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8 Valuable Life Lessons Blogging Teaches Us

8 Valuable Life Lessons Blogging Teaches Us

As far as jobs or hobbies go, blogging is one of the more fulfilling options out there. We all have something that we’d like to get off our chest and some knowledge to share with others. However, while blogging can be fun and fulfilling, it can also be challenging. Delve a little deeper into it and you will need change the way you think to adapt. If you spend a lot of time doing something you will get better at it and achieve a certain degree of mastery, which in turn will teach you some important life lessons. There is a lot to learn from the journey and blogging on a regular basis can definitely give you some unique insights.

1. It doesn’t take much to get started in a new direction

Accomplishments trying

    All it takes to get started with a new project in your life is to make that initial leap of faith. Once you’ve resolved to make a change you can jump right in. The progress will be gradual but you can make huge progress initially if you are driven. With some research and a bit of practice you can learn how to run a successful blog and apply the principles that the pros use right from the start. This works for other parts of life quite well.

    Want to get in shape? Find a sound, well-written beginner program and do your research on the right type of exercise and nutrition that will allow you to reach your goals. Then you just stick with it and give it your 100% on a regular basis. Getting started is surprisingly easy. Even if it’s something that you’ve never done before, it’s the consistency and motivation part that trips people up.

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    2. There is always more work to be done

    At first it seems like you can spend an hour or two of your free time at the computer typing away and manage to run a blog without it really affecting your life in a big way. When you start to take it seriously your research can take you in several directions and you will start learning more and more on a subject.

    You will become interested in a few different topics – you brush up on your grammar, work on improving your vocabulary, look at some writing tips, search the web for good pictures or gifs, start doing your own DIY projects or shop around for cool tech gadgets, you spend a few hours on social media… If you decide to do something meaningful you will want to do it well, and you will learn that there is always more work to be done. Self-improvement is a never-ending story and the more effort you put in, the more benefits you reap.

    3. You may have hidden talents that you never knew about

    things we are capable of

      We are all born with certain strengths and weaknesses. As much as people like to say that everyone has equal opportunity, it’s hard not to argue that we all have some inborn talents that allow us to potentially reach a much higher level of skill in some areas; however we are often unaware of some of these talents.

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      It’s not until you start reading and writing about all kinds of different topics and try your hand at different disciplines that you start to realize just how much something suits you. Have you tried playing the guitar, cooking, creating DIY furniture, running or singing? You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that you aren’t half bad at it – and that it gives you plenty of enjoyment.

      4. All it takes to get good at something is time and patience

      People always want to hear about secret knowledge and take shortcuts to achieving their goals. One of the biggest truths in life is that mastering something is all about boring repetition. It takes plenty of time to get really good and the most important virtues you can have are patience and grim determination. You always keep coming back to the basics, perfecting them so that you can build upon them and develop further. It may take you an entire afternoon to write 1000 words at first, but if you keep going and write 1000 words every day, you’ll eventually get to a point where things come naturally and motivation isn’t an issue.

      5. A good daily routine will lead you to success

      routine

        The best way to ensure that you stay motivated enough to dedicate the necessary time into a project is to develop a routine. Human beings are creatures of habit and we tend to work best when we have a set schedule. You can try to write when the mood strikes, but it becomes too easy to procrastinate and a whole day can go by without a muse coming to inspire you. Once you start living by a simple schedule and break your day up into several routine tasks, you’ll quickly notice that you are able to get things done much more efficiently. You may even end up with more free time once you learn to be more productive.

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        6. Think twice before you speak

        think twice before you speak

          It’s easy to get carried away and mention things that may not be completely accurate while talking about a subject. You can also throw around unverified information that you’ve heard somewhere at some point and regard it as a cold hard fact. When you share your thoughts with a large and ethnically diverse audience, you become aware of the importance of fact-checking and thinking about what you are going to say. The backlash in the comments can be a really sobering experience. Thankfully, among the hordes of hateful trolls there are always a few people out there who offer constructive criticism and correct you without trying to insult you in the process.

          Critically considering the ideas you have, checking the credibility of the sources, looking at the possible implications and ways your words can potentially be misinterpreted – all these things allow you to express yourself better. By weighing your words carefully before you speak you ensure that you don’t spread misinformation, draw bad conclusions or come across as ignorant, arrogant or offensive.

          7. Don’t try to impose your views on others – be tolerant of different opinions

          A mistake a lot of new bloggers tend to make is to stick to their specific views and paint them as the “right way” or *cue dramatic music* “the truth”. Things are never black and white; every issue has a wide plethora of vibrant colors, each with a bunch of unique shades. If you believe that you are objectively right because you have personal experience and plenty of facts to back you up, then you can calmly and respectfully critique someone’s claims. Don’t just dismiss beliefs and opinions of others (especially on polarizing topics) as “bad” or “dumb”. You should always come from a place of understanding and be open for an intelligent discussion.

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          8. Don’t waste your energy on things that aren’t important

          best things in life

            You can sometimes get so caught up in the minutiae that you forget about the big picture, or you end up wasting a lot of time on little things like weighing up which phrase to use or choosing just the right picture. I’ll be the first to say that the devil is in the details, but beyond a certain point your eye for detail becomes an obsession which limits your productivity. Adopt the 80/20 rule to life: focus 80% of your time on a few things that can give you the greatest results and 20% of time on everything else. Another way in which this applies to life is that you shouldn’t waste your energy on people who drain you emotionally and whose company you don’t enjoy. Keep good company and focus on developing connections with people that can help you move forward and improve.

            Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time blogging will agree that you get a whole lot more out of the experience than just the satisfaction you get from writing about what you love. There are plenty of important life lessons that you learn along the way and these can be applied to virtually any facet of life in order to better yourself and become happier.

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            Ivan Dimitrijevic

            Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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            Last Updated on October 22, 2020

            8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

            8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

            How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

            Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

            When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

            Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

            What Makes People Poor Listeners?

            Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

            1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

            Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

            Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

            It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

            2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

            This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

            Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

            3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

            It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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            I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

            If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

            4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

            While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

            To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

            My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

            Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

            Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

            How To Be a Better Listener

            For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

            1. Pay Attention

            A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

            According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

            As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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            I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

            2. Use Positive Body Language

            You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

            A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

            People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

            But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

            According to Alan Gurney,[2]

            “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

            Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

            3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

            I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

            Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

            Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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            Be polite and wait your turn!

            4. Ask Questions

            Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

            5. Just Listen

            This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

            I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

            I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

            6. Remember and Follow Up

            Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

            For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

            According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

            It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

            7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

            If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

            Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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            Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

            Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

            NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

            1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
            2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

            8. Maintain Eye Contact

            When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

            Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

            By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

            Final Thoughts

            Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

            You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

            And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

            More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

            Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
            [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
            [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
            [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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