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10 Things People Who Grew Up With Nothing Want You To Know

10 Things People Who Grew Up With Nothing Want You To Know

To those born into affluent or even middle class families, childhood is often a happy stage of life blessed with fun, enjoyment, and excess. Not everyone enjoys this luxury, however, and the fact remains that many children are forced to grow up with nothing in the way of either material possessions or a productive, nurturing home. This is reflected by the fact that an estimated 1.3 billion people currently live in extreme poverty, coping on an average sum of less than $1.25 dollars a day. This represents yet another generation of children who will grow up desolate and without the advantages enjoyed by so many of their contemporaries.

Such hardship teaches crucial life lessons to those who grow up with nothing, however, making them an inspiration for millions like them and a fountain of knowledge for those who are born into more fortunate circumstances. Here are 10 things that people who grew up with nothing want you to know:

1. They struggle to save and manage their finances in later life

For those who grow up poor, life is endured from day-to-day with little emphasis given to core skills such as money management and savings. Given that factors such as rising inflation and volatile economic conditions are already making it difficult for citizens to build a viable retirement fund, a lack of financial management skills can be crippling.

So, while those who experienced poverty as youngsters truly appreciate the value of money, a lack of awareness and practical money management skills make it extremely difficult to save their hard-earned cash.

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2. They can be fiercely Independent to the point of disconnection

In the UK alone, small and independently-owned businesses contribute a staggering £1 trillion to the overall economy. Interestingly, some of the world’s most renowned solo entrepreneurs are famous for growing up with minimal finances, support, and education. This highlights the type of fierce independence and introversion that characterizes those who experience hardship as youngsters.

While this can clearly be a positive thing, the sense of independence felt by those who grew up with nothing can also prevent them from forming personal and professional relationships with others. This means that they can struggle to work with others in some instances, while they may also experience trust issues that lead to a disconnected and difficult existence.

3. They struggle to form romantic relations and close friendships

On a similar note, those who are forced to purely focus on survival in their youth tend to develop an introspective and introverted personality. This is something that I can attest to myself, as I have also struggled to build close friendships with others even as I have entered adulthood. This comes from the lack of a fundamental social skill set, which is learned while attending school and interacting with other children in a carefree manner.

Additionally, those who are not nurtured as children or come from abusive homes are not set a positive example when it comes to forming loving, adult relationships. They are also loath to let their guard down, making it difficult to communicate effectively or share even positive feelings. This is something you need to bear in mind when entering a relationship with someone who experienced hardship in their youth, as the cultivation of trust and romance may take a little longer.

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4. They may not have experienced a traditional education

While people who grew up with nothing may have significant book smarts, they may lack the type of structured and traditional education that so many of you may have enjoyed. I myself left school at 17, and the fact remains that youngsters without financial security or a stable, loving home are far more likely to move regularly and switch schools.

This type of disruption can significantly hinder formative education, making it difficult to become eligible for higher degree course in later life. As a result of this, affected individuals are forced to either pursue alternative and independent paths or carry their burden of their upbringing throughout adulthood.

5. They are not always motivated by the pursuit of self-serving goals

People that grow up with nothing often place their own interests to one side as they look to support others. This is a direct result of their upbringing, as they have an innate affinity with suffering and empathize with others as a way of preventing them from experiencing similar hardship.

6. They are not materialistic

Those who grew up with nothing have little or no interest in material possessions, however, as they have a broader understanding of life and have developed an appreciation for altogether more basic values. This means that they are more likely to appreciate and place a higher value on close friendships and family, while time spent in the company of loved ones is also given huge priority.

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7. They may struggle to evolve as their circumstances improve

As children we learn more through example than words, so it stands to reason that our brains should be most receptive between the ages of two and five. This means that those who experience hardship during their youth quickly become accustomed to the harsh lessons of such a reality, creating a template that continues throughout later life.

As a result of this, these people may struggle to adapt their outlook or lifestyle as their circumstances improve. This means that while long-suffering individuals never lose touch with their childhood or their underlying resourceful, they can often fail to change their habits during more prosperous times.

8. They occasionally repeat the mistakes of their parents

If we assume that those who grew up with nothing struggle to adapt their lifestyle in a progressive manner, it is also fair to surmise that they are prone to repeating the mistakes of their parents. This can manifest itself in many ways, from an inability to showcase love for their children to an over-reliance on making food and products last for longer even when they have the money to replace them.

9. They may be unfairly cynical of tthers

We have already touched on how those who grow up with nothing may be exposed or hostile or neglectful personalities during their youth. This creates an innate sense of suspicion and mistrust in others, while it also forces some individuals to rely heavily on their instincts and develop genuine skill in reading the people around them.

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While this can be a beneficial skill to have, an overwhelming sense of cynicism can cause you to become mistrustful of those who could actually have a positive influence on your life. By relying purely on instinct and past experience alone, those who grow old with nothing may struggle to build productive and mutually beneficial partnerships in later life.

10. They struggle to identify with their own culture

The principle of association is one of the underlying pillars of psychology, and one that can have a huge impact on children who grow up with nothing. This psychological principle creates associations that link our thought processes and specific circumstances, which in turn manifest themselves in our consciousness as we grow older.

As a result of this, a challenging and harrowing upbringing can create negative associations regarding cultural identity. While this leaves individuals disconnected from aspects of their own cultural identity, however, it also makes them more open to other values and alternative cultural beliefs.

Featured photo credit: Flickr / Rudolf Vlček via flickr.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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