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These Simple Things You Do Can Change the World But You Don’t Realize It

These Simple Things You Do Can Change the World But You Don’t Realize It

One of the easiest things to do to help change the world is to spread kindness. Yet so often we forget to take the time and, in fact, take many of our loved ones for granted. It’s important to remember to be kind because life can sometimes be terribly unkind. It can be relentless and often quite painful.

We are all put on this planet to do something with our lives, to make others happy, to help and serve others. With this in mind, perhaps it’s time to start thinking about how you can spread the gift of kindness to those around you. If we can take time out to remember to show kindness to those around us, to strangers and to animals, hopefully it will cause a knock-on effect, so that others can spread the kindness further.

I’ve come up with 20 tips to get you started so we can all change the world—one step at a time.

1. Be thankful

Saying thank you to someone because they helped you, they’ve served you in your local store or they’ve continually supported and listened to you over the years is a big deal. Taking time out to be grateful for the people in your life, your job, your home, and just being able to live and breathe is essential for living a good and happy life.

2. Become non-judgmental

When you judge people and their lives it normally means that you judge yourself just as harshly, which can make it a pretty bad habit to have. No one likes to be judged. To change the world, the less you judge others the less likely others will judge you.

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3. Helping others

If you are like me, it’s hard to ask for help from those around you. So whenever someone is in need, always remember that it was probably difficult for them to ask for your help. Go a step further than normal and offer to help before they ask. Do it with no expectation and do it with kindness.

4. Be kind to those you may otherwise take for granted

Many of us take our loved ones, specifically our partners or parents, for granted. Life is short so remember to be kind and loving to those who are always there in your life no matter what, before it’s too late and they are no longer around.

5. Remember how you felt when others have been kind to you

Take a little moment right now, sit still and really think about how it makes you feel when someone takes time out of their busy schedule to be kind to you. It feels good, doesn’t it? Now is the time to spread that kind of feeling to others. Imagine how this could change the world around us: that feeling that we all have when someone is kind to us. Amazing, right?

6. Be kind to you

To be kinder to others it’s so important to be kind to yourself to start off with. How can you be kind, loving and loyal to those around you if you can’t extend the same courtesy to yourself? So start today, write a list of three things you are thankful for about yourself and write in a journal each day to remind yourself.

7. Think of others before acting

Before you leap into a situation, or try stepping in to help someone who you think may be suffering, try to think of how they feel about the situation first. They may not want you to get involved, or your involvement could cause them embarrassment or, worse, pain. Imagine if a world leader stopped to think first about how their country felt before deciding to start a war, imagine what kind of change that could make to the world? I know that this example is extreme but you can start small. So start with thinking about others’ feelings before you act upon your own.

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8. Encourage rather than criticize

So many times we jump in to criticize someone—which often comes from our own fears and insecurities—but rarely do we encourage as our first thought. Help others see what they do as positive; this will give them a well-deserved lift to their self-esteem, encouraging them to do it more often.

9. Put the shoe on the other foot

So often we are unkind when we only see things from our own perspective. Before reacting to what someone has said or done, ask yourself this: “What would I do and feel if I were in their shoes and what in this person can I see in me?” Being mindful is important: think before you react and you’ll be surprised by the results.

10. Do unexpected things

Imagine receiving a note in your lunch box just to say, “I love you,” or, “Thank you.” How would that make you feel? Try expressing your kindness and gratitude by doing little unexpected things for your loved ones. Make them feel wonderful and you too will feel just as good simply by doing it.

11. Be there

Listen without thinking of what to say next. Be there for someone just because. Take time out to help someone to figure things out. Just be there. It’s that simple.

12. Do the little acts of kindness

We go through our daily lives existing most of the time. We rush from place to place not really acknowledging those around us. So start smiling at strangers, saying hello and thanking them for holding a door open or letting you cross the road in front of them. To change the world we need to continually do the little things every single day.

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13. Give yourself a kind gift

When was the last time you treated yourself to something special or luxurious? It doesn’t have to be something expensive; by all means treat yourself to a lovely long soak in the bath, or a nice healthy meal or a lovely long stroll along a golden beach. Whatever it is, see it as a gift to yourself.

14. Help someone practically

Whether it’s helping them with their shopping or helping them move home, helping someone out practically and not asking anything in return is both rewarding and kind. When someone offers without wanting anything back it is pretty hard to receive, but feels wonderful as the receiver. So start doing things for others, especially those who can’t get out and about like they used to.

15. Encourage positivity and kindness in others

This step isn’t about telling others what to do and how to live, it’s more about noticing when those around you do something kind and then telling them how great they were for doing it. Encourage as much as you can; many of us do things that go unnoticed, then when someone comments on it, it can make you want to do it again and again.

16. Do something for someone without them knowing

One of the biggest ways to show kindness is to do it unconditionally. Many of us do things because we’d like to get something back, and then if it’s not returned we can get resentful. So as you show kindness on a daily basis to those you love, do something kind for them without them knowing who it was. This will make them feel wonderful and help to shape their view of people in general. It will make them believe that there are people who do things without expectation.

17. Do something kind every day

Make it a habit to do something kind every single day. It can be something small, a gesture, a kind remark or a compliment. Anything at all! But make it a habit, like brushing your teeth, and do it daily.

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18. Be kind to animals

Whether you have a dog or a cat at home, or if you don’t care for animals so much, make it a choice to be kind to animals. Animals live on this planet too and have as much right to exist and share this beautiful world with us. It doesn’t matter how you show your kindness. Just don’t be cruel. Understand that animals have to survive too and that they are beautiful, magnificent creatures just like us.

19. Give to charity

When we give to a charity we are helping others fulfill their purpose in providing support in such a way that we could never possibly imagine. When there are massive disasters in other countries, many people flock to that country to help at a moment’s notice without giving it a second thought. If this isn’t you, then do your bit and give to charity to help support them in being kind across the world. What a fantastic way to change the world!

20. Be kind to your enemies

This is important, especially if we want to change the world. Whomever you perceive as your enemy, take a good hard look at them and their life. Think about what makes them your enemy and ask yourself if it’s important to hold a grudge or to continue making your life miserable by being unkind or uncaring?

Start to see things differently, think about why someone could be the way they are. Have they had a hard time? Are they perhaps insecure and full of fear, which is why they react to you in the way they do? Remember, what we usually see in someone else can be what we see in ourselves, which is why we don’t like them. Change yourself and start to be kinder and nicer to those you no longer get along with. You’ll see a huge change, and if not within them, then in you.

So how can you start to be a kinder person from today? What do you need to do more of and why? Let us know in the comments.

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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