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12 Little Habits That Steal Your Happiness Away (When You Aren’t Aware)

12 Little Habits That Steal Your Happiness Away (When You Aren’t Aware)

We all want to be happy at least most of the time, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case, and we end up searching aimlessly to find happiness, and it always seem to eludes us.

We are all creatures of habit, and often we get stuck in a rut because we refuse to make the necessary changes to our lives that will bring us the happiness we yearn for.

Not all our habits are bad, but sometimes we need to look at the things we do continuously and decide whether we need to make some adjustments if they don’t yield the results we need.

Unfortunately, as humans beings we tend not to want to change, and so we fight tooth and nail not to do this.

We suffer the same headaches and frustration time and time again and never do anything about the issues that are causing us such unhappiness.

Remember if you continuously do the same things over and over again not only will you get the same results but you will become the things you do.

So, if those habits aren’t helping you they are hurting you, and you need to change now to avoid being the same way for a very long time.

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Some of the many reasons you are unhappy are that you:

Hold on to what you know and refuse to budge

Life is about living and learning. When you stop learning, you stop growing and thriving; hence you won’t  be living a fulfilled life. You have to be prepared to venture out of your comfort zone into unfamiliar territory to truly grow and become who you were meant to be.

You need to be challenged and tested because only when you face challenges will you grow and become better. Remaining in one position will only keep you stuck. Being stagnant is not progressing.

Find ways to challenge yourself and do not be afraid of being pushed. Push back when pushed but do not accept the normal as progress. You must hold fast to your core values while you search for your purpose in life.

Keep resisting life and its changes

There is nothing more painful than when you try to resist life and the changes it brings. Change is never without pain and discomfort. There is nothing more painful than remaining where you are for the rest of your life.

Whether you want to change or not you are in fact changing every day. Look back at your life and see the many changes that have taken place, some positive and others negative. That is life, and you must accept it and work with it as it comes instead of fighting to remain stuck.

Allowing other people to decide what is possible for you

Close your ears to all the discouragement and negativity from people who do not know or care about the real you. You know yourself, and the plans you have for your life so do not allow them to use words to discourage you.

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Most of the time they are only telling you what they think and want for themselves so close your ears and forge ahead. Choose to do things your way and if you mess up, you’ll know at least that you did it your way.

Focusing on others and not your own life

You could spend your entire life focusing on others while they build their lives and enjoy it, and neglect yours, or you could choose to use your time to build your life. Do not sit around and admire the success of others while your dreams fall apart.

Be happy for them but put the focus on building a life for yourself. Do not allow others to use you to build their dreams and life either.  Cut a path for yourself and chart it. Do not be burdened down with other people’s load.

Focusing too much on your problems

You need to change the way you view difficulties in your life. The challenges you face most times aren’t the real problem: it’s how they are perceived. Change your attitude towards the difficulties you encounter.

See them as nothing more than minor infractions in your life; keep maintaining a positive attitude and you will be fine. You have the power to control your mind and how you view things. Use this to help you to keep your mind away from your problems and focus more on your goals. Let go of the stress by letting go of the problems.

Focusing on being right all the time

When you are focused on being right all the time, you are losing valuable insight into things. Not only are you destroying some great relationships but you are allowing your pride to sabotage your future.

Sometimes you have to choose to be wrong even though you aren’t to maintain and keep an important relationship. You must become confident enough to accept when you are wrong, and even when you are right; sometimes, you must be willing to back down.

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Holding on to someone who is pulling away from you

It is important to build a great relationship, but you need to make sure the persons or person with whom you are building that relationship are offering you the same in return. It doesn’t make sense for you to be forcing yourself to maintain a relationship with someone who doesn’t want a relationship with you. Do not waste your time trying to prove to them how wonderful you are. If they can’t see it, then that’s their bad luck. Use your time and energy to build yourself up and find someone who will treat you right.

Loving others more than you love yourself

It is fine to love others, but you must remember if you do not invest into yourself no one else will. It is alright to give to others, but you need to be giving to yourself as well. There is nothing wrong with loving yourself and taking the time make sure you are being taken care of.

You won’t be able to take care of others if you aren’t well. The only way you can do that and give them your best is if you give yourself the best as well. Do not let anyone make you feel guilty for loving yourself and who you are. You can only be happy if you are happy with yourself.

Being too self-absorbed

You cannot spend your life focusing on you and not take some time to lend a helping hand to someone else. Being kind is what will help to make you happy. Giving to someone who needs it is what is going to make you smile on a bleak day. Being kind is what will make you feel as though you are contributing to human lives.

Expecting that people will always like you

You have to understand that not everyone is going to like you and want to be around you. People aren’t going to be nice to you all the time, and you must accept that and move on. Do not waste your time trying to convince them to love you. Accept the love from people who want to show it to you and forget the others.

Refusing to let go of the past

Letting go of hurt and pain is necessary for you to be happy. You cannot be holding on to things that you no longer have control over while trying to build something new. You must be willing to let bygones be bygones and leave them where they are. They are in the past for a reason; they should no longer be part of your life. Stop picking back up old pain and burdens that have weighed you down for so long. Rid yourself of them and move one.

Waiting for the right time to be happy

Happiness is not an event; nor do you have to achieve any specific goals to be happy. You must be happy where you are while working to get where you want to go. You should not be waiting around for some great accomplishment before you can be happy.

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If you can’t be happy with little, you will not be able to be happy with much either. Choose to be happy now while working on achieving the goals you set for your life.

Life is filled with ups and downs, and you must be prepared to adjust to make your life as happy as possible and that includes making some changes. Even though you might not want to do so, you must realize that the temporary discomfort is good for you in the long run.

Accept these changes in your life and you will see the results you have always wanted.

What are some of the changes you have made in your life that have served you well?

Featured photo credit: Giedriusok via shutterstock.com

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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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