the pelvic floor muscles. A weakened pelvic floor can lead to problems like incontinence, diminished sexual enjoyment, and in the most severe cases, a dropping of the organs into the pelvic muscles (which is known as a prolapse).

Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Kegel Exercises (named after the inventor Dr. Kegel), which are a very specific set of exercises for the pelvic floor. They aren’t just for women who have given birth, either, but are valuable for men and women of any age. Practicing Pilates regularly is just as beneficial in, and important to, strengthening the pelvic floor. During controlled movements, the muscles of the pelvic floor take on the role of a natural muscular support. We pull the pelvic floor in and up to support the muscles of the stomach and back, and it’s this firm and sustained pulling that helps to lift, strengthen, and support the pelvic floor. 

Everyone should be doing exercises to support their pelvic floor! If you’re looking for extra support outside of the Pilates Studio, consider purchasing an Elvie Kegel Trainer. It’s a fun, interactive way of working those pelvic floor muscles, and it takes just 15 minutes per week.

A woman hiking across a grassy sand dune near Port Aransas, Texas

“Change happens through movement and movement heals.” – Joseph Pilates

5. Pilates for Mental Health

Joseph Pilates very quickly made the connection between mind and body. The patients at his first studio in New York engaged in what Pilates called “Contrology,” because he advocated the use of the mind to control the muscles.

Many of the things we’ve already discussed make Pilates a valuable exercise for your mental health as well as your physical health. Focusing on proper breathing encourages a sense of mindfulness, helping you stay in the moment and lend value to the movements of your body.

Pilates is also widely “prescribed” by medical professionals as a way to reduce and cope with stress. Extensive research has suggested that exercise can actually decrease stress hormones like cortisol while increasing feel-good endorphins, which gives your mind (and body) a boost. Pilates may therefore improve your ability to respond to and cope with stress triggers, and increase your resilience to stress in the future.

What’s more, Pilates has been shown to improve memory and train your brain, as well as your body. Unlike running on a treadmill or using a stationary bike, Pilates requires you to actively engage both your body and mind simultaneously. Whether it’s learning a completely new exercise or a modification to a previous one, your brain is challenged to learn a new skill – keeping your mind engaged at all times.

Last but by no means least, the vast majority of the research into the role of exercise in positive mental health focuses on the benefits of Pilates for those suffering with depression and anxiety. A report for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists in 2015 concluded that exercise “should be routinely included as an essential component in recovery from mental illness.”

Pilates can play a positive role in the treatment of depression and anxiety by offering an opportunity to socialise, impacting the levels of certain chemicals in the brain (serotonin, cortisol and endorphins), providing a distraction from negative thoughts, reducing stress levels, enhancing mindfulness, and helping to create a self-care routine.

The silhouette of a woman exercising on a beach just before sunrise in Malibu

“A few well-defined movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion.” – Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates once said that: “Every moment of our life can be the beginning of great things.

Starting something new, especially a new exercise routine, can be daunting at first. But like most things in life, you won’t regret it  once you’ve started. There are so many reasons to give Pilates a go. Whether from the comfort of your own home, or at a studio near you, step forward into a healthier mind, body, and pelvic floor, today.

Published at Wed, 31 Jul 2019 19:28:17 +0000

Happiness is helping others

Happiness is helping others

Helping others brings good feelings to the giver and the receiver of the good deeds. Using your special gifts to help others can be a gift to yourself as you enjoy a self esteem boost for making others’ lives better, and make the world a better place. You feel more worthy of good deeds yourself, your trust in the decency of people is reinforced, and you feel more connected to yourself and to others.

PROVE THEM ALL WRONG – The Most Inspiring Speeches from Successful People who Believed in Themselves

PROVE THEM ALL WRONG – The Most Inspiring Speeches from Successful People who Believed in Themselves

KEEP DOUBTING ME. I WILL PROVE YOU WRONG! – These are some of the most inspiring motivational speeches from people who proved everyone who doubted them wrong.
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There will be Haters, Doubters, Non-Believers, and then there will be YOU, Proving Them Wrong.

