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20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

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20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

If you pay attention to your everyday life enough, you’ll know that you can learn from everything and everyone you come across. Our life is basically full of useful lessons that we should learn.

Here are 20 useful things to learn, based on a list shared by Abhishek A. Singh on Quora[1]. Start learning and see how these life lessons can help you live better.

1. Primacy and Recency

Primacy and recency refers to the fact that most people mostly remember the first and last things that occurred. Most memories skip over the middle stuff.

This can be applied specifically when scheduling an interview. Ask the employer for the time slots available and try to be the first or the last.

2. If You Work in Customer Service, Put a Mirror Behind You

If you work in a bar or in any location where you are interacting directly with customers, it’s useful to have a mirror directly behind you.

With this, angry customers who approach you will have to see themselves in the mirror, and the chances of them behaving irrationally will be lowered significantly.

3. Once You Make a Sales Pitch, Don’t Say More

This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways.

My previous boss was training me and giving me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, the first person to talk would lose.

It didn’t seem like a big deal, but it actually worked. Often, there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuses, but usually they bought.

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4. Wait for a Full Answer

If you ask someone a question, and they only offer a partial answer, do your best to wait it out. If you stay silent and keep eye contact, they will usually continue to talk and offer more information.

5. Chew Gum to Decrease Nervousness

When we eat, our brain tells us, “I would not be eating if I were in danger. So I’m not in danger.” This can work in situations such as public speaking, bungee jumping, or just before an interview.

6. People Will Remember How You Made Them Feel

When you meet someone new, remember that most people will remember how you made them feel, not what they said. Also, most people like talking about themselves, so ask lots of questions about them.

Do your best to listen to them and offer kindness and compassion whenever possible.

7. Teach Something New to a Friend

Science has shown that teaching something you’ve just learned helps to embed it in your brain. This is because it forces you to retrieve the information in specific ways[2].

If you’re able to teach something well using simple steps, you will be sure that you’ve understood it very well.

8. Stress and Courage Feel the Same

The physical effects of stress and courage, including breathing rate and heart rate, cause similar sensations, which means you can use this to your advantage. This is one of the most useful things to learn!

When you’re feeling stressed in any situation, immediately reframe it : Your body is getting ready to be courageous; you are NOT stressed.

Recent studies focusing on tend-and-befriend behaviors associated with stress—seeking social support when facing challenges—have found that “a tend-and-befriend response may have evolved to help us protect offspring, but when you are in that state, your bravery translates to any challenge you face”[3].

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9. Pay Attention to People’s Feet

If you approach two people in the middle of a conversation, and they only turn their torsos and not their feet, they don’t want you to join in the conversation.

Similarly, if you are conversing with someone and they turn their feet away, they want the conversation to end[4]. It could also be an indication that they’re lying, so be careful! You can see this stance in the image below[5]:

    10. Fake It Until You Make It

    If you’re looking to be more confident, act confident. If you want to be more successful, act successful. Find role models to copy, and do your best to imitate them until these behaviors become second nature. It will naturally lead you toward your desired goals.

    11. Build a Network

    Become the information source, and let the information be yours. Even grabbing a beer with a former colleague once a year will keep you in the loop at the old office.

    Former coworkers might have gotten a new position in that office you always wanted to work in…great! Go out for a drink, and ask about the office. It’s all about connections and information.

    12. Stand up Straight

    No slouching, hands out of pockets, and head held up high. It’s not just a cliché; you literally feel better, and people around you feel more confident in you, so this is a useful thing to learn.

    One study on body posture found that “the effect of the direction of thoughts (positive/negative) on self-related attitudes was significantly greater when participants wrote their thoughts in [a] confident than in [a] doubtful posture”[6].

    This means that your posture can literally affect the way you feel about yourself, so stand up straight!

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    13. Avoid Saying “I Think” and “I Believe”

    Avoid these phrases unless it’s absolutely necessary. These are phrases that do not evoke confidence, and they usually don’t help get your point across.

    The exception to this rule is when you want to have a serious discussion with your partner. Starting sentences with “I think” or “I feel” instead of “You did this or that” will put your partner at ease and help bring them into the conversation without feeling attacked.

