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11 Life Lessons From Albert Einstein

11 Life Lessons From Albert Einstein

Einstein may have been a genius and a great scientist, but he also knew one or two things about life. He understood the importance of imagination, the need to keep moving forward, and most importantly, to keep learning. The human brain isn’t designed to stay stagnant and its full capacity still isn’t known. Using your brain, your potential, and your life is your personal responsibility — to do otherwise is to cheat yourself!

1. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

In other words, be aware and don’t stick your head in the sand!

The world and economy is changing all the time. Whatever your profession, you need to look to the future and understand how changes may affect you. I qualified as a lawyer and the legal profession has changed more than I ever thought possible when I was at university.

Keep your finger on the pulse and maintain your networks of friends and colleagues. Don’t allow yourself to become stale or jaded as you will close yourself off to opportunities.

2. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

Never stop developing yourself and your skills.

If you’re skilled in languages or playing an instrument, for example, keep practising and maintain those abilities. Those hobbies and skills could earn you money as a side business or give you other options if you lose your job.

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I developed my own sideline private tutoring business and have written books in order to maintain my own long-term versatility. I learned a long time ago that it was simply not enough to “just” be a lawyer.

3. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Have goals and dreams and never give up on what it is you want to achieve.

Write down those goals and take action on them! Seek all available avenues to achieve them and be as specific as you can. Don’t just say you want “a better life” or “more money.” Really drill down into what you want for your own future then visualize every single day in order to manifest those desires.

A mood board is great for this, even a virtual one on Pinterest. Having goals is like putting fuel in your tank, it means you’re progressing, developing, and moving forward. Factor in some small wins too, like a weekend break, lunch with a friend, or a long walk through the park.

4. “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”

This sounds quite overwhelming, which very often means nothing gets done — which is the worst outcome of all!

When I do my tutoring, I often talk about working in “manageable chunks” and I apply that to my own business practices too. I set aside specific times to undertake certain tasks and make sure things are done well in advance.

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Making lists is great, there’s something very satisfying about writing it down on paper and striking something off as it’s completed. It reinforces the fact that you’re taking action and moving towards your end result.

5. “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

By using this quote, I mean we should stay current with technology trends but don’t let them take over your life!

So often we hide behind our phones, tablets, and laptops; the art of conversation is seemingly dying as we walk around swiping, texting, and surfing. Get the balance right and open up a world of opportunities.

Life is all about balance, so use technology to your advantage, not disadvantage.

6. “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

But what time we do have should be used wisely!

We’re all guilty of saying we have “no time” and of course life does get in the way, but this shouldn’t be used as an excuse. If you’ve got a commute to work, listen to self improvement audiobooks or entrepreneurial podcasts instead of listening to the radio or just staring into space.

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Maintain a sleep routine and don’t get into the habit of sleeping your mornings away on the weekend. We all have the same 168 hours each week so we need to squeeze every last drop out of them.

7. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”

Taking risks is scary but so is living a life without trying.

Starting a new life or a new business will take you outside of your comfort zone. You have to put yourself out there and risk rejection. What is life without some element of risk? I’ve lost count of the number of rejection letters I got from literary agents after submitting my novel, but I didn’t let it stop me trying. Yes, it can’t always go your way, but sometimes it can and it will.

8. “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle”

In other words, you can choose how you view your environment and your life. Have an attitude of gratitude for the small things; there is always something to be appreciated. It can be the hot water in your bath at the end of a long day or a cup of tea someone else has made for you.

Happiness isn’t always found in the grand gestures. Use all of your senses: really taste the food you eat and really hear the birds singing in the morning. It’s amazing what happens when we just stop for a moment and are mindful.

9. “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not what he is able to receive.”

Giving value to others should be our primary concern, not what we can get for ourselves.

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Money is important, that goes without saying, but too many of us worry about either the lack of it or the want of more of it. Money is only the byproduct of the value we give to others, so whatever it is you seek to do, ensure it is worthwhile for everyone. Much like the saying, “what goes around comes around,” the energy we put out there for other people comes back to us, so if we give value, we attract it right back to us.

10. “Imagination is everything; it is the preview to life’s coming attractions.”

Use your imagination to paint a mental picture of what you want your best life to be. Create a vision of your better self and better life and move towards that reality. Our world is the product of our thoughts: they create our environment. Use your thoughts to create what you want.

A vision board or Pinterest board is a fantastic way to help create that mental picture. Review it every day and let the power of your thoughts attract everything you wish to achieve.

Entrepreneurs do this all the time, so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

11. “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

Listening to your gut or trusting your sixth sense is something I believe in very strongly. Much like a mother’s instinct, there is an inexplicable reason why something feels wrong or a person you encounter doesn’t feel quite right.

Have an honest conversation with yourself. What do you feel passionate about and what gives you joy? Too many of us go through life doing what we are told is the “right thing” to do and suppressing what we really want.

Listening to and trusting the messages your body gives you is like having an inbuilt compass giving you direction and focus. Ignore at your peril!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.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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