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7 Questions You Must Ask Yourself To Know If You’re On The Right Track

7 Questions You Must Ask Yourself To Know If You’re On The Right Track

Being “on the right track” can mean completely different things for different people. But regardless of what characteristics you want your life to have, the same basic questions apply to everyone. Answer these seven questions honestly, and you’ll have your answer as to whether you’re on the right track or teetering off course.

1. Am I enjoying myself?

Enjoying life isn’t the only priority we should have. For example, enjoying life a little too much can lead to reckless and irresponsible behaviors. However, a much more common problem people have today is not making time for enjoyment. If you’re not careful, jobs, bills, and various obligations can end up occupying most of your time. In this case, we begin to break down like a car that has needed an oil change for too long. If you’re consistently busy, you may want to consider consciously planning out time for enjoyable activities. If we don’t do this, our minds often compensate with less healthy enjoyable activities, like eating junk food or gossiping just to blow off steam.

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2. Am I spending time with people I can learn from?

We know we want people around who have things in common with us – people who make us laugh, people we can relax and spend time with. But it’s also important to have people in your life who can teach you something – someone who is advanced in some area of life that you are not. Many of the most successful people in the world cite personal mentors as crucial to their success. And while it may not always be fun, certain people can challenge us in ways that catalyze our personal growth.

3. Am I feeling healthy?

With the exception of accidents, health issues are not strictly physical issues – they often accompany an underlying psychological problem, and/or an unhealthy lifestyle pattern. This is especially true for chronic illnesses. While we can’t immediately heal ourselves from disease, we can pay close attention to health issues that are developing in us and try to address them and understand where they came from.

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4. Am I making compromises?

Compromise can be a positive thing – like something you do with a friend when deciding what restaurant to eat at. However, compromise can also be an insidious bad habit that keeps people unsatisfied, while pulling them away from who they really are. If you frequently ignore your intuition, you can easily fall off the right track. For example, feeling like you need to relax, but instead going to do favors for a friend. Or on a broader scale, feeling the urge to pursue a certain career, but being coerced by others into a safer route.

5. Am I doing what I’m good at?

While research shows that practice is the most significant precursor for success, we all have innate skill sets and particular interests that we naturally drift toward. If you are constantly pushing yourself to be better at tasks that don’t come natural to you, or that you don’t enjoy, you can begin to slip off the right track. If you allow yourself to explore things you’re good at (whether in a career or otherwise), you’ll be happier and you’ll be more equipped to help others.

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6. Am I procrastinating my life away?

This is perhaps the easiest and least noticeable way to go off the right track, which makes it especially dangerous. It’s very easy to let ourselves believe in the “one day” lie: one day I’ll start exercising; one day I’ll spend more time with my family; one day I’ll start my own business. But if you don’t mean today, these things will probably never happen. Instead, you can begin taking small actions each day to bring about the changes you want. As long as you accomplish a small task, you’ll be moving toward a goal.

7. Am I following my heart or my ego?

It is often very difficult for us to tell whether we are doing, saying, and believing things because they are true, or because our egos tell us they’re true. Our egos can mislead us in countless ways. For example, you can think you’re beginning a new relationship because it makes you happy, when in reality, it’s because you feel the need to compete with an ex. If you have a hard time distinguishing between following your heart and following your ego, consider this: Your heart will lead you to genuine contentment and simple satisfaction, while your ego will chase fleeting happiness that depends on external factors.

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Featured photo credit: flickr/ kris krug via farm2.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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