    14. A Clean Space Eases Anxiety

    When you’re feeling anxious, a dirty or messy space isn’t going to help. Try tidying up and organizing the area around you to help your mind focus more on the task at hand.

    15. Be Interested in Your Interviewers

    When you go into an interview, act (or really be) interested in the people interviewing you. If you focus on learning about them, you’ll seem to be more interesting and dynamic yourself. (Again, people love to talk about themselves.)

    16. Always Give Your Kid a Choice

    In order to help your child feel in control, give them a choice. For example, if you want your daughter to get dressed, ask her which shirt she wants to wear that day. Try to limit the choices to two or three to avoid a long inner debate.

    Pro-tip: In some cases, this works on your friends and family, too!

    17. When a Group of People Laugh…

    When you find yourself in a group, and everyone starts to laugh, people will instinctively look at the person they feel closest to in that group.

    Notice who you look at and who looks at you when you laugh with a group of people!

    18. Match Posture and Position to Build Rapport

    If you want to build rapport or gain someone’s trust quickly, match their body posture and position.

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    If someone is sitting with their legs crossed, cross your legs. If they’re leaning away from you, lean away from them. If they’re leaning towards you, lean towards them.

    Mirroring and matching body position is a subconscious way to tell if someone trusts you or is comfortable with you. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed, and you notice someone else is sitting with their arms crossed, that is a good indicator that you are successfully building rapport with that person.

    19. The Benjamin Franklin Effect

    The Benjamin Franklin Effect[7] suggests that if you ask someone a favor, they will begin to like you more.

    For example, imagine you like someone in your class. If you ask them to borrow a pencil or explain the homework, they will be more likely to like you as well.

    The best part is it kills three birds with one stone: you get the advantages of the favor itself, the person subconsciously likes you more, and it makes them more open to future favors and conversation.

    20. Tapping Your Fingers Helps Stress and Anxiety

    When you’re feeling stressed, worried, or angry, tap each finger tip while thinking (or speaking quietly) a few specific words about what is bothering you. Repeat the same words while tapping each of your 10 fingers, including thumbs.

    For example, tap while saying, “I’m so angry with her…” Doing so will likely take the charge out of the feeling and return you to a more calm state of being. It’s called EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or “tapping,” and it is useful in many life situations, including emotional sadness, physical pain, food cravings, traumatic memories, and more.

    Final Thoughts

    This list of rather random things to learn goes to show that useful lessons are everywhere you look. Learning is an important part of everyday life, so devote time to learning every day.

    If you’re looking for new things to learn, just look around. There’s always another interesting bit of information to pick up.

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    More Meaningful Things to Learn

    Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Anna Chui

    Anna is the Editor-in-Chief and Content Strategist of Lifehack. She's also a communication expert and shares tips on happiness and relationships.

    Why Your Lover Doesn’t Want Your Advice, but Your Validation life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering 10 Affordable (And Truly Beautiful) Cities in Europe That You Can Go Right Now The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You The Purpose Of Friendship: The Only 4 Types Of Friends You Need In Life

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    Last Updated on December 16, 2021

    14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit

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    14 Ways to Cultivate a Lifetime Reading Habit
    “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” — W. Somerset Maugham

    Somewhere after “lose weight”, “stop procrastinating”, and “fall in love”, “read more” is one of the top goals that many people set for themselves. And rightly so: A good book can be hugely satisfying, can teach you about things beyond your daily horizons, and can create characters so vivid you feel as if you really know them.

    If reading is a habit you’d like to get into, there are a number of ways to cultivate it.

    First, realize that reading is highly enjoyable, if you have a good book. If you have a lousy book (or an extremely difficult one) and you are forcing yourself through it, it will seem like a chore. If this happens for several days in a row, consider abandoning the book and finding one that you’ll really love.

    Other than that, try these tips to cultivate a lifetime reading habit:

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    1. Set times

    You should have a few set times during every day when you’ll read for at least 5-10 minutes. These are times that you will read no matter what — triggers that happen each day. For example, make it a habit to read during breakfast and lunch (and even dinner if you eat alone). And if you also read every time you’re sitting on the can, and when you go to bed, you now have four times a day when you read for 10 minutes each — or 40 minutes a day. That’s a great start, and by itself would be an excellent daily reading habit. But there’s more you can do.

