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If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

If It Makes You Happy, Does It Really Matter What Others Think?

In the last week I have had quite a few conversations with people who have told me their business ideas. The conversations between them all were consistent, they all admired that I had started my blog page and YouTube channel. They all admired the guts it took to start something that was in the public eye. It was also stated that they would not have the guts to do something so public in case they were to fail.

When they said this, I thought to myself, “There is that possibility that all my hard work may not go anywhere–and yes, everyone would know as I have posted, shared and publicly announced my page, blogs, website and YouTube channel.” That tiny voice of doubt attempted to creep into my head. Then, I realized I was being like everybody else. “Maz, stop doubting yourself, you know that gets you nowhere.”

The Process of Doubt

I experienced my first case of writers block when it came to writing for another Motivational Website that had approached me. I jumped onto their site, had a look at some articles and thought, “Yes, this is aligned with what I like to write about.” I then jumped onto their YouTube channel and the first video I saw had over 20.5 million views. I hadn’t even come close to experiencing this kind of exposure. I felt a lump in my throat as I tried to gulp.

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“What am I supposed to write to get this many people engaged? What if nobody likes what I put out there? I have only been blogging for a month, what if people think I don’t have enough credibility?” Various questions of doubt started to speak to me. I had no clue as to what to write about and I started to feel nervous.

Faces of people smirking at me reappeared in my head. There were people that smirked when they found out what I was doing. People that thought I was crazy starting my new venture and actually thinking I would get somewhere with it. “You really need proper camera gear if you are going to film on YouTube, You need to take tutorials on editing, You should work on your grammar. You need to stop twitching your face or making those expressions you do.” All the voices of everyone telling me what I was doing wrong floated around me.

I stayed home all weekend to work on The Fitness Freedom Flow, yet didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere. Since I have started my blog page, writing came so easily. I would be inspired by an idea and an hour later, it was online and published. Things just seemed to flow. Now, here I am struggling to even think of the first sentence or even a topic to write about. Frustrated, I decided to give it a break and sleep on it.

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When I woke up this morning, I had my green tea as per usual. I then had some breakfast and was drilling my head as to what I should write. “Maybe I should just write for my own page for now”. I still had no clue as to what I should write about. I was at a dead end. I decided to meditate and calm my mind as it was racing at a million miles an hour.

This is why I have decided to write this blog. I realized that I finally came to a road block because for the first time since starting my blog page, I stopped and started thinking about what others thought of me. I started listening to the people that doubted me. I started to doubt my own ability and was questioning if what I was doing was even going to be worth my time.

Clearing the Flow

Sometimes our minds get so cluttered and are filled with too many thoughts. For me, it helps if I calm my mind and slow down. This is where meditation has helped me. I find when I do this, my intuition tells me things and helps to guide me in the right direction. I gain a sense of clarity and it helps bring me back down to earth. Meditation keeps me grounded. If you don’t practice it, I highly suggest you give it a go. It really does work wonders.

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I must say, since starting my blog page, I feel it has given my life great purpose. I jump out of bed and the first thing I do is start working on my page. Not because I have to, but because I want to. I thoroughly enjoy being able to speak of my experiences and talk about topics that I am passionate about. It is also an amazing feeling when I receive emails from people all of the world letting me know that the blog they just read has inspired them. I absolutely love hearing their own stories that I am lucky enough for them to share with me.

My goal is to be able to help motivate and inspire others through my own experiences. There are a lot more topics I want to discuss in the future that I feel can make a difference and maybe, just maybe help the right person at the right time. That possibility excites me. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am following my purpose and it is the very reason why I have experienced some of the things that I have in the past. If I can do something that gives back goodness to the world, why not?

If you are reading this and there is a business venture, a relationship decision or a creative idea that you have always had but have been too scared to take action towards, I encourage you to take the first step. If you are dwelling on a decision and the only thing holding you back is failure or what other people may think of you, take a second and really think to yourself. Does it make you happy? If you were doing whatever it is you are currently wishing you could do, can you see yourself happy? If the answer is yes, then my question to you is, why would you hold yourself back from happiness?

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What is the Role Happiness Plays?

We all deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be able to follow our passions. If it makes you smile, if it changes your life for the better, then go for it. You really don’t have anything to lose. What’s the worse that could happen? You end up back where you started which is right at this very moment now. If that does end up being the case, you really didn’t lose anything did you? You actually got the chance to open yourself up to new experiences and I bet you would’ve learnt a lot along the way. So in hindsight, you still gained something.

I am still learning along the way and there is a great deal more that I have to learn. I am absolutely blessed that in the month I have been doing this, I have gained so much traction with my blogs. It is an absolute privilege that I have been published on Lifehack.org and it makes my heart sing to know that already in such a short time, there are people out there that appreciate my work.

A month ago, I didn’t even know how to build a website, let alone make a video. I didn’t even know that I could write. So fail or not, I have still gained. I have learnt so much already and am excited for all the things I will learn in the future. This journey has been so much fun and I really do enjoy it.

I really do hope that if you’re not already, that you start your journey towards your passions. Life is short and we can’t take it for granted. Tomorrow is never promised. Do whatever it is that makes you smile. What’s life without those moments of happiness?

So the real question is, if it makes you happy, does it really matter what other people think?

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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