Don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

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85 Inspiring Space Quotes for All Mankind

85 Inspiring Space Quotes for All Mankind

Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins (and many others!) manned the Saturn V rocket, departing the Kennedy Space Center at 9:32 a.m EDT, and landing the moon module (the Eagle) at 4:18 p.m EDT.

With more than half a billion people watching live on television, Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder and proclaimed: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Aldrin joined him shortly afterwards, offering the people at home a simple but powerful description of the surface of the moon: “magnificent desolation.” The astronauts explored the lunar surface for two and a half hours, taking photos and collecting samples.

Before heading back to Earth, the crew left behind an American flag, a patch honoring the fallen crew of Apollo 1, and a plaque on one of the Eagle’s legs. It reads, “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind.”

Their successful mission was the culmination of both big dreams and hard work, as the world responded to President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to America to “commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” (May 25th, 1961).

2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the incredible moon landing. In honor of all those who dared to dream of seeing a world beyond this one, we’ve collected the very best quotes about space together in one place.

In 1961, when Kennedy challenged the United States to put a man on the moon and bring him home again, our fascination with space and space exploration was already evident.

The incredible leaps in engineering and technology that made the Apollo missions possible, as well as the courage of the men who went into space, were fueled by the desire to see and know more than ever before.

Today, we are still fascinated by space and the idea of space travel. Space continues to represent a new frontier for mankind, fascinating and scaring us in equal measure. We continue to push the boundaries of our knowledge, awaiting the day when travel into space is as open and accessible as air travel.

A space quote between the earth and moon shot from the International Space Station

“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said “Because it is there.” Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there.” – John F. Kennedy

“Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolutions, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it–we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.” – John F. Kennedy

“I believe that space travel will one day become as common as airline travel is today. I’m convinced, however, that the true future of space travel does not lie with government agencies — NASA is still obsessed with the idea that the primary purpose of the space program is science — but real progress will come from private companies competing to provide the ultimate adventure ride, and NASA will receive the trickle-down benefits.” – Buzz Aldrin

“The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever.” – Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – John F. Kennedy

“Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space.” – Christa McAuliffe

A Carl Sagan quote against a Hubble Telescope image of a distant galaxy

“All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct.” – Carl Sagan

“Mankind is drawn to the heavens for the same reason we were once drawn into unknown lands and across the open sea. We choose to explore space because doing so improves our lives, and lifts our national spirit. So let us continue the journey.” – George W. Bush

“The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.” – John F. Kennedy

“On one side are those who believe space travel is difficult work, but who go for it anyway. On the other are those who believe caring for a goldfish is, and who don’t go after much of anything. Where we choose to seed ourselves on the spectrum of what’s possible is what will ultimately define the size of our lives.” – Mary-Jo Dionne

“Human exploration and colonization of Mars will keep us busy for hundreds, even thousands, of years. During that time, there will be advances in nanotechnology, space sailing, robotics, biomolecular engineering, and artificial intelligence. These advances are occurring even now, affecting our outlook about what it means to be human and engage in human activity. Those technologies will not merely allow us to stay home on Earth and Mars, but our minds will extend our presence throughout the universe so that we will not need or want to extend our bodies there — even if we could, which I think is doubtful.” – Louis Friedman

The Columbia Space Shuttle taking off from Cape Canaveral, Florida

“The time will come when man will know even what is going on in the other planets and perhaps be able to visit them.” – Henry Ford

Quotes from Astronauts

It’s incredible to think that there are people who have spent time in Space, looking at the Earth, the stars, and the other planets, walking among us and living ordinary lives. These quotes reveal what motivates them to take flight, what our planet looks like from Space, and what space travel has taught them about life here on Earth.

