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25 Things You Must Know by the Time You Turn 30

25 Things You Must Know by the Time You Turn 30

Congratulations! You made it into your third decade in this body. That is an accomplishment of which to be proud. As I remember my first three decades, there were a lot of uncertainties. Other people seemed to have all the answers. By 30 I was still trying to figure things out. During that time I would have really appreciated someone telling me some vital things. So, here I sit, fingers poised above keyboard once again with the purpose of imparting some hard won wisdom to you in the hopes that it will save you a few sleepless nights.

1. You can do whatever you want in life.

There are step by step ways to accomplish any goal. If it has been accomplished by someone else, all you have to do is choose your virtual mentor and follow in his or her footsteps. If you are doing something that has not been done before, it is more challenging but your path can be mapped out if you take note of the things that have worked for you and those that have not. Do the things that work and pitch the ones that don’t.

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    2. There is always something you can learn in any subject or situation.

    The saddest thing I have ever seen is the man who knows everything. You watch him fail time after time with the obvious reasons for failure staring him in the face. Yet he continues to make the same mistakes and each time his losses multiply. You try to understand this person but he won’t listen to reason about how to handle his situation. He simply goes on knowing best about everything. Be the person who actively looks for new things to learn. Be willing to let go of a notion if it doesn’t work.

    3. If you want to be successful hang around with successful people.

    Your own thoughts, ideas and considerations about things shape your future. We live our ideas. For example, if you have an idea that it is noble to be poor, you will live your life in such a way as to remain poor. If this idea is sunk into your subconscious, you don’t even know you are acting it out in life. A good exercise, when things are not going well in life, is to sit down and write out all of your thoughts and considerations about the thing you are having trouble with. Get rid of the ones that hold you back.

    4. There is no magic to earning your living.

    Or being filthy rich (Side note: why is it that adjectives describing being wealthy are negative like “filthy” or “stinking”?). Money is not magical. It doesn’t simply fall to earth like drifting snow and land on those who are “lucky”. People who have money realize that money is a reward for providing goods and services to someone who needs them. The level of necessity for these items and the level of skill required for the service or item are what determines the price of your labor. If you are an accountant and it is approaching tax deadline, you will be busy and make lots of money. If you are on the street selling expensive pencils that no one wants, you will starve.

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      5. There is nothing wrong with charging money for your services.

      It would be wonderful if we all could give away our goods and services whenever we want to, but the bottom line is that we have to support ourselves and we do deserve some reward for our labors. Of course we do have to help other people. There are times when you will volunteer to work and advance a cause or an organization, but don’t do this at the expense of your own life and health, or the life and health of your family who depend on you.

      6. Sacrificing yourself never works out.

      There will be times when you will be made to feel that you should put yourself last. You will be encouraged to forsake your family to get ahead. All of this is expected, and sometimes necessary, but it is up to you to find the balance and insist on it being kept. Your boss may want you to work all night so he can be ready for a presentation the next day. If this happens once in a great while, it could be okay but if he expects this every week and gives you no extra time off to handle other areas of your life, it is unethical for you to do it. And it is probably unethical for you to be working for someone with such poor planning skills. Your skills and effort could be much more useful elsewhere.

      7. You are responsible for every action you take in life and every condition your life is in.

      This sounds harsh and I had a hard time with that until I asked myself, “Who is the most motivated person to see that my life works out the way I want it to?” The answer is ME. So the next question is, “Who is really going to take responsibility to ensure that my life works out the way I want it to?” Again, there is only one answer. Yes, your mom and your wife and everyone who cares about you want your life to work out but who is the one who makes all of the bajillion everyday decisions that drive your life? It is you.

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        8. There are some things they don’t teach you in school.

        When I was 20, I had a lot of trouble with banking. I simply could not accurately predict how much money I had in my account at any given time. It wasn’t until my sister sat me down and went over how to balance my checkbook that I  learned that you even could balance a checkbook! I was pretty naïve but that simple piece of information changed everything. Find out ways to learn things that may not be taught to you.

        9. School doesn’t work for everyone.

        Especially in this day and age. School gives you information. Many times, unless you have a stellar teacher and stellar textbooks, the information comes at you and there is no indication which facts are important and which are not or even whether they are correct. You are tested, not on how to use the data you have learned, but on trivia. Who cares what exact date a battle started on? What is infinitely more important is what went wrong in society at that time that warranted a battle and how can we avoid that situation today? That is the vital information, not the date! When you are given information, ask yourself, “How am I going to USE this information?” If you can’t see how to use it, forget it. If you have been having trouble with school, stop thinking that you have failed and start looking at whether or not school has failed you.

        10. Not everyone who is an “authority” is right.

        Whenever anyone gives you any data, check it over for yourself and see if it works for you and seems correct. If it doesn’t seem correct, don’t rely on it. There is more false data out there than true data. You just have to figure out which is which.

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          11. Drugs are a fast track to nowhere.

          There is a lot of hype about drugs today, both medicinal and street drugs. Understand that a body kept in good condition, given the vitamins and nourishment it requires, repairs itself. If you are having trouble, look to nutrition first unless it is a medical emergency. With regard to recreational drugs, these are poisons and they will not get you where you want to go in life. People use these drugs to handle a problem they are having. Find out what the problem is and confront it! Figure out a solution or get help with that problem. You can’t medicate your way through life. It doesn’t work and it is extremely harmful.

