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20 Ways Gratitude Improves Productivity

20 Ways Gratitude Improves Productivity

Gratitude is a word that is thrown around a lot. But what does it really mean?

We are told to be grateful but often it seems as if gratitude is more an obligation than anything else. Another item on our already overburdened to-do list. We may end up feeling resentful when we are expected to feel grateful particularly under difficult circumstances.

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The key is to understand what gratitude really is and the impact it has on your life and the lives of those around you. In fact, gratitude has some hidden benefits that can improve your productivity and your life.

Why We Want To Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is not a feeling. It is really a way of life and a way of meeting life and all of its challenges.

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Gratitude is a frame for reality, which enables us to align with the good in the world as well as the evolutionary progress of the human race. It is the opposite of resentful entitlement. Gratitude allows us to accept things as they are even as we try to improve them. It enables us to see ourselves as participants in creating the good in life.

Gratitude puts us in more positive relationship to life and others around us. It separates our attitude from our circumstances so that our current reality does not drag us down. Gratitude is a way of being that lets us participate fully in life without concern for rewards and status. It gets our ego out of the way.

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Gratitude lets us give what we can, knowing that we are one of many so that we do not have to carry the burdens of the world on our shoulders.

Gratitude comes from valuing the opportunity to be here on the planet. Everything else is up for grabs.

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How Gratitude Helps Us Live Productive Lives

When gratitude is the cornerstone of your life, a number of things happen:

  1. You can let go of controlling outcomes by simply working toward the best possible outcome and letting the chips fall where they may.
  2. You can be a work in progress and let the rest of the world be a work in progress as well – we are all learning. Mistakes do not make you or another person “bad.”
  3. You can give your all to anything you do and trust in the best possible outcome whatever that is. Gratitude lets you throw yourself into what you are doing. Happy to be able to participate, you can give your all and generally do better work as a result.
  4. You are free to completely immerse yourself in your life without reservations about comparisons and status. You can be yourself.
  5. You are free to love since loving is what makes life good for you and everyone else. There is no need to hold back.
  6. You are free to create since you are aligned with the positive. This means that even mistakes are positive since they help you get closer to creating something better.
  7. Emotional issues no longer affect you since you are not spending your time comparing yourself to others and fighting for an agenda.
  8. You can more easily accept others and yourself. We are all imperfect people seeking the best possible life. There is no reason not to be friends.
  9. You no longer take anything personally. Life presents difficult challenges for everyone; it’s not just about you.
  10. You let go of the need to immerse yourself in unnecessary adversarial relationships since you seek only the best for everyone. There is no one to harm.
  11. You trust that when something does not work out it is for the best. It fits your view that we are learning.
  12. You can embrace a trial and error mindset without fear. It is OK to experiment.
  13. You can have a positive attitude toward your choices by accepting what matters in the present without rejecting what may work at another time. Anything can be productive or counterproductive depending on the wisdom of its use.
  14. You can be more process oriented which raises the quality of your work. When you do not spend your time forcing outcomes or fighting other people, then you are more focused on the work at hand: the process and the details involved. You are able to do better work.
  15. You get rid of your own agendas so that you have a more accurate perception of what is needed at any given point of time. Each point in time has certain possibilities but not others. You embrace the current possibility, work with it, and let others go.
  16. You can let others make their own mistakes. We all make them as we learn. Letting people make their own mistakes is a way of trusting others to know what is best for them.
  17. You more easily align with what is necessary and what is good because everything else is a waste of time and energy.
  18. You do not need discipline since you are more naturally aligned with positive forces, so you are more comfortable with yourself, your actions and less likely to have regrets.
  19. You do not fight yourself or others since there is no reason to.
  20. You can be very relaxed because you are unfolding along with everyone else. Life works for you.

Gratitude Helps You Enjoy Life

Gratitude is a generous and relaxed quality that lets us be with life and a part of life. It is trusting, a quality that is often lacking in our social space. Because of that relaxed trust, work and love are easier and more enjoyable.

We only live a short period of time. Gratitude helps our time on earth be one of joy.

Featured photo credit:  Baby with a Thank You Sign via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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