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” – Mae Jemison

“I know the sky is not the limit because there are footprints on the Moon — and I made some of them!” – Buzz Aldrin

Gene Cernan standing on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 17 Mission

“I suppose the one quality in an astronaut more powerful than any other is curiosity. They have to get some place nobody’s ever been.” – John Glenn

“To some this may look like a sunset. But it’s a new dawn.” – Chris Hadfield

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.” – Edgar Mitchell

“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong

“Earth is a small town with many neighborhoods in a very big universe.” – Ron Garan

“I looked and looked but I didn’t see God.” – Yuri Gagarin, speaking in 1961 about being the first human in space

Gene Cernan quote about curiosity over a picture of him walking in space

“Curiosity is the essence of our existence.” – Gene Cernan

“I am also planning to leave a lot of things undone. Part of life’s mystery depends on future possibilities, and mystery is an elusive quality which evaporates when sampled frequently, to be followed by boredom. For example, catching various types of fish is on my list of good things to do, but I would be reluctant to rush into it, even if i had the time. I want no part of destroying fishing as a mysterious sport.” – Michael Collins

“Gravity hurts.” – Viktor Alexandrov

“In the van, we can see the rocket in the distance, lit up and shining, an obelisk. In reality, of course, it’s a 4.5-megaton bomb loaded with explosive fuel, which is why everyone else is driving away from it.” – Chris Hadfield

“I find it curious that I never heard any astronaut say that he wanted to go to the Moon so he would be able to look back and see the Earth. We all wanted to see what the Moon looked like close up. Yet, for most of us, the most memorable sight was not of the Moon but of our beautiful blue and white home, moving majestically around the sun, all alone and infinite black space.” – Alan Bean

“We are limited only by our imagination and our will to act.” – Ron Garan

The view of the earth from the moon in a photo taken by Apollo Astronauts

“The first day or so we all pointed to our countries. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continents. By the fifth day we were only aware of one Earth.” – Sultan Bin Salman al-Suad

“I thought the attractions of being an astronaut were actually, not so much the moon, but flying in a completely new medium.” – Neil Armstrong

“When I first looked back at the Earth, standing on the Moon, I cried.” – Alan Shepherd

“Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they’re going to light the bottom, and doesn’t get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation.” – John Young

“The scenery was very beautiful. But I did not see The Great Wall.” – Yang Liwei

“The Earth was small, light blue, and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. The Earth was absolutely round. I believe I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space.” – Alexi Leonov

“Mars has been flown by, orbited, smacked into, radar examined, and rocketed onto, as well as bounced upon, rolled over, shoveled, drilled into, baked and even blasted. Still to come: Mars being stepped on.” – Buzz Aldrin

A clear night sky blanketed with bright stars over the Utah desert

“The stars don’t look bigger, but they do look brighter.” – Sally Ride

“The Earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally, it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that if you touched it with a finger it would crumble and fall apart.” – James Irwin

“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth… home.” – Edgar Mitchell

“What everyone in the astronaut corps shares in common is not gender or ethnic background, but motivation, perseverance, and desire — the desire to participate in a voyage of discovery.” – Ellen Ochoa

“To become an astronaut is not a question of being the best at something or things coming easy to you, but it’s being a person that can work with others and not give up. And, for me, that was part of it too.” – Michael J. Massimino

Astronaut Allan Shepard by the lunar module on thew moon during Apollo 14

“I must admit, maybe I am a piece of history after all.” – Allan Shepard

“It’s easy to sleep floating around — it’s very comfortable. But you have to be careful that you don’t float into somebody or something!” – James Irwin

“Earth is a small town with many neighborhoods in a very big universe.” – Ron Garan

“Any astronaut can tell you you’ve got to do everything you can to learn about your life support system and then do everything you can to take care of it.” – Sylvia Earle

“Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble.” – Andy Weir

“I don’t know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.” – John Glenn

“Of course risk is part of spaceflight. We accept some of that to achieve greater goals in exploration and find out more about ourselves and the universe.” – Lisa Nowak

An astronaut in an orange space suit in a training simulator at NASA in Houston

“Astronauts are like these mythic legends, but really, they are just regular people, people who wear chinos.” – Mary Roach

Inspirational Quotes from Astrophysicists

From the observations of a heliocentric solar system by Galileo Galilei in the early 17th century, to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, space is the question that has intrigued some of the greatest minds in every generation.

The best and brightest of those who study space have disseminated their knowledge in ways that have been approachable to anyone who wants to find out more about the universe. They have brought together the “big questions” about science, the way the universe works, the role of our solar system, and our place within it. These are some of their best and most intriguing quotes!

