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If You Want To Lead Your Life More Effortlessly, You Should Embrace This New Mindset

If You Want To Lead Your Life More Effortlessly, You Should Embrace This New Mindset

We all have goals we’re striving for whether it’s losing weight, getting healthy, learning something new or just starting any new positive habit. We set that intention to be consistent, willing and ready to persevere but often we can get to a point when we just think “I can’t do it”.

It sounds familiar? Our mind is good for a lot of things but sometimes it can play havoc with our willpower and manages to convince us that we just can’t do something. But what if this isn’t true? What if you dare to question your mind and the belief that your goal that was once attainable is suddenly impossible?

The Power Of Admitting “I Don’t Want To Do It”

When we get to that point where we feel frustrated and unmotivated we tend to automatically assume that we are just incapable. But if we’re really being honest with ourselves it’s probably because we simply don’t want to do it. 

We often berate ourselves for the lack of effort we put in to something because we synonymize it with failure and by telling ourselves we can’t do it, we’re validating this thought pattern and mindset. By admitting that we just don’t want to do it we are no longer cutting off the possibility of achieving it – we are just simply saying that at this moment we are feeling frustrated and unmotivated but that doesn’t mean shutting down our goal altogether.

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“I Can’t Do It” vs. “I Don’t Want To Do It”

The beauty of taking each present moment as it comes is realising that how you feel now, won’t necessarily be how you feel in the future. So you’d rather binge-watch Netflix right now instead of dealing with a project you need to finish, you haven’t spent enough time putting energy into your goal lately and you feel a sense of never getting your mojo back again. In these instances of procrastination, we start to feel like a failure and the failure mindset kicks in allowing us to believe we just can’t reach that once-attainable dream.

Try switching your mindset to “I don’t want to do it” and accept that it’s perfectly okay in this moment. It’s about releasing the pressure we put on ourselves and giving ourselves a break allowing us to cultivate a mindset of “I can still achieve my goal.”

For example, say you’ve set a goal of losing weight through running – you set the goal and it feels good, you feel motivated and happy believing you will achieve the optimum weight loss you want.

Things are going great, you’re on track but a couple of weeks in you start to miss a session here and there, you start to make excuses why you can’t go for a run, you start to lose motivation and that visual you had of your slimmer self starts to wane. It’s at this point that your mind will scream I CAN’T DO IT!

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But this isn’t true – it’s simply your mind overruling sense and logic, panicking that you’re not going to ever get to your target.

It’s your mind undermining your confidence and leading you to conclude absolute failure in your capabilities.

Instead admit that your mind is detracting from the fact that you don’t want to go running. Sometimes we don’t want to face up to the possibility that we’ve lost motivation – that it was harder than we thought it was going to be and this doesn’t equal failure. This just means we didn’t set achievable goals. Perhaps you started too fast too soon, maybe you didn’t prepare yourself for slow and steady results, or maybe it could simply be a case of finding a running buddy to keep you going and help make it a regular habit.

3 Steps To Take When You Think “I Can’t Do It”

Step1: Take a step back and be honest with yourself

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When you think to yourself “I can’t do it” just stop and ask yourself why. What exactly makes you think you can’t? Assess your mood and motivation and ask yourself is it likely to be a case of “I don’t want to do it”?

Step 2: Give yourself a break

It’s important to be kind to yourself and admit that right now you’re not on track to achieving your goal and that’s okay. Each new moment and each new day is a clean slate for you to start again. Taking the pressure off yourself can help you deal with the “I can’t do it” mindset much more easily.

Step 3: See it as a chance to reassess small, attainable goals

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Don’t immediately see it as failure. By doing this, we inadvertently knock the confidence out of ourselves when really it’s a great opportunity to step back and reassess a better strategy whether that means cutting it down into smaller goals, or even finding a new way to achieve it altogether. With the weight loss example, you could draw up a new schedule that works better around your daily routines, run shorter, easier runs, find a running partner, join a local running club or find a new sport altogether.

Remember when it comes to achieving our goals – small or large –  it’s all about mindset. Self-belief is key to achieving our dreams but we need to recognise that simply saying we can’t do something is just our mind trying to give up at each hurdle. Having doubts and fears around our set tasks is only human and we can’t be expected to be motivated every step of the way. Just be honest with yourself that your mind exclaiming “I can’t do it!” is really its over-dramatic way of saying “I don’t want to do it!”. Accept it, adopt the mindset, reassess and realise you are capable of carrying on the path to achieving your dream.

More by this author

Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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