Confidence is so hard to come by these days for so many people. Self-assuredness and self-esteem are such fragile things; they can take a lifetime to build and minutes to destroy. Trying to build your confidence when you don’t have any is one of the trickiest things, but, it’s even harder to build your confidence from scratch again after losing it.
If you want to accomplish anything in life, you need to have confidence in yourself. You don’t always have to present that you have confidence, but it should always be there. Of course, it’s easy for us to say, and might actually be harder to accomplish in practice. So, what can we do to build confidence, and what do we need to know about confidence. These are some of the key things to consider about building confidence.
It isn’t always natural
For some people, confidence is a thing that comes naturally – many of us are just born as more confident individuals. Also, people who have enjoyed successful or privileged lives may also have a degree of natural confidence because they have been raised with opportunities and positives surrounding them. For others, confidence is not natural, but rather, it develops over time, and is nurtured when you find your passion and start excelling at it.
Overcoming new challenges
When you overcome new challenges, you will be in a position where you build your confidence up. Challenges come thick and fast in life, especially as you get older, and you will have to adapt in order to overcome these challenges. But, the good thing is that with each one you overcome, you will build more confidence, and this will help you become more confident and assertive in the future. With every achievement and accomplishment, you put yourself in a better position for future progression.
There are a lot of things that can link to self-confidence, and looking after and loving yourself is one of the best things you can do. When you love and respect yourself, you look better, and you feel better. A fit body leads to a fit mind, and this helps to boost your confidence and help you achieve more things. This can sometimes be the hardest thing because it’s easy to get down on yourself. But, if you look after yourself, and your body & mind it will certainly boost your self-confidence.
Don’t surround yourself with negative people
Negative people are not good for your confidence, and will only bring you down. You have to understand that the people you surround yourself with play a big role in your life and the way you feel about yourselves. It’s so crucial to make sure you have positive influences in your life, and that’s all about the people you surround yourself with. Building up your confidence is essential, and the way to do it is to surround yourself with more positive people.
We know how tricky it can be to build confidence from scratch, and you need to look at the best ways of doing this. Overcoming obstacles is a great start, and so is loving and respecting yourself, so you’ve got to make sure you do. Building and boosting your confidence is the best way of improving your life and furthering your prospects.
I strongly believe you can learn how to build self-confidence from scratch and I’m ready to teach you how to do it.
According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology self-confidence means:
a) self-assurance: trust in one’s abilities, capacities, and judgment (…)
b) a belief that one is capable of successfully meeting the demands of a task.
Being self-confident is the ability to trust we’re capable of doing something, no matter how big or small.
It is knowing you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone but yourself.
Self-confidence is what takes us from feeling inspired to actually getting started. It is the force that propels you to tackle challenges and face resistance when it comes to getting hard work done.
We tend to believe people who are self-confident were just born like that. We think they have an endless list of qualities that make them feel like they own it.
However, that’s far from the truth.
Being self-confidence is a skill, not a personality trait. And that means you can BUILD SELF-CONFIDENCE FROM SCRATCH.
And today I want to share with you my tips and tricks to build self-confidence from scratch.
Keep in mind this is not an easy process.
It may take years to build consistent confidence, but you can totally fake it till you make it and if you start applying these tips on a daily basis, you’ll start seeing improvement very soon!
How to build self-confidence from scratch
1. Find your fuel
Find that one thing that makes you want to overcome your insecurities.
What’s that goal you want to accomplish? What’s that dream you want to bring into reality?
Write it down and have it somewhere you can see it.
Remember that if you don’t do it yourself, nobody will do it for you, so you better start working towards it.
Some people say motivation is BS, and I mostly agree. You can rely on it to complete complex projects, but you can definitely learn how to motivate yourself to START and build momentum.
2. Stop caring about what other people think
I know, I know… it’s easier said than done.
If you really care too much about what others think and you can’t seem to get over it, think this:
“I care a lot about what they think, ok, I can use that to my advantage. If I don’t perform well, they’ll think I’m dumb, right? Then be the best I can do is to be the best I can possibly be at this one thing so they start liking me more.”
This is just a trick to get you started. Not a philosophy of life. It’s just a little mind trick you can use to start climbing out of the pleasing-others hole.
It can get you off to a good start and then when you start accomplishing little things, you’ll build your own reservoir of small wins that’ll help you feel more confident with time.
3. Embrace your uniqueness
You have a unique combination of experiences, personality traits, looks, jokes, tastes, knowledge, desires, and goals. Embrace it!
That means fully owning it.
You’re a full package of things and you’re not getting rid of every single one of your flaws, so you better start coming to terms with it.
And while you’re doing that, embrace the good things as well.
Dr. Seuss — ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.’
4. Start small
Be aware that big things are made of tiny little ones.
If you dream big and want to accomplish something that seems impossible, start off with small actions that can take you there.
