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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About

Sometimes my life feels like it’s stuck in neutral – like I’m stuck in an endless loop of introduction with no progress. It’s during these times in my life that I stop, sit down, close my eyes, and reset my brain for 10 to 15 minutes. In doing this, I drop my so-called “problems” from my mind and awaken feeling fresh and energized.

I am a nerd with a penchant for numbers and tech, so I tracked my worries as I released their grip on me.

Here are some problems I found myself worrying about far too often before I discovered how to meditate and refocus. Life is too short to worry about any of these 20 things:

1. Bills

Death and taxes are far from the only guarantees in life. You’ll repeatedly have your heart broken; enjoy the sun, the moon, eat drink, and be merry – and you’ll have a hard time in life without paying bills.

Whether monthly, quarterly, or annually, bills are relentless. If you ignore them, they only get bigger, louder, and more destructive. The thing is: we all have bills…and letting them run your life isn’t going to improve its quality any time soon.

It’s easy to say not to worry about bills. Everyone knows it’s not a good idea to worry about them, but when you’re drowning in debt and have minimal to no income, it’s a little harder to keep wipe those pesky bills off your mind. Being told life is too short to worry about bills is one thing; having the confidence to stand tall despite insurmountable debt is an entirely different beast. I can assure you that losing your house, car, cable, gas, etc. won’t kill you.

Stop fearing your bills – you’re letting them control your life.

Here’re some tips:

  • Create a budget for yourself and stick to it. Put your budget over anything else. This will help you get a better view of your bills and how they affect you.
  • Cut unimportant bills. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, cut some of your nonessential bills. Cable TV is one of the easiest bills to cut. There’s a plethora of entertainment options out there, and even if you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, you’ll be spending less annually than a cable bill.
  • Pay back any debts to family and friends first. They’re the people who will be there for you at the bottom, not your bank and utility companies.
  • Keep your collateral loans (i.e auto loan and mortgage) current. The last thing you want to lose is your home and car. If you have to choose between the two, sacrifice your home over your car. In a worst case scenario, it’s better to be mobile.

2. Money

Money is the cause of and solution to life’s most unnecessary problems. We need bread – there’s no denying that – we just don’t need to allow cheddar to be the source of undue stress.

Always remember that currency is imaginary, and economies don’t exist in nature. Since moolah is imaginary, all of your worries about said funds are in your head. People do some strange things for paper, and I’ll never understand why. Material wealth doesn’t equate to happiness.

Instead of stressing about your supply of coinage, try focusing on the things that make you happy. If you pursue a job that satisfies your desire for greenbacks, you risk ending up in a career you hate. Dinero won’t solve that problem, nor will it help you find like-minded friends.

People who pursue their dreams and passions always have more fulfilling stages than those motivated by loot.

3. The Past

The beef-witted among us who don’t learn history are doomed to hear it repeated over and over by those who do. Most of humanity’s violent wars were waged because of conflicting beliefs over what happened in the past.

The past is important to learn from, but you shouldn’t let it get in your way and become a burden. Instead, face forward, and brush that dirt off your shoulders.

We all faced obstacles in our past. There’s no need to run from or be ashamed of who you are or where you came from, but don’t let what happened to you distract you from your personal goals.

Learn from your hardships, and fight harder next time. The only way you can continue being harmed by something that already happened is if you let it.

4. Gossips

Gossip is the worst. I don’t mind talking to my friends or partner about what’s going on in their lives, but I’m entirely uninterested in hearing about everyone’s personal lives.

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What are you gaining – a conversation starter? You’ll end up looking like the work gossip, who nobody likes nor trusts.

Instead of joining the grapes on the vine, worry about you.

While we’re on the subject, there’s really no need for everyone to know about your personal life either. It doesn’t need to be in your repertoire of icebreaking conversation fodder.

Life’s just too short to worry about what others are doing.

5. Haters

Think about all the celebrities you don’t like or don’t care about: Kim Kardashian has no business being famous, Justin Bieber is overrated, LeBron James is no Michael Jordan… Regardless of how you feel about any of these people, they have successful careers.

Although they get their share of hate mail, successful people continue doing what they’re doing. Now apply this concept to your own life.

People aren’t always going to like what you do; there’s Haterade in the water everywhere. Whether you’re a local celebrity or a virtual unknown, you’re going to step on some toes.

