“If I have failed more than you have, I have won”- Seth Godin
We happen to think we are big failures when we are failing. We aren’t failures, we just need to go through the process of life when we try things. That’s the reality. We have to overcome the negativity. The sad part is that we low-key know about this but ‘fail” to take this approach because it’s unconventional. But you know what? Everything I have ever succeeded at was done through failing many times and not giving up.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be” – John Wooden
Volleyball had many practicing hours before I could even learn to serve. Writing took me writing 83 essays to every 1 my classmates wrote so I could top them. In all of those essays, 1 in every 15 would be really amazing. My driving test took me two attempts. So what I want you to do is to learn to fight the thought of failure being a bad thing. See the word “fail” and turn it mentally to “learn”. It’s hard but only through failing will we learn the most. It’s painful but it shouldn’t have to be.
“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel
Bear with me for a second.
I asked my boyfriend what “failing” means to him. His response was “The End”.Advertising
What really is “failing”? I googled it and look what I found
You see this? A weakness in a character! A weakness! Weaknesses can be strengthened if practiced enough! Failing isn’t a life-ending and detrimental factor. It’s a good thing. It shows you what needs to be strengthened, not what needs to make you feel like you’re the worse person on earth and that you have no purpose. Ugh! I just hate it when people over-exaggerate. Don’t fall for their trap of allowing you to not believe that you can accomplish your dreams.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy
Here are a few things we often “fail” at but it turns out beautifully if you keep working at them with an open mind:
You’ll fail with friendships
Friends forever? Ahh no. There will be times when your “friends” aren’t who you expect them to be. It hurts but it’s just one of those things that we have to get through as humans. Some will lie to you, have babies, get married and straight up not have the time for you. These are all normal because through it all, a select few will always be there no matter what and more than likely you will develop more friendships as you go along. Well, those often are more worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to allow this process to take its course. Be open to it and let it transition. Here you will learn who really has your back and who will be there for you no matter what. Most importantly, you’ll learn to be much wiser.
“The phoenix must burn to emerge.” – Janet Fitch
You’ll fail to make big decisions
As a 20-something, I cannot explain how many decisions I’ve failed at. Nope, I’d probably be embarrassed to say it all. Well, I’d look beyond that; anything for you. The point is that especially when you don’t have guidance (there is always some sort) we tend to make the crappiest decisions and then feel bad after. One thing is sure, if you’re tired of this happening then this is a pain point to make a change. Read more, find a mentor, a coach… something. How long will we be comfortable making the same bad decisions? Guidance from someone who is more knowledgeable at life will suffice. You can even get Cheatsheets on how to turn your life around on the internet. Here’s one I wrote specifically for you guys.
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael JordanAdvertising
When you get older, naturally your priorities will change. Parties, liquor and whatever else is there to distract you doesn’t count as much. Getting ahead in your life becomes the main objective. You will begin to get curious and try new things to secure a future. However, trying new things has much trial and error in it. This can sometimes be a burden. We fail a lot by not having the results we want immediately but who cares? It’s okay to fail. Yes… it’s not okay to give up after you have failed though. This will teach determination and discipline. Keep going until you win! And you will win!
“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.” – Ken Robinson
You’ll fail to compromise
As a 20 something we feel so many pressures from everyone. We want to find what our purpose is but try to please our moms and dads at the same time. That within itself curates failure. Don’t worry, we always figure it out. Just know it takes some time. By going through this process, you learn patience, kindness and the ability to reason from someone else’s point of view.
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
You’ll fail to look after your body
Before you get to that stability level, you will fall short and cheat on certain things. Sugar, salt, alcohol, exercise you name it. It will take tonnes of effort to get to eating healthy but sometimes you’ll succumb to the junk. Look at it this way, when you wake up in the morning, beat it in your head that today is a brand new day. Forget the failures from yesterday then exercise that “discipline muscle” and start one more time. The biggest investment is you. No one should beat you up for this. Learning about mind conditioning and will power will do wonders for you. Trust me.
