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15 Things Mindful People Do Differently

15 Things Mindful People Do Differently

Mindful people don’t waste time obsessing with a future that they cannot predict. They shift their focus to the present moment, because that’s where progress happens. Check out these things mindful people do differently for less stress and more success.

1. They listen.

Mindful people are masters of awareness, an art that escapes many people. They engage eye contact with people when they speak. They enjoy the music of birds chirping while they enjoy their morning coffee. They enter conversations only when they have something valuable to say.

2. They day-dream.

Concentration is a good skill to have, but it becomes even more powerful when combined with imagination. It can be hard to stay interested in a complex project like writing a book. Mindful people let their thoughts drift to how happy and accomplished they will feel when it is complete, which reminds them that it is worth the effort.

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3. They go outside.

It is not healthy to spend every moment of your day chained to a desk in a zombie-like state, without any opportunity to escape. Mountains are meant to be climbed. Rivers are meant to be canoed. All of the wilderness in this world is a playground that is meant to be explored.

4. They take breaks.

If you’re a student, you’ve probably noticed that your ability to focus on studying diminishes more and more with every passing moment. Mindful people take mini-breaks every hour or so, because they know the brain can only concentrate for so long before it needs a reboot. There is nothing productive about forcing yourself to work beyond that breaking point.

5. They pause to reflect.

How do you think you will ever accomplish your purpose without pausing to consider your place in the world? Keeping a journal will help you make sense of the feelings swirling inside you. You will also identify toxic influences in your environment that need to be addressed.

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6. They laugh at themselves.

I went to a Pilates class last week. We performed a balance pose with feet stretched over our heads. Lost my balance. Turned an accidental back flip. Made a big THUD! Everyone stared at me. Instructor asked, “Are you okay?” I turned what could have been an embarrassing situation into a comedic moment by replying, “Yep, just got carried away with the momentum there!” Everyone laughed. Class continued. No big deal. Little things like this aren’t worth worrying about.

7. They nourish their bodies.

Eating shouldn’t be viewed as an act of deprivation. Instead, see it as an opportunity to nourish your body with healthy foods that will make you feel positively alive. Mindful people pay attention to how different foods influence their body and mood. If it causes an upset stomach or wrecks your energy, then you probably shouldn’t be eating it.

8. They express their feelings.

The longer you bury an emotion, the more intense it will become. Putting up barriers can temporarily prevent difficult conversations. But hiding the truth for too long could cause permanent damage to trust in your relationships. Speak your mind without filter. If a person can’t handle the real you, then they don’t deserve you.

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9. They look people in the eye.

Mindful people don’t make a habit of staring at their cellphones during a conversation. Not only is this inconsiderate, but it could also cause them to miss important nonverbal cues that reveal how genuine a person is being. If their physical presence is at odds with what they say, then they might be hiding something.

10. They know when to be quiet.

Silence is nothing to fear. Admiring a glorious sunset while listening to waves crash on the beach. Comforting a friend with a simple hug during a terrible struggle. Listening to your partner’s heartbeat while you enjoy a lazy Sunday morning in bed. These beautiful moments would be hindered, not helped, by a compulsion to fill the air with meaningless words.

11. They tap into their creativity.

A life without art isn’t a life worth living. You don’t have to be a Beethoven, Michelangelo, or Shakespeare. All it takes is an open mind, positive attitude, and honest expression. Act. Cook. Dance. Paint. Sing. Write. All creation, no matter the method, will challenge you to grow into a stronger person.

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12. They embrace opportunities.

Zig Ziglar once said, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Mindful people don’t pursue comfort, because they know this road inevitably leads to complacency. If you can’t remember the last time you fell short, then you’re probably not aiming high enough.

13. They focus on what they’re doing.

Most people stumble through life like a drunkard, without any awareness of their surroundings. Driving to work with no recollection of the trip. Eating a food while paying no attention to their body’s signals that it has had enough. Performing a task in the midst of distractions that cause them to make inexcusable errors. Mindful people do one thing at a time.

14. They challenge their preexisting beliefs.

Opinions worth having should hold up to scrutiny. Only an arrogant person would be unwilling to consider the other side of an issue. Engaging in a thoughtful debate probably won’t change your mind, but it will introduce you to new ideas that grow your perspective.

15. They only dwell on encouraging thoughts.

Mindful people let thoughts drift in their consciousness without any judgment attached. They travel through this mental chatter with the caution of a soldier walking through a battlefield covered in landmines, carefully identifying the thoughts that empower them and discarding the rest.

Featured photo credit: From A to B/Chris Frank via flickr.com

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Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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