Want to lose 100 pounds? Start by walking around your neighborhood for 10 minutes. The next day, walk for 15 minutes instead of 10.
If you start small but keep increasing it on a daily or weekly basis, imagine where you’ll be in one, three or six months!
5. Keep track of your accomplishments
I’ve talked about the wonders of journaling before and one of those wonders is that journaling can actually help you build your self-confidence every day.
Set 10-15 minutes a day to think about what you’ve accomplished so far.
Remember there’s no such thing as “unimportant” accomplishments; list things that make you proud, things you achieved thanks to your efforts.
Is it anything you’ve done that amazes people in some way or the other?
Or is it your resilience, your patience? Is it how smart or inventive you are?
Think about it and give yourself a good round of applause every day.
Exercising can not only give you a lean body, but it can also teach you more about yourself than anything else in the world.
When you’re serious about exercising, you start pushing your limits and breaking your own records, which is, for me, the best confidence-builder you can find.
Therefore, if you still haven’t included exercise as part of your daily routine, I highly recommend you start doing it.
Don’t be intimidated by it and remember to start small if you’re not used to it.
On the other hand, if you’re used to it, increase your reps, intensity, you name it.
Push yourself and you’ll soon be rewarded physically and mentally.
You might think self-confidence is just a personality trait: you either have it or you don’t.
Somehow we tend to see people as they are now and to ignore the process that took them there unless we know them very well.
So it’s easy to get caught up on this mentality that people who walk around with their shoulders back, smiling and owning their conversations have been like that since they were born.
And yes, there are people who are confident since they’re very young. But it still a skill. Some people develop that skill before others, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done when you’re older.
The most important thing about this topic is this: self-confidence is a skill like any other.
Again, you can build it little by little. Start today!
Let me know in the comments below what’s your go-to method to boost your self-confidence!
A box of store-bought gnocchi is great in a weeknight pinch, but have you ever had homemade gnocchi? The difference is substantial: When done well, from-scratch gnocchi are so airy and light that they basically melt in your mouth. No packaged gnocchi will ever give you that thrill.
If you’re intimidated by the process, know that this recipe, which I’ve come up with after many years of gnocchi-making, will set you up for success every time. It requires just three ingredients (potatoes, flour, and salt) and no fancy equipment. In fact, I see homemade gnocchi in your future tonight.
The Best Potatoes for Homemade Gnocchi
An all-purpose potato variety such as Yukon Gold (or the Désirée) is great for making gnocchi, as it has the right kind of starchiness to make them fluffy, and waxy enough to have them hold their shape.
As for the best way to cook them, I switch between boiling and roasting depending on how much time I have on hand. Roasting your spuds produces fluffy potato flakes that need very little flour to come together. However, boiling the potatoes whole, skin on, and then drying them in a hot frying pan produces flakes that are just as light. And because this method is more time- and energy-efficient, it’s the one I generally go for. It’s also the one I’ve recommended in the recipe below.
Preventing Chewy Gnocchi
After the potatoes have cooled, you’ll peel them, rice them, and knead them with the flour. Before you start, know this: The biggest culprit to chewy homemade gnocchi is too much flour. When used in excess, flour leads to chewy gnocchi, which is easily the worst thing that can happen to them — other than falling apart in boiling water. You’re looking for a soft and pliable (but not sticky) ball of dough.
Perhaps the most controversial note on making gnocchi is the use of eggs in the dough. Eggs help gnocchi hold their shape and keep them from falling apart when in boiling water. However, they also tend to produce slightly more tenacious gnocchi (eggs acting as a binder for all the starch) — a result that’s often frowned upon by purists. The recipe I’m sharing below is so foolproof that I believe it doesn’t need an egg.
Forming and Cooking Gnocchi
After making the gnocchi dough, you’ll roll each piece into ropes, cut the ropes into 1-inch pieces, then roll each piece out on a grooved surface (such as a gnocchi board), or gently roll along the back of the fork with your thumb. (Grooves help them trap in more sauce.)
You’ll then cook the gnocchi in a pot of heavily salted water. You’ll know they’re done when they float to the surface, which takes just about two minutes.
How to Serve Gnocchi
Gnocchi are delicious tossed with any sort of pesto (basil, arugula), but also with tomato sauce and mozzarella (alla Sorrentina). One can never go wrong with a good ol’ brown butter and sage sauce, enriched with crushed walnuts for crunch, if that’s something you might enjoy.
How to Make the Easiest Gnocchi from Scratch
Yield Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 50 minutes to 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- 2 1/4 pounds
Yukon Gold potatoes (choose ones that are roughly the same size)
all-purpose or ‘00’ flour, divided, plus more as needed
kosher salt, plus more for boiling
Potato ricer or fine-mesh strainer
Measuring cups and spoons
Rimmed baking sheet
Large frying pan
Boil the potatoes. Scrub 2 1/4 pound Yukon Gold potatoes and place in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover the potatoes by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and simmer until the potatoes are knife tender and cooked through, 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size. Start heating a large frying pan over medium heat when the potatoes are almost ready.
