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Confront These 10 Inconvenient Truths Today for a Better Life

Confront These 10 Inconvenient Truths Today for a Better Life

Improving your body and life isn’t a quick, easy or magical process. There is no pill, strategy or tactic that can replace hard work. If you want success, you need to confront these ten inconvenient truths today.

1. Education does not begin or end in a textbook or classroom.

If you’re not willing to wrap your head around that simple fact, the Real World will eat you alive.

2. Agonizing over the past accomplishes nothing.

If you are already in a situation that cannot be undone, then what is the point in stressing out about it? Your time would be better spent hustling forward in the direction of a better future. Look at every new day as a fresh opportunity to improve yourself.

3. People pleasing is an exercise in futility.

I hate to break it to you, but there are certain people who won’t care about you, no matter what you do. And besides, if a person likes you for a phony version of yourself that bears no resemblance to the authentic person you are, why bother? As Amanda McRae said, “It is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

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4. Affirmations are helpful…

I love affirmations. They are a great way to keep your goals fresh on your memory and remind yourself of what is most important to you. Just in case you’re curious, here’s one of my favorite affirmations of late (you’re welcome to borrow it if you want to):

“I am loving, mindful, deliberate, and strong.”

I aspire to behave in a way that reflects those four traits every single day, whether it is in the form of writing an article like this or coaching a personal training client. When I feel overburdened with stress, or lose sight of my purpose, I repeat this affirmation until I get back on track.

I would recommend coming up with your own affirmation that expresses what kind of person you would like to be, or how you hope to add value to the world. You could write it down in a place you’ll see it regularly, and say your affirmation out-loud a few times as soon as you wake up to get your head in the right place at the top of every morning.

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5. …but affirmations are pointless if they aren’t accompanied with consistent hustle.

All of that said, it is delusional to think you can “affirm your way” to the future you desire. If you want success, your positive thoughts must be accompanied with positive action.

6. You might be a sheep.

The temptation to conform is no doubt heavy, but remember that everybody you admire thought outside of the box (and probably broke a lot of the norms prevalent in their society while they were at it). Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright brothers, Gandhi, and even Jesus Christ would have accomplished nothing if they resigned themselves to the self-defeating belief of, “Oh well, I guess that’s just the way things are.”

We don’t need more spineless conformists in this world; we need more brave, creative original thinkers who aren’t afraid to be authentic and swim against the current, no matter what “society” has to say about it. Dare to be different, because the world needs the unique gift only you can offer.

7. Effort trumps “luck” every time.

My mom is a walking, talking example of “effort” because she illustrates how important it is for success. Below is a single sentence summary of how effort works:

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If you want to be successful, you must put forth a high level of effort for a long period of time (if this isn’t true, then you’re probably not thinking big enough).

What does this have to do with my mom? She is ALWAYS winning free tickets to concerts, football games, Nascar races, wrestling matches, and so on (if it’s a sport, she likes it). A lot of people call her lucky, but they’re totally missing the point. It’s not luck, it’s effort. She loves to listen to a local classic rock radio station that does contests and giveaways very frequently. They usually go something like, “If you’re caller #9, you win tickets to see this super fun thing!” Instead of saying, “I’d never win,” as 90% of people do, she picks up the phone and dials in… every. single. time.

Does she lose a lot? Well, yeah. But since she’s putting forth a higher level of effort than other people, she just so happens to be wiping the floor with them. Even if you drop the ball or fall on your face while you’re pursuing your goal, it’s nothing to freak out about. The more shots you take, the better your odds of winning. Are you going to take your shot today?

8. If you wouldn’t say it about another person, then you shouldn’t think it about yourself.

Would you ever tell a person you love that they are a stupid, fat, ugly loser who can’t do anything right? Of course you wouldn’t, because it would be an inconsiderate and nasty thing to do. Despite how mean it would be to say things like this to another person, I bet you subject yourself to self-defeating beliefs just like this every single day. Personal growth and transformation cannot happen from a place of self-hate; success happens when you can love and accept yourself as you are, even the flawed or messy parts (hint: believe it or not, these could be the very same things that make you special).

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9. Success is reserved for action-takers only.

The best self-help book or article in the world cannot help you if you’re not willing to implement the material in your life; otherwise, you are only wasting your time.

10. It’s not all about you.

Wanna know my biggest pet-peeve? People who assume everything is about them.

Just because a person doesn’t want to hang out with you, doesn’t mean they don’t like you; it probably just means they are exhausted from dealing with people all day and need some time to re-charge.

Just because a person doesn’t answer a text, doesn’t mean they are ignoring you; maybe they’re busy with their kids, at work, a creative project or one of the 1,000,000 things that are more important than answering texts as they come in.

Just because a person doesn’t go on a date with you, doesn’t mean you are unattractive, unappealing or doomed to be alone; you’re just not a good match, and you’re fortunate the other person was honest enough to not lead you on.

I know truth hurts sometimes, but somebody had to say it.

I hope applying these ten inconvenient truths helps you achieve success in business, fitness, relationships or whatever your goal might be. If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to your friends on Facebook or Twitter, and then tell us how you’re going to take action in the comments.

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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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