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” – Stephen Hawking

“I don’t think the human race will survive the next 1,000 years, unless we spread into space. There are too many accidents that can befall life on a single planet. But I’m an optimist. We will reach out to the stars.” – Stephen Hawking

Photo of the moon against a pure black background of space

“Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.” – Stephen Hawking

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the Universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Stephen Hawking

“When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter.” – Albert Einstein

“In the context of general relativity, space almost is a substance. It can bend and twist and stretch, and probably the best way to think about space is to just kind of imagine a big piece of rubber that you can pull and twist and bend.” – Alan Guth

“However we select from nature a complex [of phenomena] using the criterion of simplicity, in no case will its theoretical treatment turn out to be forever appropriate (sufficient)…. I do not doubt that the day will come when [general relativity], too, will have to yield to another one, for reasons which at present we do not yet surmise. I believe that this process of deepening theory has no limits.” – Albert Einstein

“Most of what Einstein said and did has no direct impact on what anybody reads in the Bible. Special relativity, his work in quantum mechanics, nobody even knows or cares. Where Einstein really affects the Bible is the fact that general relativity is the organizing principle for the Big Bang.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Albert Einstein writing on a board wile lecturing on the Theory of Relativity

“Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

“For every one billion particles of antimatter there were one billion and one particles of matter. And when the mutual annihilation was complete, one billionth remained – and that’s our present universe.” – Albert Einstein

“Einstein was searching for String Theory. It not only reconciles General Relativity to Quantum Mechanics, but it reconciles Science and the Bible as well. “ – Roy H. Williams

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” – Carl Sagan

“I speak now not as a planetary scientist but as someone who has colleagues who are planetary scientists and this is what they told me. Who doesn’t want to go to Europa? The problem is the technology to enable that is not yet available. And so if you direct monies to go to Europa prematurely and you find out that it fails, for whatever reason, it would not have been an effective investment of your money. So you say, “Well, we can try to go to Europa, but it might fail, or maybe the technology won’t come for yet another decade or we know how to get to Mars. We know how to do air bags and drop rovers and those sort of things, so let’s do that.” So we’re prioritizing not so much the science but we’re prioritizing what’s doable.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

Carl Sagan quote over the Milky Way galaxy in the Cosmos

“Across the sea of space, the stars are other suns.” – Carl Sagan

“By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox.” – Galileo Galilei

“In my studies of astronomy and philosophy I hold this opinion about the universe, that the Sun remains fixed in the centre of the circle of heavenly bodies, without changing its place; and the Earth, turning upon itself, moves round the Sun.” – Galileo Galilei

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.” – Carl Sagan

“To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit. ” – Stephen Hawking

“Cosmology does, I think, affect the way that we perceive humanity’s role in nature. One thing we’ve learnt from astronomy is that the future lying ahead is more prolonged than the past. Even our sun is less than halfway through its life.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?” – Carl Sagan

“His conflict with the Catholic Church arose because deep in his heart Galileo was a believer. There was for him no path of compromise, no way to have separate secular and theological cosmologies. If the Copernican system was true as he believed, what else could Galileo do but fight with every weapon he had in his arsenal of logic, rhetoric, scientific observation, mathematical theory, and cunning insight, to make his Church accept a new system of the universe?” – Bernard Cohen

“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. ” – Stephen Hawking

“Once you can accept the universe as matter expanding into nothing that is something, wearing stripes with plaid comes easy.” – Albert Einstein
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan

Our fascination with space, the universe, and our place in it, isn’t just limited to real-life knowledge and proven fact. It has crossed into writing, music, TV, and movies; offering up new perspectives on old space missions, pictures of new worlds, and visions of a future beyond our solar system.

From the novels of Ray Bradbury and Arthur C. Clarke, to the Doctor Who series, and David Bowie’s unforgettable Space Oddity, popular culture gives us a window on what we hope, and fear, to find beyond the stars.

