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10 Reasons Why Your Cousins Are Your Best Friends

10 Reasons Why Your Cousins Are Your Best Friends

Growing up, I was good friends with pretty much all of my first cousins, as well as a handful of my second cousins. What makes a cousin a good friend? Well, to put it simply, they are like siblings who you only have to see on holidays and special events, which of course means that you’re never around them enough to get mad at them (we all know how contentious things can get with a brother or sister, no matter how much we love them)! Or to put it in even simpler terms, cousins are like your good friends from school or work, with the only difference being that you share the same blood. Which means that, no matter how different you and your cousin are, you always have something that ties you together. But beyond all of that, what are some of the concrete reasons as to why we grow close to our cousins in the first place? Read on!

1. They make family gatherings enjoyable.

As much as we all love eating our Grandmother’s cooking and deflecting questions from various Aunts and Uncles, what we really enjoy about seeing family is getting to catch up with our cousins. Whether it’s joking about a random subject you came up with, or playing some game on the side, your cousin is always there to help you pass the time.

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2. You have a long history with them.

This one is very important. Most of us don’t see our cousins on a consistent basis; a product of becoming an adult I suppose. That said, we always have something to talk about regardless of how long it has been since we last saw them. Indeed, I have memories with most of my cousins that date back to when I was 4 or 5 years old, and thus, when in doubt, we can always talk about those past adventures!

3. They don’t pry.

While your Aunt and Uncle might feel the need to ask you about your future, your current job, and your hypothetical girlfriend, your cousins know to stay away from topics that make you uncomfortable. That’s what is great about cousins. You know them well enough to be able to spend a lot of time with them, but not enough to feel obligated to pry into every aspect of their lives.

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4. They teach you about the opposite gender.

For the majority of the time that I was in school, all of my friends were guys, and so by having several female cousins I really got to see what the other side was all about. I like to think that this has made me a well-balanced individual!

5. There is no uncomfortable silence.

Ever been in a long road trip with an acquaintance? It is absolutely unbearable. When you’re with a cousin, you can either talk a lot or a little, and nobody will ask questions or get uncomfortable either way.

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6. You share the same inside jokes.

Yeah, so you thought you were the only one who joked about Uncle John’s funny laugh, or Grandma Jane’s “interesting” sense of style? Wrong! Your cousin likely already thought of the same things. The sooner you both come to that realization, the sooner you can start laughing at your shared observations.

7. They know about your embarrassing moments.

I can’t tell you how many times my cousins poke fun at me for some of my youthful foibles (hint: too many to count). That said, calling out each other’s ridiculous childhood moments only brings you closer together. No matter how serious and adult-like you and your cousins become, you can always bring each other back down to earth with a little lighthearted jab…

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8. They never abandon you.

While your friends might grow distant to the point that they stop hanging out with you, your cousins will never leave you behind. They’ll be with you for the long haul, always there to save you from awkward conversations and other miserable familial situations when you need them.

9. You can talk about the future with them.

You know that moment when you are at a family party and you and the other young people are at one table, and the older people are at another? Of course you do. During those moments, there’s always one cousin who turns to you, points at the other table, and says, “wow, that’s going to be us in twenty years!” It’s at that point that you realize how intertwined your futures are. To me at least, that’s a pretty cool thing to think about.

10. You don’t have to impress them.

When you’re with cousins, you get to be buddies with them without the added social pressure that comes with hanging out with non-family members. That means you can forgo the makeup, pause your kale-based diet, leave your face unshaven, and forget about having to do anything fancy with your hair. Let it all go! With your cousin, all that matters is your presence. And if that doesn’t signify true friendship, I don’t know what does! Are you best friends with your cousins? Share your stories in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Laughter/ Becca Peterson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 20, 2020

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career? If you’re ready to take responsibility for your life, then you need to tap into some principles for success.

Many people—maybe you—stopped following their passion and purpose way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

Here are 10 success principles to help you reach your goals and live a rich life on your terms.

1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand[1].

Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work[2].

Give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life and help you focus on goal setting.

2. Focus on Your Strengths

Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

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Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

To use this principle for success, take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it. Is it what you really want? If it’s what you really want to be doing, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP, the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life, it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut[3].

Silencing your inner critic is one of the best principles for success.

    To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

    This is one of the principles for success that will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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    5. Embrace Your Inner Self

    Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid people will find out how odd or strange we are. However, our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths.

    Odds are that you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

    • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
    • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
    • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

    The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

    Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

    6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

    I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you, but you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

    To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

    Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

    A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

    Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

    Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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    7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

    Pretend I’m your fairy godmother, and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

    What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

    8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

    Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time[4].

    Furthermore, a Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere[5].

    What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

    These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

    9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

    Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

    This is one of the most powerful principles for success for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

    Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

    “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

    To learn more about how to get off autopilot and take specific actions towards your goals, check out this video:

    10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

    Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

    Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

    You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, and you can succeed again.

    Final Thoughts

    Eleanor Roosevelt said,

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

    Following these principles for success will help you find the time and energy to achieve your goals and live with clear intention.

    Stand still, get quiet, and listen. Your life is constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rock star potential in life and business. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

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    Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

    Reference

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