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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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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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