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24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Everyone has those moments in life when you stop and evaluate where you’re at and where you’re heading. Most of the time those evaluations come because of a simple but powerful question. These types of questions can change our lives, turn us in another direction and open our minds to new experiences and people. Here are some life-changing questions that you might ask yourself one day:

1.Where will I be in 5 years if I keep heading in this direction?

Are you doing the things you want to be doing and becoming the person you want to become or are you heading in another direction?

2.What if today was my last day?

Would you waste your time playing games on your phone and commenting on your friends Facebook posts or would you actually call your friends and set up a lunch. Would you be more active or would you just relax. How would your day be different if it was your last one?

3. Do I volunteer enough?

Helping others is one the greatest things we can do. But do we set apart enough time for it? Do we donate to charities or volunteer at shelters, do we help strangers open the door when their arms are full? Service is good for all parties involved.

4.Do I want to have children?

Whether you decide to have children or not, both decisions will have a great impact on the rest of your life. Children are a big responsibility. Some people would prefer to adopt, others to not have children. There are many routes to take. The one you choose will depend on the goals and desires you have for your life.

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5. Should I finish my education or figure out what I want to do first?

Some people prefer to take time travelling or working before going to school. They focus on discovering who they are and what they have a passion for. Other people make the decision to finish their education and work towards finding a career. Yet others choose to forgo school and jump into a career. Each choice will help you learn about yourself, it just depends on the route that works best for you.

6. Do I see myself being married or would I be ok with a committed relationship?

Some people prefer to get married, others find that a committed relationship best suits them. It’s a choice that for some people is clear but for others it could depend on their situation in life or the person they are with.

7. Should I have plastic surgery?

Whether it’s health related or personal preference, this is a big decision for a lot people. Changing your physical appearance isn’t a little thing. Whatever your reasons for doing it, make sure you know it’s what you want.

8.Do I want t o settle down or have the freedom to move around?

Is buying a house the right move for you or do you want the freedom to travel and pick up and leave whenever you want? I’ve been in both situations in my life. Right now my husband and I are renting so that we can up and move if an opportunity presents itself. Other people prefer the security of a permanent home.

9.Am I who I want to be?

What kind of person have you always to be? Are that person? Or are you way off the path you thought you would be on? Do you still want to be that person or have things changed for you? All these questions can help you figure out who you are and who you want to become.

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10. Am I happy with my career choice?

Choosing a career can be hard for some people, for others it’s a no-brainer. Once you break into your desired field, you might find it’s not what you expected. Then you have to decide if you just push through it and hope for the best, if you change careers or if you should go back to school.

11. Should I ask my boss for a raise?

This can be really hard for some people, but what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss could say no. But it lets them know that you are serious about your job and that you’re working hard to move up.

12. Have I experienced enough of other cultures?

The world is full of people who have different traditions, cultures, languages, etc. You’ll find those differences all the way across the ocean and even down the street. Go out and learn about other people.

13. Am I dating/married to/committed to the right person?

Whatever type of relationship you are in, you need to make sure that the other person is the right one. Encourage open communication between the two of you and make sure you are both heading in the same direction.

14.Am I living with a positive outlook and passion for life?

Life should be exciting. You should be doing things that you are happy doing and that you have a passion for.

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15.Are the people in my social circle a positive influence on my life?

You are a reflection of the people you spend time with. Do they encourage you to be a better person or do they bring you down? This can be a hard change to make, but sometimes we all need to reevaluate the type of people we consider our friends.

16. Am I living a physically/mentally/spiritually healthy lifestyle?

Your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are all your personal responsibility. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Do things you enjoy doing that will help keep you healthy in all aspects of life.

17. Do I take time to stop and enjoy the simple things around me?

Small but important things happen to you every day. Take the time appreciate and acknowledge them.

18.What would I change if I saw the world through a child’s eyes?

Children see things through innocent eyes. They notice things adults tend to miss. Try to see what life is like through their simple eyes and maybe you’ll notice a few more things and be grateful for a lot more.

19. Have I set money aside for an emergency?

Money is something that you have to have but never seem to have enough of. Make sure that no matter what, you are budgeting so that you have money put away for a rainy a day. You never know when that day will come, but it always does.

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20. Am I financially prepared to retire?

So many people are focused on what they need now that they forget to prepare themselves for the future. One day you will want to retire, make sure you do everything you need to financially so that you can.

21. How much money do I waste a month on worthless or meaningless things?

My husband and I re-budgeted when he got a new job and found out that we were spending around $4000 a year on fast food. We were shocked. My husband was still in school so our finances were a little tight and yet we were wasting all that money on cheap burgers. We started spending the money on groceries instead of eating out and found out that we saved around $3000 a year. I understand that sometimes you just need a Dollar Menu. But, when you’re trying to save money and stick within a budget, you need to plan ahead and be ready so you can save money.

22.  Am I spending enough time with the people I value the most?

Life is short. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Make sure that no matter how busy you are with work, school or other activities that you make time for the people who really matter.

23. Have I accomplished the dreams and goals I’ve set for myself?

Whatever point you’re at in life, you should have been able to accomplish some or most of your goals. Achieved goals don’t just fall into your lap; you have to actively pursue the things you want. Work hard and make things happen for yourself.

24. How have I improved as a result of my experiences?

Every experience you have, whether good or bad, becomes a part of you. What you learn from those experiences is up to you. Take what you can from them and become a better person because of things you have gone through in your own life.

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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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