I’ve met people who are the absolute kindest, compassionate, most thoughtful, and likable human beings, and they STILL have had haters say and do some of the most despicable things to them. If I stopped and stressed out every time someone didn’t like my decisions, I’d never have accomplished anything in life.

Don’t stress the haters.

6. Work

There will always be projects, chores, errands, and emergencies at work. Nobody has a career that’s without stressful situations. It helps to love what you do, but even if you don’t, work is a silly thing to get uptight about.

If you’re not at work, there’s nothing to worry about. If you are at work, then stop crying over spilt milk, roll up your sleeves, and be productive. The less you worry about work, the quicker it goes by.

Never be ashamed of who you are or what you do to earn a living. You’re not defined by your career; you define it.

7. Aging

Getting old is a difficult and scary task – there’s no denying that. We all go through the same stress, anxiety, fear, worry, and doubt. It’s understandable to feel a little bit stressed about aging, but you have to keep in mind there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re going to age whether you like it or not.

There’s nothing you can do to stop the process, but you can embrace it and make the most of your time.

Aging is a part of life. Instead of worrying about your impending geriatric state, enjoy the present you exist in right now. You’ll only be this old once, so do all the fun things you always wanted to do at that age. Stop wishing you were younger.

Don’t waste your time worrying about not being old enough yet either. Being young has its advantages. You get small punishments for making mistakes at school or at home, admission prices are cheaper, and bills are usually free. You can’t speed or slow time. Enjoy your life the way it is right now.

8. Death

Sooner or later in your life, you’re going to have to face the inevitability of your own death. You can’t dodge the grim reaper, and hiding is only going to hinder you from living your life to the fullest. You won’t give your all when you’re holding back.

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After you face death, you’ll find it easier to face over and over throughout life. You’ll have more courage and tenacity.

Death isn’t easy to face; religions have spawned throughout the human history in an attempt to soothe people’s fears of oblivion. If you go to sleep, you may not wake up, and even if you do wake up, no matter how safe you are, we could be nuked by another country or a meteor could fall out the sky and kill us all.

Unless you’re reading this from a professional shelter, you have no chance of surviving an extinction-level event. Now face mortality, and go live your life.

9. What People Think

When I was younger, I always said I didn’t care what people thought of me, but the reality is very different. In my late 20s, I started to find my passion and what I’d love to do for my life. So I started being me, regardless of what my friends or family thought about it.

Fitting in is an advantage in certain situations, but it’s certainly not the end-all, be-all for every situation in life. There are times when you need to keep a low profile, but for the most part, unless you’re a secret agent or political leader, feel free to do what makes you happy, regardless of what people think of you.

10. Celebrities

Paparazzi follow celebrities everywhere they go, snapping pictures, videos, and sound bites to feed to the convoluted masses. They’d have no reason to take pictures if there weren’t hordes of people hungering to learn the latest celebrity gossip. Why does it matter, though?

There’s plenty more going on in the world outside the lives of celebrities. Stop worrying about their drama.

11. What Other People Are Doing

It’s not just celebrities – some people get into everyone’s business. What can you learn about life from other people’s business?

I’m reminded of times as a kid where I would say “but ___ is going to the movies” as a way of convincing my parents to grant me permission to go. Their answer was a useful lesson: don’t worry about what other people are doing. They’re not paying your bills or putting food on your table. Their problems aren’t yours, and there’s no reason to take them on.

If you’re constantly following the example of others, you will never get ahead in life. People who get ahead don’t emulate their peers. They walk their own path and inspire others to follow suit.

Don’t worry about where everyone else is going or what they’re doing – focus on you.

12. Safety and Comfort

It’s nice to have somewhere safe and comfortable to lay your head at night. Comfort foods and our comfort zone are important aspects of our life, and it’s difficult to feel comfortable if you’re not safe. This is why some aspect of safety and comfort is necessary.

You can’t get too comfortable in that shell though. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to break out of your comfort zone and experience life.

Taking chances is important in life. If you never take chances, you’ll never stand up for yourself, and you’ll likely not have very much fun.

Instead of being meek and introverted, stop worrying about living to be 100, and start worrying about having a little bit of fun. After all, you only live once.

13. Mistakes

Don’t worry too much when you make a mistake – nobody’s perfect.

When you make a mistake (especially a string of them), it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like everything is falling apart. Stress can compound as you race toward deadlines, and the inkling to throw in the towel starts to build up inside.

