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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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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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