    2. Always carry a book

    Wherever you go, take a book with you. When I leave the house, I always make sure to have my drivers license, my keys and my book, at a minimum. The book stays with me in the car, and I take it into the office and to appointments and pretty much everywhere I go, unless I know I definitely won’t be reading (like at a movie). If there is a time when you have to wait (like at a doctor’s office or at the DMV), whip out your book and read. Great way to pass the time.

    3. Make a list

    Keep a list of all the great books you want to read. You can keep this in your journal, in a pocket notebook, on your personal home page, on your personal wiki, wherever. Be sure to add to it whenever you hear about a good book, online or in person. Keep a running list, and cross out the ones you read.

    Tech trick: create a Gmail account for your book list, and email the address every time you hear about a good book. Now your inbox will be your reading list. When you’ve read a book, file it under “Done”. If you want, you can even reply to the message (to the same address) with notes about the book, and those will be in the same conversation thread, so now your Gmail account is your reading log too.

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    4. Find a quiet place

    Find a place in your home where you can sit in a comfortable chair (don’t lay down unless you’re going to sleep) and curl up with a good book without interruptions. There should be no television or computer near the chair to minimize distractions, and no music or noisy family members/roommates. If you don’t have a place like this, create one.

    5. Reduce television/Internet

    If you really want to read more, try cutting back on TV or Internet consumption. This may be difficult for many people. Still, every minute you reduce of Internet/TV, you could use for reading. This could create hours of book reading time.

    6. Read to your kid

    If you have children, you must, must read to them. Creating the reading habit in your kids is the best way to ensure they’ll be readers when they grow up … and it will help them to be successful in life as well. Find some great children’s books, and read to them. At the same time, you’re developing the reading habit in yourself … and spending some quality time with your child as well.

    7. Keep a log

    Similar to the reading list, this log should have not only the title and author of the books you read, but the dates you start and finish them if possible. Even better, put a note next to each with your thoughts about the book. It is extremely satisfying to go back over the log after a couple of months to see all the great books you’ve read.

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    8. Go to used book shops

    My favorite place to go is a discount book store where I drop off all my old books (I usually take a couple of boxes of books) and get a big discount on used books I find in the store. I typically spend only a couple of dollars for a dozen or more books, so although I read a lot, books aren’t a major expense. And it is very fun to browse through the new books people have donated. Make your trip to a used book store a regular thing.

    9. Have a library day

    Even cheaper than a used book shop is a library, of course. Make it a weekly trip.

    10. Read fun and compelling books.

    Find books that really grip you and keep you going. Even if they aren’t literary masterpieces, they make you want to read — and that’s the goal here. After you have cultivated the reading habit, you can move on to more difficult stuff, but for now, go for the fun, gripping stuff. Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, Nora Roberts, Sue Grafton, Dan Brown … all those popular authors are popular for a reason — they tell great stories. Other stuff you might like: Vonnegut, William Gibson, Douglas Adams, Nick Hornby, Trevanian, Ann Patchett, Terry Pratchett, Terry McMillan, F. Scott Fitzgerald. All excellent storytellers.

    11. Make it pleasurable

    Make your reading time your favorite time of day. Have some good tea or coffee while you read, or another kind of treat. Get into a comfortable chair with a good blanket. Read during sunrise or sunset, or at the beach.

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    12. Blog it

    One of the best ways to form a habit is to put it on your blog. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s free. Have your family go there and give you book suggestions and comment on the ones you’re reading. It keeps you accountable for your goals.

    13. Set a high goal

    Tell yourself that you want to read 50 books this year (or some other number like that). Then set about trying to accomplish it. Just be sure you’re still enjoying the reading though — don’t make it a rushed chore.

    14. Have a reading hour or reading day

    If you turn off the TV or Internet in the evening, you could have a set hour (perhaps just after dinner) when you and maybe all the members of your family read each night. Or you could do a reading day, when you (and again, your other family members if you can get them to join you) read for practically the whole day. It’s super fun.

    Featured photo credit: Thought Catalog via unsplash.com

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