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It’s okay. You may need to pay some sort of retribution for your mistake, but that which doesn’t kill you only gives you an opportunity to prove who you really are.

Figure out what caused the mistake and what you can do next time to avoid it or improve the outcome in at least some minor way. Remember what Thomas Edison said about mistakes being the key to innovation; we stumbled upon some of our greatest inventions by mistake. It’s not the end of the world.

Learn more about the 40 Things You Learn From Making Mistakes

14. Your Luck

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally throwing a couple dollars down on the lottery wanting to win one. Someone has to win, and it very well may be you. But you’re not waiting for this pivotal moment to occur in your life before finally taking action. Why would you wait for some imaginary (and highly unlikely) windfall before giving life your all?

While it’s okay to play the lottery, don’t put all your chips into that. Don’t depend on the lottery, or some other unlikely external factor to come swoop you away from your life – work with what you have.

By pursuing your dreams and goals, you won’t have to worry about the lottery; you’ll feel like you already won.

This article may help you understand more about this: Why Do I Have Bad Luck? 2 Simple Things to Change Your Destiny

15. What Can Go Wrong

I’m not going to drive to the store today. I may run out of gas, traffic will be busy, the store’s probably closed or crowded, they won’t have the item I’m looking for or it’ll be too expensive, I’ll forget my wallet, my car will get hit in the parking lot, someone may shoot up the store while I’m there, my car will break down, I’ll lose my key, and my house will get robbed while I’m gone…

Because of these possibilities, I’m going to sit home all day and do nothing instead.

If you don’t start something because you’re scared of all the things that may go wrong, you’re probably better off; because you can’t be successful if you don’t know how to react when faced with adversity.

No matter how well you make your plans, something is going to go wrong.

Stop letting what might go wrong stop you from doing what might go right. Start taking actions and stop procrastinating.

I know that fear is hard to conquer, so you must face it, and this guide can help you: 7 Ways to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown And Get More Out of Life

16. Worrying

After a while, your worries start to pile up to the point that you begin to even worry about worrying. Once you’re stuck in this cycle, it’s very difficult to get out.

Although you’re better off not doing it, there’s nothing wrong with worrying – worrying about worrying is a good sign you need to stop and take a minute.

If you ever find yourself in this position, the first thing you need to remember is to breathe.

Now stop getting frustrated with yourself.

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If life is too short to worry about death, it’s certainly too short to beat yourself up over being human and having a natural reaction.

17. The Price Tag

Price isn’t everything. Worry about the quality and value of the product you’re getting. McDonald’s dollar menu won’t cut it when you’re in the mood for a good steak.

I hate to sound bourgeois, but quality is an important aspect in life.

If you want a really nice jacket, work hard, sell a few things, and save up the money to buy the one you really want instead of settling for a product you’re not happy with simply because it’s cheaper.

18. The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Little things go wrong every day in our lives.

You woke up late, a dollar short for your lunch, got splashed by a car walking through the parking lot, tripped going up the stairs, and your zipper was down for a really important meeting…

If you consider that a bad day, you’re archiving your life the wrong way.

Instead of getting frustrated by the little things, focus on all the positives. The sunset, cloud formations, the smell of the trees and flowers around you, food, drinks, love, passion – there are entirely too many great things happening on a day to day basis to worry about the little annoyances in life.

19. Anything Else Outside Your Control

A friend of mine’s mantra when life gets too stressful is, “this too shall pass.” I mix it up between “this is only temporary.” The general idea is to stop yourself from getting annoyed about that which is outside your control.

I can’t control the weather, the gas prices, the traffic or natural disasters. But I can control my own attitude and perception on these things.

The easiest way to reduce stress is to stop thinking about all the stuff you can’t control so you can focus on whatever task is at hand – whether it’s good or bad, focusing on your present is the easiest way to either resolve or enjoy what’s happening to you.

20. Being Perfect

At the end of the day, you need to accept yourself for your own faults. Life’s too short to dwell on anything for too long unless it makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

Sure, you’ll make mistakes along the way, but that’s part of the fun.

Stop wasting your time trying to be faultless. Test your own boundaries, and you’ll begin to enjoy life so much more.

If you think you’re prone to having a perfectionist mindset, this article may help you: How Perfectionism Secretly Screws You Up (And How to Change Your Perfectionist Mindset)

Featured photo credit: Jake Thacker via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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