A Harvard psychologist offers a simple and effective method to reduce stress instantly.
BY JESSICA STILLMAN
Feel like your life just keeps getting more stressful? You're not alone. Study after study shows that Americans say finding any sort of satisfactory work-life balance is getting harder. These days, adulthood often just isn't much fun, according to research.
There are a ton of reasons for these trends, from economic hardship to technology, and you could debate the primary drivers' of Americans' rising stress levels all day. But there's a more urgent question to ask: is there anything you can practically do about it?
While resetting your boundaries when it comes to your devices or patching the holes in the family budget are big undertakings, it turns out there is one small but effective thing you can do to help you manage your stress levels right now. According to a Harvard psychologist, you just need to ask yourself a single, simple question.
What are two other options?One of the problems with stress is that our minds tend to ruminate about our problems so that the same painful but less-than-constructive thoughts go round and round in our heads. The solution, Harvard's Susan David recently told Good's Tod Perry, is to halt this cycle of pointless worry by asking yourself a single question: What are two other options?
When Davis' clients tell her they're feeling stressed she always answers with the same question: What are two other options? She found that after asking this question to her clients they often report disappointment with their careers or uncover other underlying emotions that intensified their stress. We often lump our emotional problems under the big-tent label of "stress" which prevents us from digging deeper to reveal the bigger picture.
Emotional granularity to the rescueThe technical term for why this works is "emotional granularity." In layperson's language it simply means getting much more specific about your emotions. Instead of a blanket statement like, "I'm stressed," those with high emotional granularity might say, "I'm a little bit disappointed in myself for not bringing home a higher paycheck and also scared about how that might affect my kids' prospects in life."
The second alternative might just sound like a wordier version of the first, but being able to get specific about your feeling helps you figure out solutions and direct your efforts effectively. And that's scientifically proven to make a difference in outcomes.
"Studies show that people who have greater emotional granularity live longer, healthier lives and are less likely to become ill," reports Perry.
So next time you're stressing out, force yourself to focus on the finer granularity of your feelings by asking yourself to consider more options for describing how you feel.
Or, if you're stressed because of a specific upcoming challenge like a big presentation or job interview, try another tack suggested by Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal: mentally re-frame your physical sensations, like a racing heart or sweating palms, as signs of helpful excitement rather than performance-destroying stress. It might seem too easy to be effective, but research suggests this approach actually works.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
PUBLISHED ON: SEP 15, 2016
IF YOU ARE STUCK CONSIDER A LIFE COACHING SESSION. :)
Life Coaching in Zurich, Switzerland
By Martin / Cleverism
There are several measures that have been proven to improve one’s Emotional Quotient once adhered to. These measures are:
Reduction of Negative Emotions
This is perhaps the most important aspect of EQ. This is because it is paramount that one be in control of their emotions in order to ensure that they do not affect their judgment. In order for an individual to be in a position to change how they feel about a certain situation, they must first be able to change how they think about it.
Reduction of negative emotions begins with the Reduction of Negative Embodiments. This refers to situations where one feels adversely towards another person or their actions. In such a situation, it is important to avoid negative conclusions in your mind as much as possible. Rather, practice the art of viewing a situation through multiple dimensions prior to reacting to it.
For example, it may be tempting to conclude that a certain colleague failed to return my phone call because they are ignoring me but it would be better to conclude that they are caught up and they will phone back whenever they can. When one avoids taking other people’s actions personally, they are able to look at those actions from an objective point of view. Note that people’s actions are inspired by their own selves more than they are by us; this perception widens your perspective and reduces the possibility and occurrence of misunderstandings.
Additionally, Reducing Fear of Rejection drives away negative emotions and boosts your EQ. One sure way to reduce fear of rejection is by availing multiple options for yourself in crucial situations. This is to ensure that no matter what the outcome may be, there are equally strong options at your disposal. This will eliminate any negative emotions such as anxiety or depression.
For example, if you are applying for a dream job, apply in numerous different organizations; therefore, if one does not work out, the other options may still be open to you, hence relieving you of a lot of angst.
Staying Calm and Managing StressWe all experience stress, be it at different levels. How you handle stressful scenarios is what determines whether you are an assertive or a reactive person; a poised or an unstable person. When under any kind of pressure, your most important asset is your ability to keep a level head.
