IN THE LAST TEN YEARS, HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED FOR THE BETTER?
ARE YOU MORE FINANCIALLY SECURE?
IN A BETTER RELATIONSHIP?
MORE PHYSICALLY FIT?
If so, congratulations. These accomplishments take lots of hard work and perseverance. Of course, you know that. You have the evidence right in front of you. When you see the external accomplishment, you are reassured of your internally driven success.
It’s human nature to focus on tangible self improvement. We measure our progress from the outside in. There’s nothing wrong with this approach. However, it is not the most effective.
Surprisingly, the internally based skills described below are more difficult to develop than most external ones. They are also more rewarding. Mastering these skills will make you happier, more productive, and more connected to others. Ultimately, the difference will show in your external measures of success.
HERE ARE FIVE SKILLS THAT, WHEN DEVELOPED PROPERLY, HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE:
1. POSITIVE THINKING
Although this may sound fluffy to some, positive thinking has strong logical and scientific support. It allows us to identify and harness the best traits in ourselves, other people, and our environment. It encourages us to take on greater challenges. It helps us to persevere, and to overcome unexpected obstacles. Positive thinking makes us happier, stronger, and more creative. It also makes us more likeable. When we are positive, our relationships improve, as well as our work life. What’s fluffy about that?
Intelligent people often have a rich inner life. The wheels are constantly turning. While this kind of rapid-fire thinking is wonderful, it can inhibit our ability to be fully present in the current moment. When we miss out on this, we miss out on life. Practicing mindfulness can be difficult at first, especially for people who are very bright. However, its mental and physical benefits are well worth the effort. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress, depression, and anxiety, strengthen the immune system, and even improve family relationships. It also helps us to immerse ourselves in the current moment and fully enjoy the best days of our lives.
This is not the same thing as selfishness. Rather, self-focus can be described as the art of minding one’s own business. This involves refusing to engage in gossip and/or compare yourself with others. These are both natural behaviors, but they are not productive ones. Engaging in gossip can damage relationships and lower our self-esteem. Comparing ourselves with others is unnecessary, internally damaging, and ultimately a huge waste of time. Here’s a handy guide to help you stop doing this right now. Once you learn to let go of these habits, you will be free to measure your character and accomplishments by the only opinion that matters – your own.
4. ACTIVE LISTENING
Listening is like sex. Most people think they are great at it, but their partner might see room for improvement. When you improve your listening skills, you improve your ability to communicate. People who listen well are able to quickly learn who others are and what they need. This makes them more effective in every aspect of their lives. They have more honest and open relationships. They accomplish work tasks more effectively. They avoid conflict and misunderstanding. If you choose only one skill on this list to master, make it this one. Listening is the most underrated power a person can have.
5. ASKING FOR HELP
I have had a lifelong struggle in developing this skill. I used to think asking for help was a sign of weakness or incompetence. I felt that asking for help was an inconvenience to others. Thanks to this mentality, I endured unnecessary stress and unwarranted struggle. With time and reflection, however, I have learned that asking for help is not only okay, but absolutely necessary. Doing so strengthens relationships and helps to accomplish things that could not otherwise have happened. In fact, every successful person you know likely asks for help multiple times each day. Doing this takes humility, perspective, and maturity. The results are often mind-blowing.
These five skills are extremely difficult to learn. Most likely, you will be working on them well into old age. Don’t let the challenge stop you. As Marissa Mayer said, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
Source: Unified Soul Theory