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50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

50 Things Most 20-Somethings Should Stop Doing Now

Be honest. Are you living your dream yet? Is this the way you wanted your life to be?

You were sure by now you’d be living In Menlo Park working for Facebook, making enough money to buy whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted. You were sure you wouldn’t be sleeping with two dogs and empty sushi containers. Where is that special someone who’s supposed to be beside you? What is going on? Why is this happening?

If you can handle it (and I hope and pray that you’re ready), here are 50 mistakes that you should stop making right now if you want to turn your dreams into reality.

1. Living in Denial.

It’s time to grow up and face reality.

2. Avoiding a trip into the real you.

Don’t be afraid to take a good look in the mirror. It’s not as bad as you think. If you look beyond the surface, you will see an awesome side of yourself that you’ve never seen before.

3. Lying to yourself and others.

Admit it — admit everything. Let it all go. If things aren’t working out for you, something needs to change right now.

4. Being untrue to your unique self.

To thine own self be true. Take an honest self-inventory. It’s all the only way you will find your hidden talents, gifts, and abilities.

5. Saying “I want it.”

Ask yourself if you really want it or if you just want to want it. Sometimes you think you want something, but it’s just something your mother, girlfriend or boyfriend thinks you should be getting or doing.

6. Thinking you have to love everything you do.

I’m sorry to tell you, but the hard reality of life is that you have to do things you don’t love, and sometimes you have to do things you hate. How do you think Kevin Durant got good at his game? Do you think he loved every minute he practiced shooting hoops?

7. Making excuses.

You’re right, there are many reasons you shouldn’t change; but how long do you want to go on like this?

8. Avoiding debt.

Ignoring debt collectors does not make them go away. Debt accumulates. Start chipping away at your pile of bills by making small monthly payments.

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9. Complaining

If you stop complaining, you’ll be able to see that you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. If you flip the switch on your negative outlook, you will begin to see the good things in your life. Complaining people are not happy people.

10. Over-sharing your life on Instagram.

The world does not need to see everything you eat or every time you get in your car. Dignify yourself. Share the good stuff.

11. Putting your drinking pictures on Facebook.

Even though your boss isn’t your Facebook “friend,” she might be friends with your friends and know the real reason you called in sick to work. Be careful what you make public. Think about who might see what you post.

12. Saying “it’s too hard.”

This is a sabotage statement. The more you say it, the less you will accomplish. Try saying, “it’s going to be hard, but I’m going to push my way through the rough spots.”

13. Being a victim.

“Poor me” doesn’t cut it anymore. Take action to change your perspective. This will change your life.

14. Doubting your abilities. 

Develop a new “I can handle this” attitude. You’ll be surprised when you find talents you didn’t know you had.

15. Calling your mother with every little problem you have.

Be resourceful. Google it. All the answers you need are there; if not, you are smart enough to figure it out. Save the big drama for your mama. You can manage the small stuff.

16. Texting everything.

Once in awhile, pick up the phone and let someone hear the sweet sound of your voice.

17. Thinking you’re not good enough.

You are capable of so much more. Think of the times when your strengths and talents shined. Everyone has them. Find yours.

18. Blaming your parents.

Yes, they made mistakes, but they did the best they knew how at the time. They were 20-somethings once, and also made mistakes.

19. Living week-to-week financially.

Get off your butt and find a second job. If you want to stay home all day, then start a money-making blog or online business. The internet is a goldmine open to everyone.

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20. Being lazy.

Get out of bed and shut off the TV. Work harder. You can never tell where your passion might be hiding. A job at the local bistro could inspire you to go to France for cooking school. One day, you can have a business of your own.

21. Buying things you can’t afford.

Budgeting is a helpful skill that will stabilize you for the rest of your life. Ask yourself, “do I really need this? Can I afford this right now?”

22. Drinking during the week.

Parties are for weekends. Curb your alcohol appetite. It might be interfering with your ability to wake up on time the next morning.

23. Sticking out your tongue when you take a picture.

Unless you are licking a lollipop at Disneyland, keep your tongue in your mouth. It’s not your best look.

24. Saying “I don’t care.”

You really do care — you just don’t want to get upset if things don’t work out for you.

25. Avoiding reality.

How long can you keep hiding from it? Bills need to be paid. Jobs need to be found. (Unless you’re willing to live without water, electricity or a cell phone.)

26. I can’t go back to school — I have no money.

This is one thing your parents will be happy to help you with. If they say no, bartend.

27. Taking in another animal.

Do you really have the money to take care of another pet? It needs shots, flea medicine and grooming. Can you afford that?

28. Eating out every night.

It’s expensive and fattening. Learn to cook. It’s fun, and homemade food is much healthier than smothered cheeseburgers and beer. Invite your friends over for dinner.

29. Saying “I’m bored.”

Learn a new language. Go to they gym. Ride your bike.

30. Watching a full season of Game of Thrones and Dr. Who.

Sure, they’re awesome — but break it up into segments.

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31. Asking your parents for money.

If you don’t have enough, earn more.

32. Remembering your past failures.

We’ve all got them. Mistakes are the best teachers.

33. Thinking if you get knocked down you won’t get back up.

You are resilient. You’re a survivor. Pick yourself up and keep moving forward.

34. Being afraid.

FEAR= False expectations appearing real. Fear is not reality; it’s all in your head.

35. Making excuses.

Develop a no more excuses frame of mind. Your dog ate your homework when you were in fifth grade, but the time has come to accept responsibility and speak the truth.

36. Quitting everything you start.

Fight through the yuck. When times get tough, just get tougher.

37. Procrastinating.

The pressure of procrastination does help you get things done, but it’s also stressing you out. Be prepared.

38. Gaming.

Games are programmed so that you become addicted to them.

39. Saying “I don’t feel like it.”

That worked when you were five, but it doesn’t work anymore.

40. Squashing your dreams.

Make them real. Envision them, then go after them.

41. Feeling overwhelmed.

Little baby steps get you to your goal. Seeing how high a mountain is, can definitely keep you from climbing it.

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42. Expressing every emotion you feel. 

Chill out. Breathe in and slow down before the words come flying out of your mouth. Think before you speak.

43. Being narcissistic.

Everything isn’t about you. Think of others.

44. Eating unhealthy foods.

You’ll be shocked at how great you’ll feel afterwards. You won’t run to the bathroom or fall asleep.

45. Making excuses for not going to the gym.

You are tired. Your friends call you to go out. You just want to hang on the couch and space out. Getting to the gym is the hard part, but it’s so worth it when you can easily zip up your tight jeans.

46. Comparing yourself to others.

There are people better than you. There are also people whose lives are much worse than yours. Check out thebadassproject.com if you want to compare yourself to someone.

47. Blaming your genetics.

Ok, so maybe your father was an alcoholic — that doesn’t mean you have to be one. It means you have to stay on guard. You cannot drink. Have a coke, and no one will know the difference. Who cares if they do?

48. Worrying about what other people think.

Do you really know what other people are thinking? Own your choices. Listen to your inner voice. If it’s wrong? Oh well, you are now smarter and stronger.

49. Living in the past.

It’s over, done. What happened happened, and you can’t change it.  Learn from it and then throw it in the trash.

50. Believing this is who you are.

It’s not. These are simply bad habits that you’ve gotten used to. Replace them with good habits.

Stop these mistakes, and you will be as awesome as your mother thinks you are.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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