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10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

Life is a challenge. Whatever way you may look at it, there will always be obstacles that are meant to make you a stronger and better person.

In the midst of all these obstacles, it is incredibly easy to go down a road of self-pity — where you truly believe that the world is against you. And, because so many people are in “self-pity” mode, it might seem like the acceptable way of living.

Sadly, self-pity mode ruins people’s lives. When you are in that mode, you become self-destructive because your headspace is always filled with negative thoughts that you think are the norm. Naturally, because you think it’s the norm, you are seldom aware that you are ruining your life.

In 2007, my life changed forever when I understood the power of thoughts – positive or negative. In fact, my life changed so much that I started a company called Wealthy Mindset® in 2009. The pay-off line for the company was “Wealth begins with your Mindset.”

I’ve gone on to work with hundreds of people through Wealthy Mindset® and RunForWealth, a blog I use to publish content on how you can “Run A Fulfillng Life Race.”

As a result, I have studied and experienced, personally and in others, the impacts of positive and negative thoughts.

In this post, I hope I can share common negative thoughts that can potentially ruin your life. I am also going to share some solutions that will help you replace negative thinking so you can start re-shaping the direction of your thoughts.

1. “Life is unfair” makes you a victim

Nobody ever promised us a roller-coaster in life. And yet, every time life deals us a temporary blow, we are quick to express how unfair life is.

Life is very fair, provided you shift paradigms completely.

Most of the blows you will receive in life are meant to help you reach your destiny. Use them to be the best you can be.

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Non-toxic thought and action: Life is fair and I must use the obstacles in life to learn and grow.

2. “It’s everyone else’s fault” makes you irresponsible

Ever come across people who are never at fault?

All the negative vibes and occurrences in their lives are the result of everyone else. To them, shifting responsibility is the easiest option. If it isn’t their partner or spouse, it’s the boss. If it isn’t the boss, it’s the friends. If it isn’t the friends, it’s the colleague or the neighbor.

Non-toxic thought and action: I need to take full responsibility for all my actions and outcomes in life.

3. “I grew up underprivileged” prevents you from being a futuristic thinker

We will never start on the same base. And that does not mean life is unfair.

Just because someone has a better starting base in life doesn’t mean they don’t have problems and challenges that come with the “advantage.”

The reality is that we all have obstacles to overcome – regardless of where we start in life. Quite frankly, where you start is insignificant. Your life journey and where you end up is what counts.

Non-toxic thought and action: Life is a privilege and I will navigate through my obstacles regardless of where I start.

4. “Failing equates to failure” limits your breakthroughs

You will fail in life. Be it at school, work, or in business – you will attempt to do certain things and they will fail.

Sadly, we don’t know what our ration of failing is. It would be pretty cool if we did. But, we don’t, and that’s the reality of the matter.

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Regardless of your failing, you need to learn from you mistakes and keep trying. Tough as it may be, at times, this means you need to abandon a particular career, project, or business venture completely and try something new.

Ultimately, you need to remember that you only become a “failure” when you stop trying. Failing comes with the territory to success.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will learn from my mistakes and failures but I will never stop trying.

5. “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” destroys you

As cool as this may sound, it’s a ticket to self-destruction. No one wants to live a boring life. But to live like there’s no tomorrow is just plain stupid.

Your today was determined by what you did many months and years ago. Your future (tomorrow) will be determined by your actions today.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will live responsibly every day because my future is determined by my current lifestyle.

6. “I don’t have the right contacts” limits self-investment

Knowing the right people in the right places is like gold.

What we often neglect to appreciate is that gold goes through an entire refinery process of heat and pressure before it yields it’s optimum value.

Likewise, your gifts, skills, talents, integrity, and character need to go through a rigorous process of tests in life before you can rely on contacts.

Contacts and knowing people in the right places means nothing if you can’t add value to people’s lives through your skills and talents. Equally important, your contacts mean nothing if you lack integrity or character.

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Refine all the above and contacts will take you to places you never dreamt of.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will invest in myself first and refine my skills, gifts, talents, integrity, and character and the right contacts will help me get to higher heights.

7. “If I could win the lottery one day…” creates an overnight success fallacy

I know you are probably asking: “how on earth can this be a negative thought?”

The thing about gambling, and the lottery in particular, is that it plants a seed of “overnight success.” There is no such thing as “overnight success.” It takes many years to succeed. Life is a process of inputs and outputs.

Sadly, studies have also shown that most people who win the lottery end up in a worse-off situation. Why? Because they have not learned the necessary skills required to keep what they have won.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must work hard and smart and life will reward me appropriately and abundantly.

8. “People are gossiping about me” negatively impacts your focus

It is quite sad to see how many people walk around paranoid about who is having conversations about them. As a result, they have low self-esteem. They second-guess themselves and spend most of their energy “watching their backs” for “enemies” or potential moves of “sabotage.”

Here is the crux: people will always talk, whether you do good or bad. Forget about what people are saying behind your back and focus on doing you.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must focus on living my life fruitfully, regardless of what people say behind my back.

9. “I am not good enough” blurs our gifts, talents, and skills

We all have gifts, talents, and skills. Our responsibility is to identify those and continuously work on improving them so we can add value to other people’s lives.

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For anyone to say “I am not good enough” is complete hogwash. The primary problem is that many people spend a lot of energy trying to achieve in areas they are not gifted or talented in. We have become so competitive that we often neglect to stay in our lanes.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must identify my skills and talents and stay in my lane of destiny.

10. “It’s impossible” prevents us achieving extraordinary goals

Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Achieving great success is not about “pie in the sky” hype. It takes some goal-setting, systematic hard and smart work, and then having the faith required to allow your ordinary efforts and inputs to become extraordinary achievements.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will set life goals and develop the faith required to make my hard and smart work become extraordinary success.

In conclusion, most of society is stuck in “toxic mode.” As a result, most toxic thinking is deemed to be normal.

I really hope that this article will help you identify subtle toxic thoughts that can ruin your life. More importantly, I hope the suggested “non-toxic thoughts” can help you escape that mode so you achieve abundance and success in life.

Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com

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Peteni Kuzwayo

Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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