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Last Updated on May 7, 2020

How To Live a Good Life By Making These 8 Choices

How To Live a Good Life By Making These 8 Choices

Life can be a beautiful journey, a crazy ride, and a big adventure.

But it can also be a living nightmare, a constant struggle, and a hard teacher.

It’s all up to you.

In each moment, you choose which side of it to embrace, and that affects your mind, body and soul, your present and your future, the person you become, as well as other people in your life. Here are some of the choices you need to make in order to see this world for the wonderful place it is, full of opportunities, kindness, and love.

1. Let Go of the Past

You won’t be able to continue your life and enjoy your days if you’re stuck in past memories and constantly reliving what happened a long time ago.

Free yourself from the burden of the past by letting go. We often hold on the death’s of loved ones, mistakes made in relationships, things we said when we were angry, or decisions we made that led us in the wrong direction.

However, each of those things can offer a lesson for how to move foward. Now that you know what not to do, let the lessons lead you toward something better.

Meditation is a great way to overcome harmful reliving of the past. Try sneaking in a few minutes of meditation each day to stop the reminiscing in its tracks.

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2. Don’t Take Things Too Personally

We tend to overthink every little detail of our days. We think life is unfair when something bad happens. We keep asking ”why” when someone leaves us. We fail and give up.

But most of these things shouldn’t be taken personally. People leave, they argue or are mean because they have their own problems, they are misunderstood, or they just don’t need you anymore. It’s not your fault.

You make mistakes and fail, yes. And the beauty of it is that you get to try again, more experienced and confident this time. That’s how leaders are created. No one succeeds from scratch.

You may meet bad people, end up in awkward situations, have things taken from you, or lose something important to you. Learn to look at challenges with a sense of humor and a lightness of heart that will allow you to overcome them and move on more quickly.

3. Choose Less Over More

In today’s world, it’s easy to overdo it, to buy too much, eat too much, spend too much on that new phone they just released, or work too much.

Get rid of some of the things cluttering your house, speak less so that you can listen more, eat less or healthier, and dress more simply.

Eliminate the people in your life that only burden you with negativity, because you don’t need them. Shorten your to-do list by focusing on the essential things you have to do and ditch everything else that only keeps you busy.

By cutting back on areas where you feel you can, you can create space for your hobbies, passions, and the important people in your life[1]. Ultimately, you’ll find that you don’t miss most of that extra stuff.

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4. Appreciate What You Have

Grateful people live great lives[2].

They are thankful each day for what they have and are so much happier because they focus on the people they love, the opportunities that are everywhere around them, the things they enjoy doing, the time they have, the place they live in, and the friends that surround them.

Being grateful doesn’t mean being happy all the time. It simply means that you can recognize that things will get better during hard times and that you will come out on the other side. It means you can see the good when other’s can’t and that your positive outlook permeates most of life’s challenges.

If you’re not great at gratitude, don’t worry! There are simple ways to get started. The easiest is to start a gratitude journal. Start by writing just three things each day that you were grateful for. These could include people you talked to, a positive experience you had, or a gift you received.

5. Stop Worrying About the Future

By constantly thinking about what might happen, you miss out on the present moment, which is where life is happening.

We worry about tomorrow, fearing something bad might happen. We try to predict it, we prepare for everything, and we try to plan our days. However, most things in life just happen, and the only thing we can do is enjoy it to the fullest and make the best of it.

Life is full of surprises, and that’s a good thing. By expecting the worst to happen, you complicate life and make it hard. So let go of all those worries and the need to control and predict everything.

The so-called Type “A’s” out there[3] will find this more difficult. If you fall into this category, you’re likely a control freak or a perfectionist who doesn’t handle change or surprises well. Stopping those worrying thoughts may be a challenge, but they can be done.

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Work first on some relaxation techniques, including practicing your favorite sport, yoga, or meditation. These will get your mind pulled back into the present, and after some practice, it will become second nature.

6. Realize That You Are Enough

You don’t really need anyone to make you feel good and to start living, so stop waiting for them. That’s just another excuse that keeps you from dealing with things.

There may be a void inside you, but another person won’t fill it. You need to fix your relationship with yourself first — to start loving, appreciating and accepting yourself for the person you are.

Many people let their lack of a romantic relationship stop them from doing things, from going out with friends to taking that big vacation they’ve been planning. Ultimately, many of these things can be done alone once you build up your self-esteem and courage and accept that being alone and being you is a great gift.

7. Watch for New Opportunities

You can truly live a life full of excitement if you choose to live outside your comfort zone[4] every once in a while.

Take risks, try new things, do what scares you and challenge yourself as much as you can. That’s how you grow and improve, and that’s how you feel free and full of life.

To get started, try saying yes to one new thing each week. If your friend invites you to go try out that new restaurant downtown, say yes. If you’re sister wants to go to a karaoke bar, get up there and sing. If you see a sign for a free dance class, go ahead and give it a go. What do you have to lose?

8. Choose Kindness

Be kind to everyone you meet. No matter how they treat you, you can always be polite, smile, and offer help.

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It’s true that we often contribute someone’s bad mood to a flaw in their personality, but most of the time they are simply having a bad day. Maybe they just had their heart broken, lost a loved one, got fired, or just got a bad medical diagnosis. What they need more than anything is a kind word or a smile, and you can easily give it to them.

Once you start offering kindness, you’ll be surprised by how quickly it is returned to you. Not only will you improve someone else’s day, but you’ll find that you feel better in return.

Make it a goal to say one kind thing to someone each day. This could include sending a nice text to your mom, complimenting a friend’s outfit, or telling a joke to the cashier to make him laugh. Whatever it is, just keep it kind.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to live a good life can be difficult when the world is so full of complications and negative news. However, by starting with these 8 choices, you can turn your perspective around and start living each day in a more positive way.

Get started and make the best of what life has given you.

More Tips on How to Live a Good Life

Featured photo credit: Warren Wong via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Lidiya K

Lidiya is the founder of Let's Reach Success, a blog on personal, spiritual and business growth.

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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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