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7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life

7 Things You Don’t Want to Learn Too Late in Life

We should never regret too much in our lives. However, there comes a time when we realise there are things that, if we had known them earlier, could have benefited us a lot in our younger years. Maybe we only come to these realisations through personal growth and experience, but sometimes we can go through life not being fully aware of situations until we hit a crisis point that leads us to question whether we truly did or cherished things to the best of our ability.

How often have you thought to yourself I wish I’d known this when I was younger? There’s an overwhelming feeling that if your younger self had just been more enlightened or aware, then you could have dealt with emotions and situations more readily or just moved forward with a more knowledgeable mindset and perspective on life.

With this in mind, here are 7 important life lessons that will change your perspective and mindset to enhance your experience of life for the better.

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1. Be Present In The Here And Now

We spend so much time rehashing the past or planning for the future that we forget to experience the present moment. The present moment is what is happening to you right now. Happiness can only exist in the present moment ‒ the past has gone and the future hasn’t come yet so the present moment is all we have.

Our minds have a habit of running at a hundred miles an hour and this means we are rarely just being in the here and now. Try stopping and looking around you, see what is happening right now, be mindful of where you are right in this moment, or simply be aware of your breathing. Once you do this, your mind will start to open up and appreciate what you have right now and you will even start to feel like time is no longer slipping away.

2. Don’t Rule Your Life By What You Think You Should Or Shouldn’t Do

Society, or our family’s expectations tend to make us think there are things we should do ― I should go to university and get that degree or I shouldn’t pursue my dreams because I won’t make the same money as I would working in this dead-end office job. We all have these niggling ‘shoulds’ and ‘shouldn’ts’ circling our minds, but when we make these statements, who exactly are we making these statements to? Who exactly are we trying to get permission from? And why is this acceptable? Living your life the way you want to is the only way to be happy. Stop limiting yourself because of other people’s expectations. It’s your life and no one else’s.

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3. Don’t Make Things Bigger Than They Are

Our minds can work against us and through mindsets we develop and fears that take over. We can often make problems much bigger than they actually are. It’s all about perspective. How many times have you thought something was a huge deal but a day, week, or month down the line you don’t even think about it anymore? That’s because your mind likes to focus and blow-up worries and problems that aren’t actually problems.

Next time it happens just take a moment to ask yourself: realistically, will I still be thinking about this tomorrow, next week, next year etc.? Most of the time the answer will be “NO” so eliminate all the unnecessary worry you put yourself through.

4. Face Your Fears More

We all have fears ― some are justified and some are not ― but to grow and really get as much out of life as you can, you need to face your fears more often. Remember that many of your fears are only a product of your mind; they don’t actually exist. When you start to realise this, doing things you find intimidating and scary will actually become easier. The feeling you’ll get from facing your fears head on will be the best and most rewarding feeling you will ever have and, 100% guaranteed, it will always never feel as scary as your mind thought it was going to be.

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5. Slowly But Surely Wins The Race

When we’re younger, we tend to aim high and want everything quickly. When we set ourselves goals, we can give up easily when we don’t get the results immediately. Our modern world has conditioned us to expect and obtain anything in a blink of an eye which has led us to believe this can be the same for our dreams, goals, and ambitions.

The secret to success is small steps for big changes. Our goals are there to help us achieve and grow and we can’t do this if things happen quickly with no area for learning or getting a sense of achievement from it. Remember to set yourself small attainable goals that will help towards your dreams and know you are on the right path no matter how long it will take.

6. Stop Assuming What Other People Are Thinking

We can often make huge assumptions about what others are thinking whether they are judging you for something or thinking badly about an opinion you had. The bottom line is the world doesn’t revolve around you. Everyone around you is dealing with their own problems, worries, and insecurities and the chances are, they aren’t paying as much attention to you as you may think. So stop caring and, even worse, assuming what others are thinking. You wouldn’t want anyone to assume what you’re thinking so why do it to others?

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7. Appreciate Everything In Your Life

One of the most important life lessons is appreciation. The older we get, the more we appreciate the things in our life including people, experiences, lessons we’ve learnt, and even our possessions. Establishing this habit early on the better, because gratitude and appreciation is the true key to happiness. The sooner you can be enlightened to this and integrate this into your everyday life, the more you’ll be able to live in the present moment and be thankful for what makes your life a good one―no matter how small the thing is you’re appreciating.

So, whether it’s the shower you get to take every morning, the nature around you, your pet, that one person who you can talk to about anything, the food in your refrigerator―appreciate it all and realise the abundance that’s really present in your life. This will transcend into the rest of your life and establish the positive mindset needed to live a happy and healthy life; your older self will thank you for it!

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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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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