Drain and dry the potatoes. Drain the potatoes. Transfer to the hot pan and cook, turning them occasionally, until the skin and any exposed flesh is dry on all sides (do not let the skin brown), about 2 minutes.
Let the potatoes cool slightly, then peel. Set the potatoes aside until cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes while still warm.
Make the gnocchi dough. Place 1 1/3 cups of the all-purpose or ‘00’ flour and 2 teaspoons kosher salt on a work surface. Process the potato flesh through a ricer or a fine-mesh strainer onto the flour. Work and knead the potatoes into the flour, adding in 1/3 cup more of the flour a little at a time, until a soft and pliable but not sticky ball of dough forms. If the dough is too sticky, knead in more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed.
Roll the dough out into ropes. Dust the work surface with more flour and divide the dough into 8 portions. Working with one piece at a time, use your hands and roll it out from the center into a rope that is about 1/2-inch wide.
Cut the ropes. Cut each rope crosswise into 1-inch pieces, then transfer them to a floured rimmed baking sheet.
Form the gnocchi. Roll each piece out on a grooved surface (such as a gnocchi board), or gently roll along the back of the fork with your thumb. (Grooves help them trap in more sauce.) Return to the baking sheet.
Boil the gnocchi. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add half the gnocchi and stir. Boil until they float to the surface and are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a serving platter. Repeat cooking the remaining gnocchi.
Top with sauce and serve. Top with sauce if desired and serve immediately.
Make ahead: The uncooked gnocchi can be frozen solid on the baking sheet, then transferred to a zip-top bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Boil frozen, they will take about 3 minutes to cook.
Storage: Cooked gnocchi can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days.
At Kitchn, we know how important it is to find recipes that are worth your time. That’s why every tutorial — like this one — features recipes that have been tried and tested by our team of developers and at-home cooks from across the country. Questions or feedback for us? Say hello: [email protected]
A native Venetian with a background in Cultural Studies and Gastronomy, Valeria has been working in communications and marketing for the food industry while also pursuing a passion for cooking, writing and photography. As a food and travel writer, she has contributed stories on matters of Italian food culture and traditions to a variety of publications. Her debut cookbook, Veneto, a recipe book on the food of her origins, was published by Faber & Faber in 2017. Valeria currently lives, works, cooks and writes in the Langhe region of Northern Italy.
As a business owner, the people you work with are your most valuable asset. They contribute to the company culture and help you to grow your business and increase revenue. But sometimes team members – and sales team members in particular – don’t perform as well as they could. Why? It’s all about their attitude.
The power of positivity
The science proves that a more positive attitude helps you achieve more and make better decisions. In contrast, negative emotions stop people from seeing all the options that are available, which means they make poor decisions. Being positive also helps your interactions with other people. Time Management Ninja says that positive people are more confident, have higher energy levels and find that people around them are more helpful.
So the key to better sales performance is to turn your sales team into more positive, more confident people. With everyone performing at their peak consistently, you will see a resulting boost in productivity. To make this happen, foster a culture where negative emotions don’t end up impeding your goals and distracting you from what you want to achieve. Instead, make the choice to be positive, and find new ways to be productive and new attitudes with which to face new challenges.
12 ways to boost productivity through positivity
Here are 12 tips to foster that positive, confident atmosphere within your company so you can boost sales team productivity.
1. Bask in positivity, discourage negativity
Whether you’re running the company or are a member of a team, surround yourself with positivity. Ban negative self-talk in favour of a positive attitude. If everyone around you is confident and positive, then it will be easier for you to be confident and positive too. If the whole team is positive, that’s great for morale, so ignore the naysayers and keep the atmosphere happy.
2. Trust your people
As a team leader, it’s important to believe in your employees and let them know you believe in them. If managers and bosses are confident in the capabilities of the team members and let them know they are trusted, this creates an atmosphere of positivity which has a knock-on effect on productivity and sales. As Andrew Jensen says, “Show that you trust your employees to make the right decisions for the overall well-being of the company.”
3. Build on team members’ strengths
Similarly, recognise the strengths of individual team members and let them use and build on them. When sales team members are confident in their skills, they will be more productive, and open to opportunities for growth and development. Read how to identify the strengths of a great sales person and hire for them.
4. Encourage competition
By nature salespeople are competitive. As Cliff Kennedy says: “Great sales people love to sell; they sell because of the experience, not simply for the commission.” That’s why you can tap into that competitive nature and encourage friendly rivalry to improve productivity and sales.
5. Use rewards
Rewards are a great motivational tool. They don’t have to be large. Any acknowledgement of achievements and strengths will help team members feel appreciated. Rewards also work well with the competitive atmosphere mentioned above.
