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10 Things You Cared About Growing Up 10 Years Ago but Don’t Now

10 Things You Cared About Growing Up 10 Years Ago but Don’t Now

Getting older is inevitable. Looking back on our past is a way to see how much we have grown, and evaluate where we want to go in the future. Our past has made us who we are today. However, the things that we used to care about 10 years ago, are nowhere near as important to us today as they used to be. Here are 10 things that you cared about 10 years ago, but don’t today.

1. You cared about what people thought about you

Ten years ago, when you were trying to fit in and find your place, you actually cared what people thought about you. Today, that couldn’t be more wrong. Within the last 10 years you have learned what makes you tick, what you’re good at, what you love, what you hate- you just know who you are. If someone doesn’t like it too bad. They can keep it movin’ forward just like you.

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2. You cared about having name brand clothes

Ten years ago you cared about what kind of clothes you wore. You would not be caught dead in some Walmart or Target brand clothing. You/your parents spent way too much money on those those as well. Today, you have matured and have come to the realization that money is better spent on other things. You still have some name brand clothing, but you don’t care one way or another if people notice it. It’s just not that important to you anymore, as you have far more things to worry about today than you did 10 years ago.

3. You cared about gossip

This might be more true for the ladies, but I know guys talk just as much as us. 10 years  ago you cared way more about who was dating who and what drama everyone was talking about. You never wanted to be the last person to know what was going on. Today when you hear gossip it’s just not as entertaining. Your life doesn’t revolve around it, and you are probably the last one to know about it. Lets face it, today you just have more to worry about than someone else’s drama.

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4.  You cared about school

Ten years ago you were probably in school, whether it was high school, college, graduate, ect. and you actually cared about how you did. Majority of your free time during the week was spent doing homework, or at least putting your homework off until the last minute. Today, you have made it past that in one way or another, and you are working. Sometimes you actually wish you could go back to those days of less responsibility, but then you wouldn’t be as successful as you are today. Today you are hopefully glad you went – but it’s just not part of your life anymore.

5. You cared about being able to drive

Ten years ago you might have been starting to drive, or not quite 21. You cared about getting the car from your parents, or having your own car. You cared about being able to drive anywhere you wanted, and were usually the one of your friends who drove everyone-everywhere. Today, its the opposite. If you don’t have to drive you won’t. On the weekend you are worried about who will be the sober cab, and probably crossing your fingers that it won’t be you. Instead of loving the road, you are hating the morning and rush hour traffic. You have developed some form of road rage. Simply put, you don’t want to drive.

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6. You cared about keeping a good image in front of your parents

Ten years ago you cared about not getting caught sneaking out, or doing something you shouldn’t be – by your parents. Whether you cared about keeping a good image in their eyes, or just cared about not getting in trouble; you did your best to avoid being caught. Today, you will gladly open up to them about how you would throw parties when they went out of town.Your relationship with your parents today is a lot different than it was 10 years ago. Today your parents are your close friends, rather than an authority. You have come to the realization that your parents love you no matter what you did then, or now.

7. You cared about keeping up with TV shows

Ten years ago you had days of the week and times picked out that you had to be at a TV to watch your favorite show. Whether it was American Idol, The OC, Survivor, or Lost you had to be at a TV (or you wouldn’t know what happened with that mysterious button ). Today, we don’t care about what time our favorite shows come on. With the invention of DVR you no longer have to be home at the exact time a show is on to watch it – best television invention ever.

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8. You cared about being skinny

Ten years ago you wanted to be as skinny as the models you saw in the magazines and on TV. You either worked your ass off daily to get the body you wanted, or you tried ridiculous diets. Today, you have matured in caring about your health rather than being stick thin. You have realized that fit is better than skinny, and you have developed a healthier lifestyle to maintain the body you want. You don’t have as much time to hit the gym as you used to, but you still make the effort, and eat how you want.

9. You cared about what other people thought you should do with your life

Ten years ago you cared about other people’s opinions about what you should do in your life, whether it was career wise, relationship, or school. You wanted to know what people thought you would be good at, and you might even have gone along with it. Today, you have matured and realized that you really do know you best. You are the one that has to live with all your choices. It’s nice to know what people think you are good at, but it’s not what drives you.

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10. You cared about people’s words

Ten years ago you took people at face value. You cared about what people said to you, and whatever promises they made you. Today, you know better. You now care about people’s actions, rather than their words. Words are great, but actions speak volumes.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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