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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

More by this author

Dean Yeong

Dean writes about behavioral psychology and performance improvement.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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