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When Life is Not Going Your Way, Stop Doing These 10 Things

When Life is Not Going Your Way, Stop Doing These 10 Things

There are an endless number of reasons that things might not be going your way. But not all of them are external. You can benefit from taking control of your life and changing what you believe needs to be changed. Here is a list of 10 things to stop doing in order to lead your life in the direction you want.

1. Stop whining.

Notice I said “whining,” and not “venting” or “expressing frustration.” Whining is negative. It does nothing to improve your situation or your mood (or the mood of whoever has to listen to you). If you need to get something off your chest, you should do it. You’ll feel a burden being lifted. However, whining is totally unproductive. Examine your emotions and see what you can do to change whatever is frustrating you.

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2. Stop losing perspective.

Is your problem short term? Is it likely that things will start going your way once X, Y, and Z happen? If the answer to those questions is “yes,” then remove yourself from your immediate situation and focus on the long term.

3. Stop comparing.

So what if someone else is better at something than you are? You have a particular set of skills and knowledge that others don’t have, and the reverse is true as well. You are your own worst critic, so ease up and stop comparing yourself to everyone else.

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4. Stop forgetting past failures.

The best thing about failure is that you can learn from it. Often, you can learn even more from a failure than a success. Keep your failures in mind as a way to better yourself.

5. Stop seeing problems as roadblocks.

Just as you can learn from failure, you can also learn from the problems you’re currently facing. Instead of getting frustrated, take a step back to evaluate the situation and figure out what you can do about it.

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6. Stop getting too attached.

Dreams, goals, desires, aspirations, whatever you want to call them. Everyone has them, but many people get too emotionally attached to them. Things can get dicey whenever emotions are involved and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, things just don’t work out the way you had hoped they would. Keep your dreams, but keep a little bit of space in between your emotions and your desires. It will save you a lot of heartache later on.

7. Stop giving up.

You’re in charge of your life. When you give up, the only person to blame is you. Giving up cannot be an option for you if you want to get things going your way. You have to work at it.

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8. Stop losing faith.

Things can always change, and you’re often in control of that. If a situation isn’t going your way, don’t lose faith that it could change. Believing in yourself and the potential for things to go your way is powerful and will help you find the strength to do what’s best for you.

9. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.

Remember who you are and what you stand for. Changing yourself, in the hopes that other things might change too, is not a good idea. You’ll feel miserable trying to be a different person. And if you’ve been in middle school, where everyone tries to be someone they’re not, you know just how exhausting that charade can be.

10. Stop obsessing.

Don’t stress too much about something. Obsessing too much over one thing can be draining, and might cause the situation to get worse. Sometimes, it’s good to step back and give that situation slightly less attention. You’ll feel better without the added stress of obsession.

Featured photo credit: (scream)/Greg Westfall via flickr.com

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Maggie Heath

Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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