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How To Deal With Confusion And Find Success In Life

How To Deal With Confusion And Find Success In Life

The path to success is a long road full of twists, turns, peaks, and valleys. While on this road, you’ll almost certainly find yourself stuck in a quagmire of confusion and be unsure of which direction to turn.

Even though you’ll feel stranded, remember that it happens to everyone; you’re not alone. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you’ll get through whatever problem you’re facing only if you persevere.

If you turn back, you’ll be giving up all the potential success you could have possibly attained had you simply stepped back and assessed your situation. When life throws you a curve ball, you should always heed these pieces of advice in order to properly deal with confusing situations.

Analyze your goals

When you started out on your journey, you most likely had a set of goals you aimed to accomplish. Of course, you were most likely incredibly eager to get on the path toward success that you might not have spent much time actually thinking these goals through.

When you hit a bump in the road, you should always check your premises before forging ahead. Ask yourself:

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– Are my goals practical?

Anything can be achieved if you put your mind to it, but once you achieve your goals, will you be able to put them to good use? Are you studying biology to become a biologist, or because you just like to learn about plants and animals?

Make sure your goals are actionable. After all, once you attain them, you’ll soon set even more goals with even higher aspirations. Make sure that the next step you take will open another door for you to walk through.

– Are my goals realistic?

Will practicing guitar three hours a day really make you world famous? By all means, follow your passion, but you should definitely have a backup plan in case your big dreams turn out to be pipe dreams.

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– Will my goals change?

This is a tough one, because it’s hard to know what your priorities will be five or 10 years down the road. When I was 18, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, and even planned on sacrificing having a family of my own in order to help other children and families who needed me.

When I met the woman who would later become my wife, that all changed. Of course, in the meantime I earned two degrees relating to education that I may or may not ever use. At least I can write, right?

Appreciate your efforts

Every time you accomplish something, you’ve improved upon the person you were the day before. Even if you’re not doing exactly what you thought you’d be doing with your life, you can appreciate the experience you gain on a daily basis.

Think about it: If you’re stuck in a job that you never saw yourself doing, but you’re doing it well enough to stay employed, you must be doing something right. And, of course, you shouldn’t just look to your job to make meaning of your life.

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Look to other aspects of your life, such as your friends, family, and hobbies to define yourself. You might not be on the path you thought you’d be on, but you certainly can consider yourself a success for accomplishing all that you have done in your life.

Try, fail, and try again

Failing at something is not a roadblock. Rather, it’s simply a bump in the road on the path to success. If you treat failure as a roadblock, you won’t get very far.

You never know how close you are to finding success, so you should always keep pushing, especially when faced with the sting of failure. Furthermore, you should redefine your failings as learning experiences.

When you fail at something, you’ve gained knowledge you didn’t have before (even if that knowledge is “Well that didn’t work!”). Take that knowledge with you when you get up to try again, and you’ll be able to attack the issue through an improved perspective.

Find a balance in life

Like I said before, you might find yourself on a path you never thought you’d be on, and you might not even want to be on. You can’t simply pause or restart your life from the last save point, to borrow a video game term. But it’s never too late to start working toward a different path.

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Think of a hobby you gave up a long time ago and pick it back up, even if it takes a little extra effort after a long day’s work. Of course, you have obligations in your life that need to be fulfilled, but you should never completely give up everything you enjoy because life got in the way.

Keep your passion alive, and you’ll find moments to enjoy every day of your life.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm3.staticflickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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