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10 Things You Should Avoid On The Road To Pursuing Happiness

10 Things You Should Avoid On The Road To Pursuing Happiness

We all define happiness differently, because we all live our own lives and we experience our own set of situations. However, there are certain facts about happiness that we can all relate to, no matter how differently we live our lives and no matter what we have experienced. Here’s a secret. Happiness is not about doing anything special, but more about choosing what not to do. Here are 10 things you should avoid on the road to pursuing happiness.

1. Too many expectations

Sure, we all have expectations. We wish that everything will always work the way we plan them to be. But the truth is, things will not always be the way we expect them to be. We can’t expect everyone to want to do things as we do. Each person’s experience and way of dealing with things is unique, so to expect others to do things the way we do is unfair to them. When we have too many expectations, we are not going to be able to work with others, because it will often cause conflict with others, and that will only give us more trouble than a peace of mind. If we can put our expectations aside, allow things to be what they are, and become what they need to be, we will be so much happier.

2. Comparing ourselves with others

We all know people who often evaluate their happiness by comparing themselves with others. They compare their income, their possessions, their status, their intelligence, their appearances, their success and so on. Jealousy is the thief of joy.

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The truth is, there is no end to the comparison game. No matter who we compare ourselves to, there will always be someone out there who are better at doing what we did. Comparison puts our focus on the wrong thing and person. When we constantly compare ourselves to others, we are actually wasting our time and energy focusing on other peoples’ lives, rather than our own. Understand that we were not born to live other peoples’ lives. We can learn to enjoy what we are, rather than regretting what we aren’t.

3. Toxic people

Negative people are good at telling us what we are not capable of becoming, while influencing us to believe that what they say is true. They will not only drag our energy down, but also crush our dream by constantly reminding us of how impossible it is to get to where we want to be. Surrounding ourselves with these people will sabotage our happiness.

We can always choose who we want to spend our time with. We can spend our time with positive people who talks about ideas, who are willing to exchange information and who can provide us with useful knowledge. By choosing who we spend our time with wisely, we can gain so much wisdom which we can use to improve ourselves. Self-improvement plays a crucial part of our happiness, as we will find a better life’s purpose through the process.

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4. Holding grudges

People often carry on grudges while having moral battles with the one who has done them wrong, casting themselves as the righteous and the other person in the wrong. What they don’t realize is that they waste too much energy on it, and eventually put themselves into a darker side of the situation. Whatever damage that the person causes cannot be undone, therefore holding on to it is only going to gradually damage you. One of the keys to true happiness is forgiveness. Letting go is the key to true healing, and that is where true happiness eventually emerges.

5. Self importance

Self importance is a product of fear. People who believe in self importance are afraid of losing their ego over anything else. They view themselves as an extremely important person, and expect everyone around them to put them as a priority in any situation. These behaviors will eventually damage their relationship with the people around them, and leads to an isolated life, since people will try to stay away from them. If we all learn to have gratitude towards the people around us, we will learn that what and who we are today are somewhat influenced by them. We will learn to appreciate the people and things we have, and live a much happier life.

6. Suppressing emotions

Holding back on our emotions might lead to depression. We might think that showing our emotions would make us vulnerable, but the truth is, a truly strong person is able to show all their emotions because they are not afraid to acknowledge that they are only human, and that is is absolutely okay to feel. When we are open to our emotions, and are honest about them, we are setting ourselves free from the heavy emotional burden that are otherwise buried inside of us. A truly happy person allows themselves to feel every emotion and appreciate being alive. We have to experience all emotions in order for us to appreciate happiness.

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7. Worrying too much over the future

There are many other ways to secure our future than to be worrying over it. It is so important to value each moment of our lives since we only live once. To worry over the future takes away our precious moments, because we are too distracted to enjoy living the here and now. We can set goals and be productive to secure our future. Enjoying the here and now contributes so much to our happiness as it ensures that we don’t miss out on our little happy moments that accumulated to a fulfilling life.

8. Putting others down

Some people think that putting others down will boost themselves up. There is a saying that blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make your’s shine any brighter. People criticize and put others down so they can have the feeling of superiority, so they can hide their own insecurities. Judging others don’t define who they are, it only defines who we really are. Strong people don’t put others down, instead they lift them up. Instead of putting people down, we should inspire somebody, improve somebody else’s life for the better, and make someone smile.

9. Blaming

To blame our faults on someone else is a fairly convenient way to get away from trouble. But what we don’t know, is that when we put the responsibility on someone else, we are actually putting ourselves at risk of not having the control over our situation. We become the victim of our circumstances, since we are not able to manage our situation because we are not in control.

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We also lose the opportunity to learn from our problem and grow from it. When we stop blaming others, we begin to discover who we truly are. We will find peace within ourselves when we realize that our happiness are entirely our own responsibility. When we learn to overcome our problems with courage, we will find ourselves in a much peaceful, fulfilling and happier life.

10. Rushing

It is important to know that we are the ones who create the time pressure for ourselves. It might seem like we are often running out of time, but the truth is, if we manage our time efficiently, there is always enough time in the day. What we can do is to set priority to things that matter more over things that are less important to us. We can’t have all the time in the world, and we can’t do everything we want to do at the same time. But we can manage our time, set priorities, and try to get the other things done when we have the time and opportunity to do them.

Rushing over things is not only bad for our health, but often cause us more chaos than decent accomplishment towards our plan. Once we stop rushing through life, we will be amazed at how much more life we have time for. A healthy and well-balanced life is crucial in our pursue of happiness.

More by this author

Crystie Lim

Life Coach

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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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