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5 Types Of “Toxic” Persons You Should Actually Admire

5 Types Of “Toxic” Persons You Should Actually Admire

Throughout history, man has always felt the need to label people and define things. In a sense, it is how we learn to understand the world around us. From childhood to adulthood, we are taught how to separate people into two groups: good or bad. Labels are based on the filters and perceptions we have, which are often wrong. There are two sides to every behavior, so don’t be too quick to judge.

It is in itself toxic to define someone else as toxic. Every situation presents a learning opportunity and how you interpret a person’s actions towards you, will depend on your own sensitivities. You will either see the glass half full or think it half empty. If you are ready to keep an open mind, this list of five types of toxic persons you should actually admire will prove just that.

1. People who don’t believe in your dreams.

“People say motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing; that’s why we recommend it daily” – Zig Ziglar.

Those who don’t believe in your dreams are the haters and doubters. They are the ones who belittle your dreams and make you feel like a failure before you have even started. Common sense might say to completely avoid these people, but here is why you shouldn’t

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Those who have dreams and goals to achieve, know how long the road and the process can be. It is for this very reason that you need those who don’t believe in your dreams. If you are willing to see the glass half full, then you may start to see these people as your very own personal reverse-psychology cheer leading team.

You don’t have to pay them any money, and they provide the daily motivation to remind you to keep going and never give up. If everyone believed in your ability to achieve your goals, you may not have the urgency to act. You need people who remind you of realistic challenges and problems which you may face. And who make you want to succeed even more. Those who didn’t believe in your dreams truly deserve your admiration. Without them, you may not be where you are today.

2. People who bring stress into your life.

“A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well” – Unknown.

We all have these people in our lives. It can be a parent, a coworker, siblings or friends. They are people who will drive us crazy with their drama, negativity or irresponsibility. They can also be very demanding people to deal with. While you may cringe at the thought of spending time with them, here is why you should learn to deal with the stress.

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A lot of people spend a lot of time and money trying to avoid stress, stressful people or stressful situations. However, not all stress is bad for you. In some situations a person stressing you out is a good thing. They may in fact actually be motivating and pushing you to be better or to do better. Remember that our culture is filled with success stories of people who had a tough start in life and achieved stardom nevertheless. Learn to tap into the energy of stress and value those who bring some type of stress into your life.

3. People who use you.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” – Bob Marley

No one likes to be taken advantage of. Once you discover someone is using you, it can make you feel disposable. This feeling can be very toxic and may affect how you relate with and treat other people. While it is smart to avoid these types of toxic persons, here is how you can start to make the situation work in your favor.

To be fair, everyone uses everyone whether we mean to or not. So it is not so out of the norm for some people to befriend you just because of what you have to offer. In fact, you do it, too. The difference is you probably call those friends you use dependable. Those who use you are actually good for you in the sense that they provide an opportunity to batter. They have already put themselves out there. With a little communication, you can begin to make the relationship work in your favor.

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4. People who don’t care about you.

“We all matter – maybe less then a lot but always more than none.” ― John Green

We all have an innate desire to be liked even by complete strangers. Often we use how people respond to us as a measure of our own self-worth. So naturally we tend to not want people who don’t care about us around. While this is a good thing, it also means that you will have no diversity in your life. Here is one way to make this situation a positive one.

In the age of likes, follows and numerous friend adds on social media, don’t forget the importance of knowing your quality friends from your quantity of friends.
Apart from your inner circle, everyone else is an acquaintance who may not care about you. This is not a bad thing, in fact the world does move on without you. Friends who don’t care about you, do well by reminding you of the importance of family and true friendships

5. People who point out your flaws or criticize you

“There is only one way to avoid criticism. Do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” -Aristotle.

This kind of “toxic” people can be very hurtful. They seem to nit pick away at who you are and each comment can feel like a sledge hammer. While it is smart to guard you heart against such people, here is why you should develop an elephant’s skin, so that you can hear what they have to say without being hurt by it.

A lot of times the people who criticize you, truly have your best interest at heart. They see your potential and your flaws and are bold enough to call you out on both. If you would take your emotions and sentiments out of it, you just might learn something about yourself that could be crucial to your future achievements.

Depending on how you see the glass, a critic is someone to offer feedback when it may very well be needed. If your desire is to get better at your craft and be the best you can possibly be, then you must understand the importance of people who point out your flaws or criticize you.

There is beauty to be found in any situation, and people who have been labelled “toxic” can actually have benefits and add value to our lives. Like I said earlier, it is all in how you decide to look atit. With the right attitude, they can be admired, even appreciated. After all, it is in the face of adversity that we often become who we were meant to be.

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Featured photo credit: Shadow people via flickr.com

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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.

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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