6. Create an information sharing culture
If you truly want your sales team to be confident and productive, give them the tools they need to make sales easily. That means providing the information they need to answer the questions customers ask. A knowledge base that they can call upon their tablet puts answers at their fingertips, making it easier for them to close sales. And if a topic is missing, use their feedback to ensure that answer is available next time. Over time, your knowledge base will become a great resource for your team.
7. Provide training
Training is another good confidence builder. Take the time you need to give team members the help they need to be effective and productive. Then go into the field to assess how they execute the strategy and close sales. Give feedback to create a cycle of continuous improvement and you will see the results in the sales figures.
8. Position them as experts
Sales team training must also cover how to create value for your customers. Help your salespeople to see themselves as experts in their patch and in your business. Help them to expand their expertise so they can solve problems for your customers. The more they are able to do this, the more confident and productive they will be. This approach will create a positive cycle of excellence which will benefit everyone and bring in revenue.
9. Get strategic input
Let your team have input on creating your sales strategy, outlining benefits to clients, deciding on targets and thinking about rewards. Find out what motivates them and build that into your team strategy. This empowers your team members, enabling them to make better decisions and ultimately more sales. Time spent on this upfront is not wasted time; it’s a long-term strategy which will build loyal, committed and productive team members.
10. Communicate regularly
Communicate. If you have to over communicate. Effective and honest communication keeps your team connected to the business and to you so that they are poised for success. Make sure that you are in contact with your team regularly so they have the information that they need and feel a part of the overall company. Authentic and honest communication will win every time.
11. Encourage creativity
Encourage your sales team to be creative, to take risks and to laugh at themselves. When people aren’t afraid to try new things they find new ways to make sales, and feel more confident when these are successful.
12. Use positivity-boosting techniques
Remember to use positivity boosting techniques like motivational talks, meditation, exercise, visualisations and so on to create greater confidence, clearer thinking and better relationships both within the team and with your customers.
Finally, don’t forget that you’re the one hiring the sales team. Trust your own judgement and you will not only build a team you will be proud of, but you can use the strategies above to turn them into a productive and confident sales team.
The infographic below summarises a research report from The Bridge Group, who surveyed 355 leading B2B companies, revealing how they organise their sales teams and reward their sales development reps (SDRs). Read the full report here.
Looking for a proven sales tool to help you close more deals? Sign up for a free 21-day evaluation of OnePageCRM and see how our Next Action Sales method can help you get sales done!
Women with low self esteem unite! That used to be me. I had the worst, gutter-level self esteem. I’d do anything for other people to like me. I’d do entire assignments for other people in school but still get treated badly. I hated myself. I felt used and betrayed. But I rose above that mentality. I shifted my mindset and promised to work on myself. All these tips on how to build self esteem in women are what I have cultivated along my own journey!
Is it just me or is it harder for women to have high self esteem than men? A lot of awesome women feel like they’re a garbage can. On the other hand, there’s a guy who thinks he’s the actual bomb when he has no reason to be? Just me? Okay…
Women with high self esteem are capable of managing their lives with the utmost potential, passionately chasing after their dreams and fulfilling their wildest desires. Women with high self esteem are strong lionesses.
Women with high self esteem are aware of their identity, have boundaries, treat themselves right, and expect no less from other people. Women with high self esteem love themselves. So, how can we as women learn to love ourselves? Let’s delve into my study on how to build self esteem in women!
What is Self Esteem?
Self esteem is the way you look at yourself. It’s how much you think you are worth. It’s how you think you fare compared to other people. Self esteem is in your mind, and comes from within. A lot of people desire to improve their self esteem, and guess what? They do. Real people out there in the world find love for themselves. People who felt they couldn’t, and hated themselves, and punished themselves. If they can, so can you.
What is the importance of self esteem?
Before we dive into how to build self esteem in women, let’s look at why self esteem means a lot. Take it from me, self esteem is very important. Never feel inferior to anyone else. You can put your life in jeopardy by feeling low of yourself. You make bad calls and decisions if you have low self esteem. They can cost you security, job, money, respect, health and all the good things in life. Why? Because you found it hard to believe your opinion had weight.
As if that weren’t scary enough, people with low self esteem are easy to spot and bully. I’m sorry but it has to go. Everything from how you carry yourself, how you treat others (with that sickly sweet kindness), to how you willingly let people take advantage of you. You need to put yourself first. And no, it’s not being selfish. It’s being real.
How to Build Self Esteem in Women
Let’s go! These are my 6 tried and tested strategies on how to build self esteem in women.
1 | Stop trying to be nice to everyone.