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.” – Arthur C. Clarke

“It’s a fixer-upper of a planet but we could make it work.”” – Elon Musk on Inhabiting Mars

“Space travels in my blood / There ain’t nothing I can do about it / Long journeys wear me out / But I know I can’t live without it, oh no” – The Only Ones, Another Girl Another Planet

“Space or science fiction has become a dialect for our time. “ – Doris Lessing

“In the past, it was only in science fiction novels that you could read about ordinary people being able to go to space… But you laid the foundation for space tourism.” – Nursultan Nazarbayev

“900 years of time and space and I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important. “ – Doctor Who

“In science fiction, we dream. In order to colonize in space, to rebuild our cities, which are so far out of whack, to tackle any number of problems, we must imagine the future, including the new technologies that are required. “ – Ray Bradbury

“We cannot predict the new forces, powers, and discoveries that will be disclosed to us when we reach the other planets and set up new laboratories in space. They are as much beyond our vision today as fire or electricity would be beyond the imagination of a fish.” – Arthur C. Clarke

“The function of science fiction is not always to predict the future, but sometimes to prevent it. “ – Frank Herbert

“Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity – distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. “ – Douglas Adams, A Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy

“I’m floating in a most peculiar way / And the stars look very different today / For here Am I sitting in a tin can / Far above the world / Planet Earth is blue / And there’s nothing I can do.” – David Bowie, Space Oddity

We hope you’ve enjoyed this collection of Space Quotes! As we continue to search the stars, let’s hope that 50 years from now we have an achievement as monumental as the 1969 Moon Landing to celebrate. Stay inspired!

Published at Fri, 21 Jun 2019 17:43:04 +0000

How to Start a Community Project in 10 Steps

How to Start a Community Project in 10 Steps

Start a community group and improve your neighbourhood.

See what it takes for an individual or group to go from an idea to
action.

This is a free resource. Organisations and community groups are welcome to use it. For more information please visit the HealthWest Partnership website.

Steps include:
Step 1 – Idea
Step 2 – Research
Step 3 – Recruit your team
Step 4 – A few details
Step 5 – Location or venue
Step 6 – Risk assessment
Step 7 – Promotion and marketing
Step 8 – Training
Step 9 – Evaluation
Step 10 – More information

Celebrities talk, "The Law Of Attraction" (So Inspiring!)

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Is Cryptocurrency Good for Your Business?

Is Cryptocurrency Good for Your Business?

Three cryptocurrency logos representing Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin

As a business, when thinking about payment methods, your mind will automatically go to cash, credit cards, and bank transfers – as well as more recent options like PayPal and Apple Pay. This is unsurprising, as they offer both a low level of risk to your business, and a high level of convenience to your customers.

Indispensable though it may have become, PayPal really hasn’t been around that long. And once upon a time, accepting payments through an intermediary service – which is, essentially, what the likes of PayPal and Apple Pay are – was considered risky and expensive.

The same adjustment process is currently underway with the new kid on the block: cryptocurrency.

While many businesses are embracing this new digital currency, many are still extremely skeptical as to whether it can be an asset to the company, or a high-risk liability.

The purpose of this post is to dig a little deeper into the brave new world of cryptocurrency, and to find out whether or not it could be a good fit for your business.

What is Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital asset. Its value for business, though, is that it has been designed with cryptographic protocols that make transactions extremely secure and very difficult to fake, all without the need for an intermediary like a bank.

Crypto is different from other forms of currency because, rather than the central banking system we are familiar with, it makes use of decentralized control. That means that it is not controlled by a central authority and cannot be directly affected by interference, or controlled by the government.

Cryptocurrencies use a peer-to-peer network to prevent double payments – a problem often encountered with digital currency in the past. The first and most well-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, which was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008.

Though they might have heard about Bitcoin on the news or read an article on the web, many people are still unfamiliar with the concept of digital currency. One of the most common misconceptions is that it is only for investing; with the majority of people unaware of the day-to-day transaction capabilities of crypto.

A physical Bitcoin collectible piece atop a pile of pennies, euro cents, and pence

“The future of money is digital currency.” – Bill Gates

Digital Wallets

To use cryptocurrency, you need to have a cryptocurrency wallet. This can be in the form of a software or application which is used to store public and private keys, as well as unique identifiers that mark ownership of tokens.

