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20 Habits You Need To Dump Now To Be A Better Person

20 Habits You Need To Dump Now To Be A Better Person

Most of us only think about becoming better people as we prepare our New Year resolutions. But the transition from being average to excellent can begin at any time of year.

Here are 20 habits you need to dump if you really are going to reach your goal of becoming a better person.

1. Being late

You know that annoying feeling of hanging around waiting for your friend who is running late? That’s exactly the same feeling they have when they’re waiting for you. Being late all the time is not only bad manners, but also completely avoidable.

Try planning your time better so that you have plenty of time to complete your journey and arrive early in future. Your friends, family and employer will be appreciative.

2. Texting during conversations

When you talk to someone, you expect them to have the courtesy to listen. But texting during a conversation is the non-verbal equivalent of saying “I couldn’t give a damn about you”. You appear to value the text conversation more than the person stood right in front of you.

Put your phone in your pocket and leave it there. If there is a genuine emergency, the other person will call repeatedly. Giving your full attention to the conversation will improve your relationship with the speaker, immediately making you a better person.

3. Being self-centered

You know those people who always talk about themselves? How annoying is that? But when every thought, word and action revolves around you, it is completely impossible to be a good person.

Instead you need to focus on the people around you. Listen to what they are saying. Find ways you can help them. Put others first. This will not only make you a better person, but people will actually want to spend time with you too.

4. Lying

The easiest way to kill any relationship is by lying. Even ‘little white lies’ have the potential to destroy trust.

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Make a policy of always telling the truth, no matter how much that may hurt. People will respect and trust you more as a result.

5. Over-sharing

Despite what Facebook would have you believe, there really are things that you don’t have to tell the world. Graphic descriptions of illnesses, a photo of every meal you eat, a quick commentary on your trip to the toilet – no one needs to hear these details of your life.

Limit yourself to sharing just a few details each day, whether in conversation or online, to become a more likeable person.

6. Late night snacking in front of TV

It may seem like a harmless habit, but late night snacks could actually be harming your health. Experts suggest that eating just before you go to bed will upset your body’s natural rhythms, directly affecting sleep patterns. And the less you sleep, the more grumpy you become (as well as risking numerous associated illnesses).

Cut out the late night snacks and you’ll feel better as a result.

7. Binge drinking

A drink or three every now and then is great. But six, seven or eight can spell disaster. You feel sick, you embarrass yourself and your friends have to make sure you get home safely. Not cool.

Drink less to maintain control. Increase self-control to become a better person. Simple.

8. Skipping breakfast

It’s not just something doctors say – eating a good breakfast really does set you up for the rest of the day. Skip breakfast and your day is already off to the wrong start.

Make sure you set aside an extra five or ten minutes each morning to eat breakfast. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll also be prepared to face the challenges that day brings.

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9. Paying credit cards late

Bills suck. Unfortunately they are also unavoidable. You must not pay your credit cards late to avoid additional charges and the knock-on effects that late payments have on your credit report.

Paying your bills on time also helps you become a better person by encouraging you to become more disciplined in managing your expenditures and avoiding debt. You’ll also feel lot better without having the worry of  unpaid bills hanging over your head.

10. Busting your budget

Few things suck in life quite so much as running out of money. But owing money to other people is actually worse. You feel trapped and you can’t do anything until that debt is repaid.

Drawing up a budget and sticking to it will give you peace of mind that all of your expenses will be covered and help you avoid debt. You’ll feel a lot better for it in the long run too.

11. Not saving for retirement

Admittedly you are unlikely to feel the effects of this one for years, maybe even decades. But once you finish your career, you need to have a financial cushion that keeps you fed, clothed and homed. If you don’t, you’ll face exactly the same kind of concerns and pressures as you do busting your budget now.

Saving for your retirement now, ensures that you don’t have to worry in the future. And without those pressures, you can still be a better person in the future too.

12. Gossiping

A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret,‘ says the Proverb revealing an age old truth. When you talk about people behind their back, not only are you abusing their trust, but you also reveal yourself to be untrustworthy.

Avoid gossip to immediately become a better person. You will also find that your friends trust you a whole lot more when they don’t have to worry about you sharing their secrets.

13. Dwelling on illness

We all get sick from time to time. Some of us are even unfortunate to suffer from long term illnesses. But this does not mean we need to allow our illnesses to become the defining aspect of our lives.

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People respect those who get on with life, and avoid those who only ever talk about how sick they are. Don’t be a loner, practice overcoming your illness and you’ll feel better immediately. And don’t ever overplay your sickness, or you’ll just alienate others.

14. Complaining

Some people are never satisfied – they only ever see what is wrong with their lives. And other people hate talking to these ingrates.

Stop moaning about what is wrong with your life and start counting your blessings. Try thinking about the good things you have and you will find that your outlook on life changes. You’ll also find people are much more willing to talk to you too.

15. Smoking

Smoking is bad for your health and it stinks. Not to mention the fact that it damages the health of everyone around you.

There is no defense for this habit. Give it up and you will immediately be on the road to becoming a better person.

16. Chewing your nails

Often a stress release mechanism, chewing your nails is actually worse for you than you think. Not only does biting your nails down to the quick hurt, it is also the perfect way to introduce infection. Infected fingers are even more uncomfortable and unattractive.

Leaving your fingernails to grow will help improve their appearance, giving you a confidence boost in the process. And if you look and feel better, you’ll perform better too.

17. Relying on the bank of Mom and Dad

You’ve bust your budget and maxed your credit cards. Next stop, the Bank of Mom and Dad. They won’t be able to resist “lending” you a few dollars – they probably won’t even expect to get it back.

But if you want to be a better person, you need to realise that, as an adult, your parents expect you to stand on your own two feet and provide for yourself. Living with in your means is a sign of maturity – proving you’re becoming a better person.

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18. Speaking out of ignorance

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent;
    with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”

These days we are expected to hold (and voice) an opinion on everything. Often we speak out of ignorance, giving a respond based on gut-reactions, often totally wrong. Part of becoming a better person is having the strength of character to keep quiet and not giving an opinion on subjects we don’t fully understand.

19. Under-valuing age

We live in a culture that favours youth over experience, often unfairly relegating older people to second-class citizens. But in doing so, we often doom ourselves to repeat the mistakes of our forefathers.

If you are serious about becoming a better person, make time for the older people in your life. They offer a wealth of valuable life experience and often have fascinating stories to tell too.

20. Acting immature

Thinking like a child will make you act like a child. That’s fine when you’re 15, but not so cool when you’re 25.

Taking responsibility for your own actions will help you mature – a key step in becoming a better person.

Featured photo credit: PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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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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