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10 Truths That Smart People Often Forget About

10 Truths That Smart People Often Forget About

As intelligent as many people are, there will always be moments when the most blatantly obvious concepts completely elude them. Here are a few basic truths that even the wisest folks out there can lose sight of on occasion.

1. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

None of us are completely error-free, although we’d like to wish we were. Perfectionists in particular don’t like the idea of messing up, but screw-ups are inevitable; the key is to acknowledge them with grace, and move forward from them.

It’s also to remember your own mistakes when you feel frustration with someone else: that barista who accidentally made you a regular venti-mocha-frappa-whippy drink when you asked for a low-fat one might still be in training, so be patient and gracious, and don’t be a dick. There was once a time when you weren’t an expert at what you do, so give someone else a break, as others undoubtedly gave you in turn way back when.

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2. Showing Appreciation to Others is Important

Think about how happy you feel when someone tells you that they appreciate something that you’ve done for them, or even just that they cherish your friendship. It’s a pretty spectacular feeling, isn’t it? Now, consider that others feel the exact same way when you say such things to them in turn. It doesn’t take long to let another person know that you really appreciate X thing that they’ve said/done, and you can be certain that your words will be remembered forever.

3. No-one is an Island

We all need support on occasion, and that’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Grief, illness, and a myriad other issues will touch all of our lives, and it’s when these hardships arise that it’s vital to ask for—and accept—help. Whether you have a strong support network of friends and acquaintances, or if you’re very close to members of your family, it’s absolutely okay to lean on them when you need to. You wouldn’t begrudge help to someone you care about, right? Consider the fact that others feel the exact same way about you.

4. You Need to Take Care of Yourself Before You Can Take Care of Others

Many people seem to martyr themselves in their eagerness to care for others, but they generally end up feeling drained, sick, or otherwise utterly depleted as a result. As much as you want to be there for those you care about, remember that you’re no good to anyone if you’re a tired, weak, emotional wreck. Take time to rest and rejuvenate so you can have the strength and energy needed to help those you love.

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5. It’s Never Too Late to Learn Something New

You might think that it’s “too late” to embark on a new career path, learn a new language, or start watercolour painting, but do you have a good reason as to why that may be? Is it because you have the misconception that a pursuit is only valid if you’ve mastered it by a certain age? Consider the idea that the journey and the process are what’s important, rather than milestone achievements, and enjoy delving into a topic that intrigues you. Not only will it help you grow and evolve, but it’ll keep your mind active and healthy as well.

6. Health Isn’t Measured by a Clothing Size or Tape Measurement

It’s important to eat well, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but it’s also important to remember that every single body on earth is different, and your individual health can’t be measured by mean standards. Someone can be very thin and extremely unhealthy, or on the heavier side and in spectacular health (and this goes for people of all genders!). Determine what state is the healthiest and happiest for you, and strive to maintain it.

7. No-one is More or Less Important Than Anyone Else

We’ve all been in situations where some jerk has tried to make it known that they were terribly important, and their time was more valuable than that of others, etc., as they belittled those around them. Guess what? No-one on earth is any greater or lesser than anyone else; we’re all just different flavours of human, period.
Wealth, status, degrees, possessions—all are completely irrelevant, and everyone should be treated with equal respect, courtesy, and dignity. The bottom line here is that those who point out their inferiors don’t have any.

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8. Children and the Elderly Are Worth Listening To

It’s often easy to dismiss the thoughts and observations of the very young and very old alike because we assume they’re either too little to have any real insight, or already in their dotage, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A child will have a unique perspective of the world because his/her observations haven’t yet been tainted by external influence, and an elder will have a lifetime of experience to draw upon. You don’t have to heed all of their advice or believe everything they say, but it’s important to listen anyway; you never know what you may learn.

9. You Cannot Change Others, Nor Should You Try to Do So

Living authentically, in a manner that feels right and true to yourself, is of rather high importance, right? Well, how would you feel if someone you cared about tried to change aspects about your lifestyle to better suit their own whims and preferences? You’d likely feel hurt, disrespected, and annoyed, and would probably start to feel as though you were doing something wrong, even if you were absolutely happy as you were. None of us have the right to try to change someone else to make them into what we deem to be “better” versions, so it’s important to learn to accept and care for people exactly as they are.

This is especially important to remember if you’re searching for a romantic partner: If you find yourself thinking that X person would be “perfect” for you if only they changed this and that, then they’re not perfect for you at all, and you’ll both end up feeling awful if you try to make them into something they’re not. They’ll get frustrated because you can’t accept them for who they are, you’ll be disappointed that they’re not willing to change themselves to make you happy, and it’ll spiral into greater ugliness down the line. If it’s your child whom you want to change, remember that this person is an individual with their own leanings, wants, and sense of self—they don’t exist so you can live vicariously through their experiences.

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10. “Success” and Money Don’t Equal Happiness

What is “success”, really? Achieving something that someone else expected of you? As for money, well… it can let you stuff your face with caviar and champagne now and then, but it can’t buy you emotional stability, spiritual fulfilment, or true friendship. Consider that the most beautiful experiences in life aren’t those that can be purchased, and determine for yourself what makes you truly happy. Pursue that which makes your soul shine, and never mind how much money others are making, or what labels they have on their business cards.

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Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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