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Why Alone Time Is What You Should Not Escape From

Why Alone Time Is What You Should Not Escape From

Though spending time alone is often deemed anti-social or synonymous with loneliness, many of us see spending time alone as a way of recuperating, re-energising and a necessary part of our day. If you’re more introverted, being in the presence of others for long periods of time can be quite draining. Even as an extrovert maybe you just want to escape to a lone corner and read that book you’ve been dying to finish.

While socialising is an important part of human nature, there are countless reasons why spending time by yourself is a great experience and an asset to your mindset, perspective and happiness in life. If you love to be by yourself and cherish your alone time then don’t feel that, in doing so, you are in any way deemed far from normal. The relationship we have with ourselves is just as important as the ones we have with others. Here are 8 amazing benefits of being alone and spending that all-important time with ourselves.

1. You Learn Things About Yourself

One of the best things you gain from spending time by yourself is getting to know yourself better. The problem with constant socialising, interacting and being around others is that we never truly stop and learn about ourselves. By spending time alone, we start to understand our own perspective without the influence of others. We can even discover many of our weaknesses and correct them to better ourselves.

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Sometimes we need the space to figure out who we really are and what we really want out of life, which can be hard to do if we’re bombarded by other people’s opinions and ideals that get in the way of our own.

2. It Helps You Appreciate What You Have

Being immersed in your own world away from others, allows you to appreciate the things you have in your life whether it’s material possessions or even people. You become more aware of the things in your life that many people take for granted. You actually use the stuff you’ve spent money on more often. Taking time away from your loved ones can also give you a sense of gratitude towards them.This gives you a stronger relationship when you do next spend time with them.

3. You Become More Focused

This doesn’t just mean focusing on yourself, but also focusing on your tasks. We can sometimes get carried away with the action without thinking about why we take these actions or what we are trying to achieve. Being by yourself can help hone in on what you are doing without distraction or pressure from others.

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4. You Become Less Dependent On Others

Independence is a major benefit of spending time alone. The constant need to be around people comes from the fear that you’ll be lonely without them. This really is just running away from some aspect of yourself that you don’t want to look at or acknowledge. We don’t need as much interaction as our society deems the right amount to be. Most of the time socialising is just a distraction from the fear of loneliness which only exists in the mind.

By spending time alone with yourself, you learn to depend only on yourself and harbour your own perspectives and beliefs needed to make your own, unique journey in this world.

5. Makes You More Efficient

A lot of people waste time finding ways to fill their day. While some of these activities can be meaningful, a lot of the time, they just exist to fill in gaps that can be used more efficiently. When we’re alone, the lessening of interaction causes us to do more of what needs to get done. Being comfortable with spending time alone with yourself makes you realise the unnecessary things you do to distract yourself, thus enabling you to eliminate the excess clutter from your life.

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6. You Slow Down And Become More Mindful

Spending time with others causes us to rush around living busy lives. While this can be beneficial, it takes away our awareness of the present moment. Our brains need a break from all the interaction and information that it processes on a daily basis. We need to create a space where we can be more mindful of what we’re doing and what is around us.

Mindfulness plays a huge role in our happiness, so it’s important to take time out and really be present in the moment, connecting with ourselves and the world around us. Being alone allows us to do this by slowing down and being more aware of life and our place in it. Sitting by ourselves in a quiet place can be a great opportunity to get into a meditative state, which doesn’t have to involve mediation, but activities such as walking, writing, creating something or reading that allows your mind to slow down and focus.

7. Allows You To Live A More Simple Life

Our modern society means we are often overwhelmed by expectations and this leads us to do things we feel we should do, want to do or need to do resulting in a sense of bewilderment, feelings of lack and even avoidance issues. By being alone we can savour a more simple life away from excess daily societal pressures. This means more time to become who we want to be on our own terms and appreciate a life where we dismiss unnecessary additions to our already crowded lives.

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8. You Realise You’re Enough To Make Yourself Happy

There are many benefits of being alone, but the main one is realising and accepting that you are the number one reason for your happiness. You can only achieve this if you spend the necessary time understanding yourself. Know that you are enough in this world to make yourself happy. Happiness doesn’t exist outside of us – it comes from within and everything else is just an added extra. Spending time alone provides us with the space we need to depend on ourselves to create our own, unique happiness.

Featured photo credit: unsplash.com via pexels.com

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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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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