EQ is the ability to stay calm while handling extremely stressful situations. There are various practices that can be employed to keep yourself calm, for example, avoiding caffeinated beverages that may heighten your nervousness; instead, maintaining a cool temperature around yourself may be far more effective in reducing one’s anxiety or nervousness.
In addition, exercise is a great stress reliever and helps reduce your physical tension, energizes you, keeps you collected, and enables you to deal with stressful situations in the calmest way possible; thereby boosting your EQ in the process.
Remaining Assertive and Expressing Difficult Emotions
As much as it is good to get along with the people we interact with, to develop healthy emotional quotient, you also need to be assertive and expressive and be able to set appropriate boundaries in order for people to understand where you stand in when you encounter one another.
This entails exercising your right to disagree without necessarily being disagreeable, or being able to say ‘no’ where appropriate without having to feel guilty. Boosting EQ demands that one set their own priorities and protecting oneself from any forms of duress or harm.
As an additional pointer; when being assertive, it is important to avoid framing statements in such a way that they come off as accusations or judgments because they automatically put the recipient on the defensive, which may result in an unnecessary altercation.
Each individual, no matter how socially inept, has at least one person that they have given they trust and who almost understands them as intimately as they understand themselves.
In scenarios that are stressful, and in situations where you feel overwhelmed by the pressure, it helps to reach out to that individual and ask for a perspective beyond your own; an objective perspective.
This activity will eventually train you to handle situations in an objective manner, hence boosting your emotional quotient even without your awareness.
Constantly trying to handle stressful situations on your own is not independence, it is limiting. It leads to a situation where you are never open to other approaches but your own; therefore, hampering any form of growth in your EQ. Often, all it takes is an external opinion to work through a scenario that is ongoing in your mind.
Bouncing Back from Adversity
Understand that life is not necessarily easy; at least not all the time, and how we choose to feel or act in response to life’s challenges can makes all the difference between optimism and frustration; hope and despair; victory and defeat. It is important that you look at every situation, especially the negative ones, as a learning experience. Ask yourself, “How can I do better?” “What have I Learnt?” In the immortal words of Thomas Edison, “I have not failed; I have found ten thousand ways that do not work.” Thomas A. Edison went on to invent the light bulb. Adopting this perception on life is one of the strongest ways to boost your EQ and go on to live a successful and fulfilling life.
Develop a Genuine Interest in the People around You
Another way to boost your emotional quotient is by learning to develop a genuine and keen interest in the people and the world around you.
For example, in a work environment you should not only strive to learn the names of everyone you interact with but reach out to them and strive to learn as much as possible about them. It is proven that there is a satisfaction or fulfillment that human beings draw from establishing meaningful connectionsand relationships with others.
Showing genuinely friendly interest in the lives of colleagues or associates is not only advantageous to you but to them too. When you reach out to people, they feel valued as human beings and not mere cogs in a machine.
The kind of fulfillment drawn from making such a connection or relationship, therefore, is experienced by two parties and can act as a stress reliever, drive away any feelings of anxiousness or depression, improve productivity, and ultimately boost EQ levels.
IN A NUTSHELL
Our ability to use reasonably soft skills and approaches in situations boosts our Emotional Quotient (EQ). In turn, this boost in EQ enables us to handle future situations in a better, healthier, and mature manner. EQ is a sense of internal balance that enables you to keep your composure, make the right decisions, and communicate successfully even when under stress. EQ is a major determinant of the quality of the life that you live as well as your likelihood for success in both your career and personal life. For this reason, it is imperative that you understand emotional quotient intimately as well as the various ways in which we can boost it constantly.
Emotional Quotient can be said to be the best predictor of performance in any workplace situation, the determinant of effective leadership, and individual excellence. When our EQ is effectively increased and applied, we realize our ability to cultivate more solid relationships both personally and in the business arena. Relationships, and more specifically their quality, are a colossal determinant of the success of any endeavor we delve in and the reality is; relationships cannot be avoided, there is no way around them. In order to ensure that we have the highest quality relationships and, therefore, the best shot at all-round success we need to constantly boost our Emotional Quotient.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons | Gert Germeraad under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
by Suzie Doscher
The Dalai Lama made a wonderful comment about anger. He suggested that anger blocks the part of the brain that allows us to distinguish the difference between right and wrong. Reality is lost in moments of anger, therefore making us blind to what is actually going on.
