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Last Updated on October 29, 2018

9 Ways To Be A Better Person

9 Ways To Be A Better Person

Everyone wants to become a better person, but some people just don’t know how.

At the end of each day, I like to reflect and see what I can do to become a better person. Not only that, but I have a goal of leaving an imprint on the world for doing great things. By setting aside some time each day to reflect on what behaviors were good and bad, I have the opportunity to grow.

Growing up, I wasn’t the nicest kid. I would make fun of others, I was selfish, and I thought the world revolved around me. Fast-forward a few years and I’ve grown tremendously. I’m no longer the annoying child I was because I have grown and learned what it means to be a better person.

After learning what it means to be a better person, I’ve been able to develop my persona into someone I don’t mind being. I am a lot happier with who I am and I would have no problem telling my future kids the type of person I am.

Here are 9 ways to be a better person through self-development:

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1. Be Willing To Change

In order to become a better person, you have to be willing to change.

Change is the only way to grow and progress into the person you want to become. Many people are against change, which can make it very hard to grow.

When you keep an open mind and are willing to change, you are able to grow into the person you want to become.

2. Stop Making Excuses

When I first started my company in high school, I made excuses every time something went wrong. I would blame others, blame the customer, or anyone else involved. However, I would never blame myself for things that went wrong.

Instead, I learned that taking accountability for your own mistakes is extremely important. I stopped making excuses, took the blame when it was truly my fault, and was able to achieve so much more. By understanding that I made a mistake, I was able to use my mistakes to learn which in turn helped me become a better person.

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If you find it difficult to stop making excuses for yourself, it’s time to tune your motivation. Here’s how:

What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

3. Stop Being Angry

Many people let anger and rage alter their decision-making skills. I used to be an angry person growing up, but I only saw it damage relationships with people and increase my blood pressure.

Controlling anger is an extremely difficult skill to master, but it is very beneficial. Instead of getting angry, I decided to find a way to change my negative emotion. Staying angry doesn’t help me or solve any problems, it only creates more of them. Find some way of relaxing your nerves when you’re angry, a stress ball was very helpful for me.

4. Be A Role Model

Sometimes you need to be a role model to someone to really get your act together. Once I became an entrepreneur and people started to look up to me, I became a lot more cautious about the way I behaved. I didn’t want to disappoint people by showing them I was immature or a bad role model.

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You can start small and be a “big brother” to someone, coach a kids’ team, or be a role model to your children. No matter what you choose to do, always make decisions that the person looking up to you will respect.

5. Forgive Someone

Forgiving someone who hurt you is very difficult to do. When I got upset at someone for doing something, I could never forgive them. Even if it was a petty thing, I would hold it against them for the rest of their lives which was not healthy.

I quickly learned that humans are prone to making mistakes. Instead of holding mistakes against them for life, try to forgive someone. To become a better person, go through your past and forgive someone that did something to hurt you.

6. Listen To People

People are extremely busy with their careers, families, and lives. Everyone is in a rush, but people rarely ever have time to listen to what others have to say. I learned that listening to people and giving everyone a voice is one of the greatest things you can do.

I got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people. Being a good listener can change your life in a positive manner.

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7. Be Honest

Honest people are hard to come by nowadays. However, honesty is the best remedy for any situation. Promise yourself that you won’t tell any lies for a month straight.

Challenge yourself to be honest by developing good habits. If you’re a compulsive liar, start small by trying to be honest for 1 day. After you accomplish a smaller goal, increase the goal by 2 or 3.

8. Do Something You Don’t Want To

Keeping an open mind and trying things that you wouldn’t normally do is a very easy way to become a better person. Take a risk and challenge yourself to try something you’ve always been scared to do.

You’ll only live your best life once you step out — here’s why.

Growing up, I was terrified of roller coasters. However, I eventually gave in as a teenager and had the time of my life. I would have never experienced roller coasters unless I had been willing to get over my fear and give it a shot. That one experience has led me to try numerous other new things.

9. Surprise Someone Special

Do you have a loved one in your life? Whether it’s your spouse/romantic partner, your children, or a family member, plan a special surprise for them. If you know someone who deserves a nice vacation or a new gift, go buy it for them.

One of the most rewarding feelings in the world are knowing that you made someone smile. Surprise the special someone in your life by doing something out of the ordinary for them!

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

“A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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What are Interpersonal Skills?

Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

“That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

Don’t overlook introspection.

While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

“Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

The Bottom Line

You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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