The first strategy on how to build self esteem in women is to be firm and strong. People respect strong tough women more than the nice girl. You don’t even have to be evil and bossy, you just have to be able to refuse requests with confidence. People are going to expect you to agree to their every whim but you actively have to turn them down. Start practicing today. You are probably already a do-gooder, a people-pleaser and a doormat all in one. Start saying no. If you can’t seem to hold your ground while you repeatedly refuse someone, get up and LEAVE. That’s the first exercise. Start saying no.
2 | Say affirmations to yourself
I know it can be hard to love yourself after life-long self hatred, but it can be done. Everyone wants to hear words of praise, gratitude and encouragement. It feels good to hear such. That’s why you need to start saying phrases of self praise, love and encouragement to YOURSELF. Trust me, it works. My fave affirmations include: “I am worthy.” “Things always work out for me.” “I am deserving of all the good things out there”. Affirmations are a great strategy for how to build self esteem in women! Every time you say something nasty about yourself, say two nice things about yourself. Stop wasting your breath and brain space on nasties!
3 | Reconcile with your old self
In the process of improving ourselves, we look back at the old versions and feel hatred and even disgust. One of the most important steps to building self esteem is to let go of any negative emotions you have towards your old self. You’re better now, but that doesn’t mean you were worse before! Make peace with your old self. The moment you realize you were worthy then, too, is when you will feel a weight being lifted off your shoulders.
4 | Work on yourself every day
One of the most important steps towards building self esteem is to work on growing yourself every day. You can go out for a walk, read a book, listen to a podcast, dedicate time and effort to learning more about a new topic or work out. Now, you don’t need to do any of these things to be worthy. But since you are coming from a place of low self esteem, these things will help you feel better. They will make you feel like you achieved something to build your self esteem.
5 | Social media sucks
One of the core reasons for our low self esteem is social media. Instagram posts showcase your friends on vacations, models with their stunning bodies and everyone else in a better place than you. Social media is the number one place to compare yourself to other people’s carefully cherry picked, photoshopped, curated pictures. People try so hard to pretend to be living their best life. Unfollow everyone that makes you feel unworthy. Because you are worth the same good things that they are worth. You are no different.
6 | Be positive
My last strategy on how to build self esteem in women is to be positive! Try to stop being sour and negative about everything. Look at the bright side once in a while. It works wonders. Think about how everything will work out in the end. If you get into a bad situation, keep positive. It hurts no one to be positive. In fact, it saves you time and your state of mind. Have a positive perspective, and assure yourself that everything will be okay in the end.
You’re Already on Your Way to Better Self Esteem
Look at you, searching and actively wanting to build your self esteem! You’ll get there, I promise. You are choosing to work on yourself, and that’s amazing. Keep going. Keep practicing these self esteem exercises mindfully. Keep building your self esteem. I hope you enjoyed my study on how to build self esteem in women. Use these strategies and beat that poor self esteem, ladies!
A comprehensive step-by-step guide to implementing an intelligent chatbot solution
Oct 31 · 5 min read
If you are interested in developing chatbots, you can find out that there are a lot of powerful bot development frameworks, tools, and platforms that can use to implement intelligent chatbot solutions. How about developing a simple, intelligent chatbot from scratch using deep learning rather than using any bot development framework or any other platform. In this tutorial, you can learn how to develop an end-to-end domain-specific intelligent chatbot solution using deep learning with Keras.
Before jumping into the c o ding section, first, we need to understand some design concepts. Since we are going to develop a deep learning based model, we need data to train our model. But we are not going to gather or download any large dataset since this is a simple chatbot. We can just create our own dataset in order to train the model. To create this dataset, we need to understand what are the intents that we are going to train. An “ intent” is the intention of the user interacting with a chatbot or the intention behind each message that the chatbot receives from a particular user. According to the domain that you are developing a chatbot solution, these intents may vary from one chatbot solution to another. Therefore it is important to understand the right intents for your chatbot with relevance to the domain that you are going to work with.
Then why it needs to define these intents? That’s a very important point to understand. In order to answer questions, search from domain knowledge base and perform various other tasks to continue conversations with the user, your chatbot really needs to understand what the users say or what they intend to do. That’s why your chatbot needs to understand intents behind the user messages (to identify user’s intention).
How can you make your chatbot understand intents in order to make users feel like it knows what they want and provide accurate responses. The strategy here is to define different intents and make training samples for those intents and train your chatbot model with those training sample data as model training data (X) and intents as model training categories (Y).
The required python packages are as follows, (here I mentioned the packages with versions that I have used for the developments)
I will define few simple intents and bunch of messages that corresponds to those intents and also map some responses according to each intent category. I will create a JSON file named “intents.json” including these data as follows.
First we need to import all the required packages
Now we load the json file and extract the required data.
The variable “ training_sentences” holds all the training data (which are the sample messages in each intent category) and the “ training_labels” variable holds all the target labels correspond to each training data.
Then we use “ LabelEncoder()” function provided by scikit-learn to convert the target labels into a model understandable form.
