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5 Simple ways to live a life you love

5 Simple ways to live a life you love

    The quickest way to living a life you love is through learning to love the life you live.

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    You’re waiting for something to change in your life before you can be happy. You might think if only you had a different partner (or one at all), a better job, or kids that did their homework then surely you’d be happy. Surely then you’d wake each morning with the glow of one living a life worth loving. Enough! Here are 5 ways to get started:

    1. Be present – You must be aware of your current existence and that you have control over your perspective. Whether you’re willing away early morning grouchiness or seeing a messy house as a chance to teach teamwork, your choice of perspective will make all the difference between just living and loving.

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    2. Practice gratefulness – Every day, no excuses. Pretend to be grateful if you must. It’s one of those things that catches up to you quickly as life reciprocates your emotional generosity. Seeing the good in your life will allow you to keep your heart fed while you work to change the more unsavory parts. Try it. Live it. You’ll love it.

    3. Pursue balance – As a person given to extremes this has always been a tough one for me. I’ll go from taking great care of myself and communicating well to abandonment and silence as I let work consume me. The pursuit of balance requires constant adjustment as your life shifts but every time I really try for the middle I end up happier about my life. And that’s truly the point.

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    4. Nurture friendships – You know the people who for some reason or other welcome you into their lives? Treasure them. Make time to spend with them. It is those relationships that you’ll look back on with satisfaction when you get old and begin to wonder what your life was worth. Many of us spend far too much time thinking about how some material possession will improve our lives. An iMac would be nice. A good friend is worth just about everything though!

    5. Embrace simplicity –  You don’t need to have all your gold-plated ducks in a row in order to love the life you’re living. You don’t need lots of stuff and relationships so driven by drama that you often wish just to be left alone in silence. Instead you might try for a simpler approach and enjoy things because they are useful and not because they are expensive. You might join a friend just to talk and not worry about all the expensive trappings we so often heap on get-together’s. Try for simplicity and if complexity sneaks up on you, so be it. In learning to love the basics you’ll find a wondrous appreciation for the nicer things that come along.

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    What have you found helps bring you back to the moment you’re in and really start to enjoy the life you’re living right now?

    image: adam foster

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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