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Positive Peer Pressure Can Propel You Forward

Positive Peer Pressure Can Propel You Forward

Have you been warned of peer pressure?

Like a monstrous storm put a mighty ship to wreck, peer pressure can destroy your life and leave you in shambles. Peer pressure has always been viewed as a negative force targeting the youth. There’s been a lot of research about peer pressure by behavioral scientists and many interesting conclusions drawn.

Let me not trouble you with the intricate details of how neurotransmitter levels in our brains can influence how we act and feel. In simpler terms, peer pressure is a powerful force that compels people to do something or act in a way that would make them feel accepted among their peers. And why so? Because, human beings are social animals. We live in groups, groups of closely knit individuals, and we regularly depend on each other. We all have this strong inner desire to be loved, to be cared for, and to be accepted by our friends, our peers. I would like to quote Mother Teresa who had beautifully summed up the innermost need of every human being alive.

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“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
― Mother Teresa

And so, peer pressure has an influence on any human being, not just the young. Sometimes this influence is too strong and negative that it can lead to a downfall. However, as much negative impact it is feared to produce, so much so, the positive influence it can have on people is astonishing.

So how do we create a positive peer pressure that can push people to higher limits of personal excellence and help keep the momentum? Here are the bare essentials:

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Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

     Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Helen Keller

    1. Build self-esteem

    Though there is a natural tendency to seek acceptance by the people around, you need some healthy self-esteem also to back you up. Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. Self-esteem should be the core around which acceptance and praise by people around should be the icing. A strong but humble self-esteem will help you at times when people around you change. Further, it will help you motivate others when the team spirit crumbles.

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    How to develop this self-esteem? Your self-esteem may be low because of some of your childhood experiences or non-acceptance within your previous gang. Reassure yourself. No matter what you feel about yourself, you are unique and have been gifted with talents to be put to use for the betterment of the world. So make a list of things you are good at, make a list of compliments you’d received from people, and keep in touch with those who care about you and take time to encourage you.

    2. Positive peers

    Find people who beam with a positive attitude and are bubbling with enthusiasm and determination to rise above. Stay close to them. Or even better, bring positive pressure into the gang you are already in. Inspire people around to put their efforts into personal excellence. Your friends may already be victims of negative peer pressure, so make them feel accepted. You can easily form a group of people with similar interests who share similar enthusiasm.

    It was not considered cool to study hard and hang out with books in the college where I studied. A small group of friends and I joined together and read a lot together, which helped us with good grades in the tough medical school and beyond. We did have parties on weekends, watched movies together, and laughed a lot, but we also kept excelling in our studies. We kept away from drugs and other bad influences.

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    3. No envy!

    Once you set yourself in a positive peer group and soon start to soar, keep up the spirit. Keep challenging yourself and rise more. By doing that, you’d contribute to the positive peer pressure. Never compare yourself with others. Never become jealous of your peers. Encourage them no matter what. You’ll soon realize that as people excel in their individual lives, they would bring momentum to the group they belong to. But jealousy and comparison would tear it down. Help foster a healthy competitive spirit in the gang you belong.

    Positive peer pressure is just like team work, except that here, each one works on his/her own personal excellence and the success in turn provides the fuel for further propulsion.

    Do watch this short one minute commercial about positive peer pressure from Values.com. You’ll sure appreciate how beautifully peer pressure can transform someone.

    Do the right thing. Pass it on.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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