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What You Already Know Is Your Biggest Barrier To Happiness

What You Already Know Is Your Biggest Barrier To Happiness

Do you ever think: My biggest barrier to happiness and success is what I don’t know?

Do you ever think: If I could only learn the secret to having great relationships, making more money, or just being happy—I’d be able to achieve those things?

Do you, as a result, read books and blog posts, take workshops, attend webinars, or listen to CDs in order to learn what you need to learn? That’s why the most popular blog posts are usually the ones that offer “Ten Tips to ….” or “15 Ways to ….”

If you have these thoughts and if you often seek more information, you are not alone.  There are millions of people who are trying to improve their lives through more information.

Information is the problem, not the solution.

While learning new things certainly can’t hurt, I disagree that the biggest barrier to happiness and success is what we don’t know.   Our biggest barrier is what we already know.   

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I’m not talking about factual information we’ve learned from books or courses.  I’m talking about what we believe.  A belief is a statement about reality that we feel is true. It is our beliefs about ourselves, people and life—such as I’m not good enough, mistake and failure are bad, life is difficult, relationships don’t work, I’ll never get what I want—that thwart our attempts at achieving happiness.

We act consistently with what we believe to be true.

People who hold these and other similar beliefs experience them as facts, as true as 2+2=4.  As a result, they act consistently with their beliefs.  For example:

If you believe I’m not good enough, you probably will hear a little voice in your mind criticizing whatever you do: “What makes you think that’s good enough?”  That constant question is debilitating.

If you believe mistakes and failure are bad, you probably will avoid doing anything innovative where you could make a mistake.

If you believe life is difficult, you probably will always expect the worst and give up very easily.

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If you believe relationships don’t work, you either will resist them becoming too serious or feel insecure about them even when they seem to be working.

If you believe I’ll never get what I want, you are unlikely to want very much or continue to fight for what you do want if you discover barriers in the way.

Our beliefs—what we are convinced is true—are our biggest barriers.  Therefore, unlearning our negative, limiting beliefs is ultimately more important to our success and happiness than learning something new.

Factual information can be useful.

I’m not saying that we can’t learn anything new that would improve the quality of our lives.  Of course we can.  There are some ways of interacting with people that are more effective than others; there are strategies for making money that are more effective than others; etc.  It is worth learning those things.

I read marketing books all the time to learn how to better get my work out into the world.  I read other types of books to learn more about psychology and the human brain.

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Unlearning has made the biggest difference in my life.

But unlearning my negative beliefs has made more of a difference than any new information I’ve ever learned.  It has enabled me to have a blissful 32-year marriage after two unhappy divorces.  Unlearning my limiting beliefs enabled me to get rid of my depression, which had rendered me miserable for most of my life. I had a hard time committing to anything and saw life as overwhelming.  Eliminating those beliefs made it possible for me to create a business that uses our belief unlearning process to help hundreds of thousands of people, when before I had always felt I was powerless to succeed.

Unlearning versus learning.

My wife Shelly, a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator who helps 25 clients a week from around the world unlearn limiting beliefs, tells the story of a client who called her when the client returned from a T. Harv Eker “Millionaire Mind” workshop.

“I’m so excited.  As a result of what I learned in the workshop I bought the summer house of my dreams,” she exclaimed to Shelly.

Shelly was obviously happy for her, but was aware of the work the client had done with her before she attended the workshop.  So Shelly asked, “What did your friends buy?”  “Nothing,” the client admitted.

Shelly opened the client’s file and read several of the beliefs the client had unlearned prior to attending the workshop: Money is scarce and hard to get, You have to save your money for a rainy day, I’m not deserving, and Mistakes and failure are bad.

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Shelly then asked her, “Do you think you would have been able to use what you learned in the workshop and bought the summer house of your dreams if you still had the beliefs you eliminated?” The stunned silence at the other end of the phone line was the answer.

Do some unlearning and see for yourself.

While it is always wise to learn as much as you can, to achieve true happiness and success make your major focus unlearning all that we believe is true … but really isn’t.  Unlearn the negative beliefs that have been sabotaging you.

In an earlier post here at Lifehack I described how the Lefkoe Belief Process could help you unlearn the beliefs that are undercutting your attempts to fulfill your dreams.  Use that process to help you do some unlearning.  I promise it will make a profound difference in your life.

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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