The same can be said about other emotions that have the power to disrupt your daily life. Anger usually manages to creep through most emotions and find its way to the surface. Somewhere inside of the emotions that have the power to overwhelm, upset, and throw your life out of balance you will most probably find some anger, if only a hint.
The Dalai Lama further stated: to deal with our problems we need to be practical and realistic. If we are to be realistic, we need to use our human intelligence properly, meaning we need a calm mind.
When your life feels like it is a mess and you are ready to take some action there are many different approaches to take. (Support from a professional or wise friend, mediation, spiritual beliefs, sometimes even just taking a “time out” holiday can help.) Find the one that suits your personality and lifestyle best. At this point you are hoping to be calmer. This will allow your mind to be more realistic again. You are more likely to stay on track with making the necessary changes with a realistic mind.
These suggestions are one of many approaches you could take that might be helpful:
An excerpt from Suzie Doscher's book: BALANCE - A PRACTICAL HANDBOOK FOR LIFE'S DIFFICULT MOMENTS.
Suzie's NEW book BALANCE - Interactive Workbook for Self-Coaching is now available if you do not have the time or inclination to work with a professional life coach. Get started on your own, in your own time. Narrow down what you want to change with the help of the workbook.
Life Hack: SCIENCE BY REBECCA BERIS
In 2011, the Finish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sort to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”
Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.
Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.
Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence. A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Functionused differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice. The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.
The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.
“We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”
In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.
The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silenceA 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.
Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.”
When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.
When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.
The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.
As Herman Melville once wrote, “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”
Silence relieves stress and tension.
It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.
A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech.
“This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.
Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise.
While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.
Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.
The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making. The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.
Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.
But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.
Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.
Featured photo credit: Mind Body via beautifulnow.is
by Rodica Rosu and Sunita Sehmi
One of the primary talents international leaders need today is the ability to manage and leverage cultural differences. Today’s manager has to work in both international and cross-cultural environments.
Consequently, managers are required to deal with challenges, friction, and misunderstandings stemming from intercultural communication differences. Therefore, successful management in a modern environment demands cross-cultural competency. In order to get the best out of any multicultural team, leading such a team necessitates a very distinct skill set. Being mindful and modifying your leadership style accordingly is the key to success. Here are some tips to keep in mind.
Try and communicate with your team face-to-face as much as you can. Nothing replaces face-to-face communication, as it allows you to read body language, assess levels of understanding, and build relationships.
Be clear about your own cultural profile. Only when you are clear about your cultural profile and how it influences your work, your communication style, feelings and actions, can you direct your team. This authentic approach to your own cultural identity can help improve performance for you and your team.
Less Is More
Cultural differences can create obstacles to effective teamwork, especially with multicultural teams. The challenge in dealing with these teams successfully is to identify the original cultural causes of conflict. Intervene only when necessary, get the team back on track, enable and empower them to deal with future challenges on their own.
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
Achieving team cohesion and shared vision means encouraging dialogue and communication. This requires time, and it is highly recommended that you invest this time into finding out more about your team members and how their national culture influences their behavior and values.
Trust builds over time and with every action. Make sure you are accountable for your actions and upfront in your dealings with others. Do you do what you say you will do? Non-delivery will destroy trust and credibility every time.
Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
As an effective leader you need to be able to truly understand your team’s perspective. So regularly ‘check in’ with your team members, listen to see what’s happening with them, their assignment and their development.
State the Rules of the Game
Rules and roles have to be set and understood by everyone. The rules of the game have to be negotiated and people need to be comfortable with their own roles. The team leader must act as a secure base so when a member is struggling they know who to turn to.
Developing a team identity is central. To ensure effective team management, the manager must make certain that there is clarity and shared expectations. Make sure that they understand what's going on, so that the team's objectives aren't forgotten or shelved.
From Global to Local
Amass, absorb, and use local knowledge to your team’s advantage. One size does not fit all, so get to know the people you operate with. Ask yourself: “What drives these people and what are their individual objectives?”
Be the Cultural Shock Absorber
It is advisable to invest in a tailor-made coaching program with an experienced cross-cultural coach. Get deeper insight into the respective cultures at hand to ensure that there is clear understanding of the individual and collective values, as this is central when working with a multicultural team.
by Suzie Doscher
Confidence is often a topic in coaching. Usually it is relating too little confidence which certainly makes it difficult to act in all sorts of areas. To name a few:
Getting a 'reality check' on where you stand with your own confidence level is never a bad idea.
