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10 Ways You Don’t Know You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

10 Ways You Don’t Know You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

Do you feel that life is against you?  Are you constantly struggling and see everything as a challenge?

Have you ever considered that this might be coming from you and not from the world around you?

Depending on how you think and act life can be perceived as difficult.   A shift in your attitude and perception can make a huge difference in creating an easier life.

Are these 10 traits making your life difficult?

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You believe that everyone is out to get you.

Someone in your office does something nice for you and automatically you begin to wonder what they want.  On a greater scale you distrust anyone who works for a large organization like the government, insurance company, lawyers, doctors, or even teachers.  What a great amount of fear and stress this creates!  How can you be 100% sure they are out to get you?

You see a future full of pitfalls.

You finally have a dinner date with a person you really like.  Instead of thinking how great this is and how much you are going to enjoy the evening, you focus on the ways that this evening is going to be a disaster.  You are so focused on all the negative things that might happen you don’t see the benefits and opportunities before you.  You could be missing something great!

You are a victim of your expectations.

A co-worker you admire has been paired with you on a project.  You have great ideas for how the project should be handled.  You expected to asked for your ideas but aren’t.   Because you weren’t asked, you didn’t voice them, as a result you feel angry and hurt.  Or you expected to be the lead player but aren’t.  You feel slighted and resentful.  In both cases you are projecting yourself as a victim based on your expectations.  Allowing yourself to be open to the situation rather than on your expectations makes life so much easier.

You are the sun and the the world rotates around you.

When planning an outing do you insist that everyone follow your plan?  When you are having a bad day do you make sure all your friends and family know about it?  These behaviors could be seriously making life more difficult for you.  By making things less about you and more about others would make for smoother relationships and less tension.

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You are stuck in neutral.

You have great plans and ideas, but somehow they never get off the ground.

When others inquire about the progress you are making with the plans, your answer is that you are waiting for the right moment.  The problem is that the right time never comes.  You have to take that first step before things can begin moving.

You always play it safe.

You are the person who researches every little thing to make sure you are making the best choice.  You never do anything impulsive or take any chances.  Change and uncertainty are your enemies.  Unfortunately, life isn’t predicable or safe. Sometimes you have to take a risk to move forward.

You are a societal clone .

You know everything about your friends because they are just like you.  You are constantly watching them and they are constantly watching you.  If fact you pay so much attention to others in your group you know immediately when one steps out of the mold. Fear of being different binds you together.  Wouldn’t life be so much easier if you could followed your passions and desires rather copying others?

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You can’t let go.

She embarrassed you in front of your colleagues and you are never going to forgive her.  Sound familiar?  In another situation, you know you are right about how this should be done and nothing is going to change your mind. Has this attitude ever embarrassed you when you were proven wrong?  When you not longer need to fuel past transgressions or the need to be right life takes on a totally new focus.

You are a taker and not a giver.

Your friends are great about coming over to help you, but when they need your help you disappear.  If you do come out to help, you often do it grudgingly.  You tend to be more focused on your phone than on the job at hand or make excuses to leave early.  It won’t take long for others to figure this out and you may find that others aren’t willing to help you any more.  Giving and receiving go hand in hand.

You have weak boundaries.

You are generous to a fault.  Friends and family know that if they need anything they can borrow it from you.  The problems arises when they borrow things and then forget to return them. You may ask for them back, but get the brush off.  Because you don’t want to create waves in your relationship, nothing happens.  This results in you being inconvenienced and possibly feeling used, but until you set some boundaries this will continue to happen. Set your boundaries and learn to say no.

Life does not have to be difficult or a struggle. Much of it depends on you.

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Are you ready to take control?

Featured photo credit: Having a bad day?/Melisa D. via flickr.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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