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7 Things You’ll Regret Taking The Shortcuts In Life

7 Things You’ll Regret Taking The Shortcuts In Life

If you’ve ever seen the film The Social Network (the one about the creation of Facebook), you’d be correct in assuming that Mark Zuckerberg’s big idea became an overnight success.  However, in reality this wasn’t the case at all; as Zuckerberg put it during a speech to a group of 8th graders, “it couldn’t be further from the truth.” He also pointed out that it takes years and years of hard work and practice, and that a lot of building a company or product like Facebook is just about determination and believing that you can do it. “There’s no shortcuts.”

If you want to do something worthwhile, whether it is a relationship, a business or life in general, it is so important to see it through and never give up, no matter what obstacles come up. Of course you can look at ways to make it more efficient and create avenues to get you to where you want to be. However, you’ll find that most success stories that appear to have taken off overnight will have taken years of dedication and commitment to get it to that point.  It’s the blood, sweat and tears that make anything of any real importance worth it in the end.

In any area of your life, it’s so important not to sell yourself short, so I’ve put together a few pointers on what shortcuts you’ll want to avoid taking.

Settling for an arranged life.

Who wants a boring, mediocre life?  This is what happens if you settle for just about anything, like your job, your relationship and your life.  We’re all here for a pretty short period of time, so why waste it doing things just because that’s how it is.

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I’m guessing you don’t want to look back at your life and wish you’d done it differently; hopefully you’ll want to glance back in wonder and amazement over what you have achieved.  You’ll realize that the best things in life, the worthwhile things, took guts, determination and hard work.

It’s not about fixing something; it could be about creating something new and starting fresh.  Sadly life can become a bit of a habit, doing the same old thing, day after day and until one day it dawns on you that you’re not really living at all–you’re existing.  As the great man Anthony Robbins once said “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” So grab life NOW and don’t settle.

Are you a Tiger or a Sheep?

At school, you’re taught a certain way in life, to go to college, university, get a job, get married, have kids and live happily ever after.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but try looking at it differently.  Why do what everyone else is doing? Why do what’s expected of you just because there’s some unwritten manual in life that everyone else seems to be following?

Each of us was born unique.  We were all created to be who we were and that’s being YOU.  There’s no one else like you on this planet, so why are you trying to be like everyone else?  Find the courage to be yourself and follow your heart. Don’t be ashamed of how you feel. Go out and do it, and you’ll inspire others to do the same.  And remember, “a tiger doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep”–so what are you, a tiger or a sheep?

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Taking the “easy route.”

Life can be a struggle, but if you are settling because you are afraid of what it might throw at you, then don’t! It’ll throw stuff at you anyway!  If you give up on yourself and your dreams, you are giving up on life, and what a waste that would be.  It’s so easy to take the “easy route,” except aren’t you worth more than that? Don’t you think you’ve got something more powerful inside of you, more capable at beating all the odds if it came to it?

Each struggle is a chance to learn and provide you with a great new experience. If you want an awesome life, adversity will be around every corner, but that’s what makes it so wonderful.  Remember sometimes you’ll have to take a step backwards to take 100 steps forward; it’s that journey that makes it all the more worthwhile. Never give up on yourself.

Forgiving people instead of ignoring their existence.

Forgiveness isn’t about letting the other person “off the hook.” It’s more about ending the suffering for yourself. Forgiveness provides you with peace of mind, a way to move forward and provide yourself the gift of freedom. Without it, happiness can be limited. When you forgive someone else, you are giving yourself permission to forgive yourself, which makes healing your own life that much easier to do.

People come and go in our lives. They each teach us something about ourselves.  Whether someone hurt, betrayed or loved us, each provide a valuable lesson to learn from.

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Putting things off until tomorrow.

This is something most of us can relate to and let’s be honest, when we say, “I’ll do it tomorrow” we usually mean, “I can’t do that” or “I don’t want to do that” and it rarely ever happens. But if you want to make an immediate impact on your life, this is where you need to pull your socks up and take some action.  Choose one thing that you’ve been putting off for months and do it today. Roll those sleeves up and really dive in. You will feel wonderful once you’ve started, and imagine how you’ll feel once it’s completed!

“Actions speak louder than words” which is absolutely true here, if you put things off they’ll only come back to bite you later on, so why not just get it done today.  It’s a choice you have to make, the choice to live by your word, and you’ll be amazed at how those around you will follow suite. If you start each day being intentional, you’ll become a lot more productive and heaps happier!

Leaving everything to chance.

When you get up every morning, what do you dedicate your life to that makes a difference to the world?  If you’ve no idea what that is, then you need to work out what it is you want.  Once you work out your true feelings and desires, and take action in line with that, you’ll end up getting more from life than you ever expected. Opportunities and possibilities will start flowing your way, as long as you’ve known what it is you want.

You’ve got to have some kind of plan for your life or a purpose. Then you’ll know that what you do every day is aimed towards that.   Don’t just wait for life to happen to you; make it count, because once it’s gone it’s gone, and you’ll want to leave some kind of legacy for the world to aspire to.  Make sure every moment counts!

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Keeping quiet instead of speaking up.

If you’ve ever experience unrequited love, you’ll understand why sometimes the fear of rejection will stop you from saying those three important words.  In life, there are no guarantees, and if the fear of saying “I love you” outweighs the fear of not saying it, then you could be in for one of the biggest regrets of your life.

You know people will come and go from your life, some quickly taken from you and some because you realized they were worth your time.   Try not to take important people for granted; you’ll never know how long you have got them here for. The best gift you can give is your full attention. Be present at all times and always say how you feel.  There is nothing worse than wishing you’d said something when you could, so always remember to speak up.

So what shortcuts have you taken in your life so far and are you willing to give them up?

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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