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6 Counter-intuitive Methods to Make Your Life Better that No One Talks About

6 Counter-intuitive Methods to Make Your Life Better that No One Talks About

Most of the worthwhile things in life don’t come easy. One of the things I dislike the most is “the power of positive thinking.” So many people are sold on this idea that their desired life outcome will eventually come true without any extra effort, as long as they constantly visualize it.

However, the opposite is true. A better life never comes without a price. There are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to improve your life in slight degrees. However, here are 6 unconventional (but realistic) ways you can do to make your life better.

1. Set Goals and Forget About It

What? Yes, I mean it. To make your life better, the first thing you need to do is to have a clear and defined goal. While setting your goals, make sure they are aligned with your values and priorities. If you believe in job security, and your goal is to build a multi-million dollar startup, you’re going to have a hard time.

What nobody talks about are things we should all do after that. Most people give you suggestions on how to set bigger goals, how to use the SMART goal setting techniques, but no one talks about the executions.

Visualizing your goals every day doesn’t help. Instead, you should just forget about it and start executing your goals. Break your goals down into a realistic plan, start taking action, and focus on making progress.

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2. Start Budgeting

Many have said money is not the source of happiness. I totally agree. Making more money should not be the sole purpose of our lives. However, the way we deal with money is emotional. No one can escape from it because, in today’s world, money is heavily tied to life and death in many cases.

Everyone wants to make more money, and many people talk about it; some even teach others how to do it. But very few people talk about managing it because it’s not a sexy topic. It never gets people excited.

Yet, personal finance is about managing money, not just about making more money. How you budget and spend your income is equally, if not more, important than how you earn them and how much you made.

People who are good at budgeting know how to manage risks rationally. Only with that can you finally wave goodbye to the roller-coaster lifestyle.

3. Opt for Simplicity

Simplicity isn’t easy. It’s all about reducing your life down to the fundamentals. It is about wanting less, doing less, and having less, but living more.

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Many of us are caught up in the world where more is always better. We want more time, more friends, more information, but at the end of the day, we have less time because we work more, we have fewer friends because we’re trying to please everyone, and we contain less wisdom because we only scratch the surface of every piece of information we receive.

To live with simplicity, we need to learn more about ourselves, and then focus only on the fundamentals. With that, you can shift your life from scarcity to abundance in no time.

4. Practice Appreciation

Some see everything as happening to them, and others see everything as happening for them. People who appreciate both the good and bad things (and people) around them tend to be happier.

We don’t always have the ability to control our circumstances, but we always have control on how we see and perceive them. It’s time to stop whining, stop complaining, and stop comparing. Instead, appreciate every moment in life because every one of them gives you an opportunity to grow.

How do you practice appreciation immediately? Simply change your “have to” to “get to.”

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  • I have to take care of my parents →  I get to take care of my parents
  • I have to go to work → I get to go to work
  • I have to eat white bread for breakfast → I get to eat white bread for breakfast.

“Have to” makes you feel everything as an obligation; on the other hand, “get to” makes you feel like everything is a privilege.

5. Master Your Habits

We are what we repeatedly do. – Aristotle

On average, humans process 60,000 thoughts in a day. That’s insane. In fact, almost 85% of them are habitual. This basically means 85% of our day to day decisions, behavior, and actions are our habits.

To truly transform your life for the better, you need to start breaking bad habits and building good habits. Easier said than done, but mastering your habits is a long process; no one pulls off the feat in a day or two.

Start observing your routines, identifying destructive habits, then, replacing them with a good, new routines.

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6. Connect with Real People

The advancement of technology has revolutionized how we communicate. I truly appreciate the fact that I can actually connect to great teachers and mentors with very little cost today. Plus, I also get to share my words with many others around the world.

However, nothing beats real connections. With more and more people working using their computer and the Internet, most communication happens online. While work is usually 70% of one’s life, it’s time to shut down your computer, disconnect yourself from the Internet, and go out the meet with real people when you’re not working.

My words can spark a light in your mind, but the true change happens with the support of close people around you. To make your life better, connect and build relationships with others offline.

