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Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Success Formula No. 1: Distance Yourself From Toxic People

Some people exist only to bring others down. The worst part about this type of person is they do so under the guise of being a caring friend, when in reality they simply don’t want others to succeed and leave them behind. The trick is in realizing the difference between someone who is genuinely looking out for you, and someone who is trying to hold you back from true success. The following toxic people don’t belong in your life, and you should do whatever you can to rid yourself of them:

1. The Statistician

The Statistician will be the one constantly reminding you of your odds of success. If you’re trying to start your own business, they’ll be the one reminding you that most businesses fail within their first year. If you’re applying for a job, they’ll tell you that hundreds of other people are applying for the same position. Of course, they do so under the guise of being a friend that “doesn’t want to see us let down.” But when they tell us how small our chance of success is, what shows is that they don’t believe you’ll be the one out of ten businesses that succeed, or the one chosen out of the hundreds for the position. Throw some statistics back at them in the form of cost/benefit analysis. Show these toxic “friends” you’ve done your homework and deserve the success you’ll receive.

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2. The Ridiculer

The Ridiculer just thinks your ideas are, well, ridiculous. They’re most likely a toxic, inside-the-box thinker who won’t entertain any innovative, mind-boggling idea that comes from anyone else simply because they can’t imagine it working. This is probably due to the fact that they aren’t intelligent enough to truly understand the concept, but will play it off as if it’s the idea itself that is stupid. They’re the ones being sarcastically optimistic about your ideas, saying things like “Good luck with that,” which we all know means “That’s never gonna work.” Shut them up by sincerely thanking them for their “well wishes,” and put your plan into motion.

3. The Fault Finder

The Fault Finder is similar to the Ridiculer, in that they’ll constantly point out the flaws in your plan. Like the Statistician, the Fault Finder doesn’t give you credit enough to think that you’ve thought of these hang-ups in your plan, and doesn’t believe you have any contingent ideas for if a problem arises. They’re the ones asking toxic questions like “Well what if this happens?” whenever you discuss your ideas, and then shrug you off even if you have a perfectly valid explanation for what you’d do if “this happens.” Counter their barrage of questions with equally ridiculous questions, like “What if a meteor hits the Earth and we all get launched into outer space?” or “What if aliens actually do visit, and they don’t come in peace?”

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4. The Pessimist

The Pessimist could also be called the Nihilist. Not only do they not see any chance of success in whatever you’re setting out to do, but they also don’t see any purpose in trying. While you’re keeping your eye on success, you also don’t see failure as the be all and end all of your existence. The Pessimist, on the other hand, seems to think that failure is synonymous with ultimate demise. Instead of asking “What if” questions like the Fault Finder, the Pessimist will state negative effects as if they’ve already happened. “If you start your own business, you’ll have to work 12-14 hour days.” Yeah, and? “If you don’t succeed, you’ll end up right back where you started, but in more debt.” Yeah, and? Just keep following up their negativity with “Yeah, and?” and see how long it takes for them to get the hint.

5. The Passive-Aggresor

The Passive-Aggressor clearly doesn’t agree with what you’re setting out to do, but won’t come out and say it. They’ll most likely skirt the issue by saying something like “If you think it’s a good idea…” That kind of statement obviously isn’t any sort of attempt to lend support when you’re trying something new. Of course, if you happen to fall short of your goal, the Passive-Aggressor will be the first person to chime in with “I told you so.” Again, not helping. Regardless, you should turn the other cheek toward them. Ask them nicely (in a non-sarcastic tone, even though you’re not exactly happy with them) how they would have done it differently. They probably won’t have an answer for you, and will shut up quickly.

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6. The Staller

The Staller doesn’t want to see you succeed simply because they don’t want to be left in the dust. Whenever you start talking about your big plans, they’ll change the subject to something menial, toss you a beer, and try to make you forget you had any kind of ambition to leave your stagnant life behind. The Staller is the college friend that’s fun to hang around with once in a while, but can be absolutely deadly if you want to get anywhere in life. Meet them out for happy hour every few months, but call it a night after one or two drinks. Otherwise you’ll be out until 2AM against your wishes, and wake up the next day too tired to get your dreams moving.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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