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Starting Today You Can Be Successful In Life…If You Follow These 10 Commandments.

Starting Today You Can Be Successful In Life…If You Follow These 10 Commandments.

A long time ago on Mt. Sinai, the prophet Moses received two stone tablets that contained the Ten Commandments that were popularized in the Hebrew Bible. Not so long ago somewhere on the World Wide Web, Daniel Wallen, a freelance writer and LifeHacker sick of watching so many people fail at life, felt moved by the spirit and wrote the following Ten Commandments of Success. If you are sick of failing at life, thou shalt read and apply these commandments today.

1. Thou Shalt Find Purpose

  • What do you hope to accomplish in your life?
  • How do you measure the impact of your efforts?
  • Why do you exist?

If you can’t answer those three questions, you need to do some soul-searching to discover your purpose. No matter how hard you hustle, your efforts will be for naught if you don’t have a clear understanding of what would give your life meaning. As John F. Kennedy said, “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.”

2. Thou Shalt Focus

Multitasking may be defined as an inability to focus on the task at hand. You’re welcome to keep claiming you have “strong multitasking abilities” on your resume as most employers haven’t caught up with the reality that most people who multitask are not being productive so much as they’re just doing a lot of things badly.  However, from this day forward, make a commitment to focus on one task at a time with laser-like concentration. We live in overwhelming times, full of time bandits that are ready to distract you from the important work you need to get done. Disable all text and e-mail Facebook notifications, because you don’t need to know that a friend thinks that photo of your dog is precious the very instant it happens. Take a few hours to clean up your inbox and unsubscribe from any e-mail lists that don’t add value to your life (and only check your inbox two or three times a day — if it is an emergency, they will call!). 

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3. Thou Shalt Love Thyself

If you view yourself as a big loser unworthy of a better job, a loving relationship, or a fulfilling life, the odds of you getting motivated and being successful aren’t good.  When you look at yourself in the mirror every single morning, don’t look for your flaws or imperfections (like that insignificant area you keep telling yourself is “pudgy”). Instead, search for your greatest qualities that you think are cute, hot, or handsome and proudly proclaim, “Self? You are incredibly good-looking today!” To achieve true transformation, you must not only believe you are capable of improving your life, but you also must believe you are worthy of an improved life (because you are, duh!).

4. Thou Shalt Not Lust for Money

There is nothing wrong with the pursuit of money because we all need to pay our bills (and deserve the comfortable life that financial security provides), but if money becomes the “end-all-be-all” that dominates your thoughts and actions, you could find yourself performing dreadful work that makes you feel miserable. Tell me which one sounds better:

  • Doing work that provides more money than you need (and fills you with dread) or
  • Doing work that provides just enough money (and fills you with joy) 

If you still choose the first option, then it’s time to sit down with yourself, reassess your priorities and hopefully begin to understand that there’s more important things in life than money.

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5. Thou Shalt Embrace Change

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is just about as silly as it gets. If you have been performing a diet or exercise plan for months with nothing to show for it, could it be time to try another approach? If you are in a relationship that makes you feel stressed out and unfulfilled despite your best efforts, don’t you think it might be time to count your losses? If you have been hunting for a job for many months with nothing to show for your efforts, shouldn’t you consider re-working your resume or broadening your search? It is human to run and hide from change as if it is a boogeyman that will devour our soul, but change is the very thing that is necessary for success.

6. Thou Shalt Not Conform

I wish I could hop in a time machine to see what people said about the Wright Brothers during their aviation experiments. I can see it now…

  • “It will never work.”
  • “What nonsense.”
  • “They are off their rockers!”

Where do you think we would be as a society if everyone conformed to other people’s expectations? Do you think we would have high-speed railway, airplanes, internet access, or video games? Conformity is the enemy of personal growth, so march to the beat of your own drum.

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7. Thou Shalt Believe in Thyself

Doubt is a nagging voice in the back of your head that will do everything in its power to convince you that you can’t accomplish your goals. Before you can achieve it, you must believe it. Do you want to lose weight? Don’t merely give yourself a goal of losing x-lbs, but visualize your goal as if it is already reality. Sit in a quiet place where you can be calm and cool, close your eyes, and picture yourself wearing a hot new skirt or super classy suit. Imagine how confident, sexy, handsome, and happy you will feel. Visualizing your goals today will help you find the courage to make it so in the future.

8. Thou Shalt Stop Comparing Thyself to Others

Stop comparing yourself to other people. Life is not a competition and the only person you are competing with is yourself. Don’t try to out-do your friends or co-workers. Simply aim to become a better version of yourself every single day. Forget about pleasing others and be true to you.

9. Thou Shalt Not Fret Over Failure

Failure is nothing to be scared of. It is a learning opportunity and nothing more. A fear of failure can easily turn into an inability to act. Without action, there is no progress. If you aim to achieve a bold and audacious goal, then it is very likely you will fail several times during the pursuit of your goal. Do not agonize over failing, but do search for ways to improve your abilities and keep trying. An unbeatable formula for success = Try + Fail + Grow. Repeat as necessary until the only option left is success. Click here to check out five great questions to ask yourself after a failure.

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10. Thou Shalt Not Throw in Thy Towel

If you are a purchaser of “lose weight fast” or “get rich quick” products, you are guaranteed to fail at life. True success comes to those who play chess (not checkers). Consistency is the key that will unlock the door to the successful life you desire. Buckle up and enjoy the journey because if you really want it, you need to exercise your patience muscles.

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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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