These wallets are a similar concept to bank accounts, only they are decentralized and unregulated. Most digital wallets are dedicated to a specific currency (like Bitcoin), so they are only compatible with storing and spending the single currency they were designed to hold. This type of digital wallet is usually owned by individuals and investors who work with a single cryptocurrency.

There are, however, other wallets available, and they can accommodate multiple currencies at the same time. These are much more convenient for businesses, who might decide they want to work within a range of different currencies.

Software Wallets

Digital wallets for cryptocurrency can come in the form of a “soft wallet” or a hard wallet. A soft wallet is easy to understand because is it often the same as the platform used to buy your crypto coin of choice.

When you open an account through an exchange like Coinbase you have also created a wallet. You can exchange one type of digital coin for another or for your local currency (like BTC to $USD) within the site. Your digital wallet will still have a secure key you use to complete transactions and two-factor authentication (2FA) for log-in.

You can also keep a soft wallet on your phone or computer with apps like Jaxx or the Coinbase mobile app.  If you use online banking, you can use a soft wallet just as easily.  Each platform has different features and abilities so you can decide which is best for your business and its transaction needs.

Hardware Wallets

A hard wallet is a physical device like a flash drive that is used to manage private keys. Since your private key is stored offline, it is safe from hackers or anyone with unauthorized access to your soft wallet. I know we’ve all had some unreliable flash drives quit working. The beauty of a hard wallet is the user’s ability to create a code that can recover lost keys plus a pin for access.

This is a great way to hold large amounts of bitcoin or other crypto, especially as a long-term investor or if you hold large amounts of crypto. Otherwise, soft wallets are the best way to use cryptocurrency in your business if you complete multiple smaller transactions or don’t need massive or long-term storage.

Different wallets also offer different storage options. The Ledger Nano X and Trezor Model T offer storage for up to thirty different crypto coins on top of BTC and offer easy set-up.

Cryptocurrency and Businesses

In the past several years cryptocurrency has gained immense popularity, not just among individuals, but businesses, too. The decision to use cryptocurrency is slightly more involved for businesses compared to individuals, since there are more people and business assets involved, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthwhile.

In fact, businesses actually have more options for involving themselves with cryptocurrencies, including a few that individuals might not have access to.

Many businesses are now turning to cryptocurrency as a possible payment method, because they are beginning to take notice of the vast number of benefits it offers – in terms of cost, speed, and security to name just a few.

What’s more, businesses today are becoming increasingly conscious about keeping up to date with new technologies – especially ones that can improve how their business operates, while offering customers an even greater range of payment options.

A hand slipping a novelty physical Bitcoin into the pocket of some Levis jeans

“Mobile was Internet 2.0. It changed everything. Crypto is Internet 3.0.” – Gil Penchina

Why Should Your Business Use Cryptocurrency?

As with any new technology, what works perfectly for one business could be completely wrong for another. It’s therefore important to evaluate and weigh-up the pros and cons of adopting cryptocurrency – or any new technology, whether it is software or new hairdryers – before actually implementing it in your business.

Some of the main aspects that businesses look at include: costs, the time it takes to process a transaction, whether or not it is easily accessible for both the business and its customers, and the security of the transactions when using this payment method.

Here are some of the reasons why cryptocurrency is ideal for businesses to adopt as a chief method of payment:

1. Save on Transaction Costs

Banking costs can make a severe dent in business profits, particularly when card processing fees are involved. All traditional banks charge businesses a fee for processing card transactions – the most common form of payment – which can have a devastating effect on profits, especially for small businesses.

Since cryptocurrency is a decentralized entity and there is no regulatory or governmental body to manage the system, there is no one to collect these types of fees.

By using cryptocurrency for monetary transactions, businesses are able cut out these middleman bank charges and fees, and save what amount to large sums of money on an annual basis.

2. Quicker Transaction Times

With traditional bank payments, there is often a long waiting period before funds are cleared. Even if the payment leaves the customer’s account right away, it can take several days for the business to be paid for their goods or services.

