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Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

Don’t Say FML Anymore — You’re In Control Of Your Own Life

It’s easy to say “FML,” but every time yousay that, youare actually giving up your control over your life.

Even though we don’t have control over others and external situations, we do have control over ourselves and our choices. Blaming others and events for our misfortune is an easy way out, but it doesn’t help to solve your problems.

Taking responsibility and admitting you screwed up takes courage. But, once you own up to your mistakes and realize youare incontrol of your life, you willmake decisions that move you forward.

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When you come from a poor family, work smarterthan everybody else.

Ifyou come from a poor family, don’t blame it on life’sunfairness. Don’t ask why other kidshave an easier life than you or whytheir parents can buy them things while yours can’t.Everyone’s starting point is different. Don’t make your ending point the same as your starting point. Instead, work smartand believe that you have the power to makeyour life better.

Here’s how to work hard:

  1. Be grateful for what you have. Count the things that money can’t buy —happiness, talent, passion.
  2. Use what you have. If your parents can’t afford to buy you toys, use your imagination. Make games and toys out of scraps.
  3. Discoveryour strengths. Everyone has strengths. When you have the minimum, it is easier for you to know what your strengthsare.
  4. Work smart while working hard. Working hard comes after knowing what your strengths are, because you want to be able to leverage your strengths. Your parents could be working hard, but still earning very little. You want to work smart too, and not just work hard.
  5. Find your motivation.Work hard not just for yourself, but also work hard for the people you care about (for example, to give your parents a better life).

When you weren’t loved as a child, spread love to others.

It’s difficult to believe inlove when you come from a broken family or when your parents abused you. But blaming your parents for your childhood won’thelp you at all.Instead, take control of your life and stopthis vicious loop.Spread love instead of hate. You’ll find more joyin doing so.

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Here’s how to spread love:

  1. Love yourself first. You can’t love someone else when you don’t love yourself. You didn’t receive much love from your parents and you might doubt if you deserve love. So, find the good qualities inyourself and build your self-esteem first.
  2. Forgive your parents.Your parents have their own problems too. Manyparents don’t know how to be parents because they weren’t taught how to. Forgivingthem doesn’t mean you condone what they have done.
  3. Know you have the ability to love.Just because you didn’t receive love as a child, doesn’t mean you can’t give love. It doesn’t take a lot to be kind to others.
  4. Practice empathy. You know how it felt to notreceive enough love. Don’t let others feel the same way.
  5. Spread love withoutexpecting it to be returned. Not everyone will return your kindness, but that’s okay. You love yourself enough. Anything else is a bonus. Plus, the real joy comes from giving, not receiving.

When you hate your job, find a new one.

It’s tempting to blame your boss for giving you too much work, or your colleagues for making your life miserable. But, you have a choice. If you hate your current job so much, stop complaining about it and get a new one. You are responsible for your own happiness.

Here’s how to find a new job:

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  1. Know yourself well. The job you hate might be a job that another person loves.Some jobs donotfit your personality. It’s up to you to find out what fits you.
  2. Do an audit for your current job. Know what you like and dislike about your current job. For your next job, find something that encompasses more of your likes and less of your dislikes.
  3. Budget. Knowing your current financial status and expenses is important. Sometimes, you think you can’t change jobs because you are financially restricted.Doing a budget will help you find ways to cut your expenses.
  4. Buildnew relationship. You think it’s unfair that others are able to get jobs easier than you because of their relationships. The truth is that relationships are important. Most jobvacanciesaren’t advertised. They are filled by recommendations.
  5. Learn. Don’t be jealous of successful people. Learn from them.Understand what they do to become successful and acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for your next job.

When your health gives you problems, care foryour body.

Don’t blame bad genes for yourweight issues or hair loss problems.You may not have the best genes in the world, but you can do something about your health.

Here’s how to care for your body:

  1. Listen to your body.When you have an illness or pain, your body is telling you that you need to pay attention to that part of your body. So listen carefully to these signs.
  2. Develop healthy routines. Don’t wait for your body to break down, then eat healthy food and exercise. Health is about maintaining, not about fixing.
  3. Understandyour system. Not all bodies are builtthe same. Everyone’s body works differently. If you know that you put on weight easily, be mindful about your sugar intake. You can’t choose your genes, but you can choose what you put inside your mouth.
  4. Accept your body.Love your body more than that piece of chocolate cake because it willbe with you tillyou die.
  5. Give it a break. When you are tired, sleep. Mediate or fast if necessary. Your body is working hard for you all day long. Schedule time to rest your organs.

When someoneyou love betrays you, let them go.

You deserve better. Don’t allow people who are problematic and mean to hinder your life. Let them goand embrace the future.

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Here’s how to let them go:

  1. Practice forgiveness. It’s easier said than done, but forgiveness is the first step to being free. And it’s not just about forgiving them, it’s also about forgiving yourself for trusting the wrong person.
  2. Don’t be the savior. Your ego will make you think you areable to save them. No, you can’t. Only they can change themselves. And if you are genuinely in love with them, you won’t need them to change.
  3. Leave their life. Even though you forgive them doesn’t mean theydeserve your attention. Excluding them from your lifegives you a chance to heal.
  4. Raise your standards.Learn how to say no, especially topeople who take advantage of you. Choose who you allow into your life.
  5. Don’t losehope. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll find someone better in the future. They are just not the one.

Featured photo credit: Man/Avel Chuklanov via stocksnap.io

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Yong Kang Chan

Self-Help Author (Writes about Self-Compassion and Mindfulness)

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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