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10 Mistakes to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

10 Mistakes to Stop Making Now to Avoid Lifelong Regrets

When people look back on their lives, what are some of the most common regrets they have? That is a profound question we need to stop and ask more often. Some people look back and say the biggest mistake they made was to not have children. Others look back and say their biggest regret was about lost time. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at how you are living your life and think about how you can avoid future regrets. Many mistakes we make that lead to regret later in life are avoidable. Here are a few of the most common mistakes you need to stop making now to avoid regrets later on in life.

1. Following someone else’s dream.

The pain of unfulfilled dreams is more severe than that of disappointments. Twenty, 30 or 40 years from now you will not think about how disappointing you were to your parents for not following the career path they chose for you as much as you will regret not pursuing your own true life passions. Do yourself a favor and stop living for other people’s dreams. Live your own life. It is your life after all, isn’t it?

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2. Taking your loved ones for granted.

Your kids won’t be kids forever. If you don’t enjoy them when they are young, soon they will be grown-ups and the opportunity will be gone forever. Your parents also won’t live forever. You will be hard pressed to forgive yourself for not telling and showing them how much they meant to you when they are gone. Spend quality time with everyone you love.

3. Pretending to be someone you’re not.

Society expects us to act and do things in certain ways. While it’s easy to succumb to the pressures of society, don’t change so that people will like you. Don’t live your whole life pretending to be someone you aren’t just to fit in. Be yourself. The most admirable and inspiring people in this world are their true selves. When you are yourself, you are comfortable. You attract like-minded people who love you for who you are, and who will help you live the most fulfilling life you can.

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4. Burning all your bridges.

As the old adage says, be kind to the people you meet on your way up, because you might need them on your way down. You might not want to hear this, but life is a journey of ups and down. Today you might be riding the waves of success in your personal and professional life, but who knows what tomorrow holds. Don’t burn those bridges in your past that helped you get to where you are now, including past friendships, networks and relationships. You might need them later in life.

5. Telling lies all the time.

Some people tell lies so easily and readily that is has become second nature to them. What these people don’t realize until it is too late is that lies destroy families and relationships, often permanently. True relationships cannot be held together by lies. Tell lies and you will inevitably regret it later in life. Tell the truth and you will never have to look back with remorse and regret for lies told.

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6. Forgetting to live in the moment.

Life is fleeting. Don’t get caught up in the mad rush of modern living and forget to enjoy those little moments that make life worth it, such as your baby’s first steps or your daughter’s graduation. Quit working too much and learn to appreciate your surroundings and the people in your life. There is nothing worse than reaching your goals and discovering you don’t know how you got there.

7. Giving up true love.

Love is a big area of regret for many people. Too many times people reject real love because they are scared of it, don’t recognize it, or are too busy pursuing other things. Denying yourself the opportunity to love and be loved is denying yourself the one real thing that can make life worth living. Accept pure love from everyone and give it generously to all. If you are lucky to find true romantic love, cherish it and protect it as fervently as you can. We all come to think about our love experiences decades later. Don’t let this be an area of regret in your life.

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8. Denying others happiness.

Do good to all and spread happiness. It adds value to your own life and makes other people truly grateful. When you are old and look back, you will smile and be happy for showing kindness and helping other people be the best they can be. That orphaned child you helped get through school, for example, will come visit you when she is all grown up and it will fill your soul with joy and happiness. In the end, it is not how much money or how many material possessions you have accumulated that count, but how many lives you have touched.

9. Not standing up for yourself and others.

There are many injustices in this world. These injustices continue because not enough of the good guys stand up for what is right. Never stand by and watch passively as an injustice takes place. Stand up for yourself and for others bravely. It is better to die for a good cause, than live for no cause or a bad cause. When you are older, you will take pride that you participated in making the world a better place for all and did not just sit passively as bad things happened around you.

10. Disregarding your health and wellness.

Your health is your life. Never disregard it. Take care of yourself religiously. Eat right and exercise regularly. Don’t be one of those people who only think about their health when there is a problem and they are feeling unwell. You might not get better for you to take better care of your health.

Featured photo credit: Regret/Neil Moralee via flickr.com

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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

Reference

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