Advertising
Advertising

20 Things You Should Never Succumb To No Matter How Others Convince You

20 Things You Should Never Succumb To No Matter How Others Convince You

Why we do even succumb to other people’s opinions? Is it that our insecurities prompt us to seek approval from others? Unfortunately, most of us fall victim to the opinions of other people.

Here are 20 things that you should never succumb to, no matter how others convince you.

1. Never succumb to the belief that you ‘need’ a college degree

Even in the 21st century, great emphasis has still been placed on getting a college degree. A lot of parents don’t give their kids a choice to opt out, however a college degree does not always equate to a successful career. In fact a lot of college graduates either continue or revert to living with their parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30% of millennials are still living with their parents.

 2. Never succumb to the idea that It pays to be a loyal employee

Our parents have always told us to go to college to get your degree in order to get a great job for a Fortune 500 company and retire with a great retirement plan. That is only one of many paths in attaining financial security. It is not the only path! If you hate your job, then being a loyal employee would obviously be bad advice.

3. Never succumb to the belief of the ‘right’ religion

Many of us have been born under parents who are subscribers of a certain religion. As we get older, we have a right to be skeptical and question our religious beliefs for validity and personal comfort. Quite often we are told by our parents and clergymen that the other religions are wrong and only their religion is the right one. The people who make those remarks have a distorted view of the culture of other religions. Religion can be helpful for some people but it should never be forced on anybody.

Advertising

4. Never succumb to the notion that you’re obliged to share your parents’ political beliefs

Most of us have been born under parents of a certain political affiliation. As we get older, we have a right to question those fundamental beliefs and even change our own. While our parents may not agree with our decision, it is our job to form our beliefs about matters. Morality and fairness is subjective. Define what it means to you and vote based on those definitions.

5. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not cute enough

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When someone tells you that you’re not cute enough, it is simply one person’s opinion.  For example, a lot of guys think Jennifer Aniston is cute. It is my belief that she isn’t cute enough – but more importantly, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t care about what I think of her.

6. Never succumb to the idea of apologizing for your dietary lifestyle

There are people who will belittle you based on your preferred choice of diet. People have certain diets for their own reasons, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or gluten free. It doesn’t matter what other people think of your diet. The most important thing is your reason for choosing that particular diet. If you’re happy with that diet, keep doing it.

7. Never succumb to people’s opinions about your sexual orientation

Some people will judge you based on your sexual orientation. The love that you share with someone in your own privacy is your business. It doesn’t matter if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual. Love is something that is shared between two people.

 8. Never succumb to the pessimism of others

Some people hate the person that is always optimistic. Misery loves company and the optimistic guy tends to be a cog in the machine.  The most successful people in our generation all share one thing in common: optimism. Are you surprised?

Advertising

9. Never succumb to the idea that you must be keeping up with the Joneses

There are people in your life like your parents or friends, who think it’s necessary for you to keep up appearances. They care too much about public perception and think you should too. Your happiness shouldn’t be sustained based on the length of time that you can keep up with the Joneses. Happiness is a choice. You don’t need materialistic things to help you make that choice.

10. Never succumb to the belief that you must have kids

Having kids is not for everybody. Parents often pressure their kids in doing so or spouses try to get the other to change their mind. Choose your spouse carefully! Being a parent is not for everybody. One of your most important decisions in life is deciding whether or not to have kids. It’s a big decision that will likely affect the next 18 years of your life, along with the lifetime of your hypothetical kid!

11. Never succumb to the notion that you must lose your accent

Depending on your native state, some people have grown up with an accent. Sometimes it will be frowned upon in the workplace or in different social circles. The truth is that some people are ignorant. They know nothing about your culture except the stereotypes that they extract from movies and magazines. Your accent is a part of you. Be proud of it!

12. Never succumb to playing the race card

Some people will influence others to blame their lack of success because of their race. People of all different sociological and demographical backgrounds will ascribe tendencies and features, benefits and struggles, negative and positive to those outside of their particular group. Discrimination is a real problem but it doesn’t mean that you should use it as an excuse for not being successful. I wonder why billionaires aren’t playing the race card? Maybe it’s because they’re too busy making money.

13. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not smart enough

When some people say that you’re stupid or not smart enough, it doesn’t mean that they are right. Intelligence is subjective. Have you ever seen the movie, Idiocracy? Everyone was calling Joe Bowers stupid, when in fact he was the genius!

Advertising

14. Never succumb to the notion that you’re not skinny enough

Sororities or guys may reject girls because they aren’t skinny enough. Some girls are not skinny but have a physique that classifies them as curvy. Many people happen to be fond of curvy women. Be happy in your own body. If you want to lose weight, do it for yourself. Don’t do it simply because you want to be accepted by your peers.

15. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not cool enough

Fraternities, sororities, and other social circles tend to have their code of coolness. Some people try to act and dress a certain way to be embraced by these groups. Be cool, according to your own terms. Define what it means to you and live up to it.

16. Never succumb to the idea that you talk too much

Talkativeness is subjective. You can be told by an anti-social person that you talk too much, even if you’re known to be the most quiet person among your family or friends. Some people have bubbly personalities and love to talk to people. It’s a personality that attracts a crowd of their own. If you continue to be authentic, you’ll attract people who appreciate your authenticity.

17. Never succumb to the belief that you’re anti-social

Quiet people tend to get a bad reputation. I am one of those quiet people. I’m not quiet because I don’t want to socialize with others. I’m just a thinker. Introverts don’t mind being social. We just prefer to do it on our own terms.

 18. Never succumb to the notion that you can’t be too honest

It is common in the workplace for colleagues to be teased for being too honest. Total honesty is an admirable trait. It says a lot about your character. Don’t feel the need to compromise yourself because others are doing it. Be true to yourself. You will build an irrevocable trust that supersedes the trust of others.

Advertising

 19. Never succumb to getting rid of your quirks

We all have our quirks. While some people may deem them as strange or weird, they are traits that make us unique. Don’t apologize for them. If they can’t accept you with your quirks, then they don’t deserve to be your friend.

20. Never succumb to having a new year’s resolution

There is a false notion that people embrace and encourage others to embrace by suggesting that they should put their goals on hold until the new year. Time is either invested or wasted. Wouldn’t it be better to invest your time in working on your goals now? After all, what would you achieve by waiting until the new year to begin?

Featured photo credit: young beautiful hipster woman bubble blower in the city via shutterstock.com

More by this author

Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

3 Reasons Why Life is Better for Americans Abroad secret to free legal assistance The Entrepreneur’s Secret to Free Legal Assistance outsource The Foolproof Guide to Outsourcing, for Entrepreneurs healthy food For Busy People: How To Cook Healthy In Less Than 30 Minutes healthy food Better Than Medicine: 8 Foods To Boost Your Immune System

Trending in Communication

1 How to Cope With Empty Nest Syndrome and Be Happy Again 2 How to Increase Motivation When You’re in a Slump 3 7 Hardest Languages to Learn For English Speakers 4 8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener 5 11 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Attitude Every Day

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

Advertising

I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

Advertising

I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

Advertising

Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

Advertising

Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

Read Next