There is no waiting period like this when using cryptocurrency. Transactions are cleared in real time, sometimes within a minute or two.

Thanks to this quicker transaction time, businesses can work with instant payments – which often has the positive side effect of improving customer service. This also helps in managing business finances in a more accurate and effective way.

As well as faster transactions, businesses also benefit from increased security with regards to fraud and chargebacks, as discussed below. Do take note that some currencies might take a little longer than others to process.

With new advancements and the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, purchasing it and getting it funded by the US banks is actually getting easier. The reduction in the purchase period – from 3-5 days, to ‘instant’ – means there is now no volatility risk of the currency a business deals in.

“With e-cureency based on cryptographic proof, without the need to trust a third party middleman, money can be secure and transactions effortless.” – Satoshi Nakamoto

3. Fraud and Chargeback Protection

There can be no argument that security is a top priority for businesses when it comes to money coming in and going out of company accounts.

Since cryptocurrency transactions are supported by blockchain technology, transfers are final and cannot be reversed or canceled after a transaction has been made. This means that, at least for businesses, security is much greater than traditional banks have been able to provide.

Transactions cannot be overridden or canceled as the funds are almost instantly added to the blockchain, through a process called mining.

What’s more, since cryptocurrencies do not offer loans and debt is a non-existent concept, it is impossible to spend what you do not have. This it enormously beneficial in preventing both fraud and chargebacks, and makes monetary transactions simpler and more clear-cut.

4. Worldwide Access

One of the greatest benefits of cryptocurrency is that it has the potential to be a global currency. This means that there are no boundaries to using one’s digital assets, as has often been the case for those attempting to use traditional forms of currency inside or out with specific geographical locations.

Cryptocurrency eliminates the obstacles of cash flow on a global scale. This makes business easier for global companies, while also eliminating the high costs associated with exchange rates and the inevitable waiting times for processing international transactions.

Cryptocurrency thus creates a bigger audience for your business, at more affordable rates.

5. Increasing Conversion Rates and Reaching New Markets

Since the user-base of cryptocurrencies continues to grow dramatically, with up to thousands of new digital wallets being created daily, cryptocurrency no longer belongs to a niche community. The digital payment market is expected to reach 726 billion by 2020.

Many people are now opting for cryptocurrency as their main means of transaction, because it offers increased security at a lower cost. This opens up new opportunities for businesses who choose to use cryptocurrency as a payment method, broadening their market of potential customers and potentially increasing conversion rates.

To give you some context, at any given moment, as many as 25% of consumers abandon their online shopping cart because their preferred method of payment is not available. Adding cryptocurrency as a payment option for customers could both have a positive impact your conversions and increase sales.

Bitcoin ATM locations are even beginning to appear to make it easier for customers to purchase bitcoin or altcoins to use in transactions.

Silver cryptocurrency cufflinks in plastic cases against a dark background

“So, my view is quite clear. I believe cryptocurrency is going to change the world.” – Richard Brown

How Your Business Can Start Accepting Bitcoin

Since Bitcoin users often go out of their way to support businesses that offer Bitcoin payment options – there are even continually updated lists of retailers who accept cryptocurrency payments – this has the potential to be a lucrative opportunity.

To start this process, you need to first create a Bitcoin wallet. The wallet acts as an address, to which customers will send their money when paying for goods. Think of it as an email address, because it works in much the same way: enter an address, punch in the amount to be paid, and press the ‘send’ button.

Alternatively, you could make use of a QR code – customers can then scan the code with their smartphone, which sends them directly to your address.

If you process a large number of transactions over the course of a single day, or direct payments are not easy to implement in your current business set up, you could opt to use a payment processor instead.

Payment Processors and Exchanges

Two of the most popular payment processors are CoinBase and BitPay. These processors do charge a processing fee. However, it is much cheaper than the rates charged by banks or by PayPal. Certain processors even have the functionality to convert your cryptocurrency into your local currency at the end of the day, if you don’t want to keep your assets in digital form.

