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The Importance of Understanding

The Importance of Understanding


    Pilots in the early days wore silk scarves and goggles. The scarves and goggles, in fact, became icons of open-cockpit pilots, and to this day souvenir designers put them on teddy bears and ceramic turtles so people can immediately identify them as pilots. The scarves and goggles are wonderfully romantic and iconic fashion symbols, aren’t they?

    But do you know why pilots wore them? The radial engines of those early planes were notorious for leaking fuel and oil, and since the pilot sat right behind them in the open cockpit, any leaking fluids ended up right on them and in their faces. They used the silk scarves to wipe the oil or diesel off their goggles in mid-flight, so they could see!

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    This is just one example of how appearances do not measure up to reality. The scarves seem like a fashion statement, or perhaps for warmth, but their appearance belied their true purpose. We can easily make the same mistake today, in judging things from their appearances.

    For example, I knew a pastor of a church who once drove a Cadillac. Seem a bit extravagant for someone whose wages are paid by their hard-working parishioners? It was the cheapest car he ever owned; he bought it second hand and got a very good deal on it. He replaced it with a Jeep Cherokee – the most expensive car he’d ever owned. But it didn’t get second-looks and he didn’t put up with any judgement for owning it.

    There is a big danger in judging things we don’t really understand by how they appear. Unless you are really “in the loop,” be wary of things that you see or things others tell you. Remember the old adage

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    “Believe half of what you say, a third of what you see, and none of what you hear.”

    There’s a lot of truth in that. Don’t let yourself be spun for a loop over office politics, or rumours and speculation of what management is planning. Steer clear of the gossips and don’t give them any ammunition, that is, don’t say gossipy things to them or even drop hints. This still applies to you if you’re self-employed; don’t believe everything you hear on the news – in particular, speculation and forecasting. A lot of times, those people are only guessing about what’s going to happen and they can cause you a lot of worry that doesn’t do you any good. They are often wrong, something they won’t usually point out in the news at a later date. In some cases, the news can even take on a “gossipy” sound to it, and whenever you get that vibe, be very wary or tune it out.

    Practice being slow to form an opinion of someone or something. If something grabs your attention, research it thoroughly before making any conclusions.

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    “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

    We can fall into the trap of so earnestly wanting to get our point across, we forget to listen to the person we are speaking to. And even when we listen, how often do we really seek to understand? If you find you have issues understanding those around you, slow down and try to truly understand:

    • Where they are coming from.
    • What they are going through.
    • What is their motivation for doing something.
    • What they need or want from you.

    Obviously, the answers to these questions vary greatly depending on who you are having communication trouble with. Be objective as you listen, as if you were a detective trying to solve the case, and don’t take anything personally. Once you feel like you understand the other person – why they are wearing that silk scarf – then you can “seek to be understood.”

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    (Photo credit: Understanding Road Signs via Shutterstock)

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      Teresa Griffith

      Teresa is a passionate writer who shares about productivity tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on October 20, 2020

      10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

      10 Principles for Success to Start Living Your Dream Life

      Are you stressed out and overwhelmed, wishing you had more time to do the things that really matter? Are you ready to do something better, something special in your life or your career? If you’re ready to take responsibility for your life, then you need to tap into some principles for success.

      Many people—maybe you—stopped following their passion and purpose way too early in life because their talents were ignored, minimized, or shamed. They didn’t have the chops to win an American Idol competition or nab an Olympic gold medal, so they stopped expressing their inborn gifts altogether.

      You don’t need to be an award winner to rock your life. Living your dream life is about discovering your superpowers and feeling vibrant and joyful when you use them. It’s about owning what makes you unique and finding like-minded people to support you.

      Here are 10 success principles to help you reach your goals and live a rich life on your terms.

      1. Get a Hobby to Move Closer to Your Dreams

      If you never became a professional dancer or a world-renowned author, it does NOT mean you should stop dancing or writing! These activities make you come alive, even if you “only” do them as favorite pastimes.

      Engaging in a hobby is one of the most important success principles you can follow to move closer to your dreams.

      When you try something creative for the first time or in a long while, you begin to see opportunities at work and in life that you were unaware of before. You also feel happier and more energized, according to a recent study from New Zealand[1].

      Some of my most burned-out executive clients reinvigorated their careers by discovering a creative outlet that refueled them after the workday ended. Research at San Francisco State University shows that having a hobby lowers stress and helps you succeed at work[2].

      Give yourself permission to try new things and revisit old passions you gave up long ago. Setting aside just one hour a week for personal exploration can significantly change your life and help you focus on goal setting.

      2. Focus on Your Strengths

      Did you know that you are more likely to succeed when you develop your natural strengths rather than work on your weaknesses? The problem is that you probably don’t know where your true talents lie.

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      Once you understand what makes you tick, you can use these skills at work and your personal life to get more done in less time. If you boost your unique abilities through practice and study, you can accelerate your career and become a leader in a field that matters to you. It’s worth investing in yourself this way.

      3. Jumping off a Cliff is NOT Required

      Here’s the deal: most people are too afraid to change. When participants first come to my workshops, they tell me they have mouths to feed, bills to pay, and fear that if they follow their dreams, someone will get hurt.

      The old saying “leap and the net shall appear” does not comfort them. Because they are hesitant to plunge into the unknown, they believe their only option is to stay put where they are in life. Can you relate?

      You do not have to sacrifice the life you have now to start a new one. I was a psychology professor by day and singer by night for years before I transitioned into a full-time music career.

