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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

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.

    More Meaningful Things to Learn

    Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com

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    Anna Chui

    Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

    Why Hard Work is Better Than Talent It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind

    Trending in Personal Development

    1 12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 10 Ways to Step Up Your Personal Growth and Succeed in Life 4 The Importance of Self Improvement No Matter How Old You Are 5 8 Ways to Continuously Achieve Personal Growth

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2021

    12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

    12 Learning Goals For Personal Growth And Self Development

    Learning is an essential part of life. The more you learn, the more you need to learn. As Harry Truman put it,[1]

    “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

    Your attitude toward personal growth and self-development through continuous learning is an important factor in how you succeed in life. In this article, I have highlighted some learning goals to help you become a better version of yourself and be more successful.

    How Independent Learning Leads to Growth and Development

    When you are dedicated to lifelong learning, you will experience development in key areas of growth. This includes intellectual, professional, social, and physical growth.[2] You can pick these areas of growth one by one and learn something to improve yourself. When you have achieved your goal in one area, you can then consider another area that also needs improvement.

    There are different ways to learn, and these include reading, listening, webinars, online courses, mentoring and any other means by which knowledge can be passed and absorbed. You can also learn by observing people: friends, colleagues, bosses, or any other person whose lifestyle you admire.

    Examples of Personal Learning Goals

    We learn not just for the sake of learning but to gain knowledge and improve certain areas of our lives. Highlighted below are areas where you can set personal learning goals. There is a sample learning goal statement for each of the items on the list. You can adopt these goals or adjust them as they apply to you.

    1. Develop Communication Skills

    Your ability to communicate effectively plays a crucial role in your pursuit of success. This applies to both verbal and non-verbal communication to colleagues, clients, customers, friends, and families. While everyone cannot be an orator or great writer, we can all be great communicators by learning.

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    In whichever industry you are in, having a goal towards improving your communication skills would be of great advantage.

    Enroll in online courses to learn topics in communications, such as speaking to an audience, communication strategies for sales and marketing, effective corporate communication, virtual communication, etc.

    2. Negotiation Skills

    Whether it is about contract terms, business deals, salary, or prices of commodities, negotiation skills are essential to have at hand. They can save you tremendous time and money and can also give you leverage in your dealings with people. You might not be able to always get everything you want, but negotiation skills can help you get more of it.

    Take an online course or read three bestsellers on strategies and skills for negotiating effectively.

    3. Ethics and Social Responsibility

    Sometimes we know what is expected of us, but at other times, we are not so sure. We often come across situations where we get confused about what we are supposed to do.

    Knowing what to do and being able to meet up with expectations can boost your positive image and earn you a favorable reputation at work or in the community. It can also open a door to leadership or make you more effective in your leadership capacity.

    Continue to learn about ethics and social responsibility by reading wide on the subject. In addition, read all available information within an organization regarding its ethics and core values. Read also the ethics of the particular industry.

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    4. Teamwork and Flexibility

    Some people find it easy to blend into a team, while others are more of the solo type. If you belong to the second category, you need to be intentional about being flexible and working in a team to achieve a common goal.

    Learn to be open-minded, volunteer to help out, and ask for help from colleagues. Also, offer suggestions on solutions to fix a common problem.

    5. Reasoning and Making Good Judgment

    The ability to make sound decisions depends on how you can deploy your reasoning skills. Unfortunately, this is not something everyone can pull off easily, especially when it comes to making tough decisions.

    A Harvard Business Review article outlined the following useful tips for making good judgments[3]:

    • Listening attentively or reading critically to turn knowledge into understanding.
    • Picking up what is not said and interpreting body language.
    • Cultivating sources of trusted advice: people who are bold enough to tell what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
    • Understanding, clarifying, and accepting different viewpoints.

    Improve the capacity to listen and read information and intentions carefully to gain proper understanding and assess different viewpoints before making a decision.

    6. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Skills

    Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are described as the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problem.[4] It is being able to think about a problem and proffer an immediate solution or come up with ideas that can lead to a solution. The competitive world of work requires a great deal of critical thinking, and being able to fix problems is a great advantage.

    Learn how to analyze and synthesize information and predict the future outcome of a decision. Use puzzles and games to develop logic and create mind maps to practice visualizing a problem and its solutions.

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    7. Analytical Thinking

    Analytical thinking is also a component of problem-solving skills. It is described as visual thinking that gives one the ability to solve problems quickly using a methodical step-by-step approach.[5] Analytical thinking helps to break a complex problem down into smaller, manageable components.

    Improve analytical thinking capacity by practicing brain games, reading books, and using the analytical approach in solving problems.

    8. Creative Thinking

    Thinking about new ideas and ways of doing things rather than the old way is creative thinking. It can also be referred to as disruptive thinking — bringing new, fresh perspective into current realities. In this era of innovation, creative and disruptive thinking are essential to achieve success at work.

    Improve creative abilities by tapping into inspiration from books, videos, documentaries, and other sources. Create time daily or weekly to brainstorm and create something new.

    9. Improved Memory

    A good memory prevents us from forgetting important dates, facts, and deadlines.[6] Memory also helps us to avoid committing the error of omission due to forgetfulness. Such an error can have serious consequences on our work and business.

    Boost memory by learning to memorize and recall. Learn a foreign language or learn to play a musical instrument.

    10. Staying Organized

    Take control of your schedules, activities, and routines by getting organized. Getting organized will give you focus, increase your productivity, reduce stress, and help you manage your time better. Some have assumed that being organized has to do with personality types, but being organized is really not an issue of personality. Anyone can learn and develop this habit.

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    Learn more about how to be organized. Create a daily to-do list. Learn to keep things in their proper place and declutter regularly.

    11. Build Self Esteem and Confidence

    One of the ways to build your self-esteem and confidence is through reading. Reading equips you with valuable information that makes you knowledgeable and vast. It also makes you more intelligent as you will gain a broader perspective on issues, and this makes you more articulate and confident when communicating with people.

    You can also build your self-esteem by learning to make positive affirmations about yourself. Read self-help books and make daily positive affirmations.

    12. Toughness and Resilience

    Your ability to stand strong in the midst of storms depends on how tough and resilient you are. Whether you anticipate them or not, there will always be some tough times on your success journey.

    Learning to be tough and resilient will ensure that you don’t buckle when under pressure. It also helps you to keep your mind sane when working through difficult situations. Read biographies or watch movies and documentaries featuring heroic acts. Participate in mental drills.

    Final Thoughts

    As much as it feels good to learn new things, consider perfecting an area of learning before moving on to something else. You might have a number of things to improve on (and you should), but you can’t take on everything at once. When you have chosen your learning goals, put a timeframe on each of them. You can also create a yearly calendar for your learning goals and pick them one after the other.

    More Tips on Learning

    Featured photo credit: Seven Shooter via unsplash.com

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