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10 Things You Need To Stop Doing During Hard Times

10 Things You Need To Stop Doing During Hard Times

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

—Benjamin Franklin

People in general can be described as social animals. We need interaction with others in order to develop. Most people do not like the initial stages of adversity. Conflict and difficulty create uncertainty and impact our judgment and focus.

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As much as people try to avoid it, hard times are a part of life. Positive change can come from conflict. The key is to deal with the issues at hand and push through towards resolution. Avoidance and inaction only intensify the problem.  Stop doing these 10 things so that you can push through hard times.

1. Hiding from reality.

There is a classic bumper sticker stating, “Life Is A Beach.” Sometimes this is not true. Tough things happen and are part of reality. You cannot ignore problems and wish them away. Accept things for what they are. It is the first step to overcoming obstacles.

2. Playing the blame game.

Picture this scenario. Your neighbor has a brand new SUV in their driveway. You see your 6 year old sedan in yours. You want to get a better vehicle but financially are not able. Resentment may build for your neighbor’s ability to buy the car. However, the responsibility ultimately rests with you. Accept your situation and take accountability so you can move on.

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3. Reliving the past.

Most people seem to have a stage that they look back on where life was good. Too many think back on those times and wish to relive them. It is not possible to go back in time and relive memories. Think back on them to remember what made them good. Use those memories as momentum to create positive things now and in your future. Alternatively, if you tend to relive negative memories, try to let them go. You can’t change what happened in the past; you can only change what is going to happen in the future.

4. Being complacent.

Have you ever seen an upset three year old curl up in a ball and suck his thumb? It looks cute for a three year old, but not for an adult. But that is what you are doing when you are complacent. Problems do not take care of themselves. Take action, even if it is the wrong action, to get through hard times.

5. Worrying too much.

It is natural for us as people to have blinders on. When hard times occur we have a narrow of view of things.  Remember the big picture of situations. Sometimes you will see a solution that you may not have realized before.

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6. Thinking it’s worse than it is.

You feel like you are pushing a boulder up a hill when faced with difficulties. But a solution can be found with resolve and tenacity. Take personal debt as an example. It may seem overwhelming, but can be overcome with planning and time. Work at a problem and eventually it will be overcome.

7. Not smiling.

You have probably heard the saying, “it takes more muscles to frown than to smile.” When complications in life occur, it is easy for us to have a miserable outlook. Smile more and be good natured to others even through difficulties. That attitude will reciprocate and help buoy your spirits.

8. Not having answers.

Information is so readily available in this day and age. You can just Google anything or check out topics on Wikipedia. When conflict occurs it seems like there are no answers. Take a step back and look at the problems you face. Get input from others with a different perspective.

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9. Procrastinating.

Imagine walking down the street and then stopping. You don’t move forward or back; you just stand there. It may seem kind of silly, but that is what you do when you procrastinate. Part of the problem may be “analysis paralysis,” which when you over-think something instead of taking action. Set a goal and work towards reaching it.

10. Doing it alone.

When hard times occur you may feel the need to tackle problems on your own. This could stem from feelings of guilt or frustration. There are times when you need to reach out to others for assistance. Everyone is wired differently and have different ways of thinking. Use the experience of others to get through hard times. The time may come when they may need your help.

History provides great examples of hardships faced by people throughout the world, with stories of how adversity was overcome and triumph followed. This can happen for each of us in our own lives. This post started with a quote from Benjamin Franklin and ends with one from Kelly Clarkson: “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

 

Featured photo credit: Tambako The Jaguar 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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