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Stop Lying to Yourself

Stop Lying to Yourself

It’s cruel and it’s unfair.

You are lying to yourself because you seek comfort. Well comfort is overrated. You are lying to yourself because you are scared of the unknown. But you must stop. To continue lying will eat away at your soul, causing you untold amounts of future pain.

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A lie is something that you make yourself believe in order to make life a little easier. A lie is a paradigm under which you operate to avoid pain. A lie will destroy you, inside and out. A lie is something you want to believe because to consider the opposite would hurt your ego.

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Sometimes the difference between a lie and the truth can be subtle. Sometimes your brain will try to “logically” trick you into believing a lie. I cannot give you a definitive guide on how to differentiate between the two; I am not you and I do not understand your specific circumstances, motivations, and desires. I can, however, give you some tips to guide you to make decisions that will serve you well.

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You are lying to yourself when:

  1. You try really hard to fit yourself into a mold that hurts.
  2. You make that decision that is “logically” correct, but something feels off when you say it out loud.
  3. You feel anxious all the time.
  4. You seek something familiar, even though you can’t grow from there.
  5. You deny your passions and fail to pursue what excites you, no matter what it is. This is a denial of your highest being and your truest self. This is unfair and disrespectful to yourself.
  6. You think you can do this all alone.
  7. You put someone else’s needs way above your own. You are lying to yourself when you neglect to take care of yourself.
  8. You seek distraction to get away from the real stuff — the hard problems. You seek distraction instead of actually working to fix the problems that bother you to your deepest core.
  9. You settle — for anything. You think you don’t deserve more than what’s handed to you.
  10. You care intensely about what someone else thinks — and let their opinions color your actions.
  11. You fail to produce quality work. You are entirely capable of trying your best. Perhaps failure to produce your best means you are in the wrong profession.
  12. You ignore that gnawing feeling in your heart and gut.
  13. You seek popularity and profits, instead of seeking authenticity.
  14. You make rash decisions from a stressed state of mind instead of a place of calamity and rationale.

You can stop lying to yourself by:

  1. Being courageous enough to make a definitive decision — going forward even though it is scary.
  2. Taking responsibility of what has happened, what is happening, and what is going to happen.
  3. Detaching yourself from the fantasy of reliving the past.
  4. Moving — actively working to find a place that resonates with you. Take action.
  5. Telling someone something hard. Tell someone that you have been lying to yourself and to them for some time now.
  6. Doing something dramatic, in a good way. Take a risk.
  7. Not doing something simply because you are told to do it or because everyone else is doing it. Think first if that action resonates with who you are. If not, then don’t do it, even if everyone else is.
  8. Facing the music, even though it hurts.
  9. Making a decision to stop lying to yourself. Today.
  10. Forgiving yourself for hurting yourself for so long.
  11. Focusing on what you know to be most important.
  12. Meditating — getting still and observing yourself from a calm place.
  13. Asking a trusted friend or mentor what he thinks of your future based on your present actions.
  14. Refusing to associate with people who don’t share your values.

I encourage you to actually act on these ideas. Thinking and reading passively is entertaining. You may even trick yourself into thinking that reading is productive. However, you will forget what you read shortly. Without action, you really just wasted your time by reading this article.

Write down how the ideas in this article are applicable to your life. Make some changes. Edit. Erase. Rewrite. This is the beauty in life: most things are volitional and nothing is really permanent until you die. And you will die, so stop wasting your life by living a lie.

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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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