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10 Harsh Truths about Being an Adult

10 Harsh Truths about Being an Adult

As you move through the stages of your life, you will invariably learn that things aren’t always as they are cracked up to be. As amazing as life can be, there are also harsh truths that you tend not to acknowledge until they are staring you in the face. Consider yourself warned about these ten facts you will have to deal with as you become a full-fledged adult.

1. You’re not invincible.

You may have great memories of skateboarding and kickboxing from your youth and you might revel in showing off the scars you collected along the way, but the older you get, the less your body will be able to bounce back from the idiotic exuberances of youth. You are going to have to pick your battles. Just because you might be able to jump from the roof of the house to the garage doesn’t mean you should.

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2. Patience is a virtue.

We live in a world that breeds short attention spans and severely limits a person’s ability to be patient, but the more able you are to wait for the good things in life, the better they will be. From money to relationships to career goals, rushing towards the finish line or your next great step is a sure fire way to miss out on a lot of valuable lessons and cheapen the things to accomplish on the way. Slow down.

3. You are responsible for yourself. 

A shocking reality that many people need to face about growing up is that all the little things you took for granted as a kid require an actual effort on your part. When a light bulb burns out, there won’t magically be a new one waiting in a kitchen drawer. You actually have to go out and buy light bulbs. The same applies for food, medicine, and soap.

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4. Your metabolism is slower. 

In addition to not being able to heal itself as readily, your body will become less efficient at turning food into energy and will store more as fat. Just because you got through high school and college living of the McDonald’s value menu doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do it forever. Learn to cook some healthy meals. Run regularly. Your body will thank you.

5. You will lose touch with people.

You may have posed with your college roommates in front of someone’s Macbook and put the “BFF” effect on the border, but that doesn’t mean you will actually be friends forever. You will lose touch with at least a few of the people you expected to be around forever. Your real, best friends will stick around but a surprising number of people will fade into the background.

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6. You will work for/with people you hate.

Another great place to apply the whole patience thing we learned about a few points ago is in the workplace. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, people you don’t like will find you. They will have a terrible sense of humor or they will have no sense of humor at all. They will be mean and spiteful and vindictive. Do your best not to let them spoil you on the rest of us.

7. Your interests will change.

You will become a person that the high school version of you would have made fun of mercilessly. It is one of the most subtle and surprising things about growing up, but eventually you will find yourself watching a show about people buying a house and you will be commenting with genuine interest on the material the countertops are made of and the level of curb appeal. It is better to just embrace this. It is more fun than it sounds.

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8. The world won’t slow down for you.

Another harsh truth about the world is that it moves quickly. The march of progress demands that we all pull our weight and if you can’t shake off the bad habits you picked up in school, there will be no one to make sure you keep up with the flow.

9. You will have less free time.

One of the great injustices of the world we live in is that as teenagers we have limitless amounts of time to fill with epic adventures, but no money to fund said adventures, and as adults, we have the money to do what we want but no time with which to do it. Seize the day whenever you can and don’t become a workaholic. Life is about relationships and experiences, though the world will try to make you forget that.

10. Things will get monotonous.

One of the easiest traps to fall into as an adult is routine. Obviously it is important and even enjoyable to know what lies around the next corner, but don’t let your life get too boring. You will have to make a conscious effort to seek out new things and to spice things up. Inertia is a hard thing to overcome, but it is worth it when you do.

Featured photo credit: Images Money via flickr.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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