Next, we vectorize our text data corpus by using the “ Tokenizer” class and it allows us to limit our vocabulary size up to some defined number. When we use this class for the text pre-processing task, by default all punctuations will be removed, turning the texts into space-separated sequences of words, and these sequences are then split into lists of tokens. They will then be indexed or vectorized. We can also add “oov_token” which is a value for “out of token” to deal with out of vocabulary words(tokens) at inference time.
The “ pad_sequences” method is used to make all the training text sequences into the same size.
Let’s define our Neural Network architecture for the proposed model and for that we use the “ Sequential” model class of Keras.
Our model architecture looks as follows.
Now we are ready to train our model. Simply we can call the “ fit” method with training data and labels.
After training, it is better to save all the required files in order to use it at the inference time. So that we save the trained model, fitted tokenizer object and fitted label encoder object.
Okay. now it’s time to check how our model performs. 😊
We are going to implement a chat function to engage with a real user. When a new user message is received, the chatbot will calculate the similarity between the new text sequence and training data. Considering the confidence scores got for each category, it categorizes the user message to an intent with the highest confidence score.
Perfectly flaky and crispy samosas, stuffed with savory and spicy veggies, are a filling snack, easy to transport, and always a crowd-pleaser! Plus, you won’t have to worry about accommodating anyone’s diet — these Homemade Samosas are vegan.
Samosas are often deep-fried, but if deep-frying at home intimidates you, you can still enjoy these homemade samosas! Instead of frying, these are easily baked.
Everything in this recipe is made from scratch, including the dough. It was taught to me by my dear friend, who happens to be our culinary assistant here, Ami. Her mum taught her how to make authentic samosas, a popular treat in India, and I’m so happy Ami shared this recipe with me because they are incredible!
What Are Samosas?
Samosas are a hugely popular food in India, the Middle East, and Asian countries, and it’s not hard to understand why. What’s better than a crispy pastry filled with spices, herbs, potatoes, and other mouthwatering ingredients?! Sometimes samosas are filled with minced meat, but we’re keeping this recipe vegan.
What You Need To Make Baked Samosas
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- Small pan
How To Make Samosas
Learning how to fold the dough for the samosas is a bit of a learning curve, so don’t get discouraged! By the end, your samosas will look as perfect as though you ordered them from takeout. Here’s how you make them (and don’t forget to get the full recipe with measurements, on the page down below):
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
- To make the dough, combine flour, ajwain, and salt in a bowl. Drizzle in the vegetable oil and rub with your fingers until combined.
- Sprinkle in 6 tablespoons of water and knead into a stiff dough. If the dough feels too dry or doesn’t come together, add another tablespoon of water. Cover the dough and let it rest for 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the filling. Place the diced cooked potatoes, peas, ground coriander, garam masala, salt, and lemon juice in a bowl.
- In a small pan, heat one tablespoon of oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they start to sizzle, add the ginger and green chili. Cook for about 30 seconds.
- Pour the ginger mixture onto the potatoes and mix all the ingredients together.
- Divide the dough into 7 equal pieces. Roll each piece into one 1/8-inch thick circle (roughly 6″ x 6″) and cut the circle in half.
- Take one of the half circles and moisten the cut edge (the flat, not curved side) with a touch of water. Bring the two ends of the edge together and press to form a cone.
- Fill the cone with 1 or 2 tablespoons of filling, making sure to leave some dough for sealing at the top.
- Moisten the open end of the dough with a little water and press to seal it together. Repeat with the remaining half-circles of dough, placing each assembled samosas on your prepped baking sheet.
- Brush the samosas with oil and place in the oven, bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown, flipping halfway through.
Gemma’s Pro Tips For Making Authentic Samosas From Scratch
- For fried samosas: Heat 2 inches of oil in a pan to 375°F (190°C) and gently drop 2-3 samosas at a time into the oil. Fry, turning once until evenly browned. Remove and let drain on paper towels.
- Ajwain and amchur can be found online or in Indian markets. They help give these their distinctive taste, but if you can’t find these spices, you can omit them — the samosas will still be delicious!
- Don’t overwork your dough; you only need to bring it together. Overworking will make the samosas too hard. You also want to make sure you don’t add too much water; a stiff dough will give you a crispy final product.
- Don’t use flour while rolling your dough out — if the dough is sticky, use a little oil on your rolling pin.
How To Store Homemade Samosas
You can store leftover samosas for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. To reheat, preheat your oven to 300°F (150°C) and then cook for 15 minutes.
Self confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality — the more self confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.
Although many of the factors affecting self confidence are beyond your control, there are a number of things you can consciously do to build self confidence. By using these 10 strategies you can get the mental edge you need to reach your potential.
Build Self Confidence
Although clothes don’t make the man, they certainly affect the way he feels about himself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage by taking care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean clothes, and being cognizant of the latest styles.
