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. 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.
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.
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”.
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. It could also be an indication that they’re lying, so be careful! You can see this stance in the image below:
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”.
This means that your posture can literally affect the way you feel about yourself, so stand up straight!
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.
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 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.
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
- 13 Life-Changing Skills to Learn This Year (Cheatsheet)
- Essential Learning Methods to Help You Learn Effectively
- How to Learn Something New Every Day and Stay Smart
Featured photo credit: Nicole Wolf via unsplash.com
|||^||Quora: What can I learn/know right now in 10 minutes that will be useful for the rest of my life?|
|||^||The British Psychological Society: Learning by teaching others is extremely effective – a new study tested a key reason why|
|||^||Greater Good Magazine: How to Transform Stress into Courage and Connection|
|||^||Psychology Today: What the Feet and Legs Say About Us|
|||^||Sonamics: The Pointing Foot|
|||^||European Journal of Social Psychology: Body posture effects on self-evaluation: A self-validation approach|
|||^||PsycholoGenie: The Benjamin Franklin Effect Explained|