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19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

19 Simple Things Everyone Can Do To Make Life Easier For Each Other

You don’t have to create big, grand gestures to make a positive impact on someone else’s day. A few simple courtesies can spell the difference between an awful day and an awesome one. Unfortunately, there are days where it seems that common courtesies are not so common anymore.

Make an effort to go out there and prove that chivalry is not dead. Being gallant & respectful are traits that will never go out of style.

Be that person who will make life easier for the people around you.

1. Put a big smile on your face, even if you don’t feel like it.

Trite as it may sound, the simple act of letting sides of your facial muscles turn north can give a boost to someone else’s day. Like a yawn, it is highly contagious. Even if the smile isn’t genuine, a fake one can lift your own mood. Fake it til you make it.

2. Give a genuine compliment.

Make the compliment very specific and sincere. Instead of simply saying, “you look great!” say something like, “I love how your blue scarf brings out the flecks of gold in your green eyes. They look stunning!”

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3. On the tollway, pay the toll of the person behind you.

Perform an unexpected act of kindness for a stranger. Pay the toll of the person behind you the next time you drive through the tollgate.

On the subway, go ahead and pay someone else’s fare. It’s fast, easy, and it won’t make you poorer. Nobody was ever rendered you bankrupt from parting with some lose change.

4. Tell the person you’re meeting exactly where you are when you’re running late.

Have you ever tried telling someone you’ll be there in 10 minutes when you very well know it will take you another 30 minutes to actually meet them? Spare their feelings. Let them know exactly where you are, so they can plan what to do with their time. You might invite their ire, but at least they’ll know exactly what to expect, and act accordingly.

5. Offer to help a tourist who obviously seems lost.

See someone holding up their well worn map, making sense out of the subway whatever? Offer your help. Give them specific instructions on where and how to get to their destination.

6. Treat the waitress nicely. 

You don’t know if they’ve had a long day and they are on their way to their second job just to keep the bills paid. Everyone has a story. Practice a bit of empathy.

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7. Open the door for an elderly woman, or that person with a bag full of groceries. 

Or hold the door for the person behind you. Practice common courtesies.

8. Share your talent at a public place.

Talents are meant to be seen, heard and appreciated.  A piece of music, a beautiful painting, a heartfelt rendition of a classical piece are reminders to slow down and appreciate our journey in life, and not be too focused on the destination.

Your talent is a gift that is meant to be showcased. Go ahead and show it off.

10. Ignore the wailing children at the grocery store.

Or better yet, give the mother a sympathetic look that says, “I’ve been there, hang in there.”

Mothers of toddlers do not mean to make life harder for you. So stop the judgmental looks and be kind. Same thing goes for moms stuck in a long haul flight with their toddlers. Make a special effort to more tolerant of moms who are alone with toddlers.

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11. Be more patient while waiting in line.

Try not to show your irritation. Don’t tap your foot, or make loud, rude comments. Try being fully present in that precise juncture of your life, those “in-between” moments which make up most of our days. It’s a good time for reflection and cherishing the little things that we take for granted.

12. Give your spouse/dad/mom some “me” time.

Moms are notorious for always being “on” and not having a break, catering to the family’s welfare and every child’s whim. Give whoever takes care of you a day off to recharge their batteries.

13. Listen without interrupting.

The next time someone’s talking to you and unburdening themselves, try really listening to them, without thinking of what to say next. Look people in the eye when you talk to them. Give them your undivided attention.

14. Withhold judgement.

Nobody is perfect. People make mistakes all the time. Some learn from them, others might need to commit more errors to learn the lesson. You don’t know the full extent of their situation, or the unique circumstances and unusual context they’ve had to deal with. Practice compassion.

15. Offer to take care of a toddler/look after the toddler.

Mothers of little children have a lot on their plates. A little help will go a long way.

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16. Clean as you go, without being asked.

A tidier, more organized space will work wonders on your productivity.

17. Say please and thank you. Express gratitude. 

When was the last time you used these simple words to express appreciation? Use them more often.

18. Have a good night’s rest.

Being cranky has a spiraling effect that will affect everyone around you. So for everyone else’s sake, take good care of yourself.

19. If you have nothing nice to say, hold your tongue. 

These aren’t rocket science suggestions. It takes so little effort to spread joy and good cheer. And these simple gestures just might be the lift you need to make your own day a little brighter as well.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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