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This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People
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Toxic people are all around us, sucking our energy, the way a vampire sucks blood from his victims. At least, this is the general, dramatized  picture of toxic people, but who are they, for real? They don’t come with a label, so you must first learn to recognize them and then do your best to deal with them, like most successful people do.

Toxic people have a high destructive potential, thus they can make a difference between you living a successful life and failing in all departments. This is why it is so important to know how to protect yourself from them.

Avoid people who try to take control over everything, the eternal-victim type, the arrogant type, the self-appointed judge, the gossip, and all the people who rely on lies and negativity to gain what they want.

How do these people affect you? They stress you out! Stress can bring an incredible amount of chaos in your life and you may end up failing on your job. Recent studies conducted at Stanford and Berkeley Center have confirmed that stress can deplete neurons, leading to brain damage and lower cognitive performance.

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Buddha put it simpler: “An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your body.”

How can you stay away from toxic people? Here are some of the methods used by highly successful people—embrace them, adapt them to your own lifestyle, and make the most out of your life!

Victims and complainers? Set their limits!

One of the most common types of toxic person is the complainer: they tend to portray themselves as victims and try to find people to listen and join their self-pity parties. The best way to deal with these toxic people is to define limits for them—don’t be rude and just push them away from you. Instead, let them explain their problem and then ask them how they plan to solve it. This will stop the complaints and can actually help that person, so you will be in a win-win situation, like you should be, if you want to be a successful person.

Control your emotions

The secret of all toxic people is that they tend to overwhelm you and make you respond to them on an emotional level, which is the point at which you become part of the negative mix. To deal with this, you must detach yourself and think about who you are and what your goals are. This will put you back on track and help distance you from their storm.

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Stay aware of your own emotions and allow yourself some time to rethink the situation. Remember you only need to respond to facts from toxic people, not to their emotional roller coaster.

Pick your fights wisely

When you are dealing with a warrior type of toxic person, you must know when to fight back and when to call it a day. Many negative people can be really violent, with the sole purpose of making you react in an impulsive manner— and impulsiveness often means poor judgement. Don’t try to beat them at their own game. There is a harsh phrase for these people: “Never argue with stupid people; they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”. Just replace “stupid” with “toxic” and you have a new motivational to pin on your board.

One tip on this point is to limit your caffeine intake, because it stimulates the release of adrenaline, which makes you more prone to fight an angry co-worker or so-called friend. Instead of coffee, drink more smoothies and green tea, which are known to boost your energy and refuel your vitamin and mineral intake, as well as raising your intake of antioxidants.

Be consistent

In order to impose limits and be able to pick your battles, you must be consistent in your behaviour. Never, ever step out of your armor, because you will be hit by toxic people. If you’ve made up your mind to avoid a certain person, do so, all the way. One single leak can turn into a river and you will be instantly drowning into the waves.

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Forgive but don’t forget

Successful people know how to protect themselves. Don’t be afraid to be egocentric, and don’t let other people’s mistakes bother you or steal your productive time—give a person a chance, then move on when they fail on you. If you invest time into giving a toxic person a second chance, you are bound to take a couple of steps backward in your own self-development.

And when you feel guilty about this, remember what Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do what you feel in your heart to be right; for you’ll be criticized anyway”.

Focus only on the positive side

Focusing your attention upon your problems or on someone else’s problems is a sure way to get stuck. What you should be doing is focusing on solutions: this relieves stress and makes room for the so-called constructive stress, which is the urge to solve the problem. This will put your blood in motion and help your mind focus on positive emotions. In terms of toxic people, this can be translated as focusing on how to deal with them, not on how dysfunctional they are. Again, this is a win-win situation.

Minimize the impact of toxic people

After an encounter with a toxic person it is normal to feel bad about yourself, to a certain extent. But, you need to minimize this impact and the amount of time you spend thinking about toxic people and their problems. Negative self-talk is not only useless, but can drive one mad and is a strong barrier against productivity. The only thing you will manage to do when you lose yourself in self-talk is to focus on all the negative thoughts and bring a bad karma all around you, which is basically bad energy. This promotes depressive states and procrastination, among other things.

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Get support

Humans were built to live in communities and support one another, especially during hard times. Dealing with toxic people is difficult, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. A fresh point of view can help you solve the problem, relieve you of the person who is bothering you, and make you feel better about yourself.

Make constructive associations

You can’t pick your family, but you can and should make wise picks when it comes to your friends, co-workers, and mentors. Detach yourself from people who are disrespectful to you and your work, and seek the company of inspiring, creative, and supportive people who can teach you new things and help you boost your performance. Remember the Latin phrase “festina lente”—hurry up slowly—and invest your time in own self-development, making every second count.

Singer Adele can give you a strong example of how to do it: “I have insecurities, of course, but I don’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”

Enjoy life and be happy!

Last, but not least, don’t let toxic people steal your joy. When you are proud of yourself for something you’ve done right, don’t let an arrogant person steal your happiness—block all the negative remarks and take your time to enjoy your moment of glory. However, don’t dive too deep, because you risk developing a toxic personality yourself. If needed—in other words, if you feel like doing it—take other people’s remarks and find the positive, constructive ideas in them, so you can learn from them, even if they are not the best teachers one can have.

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And remember, the only person who really knows you is yourself, and only you can work on your faults in order to achieve personal and professional success.

Featured photo credit: toxic via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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