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If You Don’t Know These Life Truths By Now, You Probably Haven’t Learned Enough From Life

If You Don’t Know These Life Truths By Now, You Probably Haven’t Learned Enough From Life

Life is full of success and failure. What defines the difference between the two is what you learn from each experience. If you haven’t learned the following life truths, by now, though, you probably haven’t been paying attention:

1. Nothing tastes better in the microwave.

Take the time to put it in the oven. On that note, stop buying things that are microwavable. If a food is made to be cooked in 90 seconds or less, it is most likely full of cheese, sodium and saturated fat, and therefore terrible for you.

2. If he likes you, you’ll know, if not, you’ll be confused.

This holds true for both men and women. If you think there’s something shady going on, there most likely is. Trust your gut. Healthy relationships are based on good communication, and this means telling the other person that you care about them.

3. Your parents are usually right.

You shouldn’t have gotten that piercing in middle school and you definitely should have paid more attention when your dad showed you how to change a tire. They’ve been there, they know. Giving advice takes a lot of energy, especially when, nine times out of ten, it falls on deaf ears.

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4. Your parents are sometimes wrong.

It’s a terrible feeling to go to your parents and realize that they don’t have all the answers or, sometimes, the answer that you want to hear. Part of becoming an adult is making your own decisions because, in the end, you’re the one who will have to live out the results. Parents, by nature, want to keep you safe, and sometimes life requires us to take risks.

5. If you don’t exercise and eat healthy, you will get fat.

Unless you are a 16-year-old boy, you cannot eat 11 White Castle burgers and not pay for it later. The Center for Disease Control recommends that adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and muscle strengthening on two or more days a week that works all major muscle groups. Running to catch the express bus once in a while does not count.

6. Too much sun is bad for you.

To quote Mary Schmich via Baz Lurhmann, “Wear sunscreen.”

7. Credit card debt is real and won’t magically go away.

In the United States, the average household credit card debt as of January 2014 is $15,270 dollars. Educate yourself about your finances because it is only going to get harder as you get older to catch up. Bank of America and Khan Academy collaborated on these great, easy-to-understand videos to get you started.

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8. Age is just the amount of years you have lived, not how many you have left, or what you choose to do with them.

Change careers. Start a new hobby. Move to a different country. You get one life, and who knows how long it will be. Age is only as important as you make it.

9. No one likes the drunk girl/guy.

When you can start to afford nice clothes, you don’t want your friends throwing up on them, and when you can no longer sleep until your 2 p.m. class, you don’t want drunk texts waking you up at midnight the night before work. Drink in moderation.

10. Fear is just an idea.

This is one of the hardest truths to learn. The only thing keeping you from achieving your goals, is fear: fear of rejection, fear of failing, fear of success, and fear of accountability. The great thing about ideas, though, is that they can be changed, improved, and even forgotten.

11. Tomorrow always comes, and the unfinished work of yesterday with it.

The daily struggles of existing can be stressful enough without adding the feelings of having to rush to finish something because you chose to procrastinate. Face your obstacles and tasks as they are presented to you and move on.

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12. Less is always more.

Less packaging. Less words. Less Justin Bieber, please.

13. You don’t spend enough time with your grandparents.

If you’re fortunate enough to have grandparents still alive, finish reading this article and call them. They have knowledge and wisdom beyond anyone else in your life and you will miss them more than you know when they are gone.

14. Not everyone goes to college, gets a job, and gets married.

Some people get married and then go to college. Some people never get married. Some people will never get a “day job.” The path outlined for us when we are young is far less linear than we’d like to think. It’s way more messy and confusing, especially when you realize you might not want these things once they are presented to you.

15. Commitment is the way to success.

This relates to relationships, careers, and general life goals. Jeff Goins explains it well by stating, “Greatness has a cost: commitment.” Being able to be patient and remain focused when things become challenging are what separate those who get what they want from those who end up with regrets.

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16. Change is the only constant.

By definition, in order to grow we must change. All we can do is prepare the best we can and then ride the wave we catch, or the one that catches us.

17. You are the only one that can make yourself happy.

There are plenty of people in your life who want to make you happy and will try, but in the end, they can only do so much. You may not be able to change your physical circumstances, your past experiences, or how terrible your sister-in-law treats you. Many times, you cannot control the emotions you feel either. You can, however, control your actions. Everything you do is a choice between at least two options: there’s great power in accepting that.

Featured photo credit: little kids/Chivali Chopra via Flickr

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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