Proximity is power. – Tony Robbins

Start Before You Feel Ready

To change your life for the better is really not that complicated. It’s simple, but it’s never easy. To make a change in your life, all you have to do is to take the first step: start before you’re ready, then, take consistent small actions, and opt for tiny, incremental gains.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Dean Yeong

Self-improvement writer and performance coach

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Last Updated on October 14, 2020

The Art of Humble Confidence

The Art of Humble Confidence

To be confident or not to be confident, that is the question. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve been a bit confused about all this discussion about the subject of confidence. Do you really need to be more confident or should you try to be more humble? I think the answer is both – you just have to know where to use it.

East VS West – Confidence, It’s a Cultural Thing

In typical Western countries, the answer to the confidence debate is obvious – more is better. Our heros are rebellious, independent and shoot first, ask questions later. I think this snippet of dialog from The Matrix sums it up best:

Agent Smith – “We’re willing to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start. All that we’re asking in return is your cooperation in bringing a known terrorist to justice.”
Neo – “Yeah. Well, that sounds like a pretty good deal. But I think I may have a better one. How about, I give you the finger”
[He does]
Neo -“ …and you give me my phone call.”

In Eastern countries, the tone is often considerably different. Elders are supposed to be revered not dismissed. The words ‘guru,’ meaning a teacher, and the philosophy of dharma, loosely translated to mean ‘duty,’ come from here. In Eastern cultures humility and respect are more important than confidence.

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These perspectives are generalizations, but it shows how the confidence debate goes back deep into our culture. I think that both extremes of pure confidence or pure humility are misguided. Instead of rectifying this situation by simply blending the two: becoming somewhat humble, somewhat confident all the time, I believe the answer is to know when to be confident and when to be humble.

Humble Confidence – Know When to Use It

I’m going to make another broad generalization. I believe that virtually every relationship you are going to have is going to fit into one of two major archetypes, either master or student. In peer relationships this master/student role may switch frequently, but it is extremely rare that the relationship never leans to one side.

In the master role, you are displaying confidence to get what you want. This is public speaker, leader or seducer. Being the master has advantages. You have more control and ability to influence from this role.

The student role is the opposite. You are intentionally displaying humility. This is the student, disciple or follower. Being the student has advantages too. You can learn a lot more in this role and are more likely to win the trust of the other person.

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Know When to Shut Up and Learn

If you are a typical Westerner, you are probably already thinking about which role you prefer. Being the leader is great. You get respect and a higher status. Most of all you get a greater degree of control.

But the problem is that you can’t and shouldn’t always try to be the leader. Trying to assume that role without the skills, resources or status to back it up will lead to conflict. More importantly, there are many times when you purposely want to display humility. Some of the benefits to the student role include:

  • You learn more.
  • Smooths relationships.
  • Makes others more willing to lend a helping hand.

Knowing when taking the humble route is to your advantage. It is far easier to get mentors and advisors if you use humility rather than arrogance. A small sacrifice to your ego can open up the potential to learn a lot.

Confidence to Persuade, Humility to Learn

In reality almost no relationship is as clearly defined as master/student. Within our connections, people have overlapping areas of expertise. I might be an expert in blogging to a non-blogger, but they might be an expert in finance. In each area there are different roles to take.

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Before any interaction ask yourself what the purpose is. Are you trying to learn or persuade?

Persuasion requires confidence. If you are trying to sell, instruct or lead you need to display the confidence to match your message. But learning requires humility. You won’t learn anything if you are constantly arguing with your professors, mentors or employers. Taking a dose of humility and temporarily making yourself a student gives you the opportunity to absorb.

Persuade Less, Learn More

Persuasion is great for immediate effect, but learning matters over the long-haul. Instead of washing over all your communication with pure confidence, look for opportunities to learn. Persuading someone to follow you may give you an immediate boost of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last. Learning, however, is an investment for the future.

Whenever I make a connection with someone and realize they have a skill or understanding I want, I am careful to express humility in that area. That means listening with what they say even if I don’t immediately agree and being patient with their response. This method often drastically cuts down the time I need to spend on trial and error to learn by myself.

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Confidence/Humility Doesn’t Replace Communication Skills

This approach of selectively using confidence and humility for different purposes doesn’t replace communication skills. Humility isn’t going to work if the other person thinks you’re an irritating whiner. Confidence won’t work if the entire room thinks you are an arrogant jerk. Knowing how to display these two qualities takes practice.

The next time you are about to enter into an interaction ask yourself why you are doing it. Are you trying to persuade or learn? Depending on which you can take a completely different tact for far better results.

Featured photo credit: BBH Singapore via unsplash.com

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