This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on clothes. One great rule to follow is “spend twice as much, buy half as much”. Rather than buying a bunch of cheap clothes, buy half as many select, high quality items. In long run this decreases spending because expensive clothes wear out less easily and stay in style longer than cheap clothes. Buying less also helps reduce the clutter in your closet.
One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? tired? painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25 <54c12dad2cc2b53ae830e39915b1a3e70288dbcbbeb8bbf8395437c5dc3c512c>faster will make to you look and feel more important.
Similarly, the way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you’ll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You’ll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.
4. Personal Commercial
One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker are few and far between. You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial. Write a 30-60 second speech that highlights your strengths and goals. Then recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost.
When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can’t have it. This leads you to dwell on your weaknesses. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to mentally list everything you have to be grateful for. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive momentum. You’ll be amazed how much you have going for you and motivated to take that next step towards success.
6. Compliment other people
When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you’ll become well liked and build self confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.
7. Sit in the front row
In schools, offices, and public assemblies around the world, people constantly strive to sit at the back of the room. Most people prefer the back because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self confidence. By deciding to sit in the front row, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self confidence. You’ll also be more visible to the important people talking from the front of the room.
During group discussions many people never speak up because they’re afraid that people will judge them for saying something stupid. This fear isn’t really justified. Generally, people are much more accepting than we imagine. In fact most people are dealing with the exact same fears. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you’ll become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts, and recognized as a leader by your peers.
Along the same lines as personal appearance, physical fitness has a huge effect on self confidence. If you’re out of shape, you’ll feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By working out, you improve your physcial appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, it creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.
10. Focus on contribution
Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you’re making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about you own flaws. This will increase self confidence and allow you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world the more you’ll be rewarded with personal success and recognition.
The prospect of incorporating Computer Vision with Machine Learning gives me chills! It’s really fascinating how we can build and train models to make machines identify between images, such as a picture of a dog or a cat, with phenomenal precision. The potential is endless. In this article I am going to explain how you can build an image classifier yourself with the help of TensorFlow for Poets, created by Google, to recognize just about anything in the world!
Before we begin, I feel obligated to provide some background information. TensorFlow is an open-source library created by Google that specializes in machine learning applications. For anybody trying to get started with computer vision and machine learning, this is a great starting point to understand the elaborate process of image classification
Building an image classifier from scratch is a colossal and daunting task. There are millions of things that need to be taken into consideration. Luckily for us, Google has open-sourced one of its best image classifier models called the Inception, which was trained on a staggering 1.2 million images from a thousand different categories for two weeks at a stretch in some of the fastest machines in the world.
We are going to use this existing model and build our own on top of it. This approach brings with it numerous advantages. For instance, it will save us a lot of time, some of the parameters that the Inception has already learned can be reused and we can still build a pretty accurate classifier with far less training data. This process of reusing pre-trained models on different but related tasks is known as Transfer Learning in the world of Deep Learning.
First step is to download the training images for your classifier. These will consist of the images that you want your classifier to learn to recognize. You need to keep them neatly divided and labeled into separate folders. The folder_names are considered as the label for the photos they contain.
For this example, we will download images of 5 types of flowers with over 700 images for each type. Download the images here. You can choose to classify something else, but make sure your directory is neatly divided like above. Ideally, you should have over a hundred images for each category of pictures (e.g >100 images of cats, >100 images of dogs, etc). The more photos you provide, and the more diverse they are, the more accurate your classifier will become.
Tips: There is a really cool Chrome Extension called Fatkun Batch Download Image to bulk download images from Google.
All the scripts that we need are kept in googlecodelab’s git repository. We will need to clone the repository to our computer. Note that you need to have git installed in your computer. Open terminal and use the following command to clone the repo:
The repo contains the following scripts:
Copy the flower_photos folder that contains all your training images inside the tf_files folder of the repository. To confirm the contents of your working directory, use the command ls:
This should display the folders of flowers that you are about to retrain your classifier on.
As I have mentioned before, these image classification models contain millions of parameters. We are simply trying to build our classifier on top of it. In other words, we will simply train the final layer of the network. Although we are not required to explicitly code any part of the script, it is highly recommended that we do understand some of the parameters being used by the script.
A Little Theory
According to TensorFlow’s Image Retraining documentation, ‘Bottleneck’ is an informal term used to describe the layer that comes just before the final layer that performs the actual classification. The bottleneck layer has been trained to come up with a set of values that are a good representative of the images and which can be used by the classifier to differentiate between the different classes it’s been asked to recognize. [Read the documentation for a more detailed explanation.]
The following directory stores the cache of all the bottleneck values so that they don’t have to be recalculated and therefore saves precious time:
The following commands just direct to the different directories of the scripts:
And finally, adding the directory of our training images:
Combined, we have these set of commands. We will run it in the terminal to start the retraining process – downloads the pre-trained model, adds a new final layer, and trains that layer on the flower photos downloaded.
