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8 Strategies To Turn Your Bad Karma Around

8 Strategies To Turn Your Bad Karma Around

You’ve probably heard the saying “What goes around, comes around” way too many times in your life. No matter how cliché it sounds, it’s definitely true. Everything you do in life will affect your future in some way or another. Knowing this, you should always look to do good in life, so when instant karma comes to get you, it does so in a positive way. You can optimize the effect karma has on you by following these rules of life:

1. Think positive thoughts

The more positive you are, the happier you’ll be. If you approach each and every moment of your life in a positive fashion, you’ll end up seeing the good in everything. Even when things go wrong, staying optimistic will help you push past the bad, allowing you to see the silver lining through the dark clouds. If you spend your life looking for bad things to happen, you’ll miss out on the good that’s all around you.

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2. Rethink failure

Failure is universal to all humans. The most successful people in the world have spoken out about how many jobs they’ve been fired from, or how many business ventures they’ve made that have fallen flat. The difference between a successful person and a failure is the way in which they handle themselves when they fall short of a goal. While successful people use their mistakes as learning tools, people who fall short of their goals do so because they let their mistakes become dead ends. Failure is only a bump in the road, and if you treat it that way, good things will happen.

3. Continue learning

Too many people leave high school thinking “Great, I never have to read another book again!” Well, it’s true that you never have to, but do you really want to live the rest of your life not learning anything ever again? Just as you should learn from your mistakes, you should also push yourself to continue learning about anything you possibly can. The world is full of knowledge and wonders waiting to be discovered and understood, so why would you waste the time you have on Earth going through your days without ever experiencing anything new? You don’t want to wake up one day at 40 and realize you missed out on life. Try to learn something new each and every day. You might end up finding a passion for something you never knew you had.

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4. Be patient

I joked before about “instant karma,” and while sometimes people get what’s coming to them right away (good or bad), it usually takes time for good deeds to be rewarded. But be patient, because good things will come to you. Of course, I don’t mean to say “good things come to those who wait,” because in actuality, good things come to those who work hard and earn them. On the other hand, you shouldn’t simply expect good things to come to you just because you think you deserve them. Sometimes, hard work doesn’t pay off; that’s life. But, again, if you treat the times that your dedication didn’t pay off as a roadblock, you’ll never achieve the success you desire.

5. Be intrinsically motivated

I just alluded to this, but if you want good karma in life, you have to be resilient. You’re not going to be rewarded every time you do something well. Don’t let that stop you from doing good deeds. Instead of looking for a reward for your actions, look at your actions as the reward. Anyone would be more than happy to go out of their way to help others if they knew they’d be given some sort of reward. Being intrinsically motivated by knowing you’ve helped others will lead to a much more fulfilling life in the long-run.

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6. Challenge yourself

Like I said about being a life-long learner, good karma will come to you if you keep striving to improve yourself. Think of things you don’t consider yourself to be “good” at, and think about why that is. Most likely, the reason is that you never really gave it more than a passing try. Dedicate yourself to an interest or hobby, and it could turn into a life-long passion. You may even be able to turn what was initially a part-time hobby into a full-time career. Like I said before, if you don’t challenge yourself, you end up wasting the gift you were given when you were born.

7. Turn the other cheek

Not everyone in this world is going to be as kind and generous as you. You simply have to accept that, and not let others get you down. You can only control your own being, so if someone else does something to spite you, intentionally or not, the best thing you can do for your own well-being is to let it go. You might be offended or otherwise taken aback by someone’s actions, but you don’t walk in their shoes, and you don’t know what they’ve been through. Perhaps they’ve had an awful day and just took it out on you. While this isn’t necessarily excusable, reacting negatively will only make things worse for both parties involved.

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8. Spread the love

There’s no better way than to ensure good karma than to spread love around. A little effort can go a long way. A smile and a kind word here and there can be the catalyst that starts a chain reaction that can reach farther than you could ever imagine. Buying a dozen donuts for your colleagues could be the pick-me-up everyone needs to actually enjoy another Monday at the office. In turn, you’ll have lightened the mood of your workplace so that you can enjoy Monday as well. Again, doing something kind for others should never be about what you get in return, but your efforts will certainly make you feel better in some way or another.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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