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8 Important Lessons Everyone Should Keep Learning For Better Life

8 Important Lessons Everyone Should Keep Learning For Better Life

While we all face challenges in life, we are arguably our own worst enemies when it comes to conceiving and pursuing goals. This is because we tend to create boundaries and excuses that limit our ambitions, either due to a fear of failure or a lack of self-belief.

These self-imposed restrictions can be difficult to lift, unless you commit to learning from your mistakes and heeding the meaning of pivotal life lessons. With this approach, you can gradually coach your mind, change your outlook and practice skills that free your mind from inhibitions.

8 Important Life Lessons that we must continually learn for a better life

With this in mind, what are the key lessons that we must continue to learn if we are to enjoy a more fulfilling life? Here are eight of the most important:

1. You are never too old to learn new things

This is arguably the most important life lessons, as we often tell ourselves that we are too old or jaded to accept new challenges. This is a debilitating misconception, however, and one that has been contradicted by a host of famous people throughout history. World renowned fashion designer Vera Lang did not create a garment until she was 39, for example, while the now-deceased Hollywood actor Alan Rickman didn’t land an adult film role until he was 28.

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The lesson here is simple, as quite simply it is never too late to accept exciting challenges and learn new skills for the better.

2. You can turn mistakes into Positive Learning Experiences

On a similar note, we have already touched on the fact that there is a tendency to avoid difficult challenges because of an innate fear of failure. It was Theodore Roosevelt who opined that “the only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” This reaffirms that we must take risks and push ourselves if we are to achieve life goals.

It also underlines the importance of embracing our mistakes, turning them into positive learning exercises and using them to shape our future efforts.

3. You can leave the past and move on

Our innermost fears and insecurities are often linked to our pasts, which subconsciously alter our outlooks and change the ways in which we think about the future. Just as you can learn from mistakes and glean positives from failure, you can also heed lessons from past experiences before leaving them behind and moving on with your life. Of course, this is far easier said than done, but the process of altering your mind-set for the better begins with accepting the things that have happened in the past and leveraging them as a springboard for a brighter future. Arguably one of the most important life lessons that you will ever learn, this prevents failures and hardship from hindering your development over time.

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4. You can alter your Outlook through the use of Colour

As we can see, our mood and outlook are extremely important in shaping how we think about specific events. They also dictate our feelings from day to day, meaning that those who are already prone to bouts of anxiety or insecurity can suffer from regular fluctuations in mood and attitude. With this in mind, it is important that you tailor your surroundings to drive positive sentiment and create an environment in which you are comfortable and happy.

One way to achieve this is through the use of colour, as alternative shades solicit different moods and emotions. As individuals, there are also cultural, psychological and physical factors that influence how we perceive colours, so understanding these can help us to create living and working environments that bring the best out of our psyches.

5. You can always make a difference in someone’s Life

When you encounter difficult times or find yourself weighed down with insecurity, it is easy to believe that nobody truly cares for you. This is simply not true, however, as we all have friends and loved ones who care a great deal about us and believe in the unique value that we offer as individuals.

It is important to appreciate this, and maintain a sense of perspective when evaluating our lives. After all, we have an unconscious ability to impact on the lives of those who love us, as they tend to share our sadness and sense of loss. If we are able to recognise our own importance and seek out the positives in this, we can make a huge difference in the lives of our friends and family members.

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6. You are not going to be liked by everyone

Conversely, it is important to recognise that you are not going to have such a positive impact on everyone. In fact, there are some people who will dislike you throughout the course of your life, and this can be extremely distressing for those with insecurities or low-esteem who are desperately keen to please everyone.

You must learn that is OK not to be liked by everyone, however, and that this is an inescapable fact of life. This is a life lesson that can be exceptionally difficult to absorb, but the key is to focus on the individuals who are close to you and learn to appreciate their opinions ahead of others. After all, these people know you better than anyone and offer a far greater gauge of your popularity.

7. You must take responsibility for your own life

This is a tricky one, as blame culture can take hold when we experience hardship or negative events in our lives. This causes us to blame other people and external circumstances for the issues that we have encountered, which just so happens one of the main character traits of those who struggle to cope with the demands of everyday life.

This was evident in the wake of the great recession, when the world’s leading banks were blamed for irresponsible lending. Customers also borrowed more than they could afford to repay, however, and many struggled to take responsibility for their own finances during this time. This is the key to a happy and successful existence, as it creates a more proactive mind-set and enables you to assume greater control over the course that your life will take.

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8. You can do anything that your mind is able to conceive

If there is one trait that distinguishes positive people, it is an ability to think positively. More specifically, they understand that they are capable of achieving anything that their mind is able to conceive, so long as they are willing to showcase determination, work-ethic and a forward-thinking outlook.

Take the example of Nick Vujicic, for example, who was born with no arms and legs and yet has gone on to become a globally-renowned evangelist and source of inspiration for millions of people across the world. He has achieved this through the power of faith and positive thinking, which has enabled him to absorb his experiences and leverage them for good.

With this type of outlook, you can eliminate the inhibitions and limitations that often close your mind to new and exciting opportunities.

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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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