You can also open an account at a larger exchange like Binance if you want the flexibility to trade your cryptocurrency for others that might not be listed elsewhere.  Binance lists over 150 different crypto coins and offers similarly low transaction fees when trading one for another.  You can even opt to store some of your funds in their own Binance Coin (BNB) and use it for even lower transaction fees.

Once you are all set up, you can start advertising that you accept Bitcoin in store, online, or anywhere else your customers interact with your business. You should also speak with your accountant to determine how any accounting or book-keeping activities might need to change with the incorporation of cryptocurrency payments.

A small business owner holding a sign that reads "Bitcoin accepted here"

So, is Cryptocurrency a Good Option for Small Businesses?

While corporate giants might be able to incorporate cryptocurrency payments seamlessly, small businesses seem to be a little more skeptical. But, as we have discussed, cryptocurrency can be a huge cost saver when it comes to bank fees. Cost-saving is, of course, a huge benefit for small businesses – especially those with relatively small margins.

On the other side of the (bit)coin, small businesses do have a much smaller customer base – so careful assessment is required. Depending on the type of business and its captive market, the chances there are cryptocurrency users among them could be quite small.

In terms of transaction speed, many small businesses may not have large amounts of capital lying around, so the possibility of receiving funds immediately can make a huge difference when it comes to covering daily costs of operation.

One way in which cryptocurrency might not be a good option for small businesses is the high volatility. In case of a huge crypto-crash, small business owners who keep profits as digital assets could potentially lose everything in a matter of seconds. It’s worth remembering, though, that some wallets can convert cryptocurrency to cash automatically after each transaction (or at the end of the day), which offers some insurance against volatility.

To determine whether or not your small business should accept cryptocurrency, a general rule of thumb is as follows: business-to-consumer type businesses should offer a crypto payment option, while business-to-business operations should hold off for a while until there is more certainty around the future of cryptocurrency. This may change in the future with the new Facebook Libra coin, but for now it’s a good adage to live by.

The Disadvantages of Cryptocurrency

While the general consensus on cryptocurrency is quite positive, there are a few dangers and disadvantages to consider.

As with all other online payment options, you need to practice a level of care and precaution when making cryptocurrency transactions. The first disadvantage to consider is the possible lack of security with some crypto wallets. Digital wallets, which are necessary to receive funds, have unfortunately proven to be less secure that most users would like.

Second, the cryptocurrency space is notorious for being extremely volatile, even though payouts are based on a dollar conversion rate. Although ways to make digital assets price-secure are emerging, this concept is still in the development stages. Although this might be attractive to investors, it is not a great selling point for business owners – especially those with low-profit margins or high operating costs.

Third, laws may vary from country to country, since each country has the right to their own sovereignty. This means that your country can govern how cryptocurrencies can be used within its border, as well as how they will be taxed. So, even though operating costs are much lower with cryptocurrency, local taxes can make it an expensive exercise.

Last, while the idea of cryptocurrency being an unregulated entity (and all the benefits that go along with that) may be attractive to many, it does mean there is some level of uncertainty for businesses. There is no telling what will happen in the future, and whether limitations on investments or tax increases on cryptocurrencies might be implemented.

Cryptocurrency Accounting

As it stands in the United States, the IRS classifies cryptocurrency as property rather than income when it comes to income tax. This can make taxes and accounting a little more difficult, so it’s worth finding someone who is familiar with cryptocurrency and taxation – and doing some research yourself – before committing to crypto payments for your business.

A home server setup to mine Bitcoin before the next halving in 2020.

“Bitcoin will do to banks what email did to the postal industry.” – Rick Falkvinge

Conclusion

Overall, cryptocurrency provides an incredible opportunity for business that want to expand their market and grow their company. With benefits like lower costs, faster transactions times, and increased security, there is really no reason why more businesses shouldn’t be using cryptocurrency as a payment option.

Cryptocurrency has been proven to have a positive effect on the bottom line of many large businesses, which is a fantastic USP. But they aren’t the only ones to benefit: cyrpto is also a very attractive option for entrepreneurs who want to reduce their costs and build up a successful business.

Published at Wed, 26 Jun 2019 17:51:11 +0000