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Last Updated on September 11, 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

    Reference

    More by this author

    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.

    10 Essential Books on Relationships To Help You Understand Love Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) 23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good

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    Last Updated on October 22, 2020

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

    Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

    Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

    Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

    Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

    By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

    The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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    1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

    Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

    Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

    Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

    When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

    The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

    Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

    To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

    Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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    We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

    It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

    After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

    Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

    Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

    To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

    Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

    Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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    When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

    Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

    We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

    When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

    Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

    2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

    If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

    The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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    To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

    With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

    So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

    • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
    • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
    • Say no to all else.
    • Say no again.
    • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
    • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
    • Meditate.
    • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
    • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
    • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
    • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
    • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
    • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

    Final Thoughts

    These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

    Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

    More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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