It will take around 30 minutes to train the classifier on all the images. The time will vary depending on the number of training images that you have provided. [Occasionally, you may be overwhelmed with errors. Don’t be intimidated. I have included solutions to two common errors in the footnote. Solutions to rest can be found in StackOverflow and Quora]
Once you have the trained classifier, it is ready to be tested. You could download a new image of one of the category of flowers that we trained our classifier on, or select a picture from our existing sets of training images. This time we will call our label_image script. Run the following command to classify the new image:
You will get a list of all the categories with their corresponding confidence score. The above result claims that the test_image is a daisy with (
99%) confidence, which means that our classifier has predicted pretty accurately.
You have now successfully built a pretty accurate image classifier. Good luck.
Free Book Preview Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising
As a writer, landing a book deal has always been a huge goal of mine. But in early conversations with literary agents, much of the feedback was the same: “Your book idea is great,” they’d say. “But you need to grow your following significantly in order for us to sell this to a publisher.”
When I started those meetings, I had just under 5K Instagram followers, and I realized I needed to get real about growing an audience before I could try again. But I also recognized that it’s not enough to simply have a large following. Your audience needs to be engaged and invested in the content you’re creating. Vanity metrics won’t work for this one: If your followers don’t actually know who you are or what you do, they’re far less likely to buy your book—or product, or music—when it comes out.
Since those first meetings, I’ve more than tripled my following to 20.3K. And I’ve done it intentionally, with the long game in mind. By that, I mean I’ve determined what kind of content aligns with my long term goals, and by building engagement with other members of communities I hope to become an integral part of. It can seem intimidating at first, but if you use a growth strategy that fits with your gifts and passions, amassing a following can be done quickly and effectively. Here are three ways I’ve grown an authentic, engaged audience.
1. Follow the yellow brick hashtags.
Through the wildernesss of the audience-building process, let hashtags light your path! Hashtags are the best way to discover accounts similar to yours, or who care about the same things you do. So work backwards. If your career goal is to be a sustainability expert, which hashtags would sustainability advocates follow? Plus, Instagram has a helpful feature that shows you smaller related hashtags for each major hashtag.
When you find accounts of people who meet your “customer alias” (in other words, someone who would be the perfect reader, customer, or follower for your content or business), engage with them. Comment on their photo thoughtfully or send them a message. These small efforts over time yield big results, because if you’re sharing content they feel a strong connection with, they’re likely to share your posts on their stories or recommend your page to others who share their interests and passions.
2. Use your profile as your stage.
Secondly, it’s not enough to just go after the ideal follower without changing your Instagram strategy. I made a clear and intentional shift from posting strictly about my personal life to posting more content that demonstrates what I stand for, and what my eventual book will preach: Empowerment and finding confidence to go after a bigger life. I’m also not shy about sharing my talents. Since I’m a writer, I make that known with long captions that show off my writing style. It helps my followers get to know me and my voice.
Strategic, thoughtful content will look different depending on your career goals. A close friend of mine, Caitlin Quisenberry, is a singer and songwriter. She was looking for a way to get the attention of music business executives, and recognized that much like publishing houses, record labels want to know you have a fanbase already invested in your work. So she began posting frequent videos of herself singing, turning each Instagram square into a miniature stage. She also began watching hours of advice on YouTube from music industry professionals. Over time, her strategy and self-education paid off. Her videos attracted the attention of a recording studio in Nashville, who invited her to come record. Her first single, Blue, will debut February 7th. “I realized I had to prove to the world what I could do,” Quisenberry told me. “So, I created a content strategy based on sharing my talent, and I’ll continue to grow my platform doing just that.”
3. Aim to create a community, not just a fanbase.
Finally, remember that in the end, your followers are more than a fanbase. They’re a likeminded community who you should support as much as they support you. To have any hope for an authentic, loyal following, you have to view your role on Instagram as twofold: To entertain, and to serve. This means you must be open to community feedback. Ask for more of what your followers want. What insights are they looking for? Do they prefer your landscape or portrait photography? Do they like your “how-to” podcast episodes, or your interviews with guests? Do they prefer hearing your original music or covers?
Engage with your community regularly by using the ‘poll’ and ‘question’ functions in your stories to gauge what your followers want more of. And always make time to reply to comments and thoughtful DM’s, no matter how busy you get. Followers are much more likely to engage frequently if you actually reply to them. It’s an honor and a privilege to share your talent and expertise with people who show they care, so treat it as such.
As you continue to build your Instagram presence, you’ll learn what works for your unique purposes and what you most enjoy sharing, as well as how you best engage with your community. But commit fully. Done is better than perfect, and the Instagram algorithm favors more frequent posts. And remember: the first step to building an authentic audience is to share your authentic self.