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The Secret Of Happiness: Don’t Wait, Just Take The Chance

The Secret Of Happiness: Don’t Wait, Just Take The Chance

Lately, I’ve been hearing a new spin on the old saying, “Good things come to those who wait.” The new sentiment is that good things (like happiness) come to those who work hard and go get them. Both versions of the mantra have their merits. The original instills the idea that patience is a virtue, and not everything comes easily. The amended version clarifies the misconception that simply waiting for something good to happen is not enough; you have to work for everything you earn in life. Keep this in mind as you go through life, and understand that every moment you live is another chance you have to work for what you deserve.

1. Nothing will simply come to you

Unless you were born into an incredibly wealthy family, you’re going to have to work for everything you want in life. Unfortunately, many people have grown up with a sense of entitlement, putting hard work off until “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.” We seem to be under the impression that one day everything we’ve ever wanted will simply appear in front of us for the taking. We have to realize that the house we grew up in didn’t grow out of the ground; our parents worked every day of their lives to make sure we had that roof over our heads. Furthermore, if we were simply handed everything on a silver platter, we’d find no fulfillment in life. Working hard may be tough, but it makes earning the things we desire much more rewarding.

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2. Risks are a necessity

No one gets anywhere staying in their comfort zone. Expanding this zone may be difficult, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to achieve anything. You’ll never get over your fear of public speaking if you avoid classes and jobs in which you’ll have to give presentations to a large group. Avoidance is never the answer. The worst thing that can happen when you take a risk is you could fall short of your goal. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed, it simply means you’ve found a way that didn’t work. When you take a risk and fall short, make the most out of the negative experience by learning from your short-comings, and changing your plan of attack the next time around.

3. Rewards make work worth doing

I alluded to this before, but it’s worth reiterating: Earning a reward is much more fulfilling than simply being given it. When you’re simply handed everything in life without having to work for it, the only thing that happens is your desire for more increases. Wisdom shows us that you’ll wind up being unfulfilled no matter how much “stuff” you accumulate. When you work for what you’ve earned, you’ll discover you’re happy with what you have. And, if you do desire more, you’ll know that it will come to you through more hard work and dedication. Even if you absolutely despise your job, you can take comfort when you come home at night to all that you’ve earned with your hours of hard work. You can look around and be proud that everything you see is a direct product of your perseverance.

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4. Don’t think “What if?” — Just go for it!

We previously discussed how important it is to take risks in order to get where you want to be in life. Of course, it can be hard to take that first step if you constantly second-guess yourself. However, it is important that you don’t ever let the fear of trying hold you back.The more time you spend thinking, “What if I fail?” or “What if I do something wrong?” or “What if I look stupid in front of everyone?”, the less time you have to actually improve yourself. Not only do you waste time, but you also waste energy, as well. You’ll find that being anxious about possible negative outcomes is actually more mentally, emotionally, and physically draining than actually taking that first step and making moves toward your goal. Just dive in, and focus your energy on the task at hand.

5. It gets easier to push yourself, the more you do it

The more you push yourself, the easier it becomes to push even farther. When I started to get serious about writing as a career, I’d read some tips from established writers which included one seemingly daunting task: Write at least 1,000 words a day. Having just started out, that number was incredibly intimidating. Having written almost every day for Lifehack for the past four months, I look back at how I felt about that and laugh. For example, it’s only 10:30 in the morning, and I’ve probably already written over 2,000 words so far.  Think of the times you’ve skipped a day at the gym. How much more difficult was it to get back into the swing of things than if you had just bucked up and gone the day before, regardless of how exhausted you were? Once you dive into something, you’ll find that consistently pushing yourself is actually easier than slacking off. You’ll also find you’re much happier with yourself for sticking with it.

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6. You control your own destiny

When you go out and work for what you want, you realize that you’re completely in control of your life. Working from home has taught me that I’ll only be rewarded if I put out the effort. When people find themselves stuck in boring, hourly-wage jobs, they often don’t feel the need to go the extra mile, especially if they think there’s not much chance of getting promoted. Why put in extra effort if you get paid the same regardless? Thinking this way hinders your chance to improve not only your work situation, but also your life as a whole. You never know when a better position will open up. If you’ve spent time and effort going above and beyond the call of duty, you’ll not only have made yourself stand out, but you’ll also have gained the skills necessary to be considered a leader. You reap what you sow. Now, go and make sure you use every chance you get as a chance to excel.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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