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Published on June 19, 2020

What to Do With Your Life When All Hope Is Lost

What to Do With Your Life When All Hope Is Lost

Are you in a situation in your life right now where you feel the odds are against you and all hope is lost?

You are not alone.

Things can happen in life where you’ll suddenly find yourself at the downside of hope. It could be the loss of someone or something dear to you, a circumstance that is too much to bear, some things that are not working out, a phase where you’ve got stuck and can’t see any path forward, a feeling that you are all by yourself, or a total loss of interest in living.

No matter what you’ve gone through or are going through, you can get over your current circumstances and beam with the ray of hope again. You will find in this article some useful suggestions to help you rekindle your hope and triumph over your current situation.

What Is Hope?

Hope is an expression of confidence in life, a basis for more practical dispositions such as patience, determination, and courage. Hope provides aims and the motivation to attain those aims.[1]

Why Hope Is Important in Life

Hope is a great necessity for producing and sustaining the enthusiasm required to live a purposeful and fulfilling life. If you want to live a full and meaningful life, hope is one companion you can’t afford to lose.

It is said that:[2]

“Man can live 40 days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air, but only one second without hope.”

Below are some ways hope is essential in life:

1. Hope Produces the Courage Required to Face Life Challenges

Many situations in life come without a warning, and people often find themselves unprepared to handle the difficulties that may arise as a result of the situation.

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For example, the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the entire world didn’t give any notice, yet it has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, millions of jobs, and businesses have lost billions of dollars.

There are other challenges that may not come in the same magnitude as COVID-19 but can have debilitating effects on an individual’s health, finance, family, or business. But when you can find an anchor of hope in the midst of your challenges, hope will arise from the inside of you and you will suddenly gain the courage to face the challenge.

It sometimes works like magic when you suddenly find strength in your weakness, hope in your hopelessness, and opportunities in the midst of scarcity.

2. Hope Is Optimistic That Things Will Work Out

Hope does not give up too soon, and it doesn’t accept defeat.

When you have hope, you can get almost anything done because you believe that your efforts will eventually payout. Hope helps you believe that despite the unpalatable experiences you are having, you will eventually overcome them.

3. Hope Helps Initiate New Strategies

Hope gives you the initiative to come up with new strategies in finding a solution instead of giving up. When you have hope, you’ll become creative and innovative to find alternative ways to come out of your current situation.

Hope looks for new ways to achieve its dreams instead of succumbing to the weight of impossibilities.

4. Hope Helps You Stay in the Game Until a Solution is Found

There are times when you can’t even see a way forward in a situation. It’s just like having to swim to the shore when you find yourself in a capsized boat.

You don’t even know how far or close you are to the shore, and you have only two choices: to drawn and die or continue to swim for as long as you can until when probably a miracle happens.

Sustaining your hope can help you keep on until a solution is found. Most people have found near-miraculous solutions as a result of persevering and staying in the game.

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How to Recover and Rekindle Hope

When in a situation where you are thrown off balance and found yourself on the lowest end of hope, here are some suggestions on what you can do to recover, rekindle, and rejuvenate your hope.

1. Express Your Feelings

Get it out of your head.

Sometimes in order to find a solution to a problem, you have to start by unloading your mind from it. There is a kind of relief that you get when you express your feeling by speaking out either to yourself or to a listener.

You can write out your situation in your personal journal and depending on the sensitivity of the issue, you can write on a personal blog or make a video post to narrate your experience on a platform like Instagram.

Speaking out, your mind will be free from bearing the burden alone and you can get helpful counsel that can spring up hope in you again.

2. Find a Community

Apart from expressing your feelings through various means, you can also find hope in communities. You will find communities of people facing similar challenges as yours. In such communities, you will discover coping mechanisms or hear success stories of how people are overcoming the common challenge.

You can find such communities by attending a networking event or searching for interest groups on social media. As you get to hear other people’s stories and how they’ve been able to overcome similar challenges, you will find hope to overcome yours as well.

3. Connect to a Bigger Picture and a Larger Purpose of Yours

When you focus on your immediate challenges and how badly things have turned out, it might be difficult to find hope. But when you focus on a bigger picture and larger purpose of your life, you will find inspiration to believe again.

You’ll also know that this phase will pass and there will be the dawn of a new morning, a morning that will lead you to your bigger dream.

4. Relive Your Memorable Moments

Sometimes, some problems can look like much of a big deal until you recall some of your live events. You might find out that you have been through worse things and came out strong. You will also find several moments that you had initially lost hope on certain issues but put up a good fight and became victorious.

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Even if those issues were of smaller magnitudes compared to the ones you are currently facing, you can still use a similar approach at a higher scale to bring the desired solution.

5. Do Something Different

Another way to find hope is to try something different. You can change your routines or change your environment by going on a vacation where you’ll see beautiful places and scenes and meet new people.

You can also spend some time with nature to revive hope. It’s been found that spending time with nature has both physical and psychological effects. It reduces stress and also relieves depression and anxiety.[3]

6. Read Biographies and Autobiographies

There is a common saying that there is no new thing under heaven.

People have come and gone in this world and have encountered all kinds of difficult situations. So many stories of travails and triumph have been told or written, and reading such information can help you gain motivation in your hopelessness and you can also find practical ways to deal with your peculiar situation.

7. Watch Heroic Movies

Whether they are based on true-life stories or are just pure fiction, you can find inspiration by watching heroic movies.

Movies have a way of appealing to our sensitives. They can also spark the drive you need to forge ahead. When you watch how ordinary people turn situations around and become great in spite of all odds, something inside of you will assure you that you can also overcome your current situations and triumph.

8. Rewatch a Historic Sports Event

Sport is full of stories of surprises and magical comebacks, especially at the “injury time” when all hope is lost. Watching such games can help you gain excitement and rekindle your hope.

There are also specific stories of coaches, teams, and athletes that have staged a surprise comeback when people have given up on them.

Worthy of particular mention is the Tiger Woods’ story, which has been tagged as one of the finest comeback stories in sporting history.[4] Woods won the Masters again after going through a career slump due to personal challenges and ill-health.

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Such an inspirational story can help you realize that you can still find hope even in the most hopeless situation.

9 Seek for Help

You can talk to your partner, friend, counselor, or anyone willing to listen to your story.

Apart from speaking to people, you might also need to take proactive steps. You can ask for specific help such as creating a crowdfunding campaign if you need financial help, talk to an advocacy group if you are being cheated or abused, or ask for help from other experts that can handle your specific situation.

10. Seek Divine Help

As humans, many things are beyond us and this is why we should not hesitate to seek divine intervention whenever we fall flat on our face. Several people have found hope, joy, and restoration by seeking help from ‘above’.

By praying and unloading your burdens to God, you acknowledge that you are only human and require the help that is greater than what any other human can provide.

Final Thoughts

There is always a source of strength and hope available for every situation.

Talk to someone, do something different, look within yourself, read biographies, relive old memories, or seek divine help. When you do, your mind will be refreshed, your problems will appear lighter, and you will find hope to navigate through until you come out of the situation.

More Tips for Getting Through the Tough Times

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Bishop via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Is Hope Good or Bad?
[2] Cam Taylor: What You Can’t Live Without
[3] The Shores of Lake Phalen: Benefits of Being In Nature
[4] The Guardian: Tiger Woods’ Masters win is a great sporting comeback story

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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