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This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

This Is How Successful People Deal With Toxic People

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.

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 March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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