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7 Ways To Demonstrate True Strength

7 Ways To Demonstrate True Strength

    We’d all like to be stronger. Whether that strength be physical, emotional or intellectual, most of us have an area in which we’d like to improve and have others admire. Seth Godin took a short look at ways to demonstrate that strength on a day-to-day basis. I thought I’d add some context to 7 of them and further the discussion. I’m hoping you’ll add some of your insights in a comment. I learn a lot from you all and your feedback is much-appreciated!

    1. Apologize

    If you make a practice of looking for your wrongs and working to set them right you’ll be viewed not only as a strong individual, but also as a great human.

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    I once lived with a friend who says “I’m sorry” in response to just about everything. At first it was annoying. Then I realized, over time, that I felt comfortable talking to her about stuff she did or said that bothered me. I knew she’d apologize and all I had to do was be ready to forgive and reciprocate in case I’d done or uttered a recent annoyance. That can be really, really hard at first. Apologizing isn’t easy because you’re not just admitting to a failure, you’re opening yourself up for the possibility that your apology will be turned down!

    2. Defer to others

    Letting others take the helm frees you up to offer needed guidance to even more talented people who will respect your strength and credit you with helping their ideas come to life.

    Deference goes against nearly all the notions of expertise propagated online. Some will tell you to interrupt, disrupt, corner your niche, and force your expertise on others. Deferring to others and revealing your worth slowly takes not just strength but belief that what you have to offer is useful in the long run. More on that soon.

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    3. Avoid shortcuts

    As you’re making sure doing great doesn’t get in the way of getting things done, make sure to protect against temptations to take shortcuts.

    A few years ago I told a restaurateur just starting out that he should cut corners on things his customers wouldn’t notice. That was terrible advice. In truth he should have worked to do a better job at bringing attention to all the amazing things his business was doing that people might not notice without some help. It takes true strength to avoid shortcuts because taking the longer route often involves more client calls, more apologies and time away from things you’d rather be working on. It’s worth it though. It’s worth it.

    4. Tell the truth

    Telling the truth from the get-go will help you avoid situations in which telling the truth could mean the end of something otherwise magnificent.

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    We could talk for days about strategic avoidance, glossing over, side-stepping, and myriad other ways to re-frame a lie as something middling. Let’s not. Instead I’ll ask you to consider how telling the truth relates to the notion of living honestly. “Telling the truth” often feels like something momentary. The truth is something you blurt out. That takes strength, for sure. Living honestly takes it to a whole new level of fascinating beauty.

    5. Offer kindness

    Kindness offered to the stranger passing by, in response to unkindness, or just because you can offer it is the sort of kindness that changes the world.

    Random acts of kindness are great if you’re in the habit of showing kindness as part of your daily life. But as life gets busy and we forget about the smaller things, the kindness can be the first to go. What if you were to schedule kindness into your day? What if you kept a checklist of the number of times you offered a kind word to a coworker or helped without being asked? This is a version of faking it until you make it that has only positive results. Get started!

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    6. Volunteer to take the short straw

    When an unwanted project or difficult punishment is up for grabs, offering to take it shows you’re strong enough to take the hard stuff in stride.

    Volunteering to do the grunt work on a project you rank high enough to walk away from shows everybody you work with that you’re strong and still in the game. Willingness to take the fall for a group mistake and be the one to find a solution is an opportunity to again demonstrate your true strength. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier. Don’t worry. You’ll eventually forget about how difficult it was. You probably don’t even remember what you had for breakfast last Tuesday. See? Forgetful!

    7. Share credit and be public in your gratitude

    Sharing credit and thanking others for their contributions in public adds to the view that you’re a value-added sort of person.

    We’ve all had somebody take credit for something we helped with and felt the resentment grow in our chests. Not being recognized and thanked for our work is wretched! Next time you’re in a room filled with people and somebody calls your name to take an award, remember that everybody in that room has been slighted before and will get a kick out of how you share the spotlight.

    What else can we do to demonstrate our true strength? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

    Image: lintmachine

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    Seth Simonds

    Seth writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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