          12. Life is fluid.

          Life changes every second of every day. If you have fixed ideas about how it is supposed to be and how you will handle things, you will take wrong steps. In any given situation, look at it and really see it. Plan your actions accordingly. Operating on fixed ideas and actions will only take you so far. Actual observation and action is always best.

          13. Stick to what you know is right.

          There are times in life where you will disagree with just about everyone else. This does not mean you are wrong. Sometimes a lot of people can be wrong all at the same time. If this were not true, Hitler would have been squashed the first minute he started talking. Instead Germany allowed him to decimate a large portion of the world. Being the one voice of reason is not popular but it is the only path to happiness.

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            14. Truth and integrity are your most valuable assets.

            You see what you see and deep down, you know the truth about things. Don’t divert from your course because someone else doesn’t like it. Don’t agree with someone just to keep the peace. Any peace you can get on this planet is bought through strength and integrity. It is maintained through the idea that you do not stand for lies and bad ethics. Integrity and truth are the seat of your power. If you let these things go, you have nothing.

            15. Be the rising tide.

            The rising tide lifts all boats. This statement is my motto in life. In EVERY action I take, I look to see which action will lift the most people. Then I do that action. It never fails. It helps a lot of people and it always, always, always results in a huge benefit for me. You MUST include yourself in your calculations of how many people benefit.

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            16. Sometimes life is uncomfortable.

            This cannot be avoided but if you learn from the discomfort, you can minimize it in the future. Don’t fear discomfort but when it occurs. Figure out how to change it.

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              17. Life demands ownership from you.

              There are people who go through life being buffeted about by every force, big and small, and never do anything unless someone or something forces them to do it. This is a miserable way to live. How much better is it to decide to make things happen and then do it? Life is much easier when you are in charge and very dangerous if you are not.

              18. Do not look for validation from others for doing the right thing.

              Many times in life I have had to go against the status quo in order to right a wrong. I was dumbfounded when I got hit in the face with anger, back stabbing and outright threats. It is not pretty but you always have to do what your consciences tells you to do.

              19. Do not seek revenge.

              Revenge for the sake of revenge never feels good when it is carried out and, believe it or not, it ties you to the person that you have taken revenge against. You will never be free of that person in your thoughts and mind thereafter. Sometimes you do have to act against a person to stop the damage they are wreaking on others. This is a correct action in the grand scheme of things. But revenge just for revenge’s sake is evil. I don’t care how many movies make it seem okay.

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                20. Not all people are sane.

                I know this seems like a no brainer but I am amazed at how often people make excuses for those acting crazy. It is as if people think that insane people do exist but unless they are raving they are not insane. Insanity manifests in many ways. It can be overtly insane like a murderer or other criminal, or it can be covert. Secret backstabbers and those who mentally abuse are great examples. They create havoc in relationships and ruin people’s lives. This is insane behavior despite that fact that TV and movies make it appear “normal”.

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                21. The people in your life are the most important thing there is.

                Back in 1989, we had an earthquake here in California and it was devastating. When the shaking stopped there was an eerie calm broken only by the sounds of a woman screaming. She screamed for minutes and finally stopped. Once I realized that I was not injured, my first thought was for my neighbors and when I found that they were okay I called everyone I knew. In fact, everyone was calling everyone they knew and the phones were down. The lesson from this is that when disaster strikes, you don’t give a flying hoot in Hell about your possessions. All you care about is the people you love.

                22. Focus more on the good in life and not the bad.

                The good things in life are what make it worth living. If you focus on the negative things, you will not be happy. We do have to give some consideration to the bad in life but make sure the good overbalances it.

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                  23. You have many people, but your kids have only you.

                  If you lose a friend or a lover, you can find another one even if you are devastated. Your child can never find another mom or dad. They adore you from the moment they are born and look up to you. Do not take this lightly. Care for them and do not take unnecessary risks with your life. They cannot replace  you.

                  24. Your enemies will expect attacks but will never expect compassion.

                  Weirdly, the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do in situations where you are under attack is generally correct. There will be occasions where you will have to act and harm another person if that person needs to be stopped for the good of everyone, but most times compassion and communication will succeed where force does not. Swallowing your anger and making an attempt to communicate and iron things out is effective many times. Even when it is not, it reveals the strength in you. It takes strength to be the better man or woman in a conflict. This makes you a formidable power.

                  25. You are doing okay.

                  You are a good person. You are trying your best and you will make mistakes. Mistakes occur when you try new things. This is a good thing! Life is crazy, wild and unpredictable. No one has it all figured out. Half the fun is getting to know it and making it work for you. When you do this, you will have an unforgettable life.

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                    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

                    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

                    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

                    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

                    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

                    Create a Positive Experience

                    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

                    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

                    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

                    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

                    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

                    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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                    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

                    Help Leadership Skills

                    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

                    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

                    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

                    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

                    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

                    Build Better Teams

                    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

                    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

                    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

                    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

                    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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                    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

                    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

                    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

                    1. Listen

                    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

                    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

                    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

                    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

                    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

                    2. Know Your Audience

                    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

                    Here is a good way to think about it:

                    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

                    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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                    3. Minimize

                    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

                    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

                    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

                    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

                    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

                    4. Over Communicate

                    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

                    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

                    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

                    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

                    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

                    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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                    5. Body Language

                    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

                    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

                    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

                    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

                    Conclusion

                    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

                    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

                    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

                    Now go communicate your way to success.

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                    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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