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5 Questions You Should Avoid

5 Questions You Should Avoid

There are certain questions that will never have the answer you want or need. However, those are the questions that are possibly more likely to pop into our minds when we least expect it or when we’re having a difficult time. So, maybe rephrasing them could help? Stephen Guise of Dumb Little Man shares how you can do that:

Life causes us to question ourselves, but not all thoughts that come to mind are beneficial for us. In fact, many can be harmful and misleading.

Here are five of those undesirable questions that if you find yourself asking, you’d be wise to rephrase or reroute them. Subtle differences in phrasing can make a big impact in your mind.

1. Why Am I Here?

Whether you got to this moment by a failed marriage, back surgery, a lottery ticket, or by bus, it doesn’t matter for purposes moving forward. If you don’t like your situation, the only way out is found in solutions for the present moment, and “why am I here?” moves your mindset backwards, away from solutions.

There’s a better question that puts your focus in the present moment.

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Better Question: Where do I go from here?

Quote: “You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight.” – Jim Rohn

2. Why Me?

This question sums up the victim’s mindset. The main reason you don’t want to be a victim is because victims only have things happen TO them. They can’t take charge and control the situation, because their focus is not on what they can do, but on what happens to them. Would the opposite of this question give the opposite mindset of a victim? Yes, ask yourself the opposite…

Better Question: Why not me? (This is the possibility question!)

Quote: “To the dumb question, ‘Why me?’ the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply, ‘Why not?’” – Christopher Hitchens

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3. How Do I Lose Weight?

It doesn’t look bad, but it is secretly horrible. Asking this question frames the problem (being overweight) for a temporary solution. Unless you’re trying to make weight for your wrestling match, I doubt you want to lose weight and put it back on a month later. To explain why, here is the better question to tackle weight loss.

Better Question: Who do I need to be to weigh less?

This alternative question has an identity shift built into it as part of the solution, and these are the solutions that stick. Weight, after baseline genetic attributes, is a result of lifestyle, which stems from your identity. If you try to change with forced mechanical actions – like the answers to the question “how do I lose weight?” will lead you to do (exercise, eat vegetables, control portion size, etc) – your willpower will run out eventually.

“Who do I need to be?” changes the goal to an internal shift of values and habits that will automagically take you to a lower weight. It’s sustainable because you’ll have changed at the core level instead of forcing yourself to live against your established nature. To start the process of changing your identity, compare the benefits of a new identity to your current one. How would it be better? How would it be worse? Which do you like better overall?

“How do I lose weight?” makes you want the results, and “who do I need to be…” makes you want the change. When you want the change, you’ll get the results. When you only want the results, you’ll often end up with nothing.

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Quote: “You must begin to think of yourself as becoming the person you want to be.” – David Viscott

 4. Why Won’t Anyone Talk To Me?

Why won’t you talk to anyone else? If you want to talk to someone, it isn’t their responsibility to talk to you, but yours to talk to them. Every single conversation you have is either initiated by you or by someone else. If you never initiate conversation, it gives people the impression that you don’t want conversation.

A better, more productive question to ask yourself when you’re lonely is…

Better Question: Why don’t I go introduce myself to that person?

Quote: “There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.” – William Butler Yeats

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Bonus Quote: “Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

5. When Will I Finally Succeed?

To ask this question shows that you’re after the end result without caring about how you arrive at it. The “overnight success stories” you hear about are preceded by years of progress that you don’t hear about. Focus on becoming the type of person who would succeed. Focus on progress and you should find success eventually. But instead of thinking about success, here’s a better question…

Better Question: What small steps could I take today to move forward?

Quote: “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” – Jack Dixon

Stephen Guise: besides writing for his own blogs Stephen is a featured writer here at Dumb Little Man. Be sure to stop by Stephen’s ‘featured writer page’ right here on Dumb Little Man to find links to more of his articles.

5 Questions To NEVER Ask Yourself | Dumb Little Man

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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