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14 Harsh But Obvious Truths Most People Choose to Forget

14 Harsh But Obvious Truths Most People Choose to Forget

Similar to success, the interpretation of happiness is unique to each individual’s heart and mind. Despite the wealth of studies conducted to investigate the concept of happiness and the individual factors that influence it, there is no single, accurate metric for which it can be effectively measured.

That being said, there are a number of harsh truths that people often overlook during the pursuit of happiness. This may be a conscious act of ignorance, since these austere facts of life challenge those who are indecisive or lacking in mental toughness. Recognizing these truths will actively empower you to achieve happiness, both in your professional and personal pursuits.

meaning of Life

    What are these truths and what benefits can you enjoy by recognizing and accepting them as fundamental aspects of life? Consider the following:

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    1. Life is Short and There’s More to be Embraced

    While there is evidence to suggest that the average life expectancy is continuing to rise even in developing economies, it’s a fundamental truth that the typical human existence is relatively short. Although this is not a positive thought, you should consider it as a reminder to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and live your life to the fullest.

    2. Failure is a Fundamental and Necessary Part of Life

    While none of us like to fail, this is unfortunately an inescapable and omni-present fact of life that must be accepted unequivocally. Even though you may fear failure, you cannot refuse to accept new challenges simply in an attempt to avoid feelings of disappointment. When you consider that failure is a necessary foundation on which success is often built, it is something that can be embraced and given positive associations.

    3. You Have a Lot to Learn Regardless of Your Age

    Whether you are a teenager, in the prime of life or approaching your retirement, you cannot deny that learning is a constant process that continues from birth until the day that you die. If you fail to absorb new information or methods of working as you continue to age, you will ultimately cease to evolve or advance in line with social progression.

    4. There are Always Factors That You Cannot Control

    The course of your life is influenced by a series of factors, from the people you meet, to your health, or the decision others make. Many of these factors will remain outside of your direct control, and it is important that you do not waste your time, talent and emotional energy attempting to influence them. Instead, you should focus solely on influencing the factors that you can control, such as prioritizing your goals and surrounding yourself with positive people throughout your lifetime.

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    5. Information Should Never be Confused with Knowledge

    While it is possible to spend the majority of your life absorbing data and acquiring information, this should never be confused with gaining knowledge. At best, attempting to read information and discussing theoretical ideals merely gives you a philosophical understanding of a particular subject. Experience and practical endeavors provide you with a satisfactory level of knowledge that can equip you to succeed in life.

    6. A Busy Life is Not Necessarily a Productive One

    If you ever hear people discussing the concept of a ‘busy fool,’ they are referring to individuals who invest vast amounts of time and energy into projects without achieving anything noteworthy. It is a sad truth that many of us mistake business for productivity, in the same way that some confuse an excess of physical endeavor with inspiration. Productivity relies on a more structured approach and the ability to schedule time in a sensible manner.

    7. You Cannot Achieve Success in Life Without Providing Value

    We have already discussed how the interpretation of success varies from person to person, but this does not mean that there are not fundamental rules that can help you to achieve your goals. It is important not to become preoccupied with a generic understanding of success, or simply aspire to become wealthy and famous without understanding how you intend to achieve these ambitions. You cannot be successful without first providing value, and this requires you to develop in-demand skills and apply them over a period of time.

    8. Understand the Clear Distinction Between Thinking and Doing

    Theory is a crucial aspect of social, scientific and technological advancement, and it has underpinned some of the most important developments since the dawn of the 21st century. The cultivation of such wisdom would mean little without the efforts of pragmatists, who are happy to stand on the shoulders of giants and use intellectual theory to create a practical application. This perfectly epitomizes the difference between thinking and doing, which is important to understand if you are to strike a productive balance in your own life.

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    9. The Past Can Never be Changed, Only Learned From

    Like failure, our past experiences are the building blocks that help structure our lives and determine all future successes. This should help you to cope with the fact that you will never be able to change your past or the impact that it has had on your life, regardless of your age or the outlook that you have on life. Instead, what you can do is control how you react to past events and learn from them in a constructive and positive manner.

    10. You Must Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness

    While we all dream of finding love and settling down with a life-partner, there is always a risk that a romantic relationship can end acrimoniously and in heartbreak. This ending can occur because you have an unhealthy view of relationships, and place your heart and happiness in the hands of a loved one. This is extremely counter-productive, as you must assume responsibility for your own happiness and develop a sense of self-worth that enables you to approach relationships from a position of emotional security.

    11. There Will Always be People Who Do Not Like You

    On a similar note, this inflated sense of security can help you to deal with the fact that there will always be people who do not like you. If you pursue a path in life that encourages you to focus on being a people-pleaser who wishes to avoid conflict at all costs, you will ultimately become discontented and detached from your own goals. Instead, accept that you will never be everything to everyone and focus on being true to yourself in the pursuit of happiness.

    12. You Will Get Out of Life What You Put Into It

    Life is an exercise in establishing goals, pursuing them and generating some form of return for your efforts. A general rule is that you will get out of life what you are prepared to put into it, whether this relates to love, friendship or professional success. If you remain willing to invest time and effort into delivering value, you will surely secure success over a prolonged period of time.

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    13. Repeating the Same Activities Every Day Hinders Self-improvement

    While there may be staple features of your daily routine, the failure to embrace new lifestyle actions and broaden your range of activities will ultimately hinder self-improvement and personal development. Growth occurs as a result of change or evolution, while such an outlook also exposes you to new and exciting experiences. So although change for changes sake should be avoided, it should be considered as a viable option when necessary.

    14. Accept That Change is Intimidating and Will Likely Prompt Feelings of Fear

    Before you implement changes into your life, you may experience feelings of fear and genuine trepidation. This is because you are effectively embracing the unknown, which can trigger more significant changes in your life over a longer period of time. You will never be 100% prepared for change or new chapters in your life, which means that you must maintain a willingness to be bold and operate outside of your comfort zone during the pursuit of success.

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    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

    Create a Positive Experience

    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

    Help Leadership Skills

    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

    Build Better Teams

    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

    1. Listen

    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

    2. Know Your Audience

    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

    Here is a good way to think about it:

    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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    3. Minimize

    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

    4. Over Communicate

    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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    5. Body Language

    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

    Conclusion

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    Now go communicate your way to success.

    More Resources About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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