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10 Simple Hacks To Stay Positive When Your Situation Looks Bad

10 Simple Hacks To Stay Positive When Your Situation Looks Bad

Bad things happen—that’s a fact of life. Luckily, although we might feel otherwise, there is always, always something to be thankful for. When it rains, you can be thankful for the plants that grow. When the night is long and the darkness is engulfing, you can be thankful for joy and light comes in the morning. When you hurt, you can be thankful that sometimes you have to go through the worst to arrive at your best.

It is not what happens to you that matters — it’s your attitude to what happens to you that matters. American psychologist Albert Ellis, famous for developing rational emotive behavior therapy, explains that how people react to events is determined largely by their view of the events, not the events themselves. In other words, life is. The rest is interpretation.

Sometimes, you just need to put things into perspective in order to remain positive.

Here are 10 ways to stay positive, even when your situation keeps getting worse.

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1. Spend more time with those who make you smile

Life is about the moments we spend with one another. It’s about relationships. Avoid people who irritate you and spend more time with those who make you smile. Don’t be embarrassed to confide in a close friend or a family member, or just hang out with the people you trust. Voicing your struggles to loved ones can be the best thing to lighten the burden and start the process of recovery. Sometimes, all we need is a listening ear. Besides, speaking what’s in your heart is therapeutic.

2. Look at how far you’ve come

You might be in a very bad place at the moment, but you’ve made it through a lot to get to where you are now. Acknowledge all you’ve gone through, all you’ve overcome, all you’ve achieved thus far. Don’t let your current state blight your achievements. The fact that you are still here is a testament to your strength. You can make it through this current situation.

3. Read widely about your situation

There’s not really anything that hasn’t happened before, and most of it has been recorded. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, read widely about your situation and how others made it through. You will learn a lot and discover that no mountain is insurmountable. Apart from the obvious benefits of gaining new knowledge and perspectives, studies have shown that reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent.

4. Let the upsetting emotions in

This might sound counterproductive, but it can work wonders. Acknowledge that you don’t like the situation you are in right now and allow yourself to feel and process the upsetting emotions.

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Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.” Get out of negativity by going through your feelings. Cry about your situation if you feel like it.  Let everything that’s upsetting out of your system. You will feel lighter afterwards and be in a better position to do something about it.

5. Re-evaluate the situation and the events that led to it

Did you lose your job? Is it anxiety or stress? Maybe you’re dealing with frustration or depression? What caused this situation or these feelings? Label the cause of your frustration in one to three words, but no more — “lost my job,” “poor health,” etc. Reflect on the situation for a while and decide that you are not going to let it bring you down without a fight. It’s easier to deal with problems once you know the exact source of your issues. Resolve to make changes if you don’t like the current state of things, even if it’s just changing your attitude or perspective. There’s always an option.

6. Seek help from people who are in a position to help

Gather yourself and seek help from those who can help. That may be someone who has been in a similar situation, a professional therapist, or someone you trust deeply. Most people want to help in any way they can. Don’t let one mean person deter you from reaching out for help or support. It’s not selfish to seek help, but it’s a terrible thing to be defeated when help is just a call away. Besides, it’s always nice to know that someone has your back. It can calm your mind and bring back positive feelings of love and hope.

7. Relinquish control and perfectionism

Sometimes changing your present circumstance isn’t possible at the time. Rather than wallow in defeat and try to control everything, accept that some things in life are beyond your control. Perfectionism holds people back. Admit you’re only human, and move on with your life. You might not have that new job you want, but you are working on it. You are taking steps and trying your best. That is what matters.

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8. Expect positive outcomes all the time

You’ve probably heard of the Placebo Effect. According to Steve Schwartz, studies examining the neurobiological effects of placebos have shown definitively that our expectations directly impact our interpretation of reality. Medical subjects who are told they will experience pain experience heightened pain. Subjects who are told that they have been given something to reduce pain, experience a greatly reduced level of pain. The only difference was the expectation each subject had going in.

If you expect bad things to happen to you all the time, you are more susceptible to having bad things happen to you all the time. On the other hand, if you have positive expectations it will cause you to interpret things in a positive manner.

As Schwartz rightly observed, “Experiencing the world with negative expectations is like viewing reality through a muddy waterglass. Your view will be distorted and you won’t like what you see.”

So, try and expect positive things in your life.

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9. Forget about people who judge you in your struggles

Some people can be quite judgmental when you are going through a rough time. No one is immune to pain and struggle in this life. Those who laugh at you are being ignorant. They are not better than you, nor do they know what the future holds for them or you. Don’t waste your energy thinking about them. Focus instead on getting through your current situation, not on their sideshows. Great people go through struggles and overcome. That’s what makes them so great. Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates — all have gone through their own struggles in life. There is no success without struggle.

10. Look forward to looking back on this event with pride

A bad streak in life is an opportunity to demonstrate courage and the human capacity to overcome. Not everything is a crisis. As long as you are alive and trying your best to improve, there is always a chance that you will succeed. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. When you give up, you forgo your chance to win. However, rising up and trying one more time — armed with lessons from past setbacks — is the key to success. Keep striving for better things. Know that one day you will look back at this event, proud of the wisdom, strength, and compassion you demonstrated when things were bad.

Remember, bad situations make for great, inspiring comeback stories.

Featured photo credit: techzia via pixabay.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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