“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates
You’ll fail to invest in the future
“You only live once” is the mantra of most 20-somethings. That sounds pretty fun doesn’t it? Time and time again you’ll know what to do deep within yourself. You know it would be right for you but your mind will wander. Remember, if you want to have a family and keep it, more than one relationship isn’t as smart a move. The same goes for any long term goal. You will learn to be laser-visioned.Advertising
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
You’ll fail to develop your own style
Society, family, & friends brainwashed most of us. When we see the whole pattern and is willing to change that, it will take much concentration to find what our “real” personalities are. Our personalities will lean less toward what’s trending and create our own styles. Easier said than done but why not learn about self development?
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to socialize differently
It’s kind of hard to put down our phones every once in a while and take a walk somewhere and strike up a conversation with someone new. It’s the norm for us so to go out of our comfort zones will be uninteresting and obsolete. My question to you is how far will the “norm” take you in life? It will absolutely change your life to put your phone down, leave it at home for a few hours and go try to speak to someone new. I dare you to try it. If you have issues making friends, you can find tips here. Now you are challenged to build on social skills.
“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres
You’ll fail to manage your money
Majority of 20 somethings don’t have a set plan. It’s these years that you try to find your purpose and what you should be doing. While some have their lives together, some are in college completing the wrong degree and others are just sitting around waiting for life to make a change for them. You probably know…Life won’t. We just don’t always have it all figured out. It’s the same with money. Funds often slip by until you learn the language of money. Buy what you need only, invest in something long term and in a couple of years, you will have the financial freedom you deserve. Oh how would it feel to buy a car but unable to buy gas? Don’t buy a whole pizza today if you’re not that hungry and don’t know what you will eat tomorrow. Change the perspective young grasshopper. It will take much living from paycheck to paycheck and struggles to teach you to develop your investment skills.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison
You’ll fail to value your family
Teenagers and 20 somethings grow intensely apart from their families due to miscommunication and feeling misunderstood. That’s a regular thing but it doesn’t have to be. Instead of talking back, just be quiet even if you’re tuning them out. This helps a lot. Instead of spitting fire with your tongue in return of a conflict, let it slide… just this one time. Your parents will be amazed by this. I know mine was when I figured out this tactic. I failed many times too. Just try it and you too will learn the value of silence.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
You’ll fail to stand up for yourself
We really have been manipulative as kids trying to guilt trip people for what we want. Getting out in the real world where people are hard inside, it gets tough. Here, our defensive mechanism falters. We find it hard to ask for raises and even break down when people put us down. Well, just like a kid it takes years to master getting what we want, we must master standing up for ourselves. This too will take a while. Here you will definitely learn how to strategies, be creative and be quick on your feet. All in all you learn how to become very Independent.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho
You’ll fail to love yourself
This is the hardest of them all to me and that’s why so many of us suffer from depression and anxiety. This is just my opinion. There are other scientific and proven reasons of course. I just know that when I felt ugly because of the excess weight I had was because I didn’t work on loving myself enough. I cared more of what others thought of me. Until I learned to tell myself that I was the one living my life, took control and did something about my health, I could not have felt beautiful and love myself the way I do now. Did I fail? What do you think? You’ll be more than successful when you learn self-love.
Unless you want to keep winning and not learn anything which is a bit of an illusion, then learn to think of failure as a good thing. In my tribe, we fail to win. We never give up. I believe in you and I love you! Keep trying <3
“It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts.” – Zig Ziglar
Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via pixabay.com
Last Updated on October 22, 2020
8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener
How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.
Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.
When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.
Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.
What Makes People Poor Listeners?
Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.
1. You Want to Talk to Yourself
Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.
Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.
It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.
2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said
This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.
Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.
3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”
It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.
I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.
If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!
4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge
While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?
To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.
My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.
Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.
Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.
How To Be a Better Listener
For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?
1. Pay Attention
A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.
According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”
As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.
I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.
2. Use Positive Body Language
You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?
A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.
People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.
But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.
According to Alan Gurney,
“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.
Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”
3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker
I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.
Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.
Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.
Be polite and wait your turn!
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.
5. Just Listen
This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.
I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.
I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.
6. Remember and Follow Up
Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.
For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!
According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”
It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.
7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential
If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.
Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.
Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”
Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.
NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:
- If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
- If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.
8. Maintain Eye Contact
When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.
Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.
By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.
Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.
You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.
And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!
More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener
Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com
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|||^||Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions|
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