      To use this principle for success, take a little time out each week to do what enlivens you through a hobby, volunteer work, etc. Get a feel for it. Is it what you really want? If it’s what you really want to be doing, increase the time you spend doing it and make the transition when the time feels right.

      4. Give Your Inner Critic Some Love

      The main culprit that keeps you from stepping outside your comfort zone and getting the life of your dreams is KCRP or K-CRAP, the radio station that plays 24/7 in your head. The moment you try to do something interesting with your life, it slaps you down with such chart-topping killer hooks as “Who do you think you are?” and “You’ll never be good enough!”.

      Have you ever noticed that KCRP’s mean-spirited DJ sounds like your parents, teachers, bosses, and other authority figures who shut you down creatively? These folks don’t need to stifle you any longer (although they often still do) because your inner critic does it for them. That keeps you stuck in a rut[3].

      Silencing your inner critic is one of the best principles for success.

        To break free, try thinking of this DJ as a gruff old grandfather who gives you crap to keep you safe. Remember, this grumpy grandpa is woefully out of touch with the times. Give him a pat on the back for his good intentions, and put your focus back on what makes you come alive.

        This is one of the principles for success that will give you the courage to venture into the unknown where you can dance to the beat of your own drummer.

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        5. Embrace Your Inner Self

        Many of us don’t go after our dreams because we’re afraid people will find out how odd or strange we are. However, our little eccentricities often turn out to be our greatest strengths.

        Odds are that you lost track of your true passions and talents before you were even old enough to know you were getting off-track. You became slowly “adulterated” by learning to:

        • Take on family roles that don’t match who you really are.
        • Spit back what teachers taught you in school rather than risk getting bad grades for being original.
        • Hide parts of yourself that don’t seem acceptable to certain social groups.

        The price for fitting in is that you may wind up leading a life that doesn’t fit you all that well. Your true calling becomes clear when you embrace what makes you different from others and allow yourself to stand out from the crowd, even if it feels awkward. Often, the very qualities you view as your flaws are your greatest gifts.

        Here’s How to Listen to Your Inner Voice for Greater Fulfillment.

        6. See the Bigger Picture to Find Your True Calling

        I cannot stress the importance of this success principle enough. Your true calling is right in front of you, but you may miss it because you’re looking for it in the wrong place.

        To “see” it clearly, try widening your point of view.

        Case in point: Maria felt she needed to retire early from being a police detective, so she could travel abroad. I encouraged Maria to think of ways that she could continue to serve as a law enforcer (a career she loved) and travel overseas at the same time.

        A few months later, Maria landed a job with the United Nations in Bosnia training the local police force to understand and embrace human rights procedures.

        Like Maria, you are an everyday rock star capable of accomplishing greater things than you can imagine. Is what you’re looking for right in front of you, too? Do you have an inkling of what it may be?

        Look beyond your day-to-day activities, your current job, and even the town you live in. View your life from an eagle’s perspective and be open to new possibilities.

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        7. Try a Little Wish-List Magic

        Pretend I’m your fairy godmother, and I give you permission right now to be your most magnificent self. What kind of life would be music to your ears? It doesn’t matter whether it seems unattainable or even downright crazy. Write it down on a wish list.

        What would you like your career, your relationships, your health, your finances, and your spiritual life to be like? Jot down enough details so that your wishes seem tangible to you. Then, look at this list every morning before you start your day and every night before you go to sleep.

        8. Take Breaks to Get Clues About Your Ideal Future

        Did you know that working straight through to a deadline leads to diminishing returns? Research shows that taking a break for 15 minutes every 75 to 90 minutes can help you recharge, refresh your focus, and get more done in less time[4].

        Furthermore, a Stanford study shows that walking increases your creative output by 60 percent. Doing repetitive activities such as walking, running, riding your bike, swimming, and sweeping allow solutions to problems to pop into your mind out of nowhere[5].

        What does this success principle have to do with creating your dream life?

        These mini-breaks allow you to get vital clues for what to do next to attain your ideal future. Plus, you won’t waste precious time and energy getting lost in other people’s agendas.

        9. Take Action on Your Inspired Ideas

        Once an inspired thought pops into your mind, take action.

        This is one of the most powerful principles for success for turning your dreams into reality; the sooner the better. Whatever it is—from calling an old friend to taking a new route home—be sure to do it!

        Pay attention to your oddball hunches. You need to go after what you want, not just dream about it. As comedian Jim Carrey warns,

        “You can’t just visualize and go eat a sandwich.”

        To learn more about how to get off autopilot and take specific actions towards your goals, check out this video:

        10. Count Your Rockstar Moments

        Still not sure you have what it takes to get your dream life? This final success principle is guaranteed to help.

        Make a list of everything you’ve ever accomplished. As you read back through it, put a star next to each item, and let it sink in.

        You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how good you’ll feel about yourself afterward. You’ll also see how effective you’ve been in the past at getting what you want. You’ve succeeded before, and you can succeed again.

        Final Thoughts

        Eleanor Roosevelt said,

        “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

        Following these principles for success will help you find the time and energy to achieve your goals and live with clear intention.

        Stand still, get quiet, and listen. Your life is constantly telling you what you need to do to realize your own rock star potential in life and business. It may be just a whisper now, but the more you pay attention to it, the louder it will get, and the easier it will be to follow.

        More About Success in Life

        Featured photo credit: Rahul Dey via unsplash.com

        Reference

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