By Suzie Doscher PSC
A positive event activates the release of dopamine; creating the effect of making you feel pleasure, feel good and positive. Stress depletes the levels of dopamine, which can lead to a deficiency. Lack motivation is one of the symptoms of this deficiency.
Dopamine is one of the four key neurotransmitters helping the transmission of signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters influence behaviour in daily life. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, offers feelings of reward, attention, focus -- and therefore motivation.
How to increase dopamine levels?
There are both unhealthy and healthy ways to increase dopamine. Unhealthy ways to increase dopamine can be gateways to self-destruction and addictions. The abuse of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, drugs, shopping, gaming, sex, power and gambling can be used to compensate this lack of a natural dopamine release in order to get ‘the high.’
Positive life /’soft skills’ offer a healthy release of this ‘happy hormone’. Physical exercise increases dopamine levels as does meditation and eating the foods that release dopamine and keep the intestinal flora balanced. (what foods are these?) Research shows that even the health of your intestinal flora impacts the production of neurotransmitters. It helps when you have the skills to handle the ups and downs of life.
Keeping the system balanced is important for a balanced life.
Fear activates a stress response in the body. When this happens, the emotional build-up causes a depletion in cognitive. Emotions overpower thinking and if a safer, calmer environment is not found, the release of dopamine will be vastly limited. This can be a factor at work when leaders believe in motivating with fear. Fear has the opposite effect!
It is clear that there are many benefits in creating consistency to assure a healthy stream of dopamine. Some of those benefits are feeling more alive, focused, productive, and motivated.
Dopamine is in charge of the reward system in the brain.
This reward system is essential for the learning process, particularly when learning new things or changing old habits. Learning requires positive feedback and reinforcement. Dopamine is responsible for:
With a dopamine deficiency you might experience the following:
What to do
Eckhart Tolle refers to living in the “Now”, which means being able to see and feel what your life is in the present moment. If you are standing in a beautiful park or by a calming body of water, it is possible to actually see the trees, feel the flow and energy of the water, instead of being lost in your thoughts. These thoughts will put you into an entirely different location even if you are not there physically.
After all, almost everyone would agree that the present moment, the “Now”, is all we have. In light of all the sad unpredictable events going on in the world right now this is even more relevant.
It seems odd that we do not just naturally live in the ‘Now’
Most people do not live in the “Now” and have to learn how to do so. This involves not only being able to see the trees but also keep the focus on what you can influence today and in the moment. If it is in the future or the past it is actually not relevant to the moment. When you concentrate more on the present, life becomes more relaxed and enjoyable. This becomes a powerful technique to step out of stress.
Here are steps to take to ‘being in the moment’:
Our minds tend to take us to places and times that are not real. They might have been real a few hours ago. By mastering the art of living in the moment, you are taking good care and being very kind to yourself. That alone should make it worth the effort.
by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Linkedin
We live in a cluttered world! Cities are cluttered, towns are cluttered, markets are cluttered… So is our mind. “Too much to do, very little time…” has almost become like a universal phenomenon, creating stress in almost everyone’s life. Even when one is on leave from work, the mind gets no rest. From the moment it wakes up till the time it goes to sleep, the mind is always engaged in something – either in something utterly useless or something very important.
As it’s almost impossible to reduce the workload and increase the time, the only option left is to increase the energy level within us. When we have enough energy and enthusiasm, we are able to handle any challenge.
The Silent Energy
But the question is how to increase the energy? Spiritual practices like meditation, yoga and pranayama do just that. They all lead one to a space of silence, which is charged with energy. That space of silence is the mother of all rest, mother of all creativity.
Inner Silence is the mother of all creativity, the source of intuition. It is in the zone of silence that great scientific discoveries were made, path-breaking inventions created, wonderful poems and melodies emerged.
Not about just a shut mouth
Silence is not about just keeping the mouth shut. It’s more about withdrawing the senses from outward activities and turning it inward. The mind not getting involved in any of the five senses brings a certain amount of quietness inside. This leads to a state of total contentment.
A cure-all tool
The virtues of silence are countless. From being a source of enlightenment to a balm that heals an estranged relationship, it can be deployed as a panacea for many a worldly problems we face in everyday life.
Silence is the goal of all answers. If an answer does not silence the mind, it is no answer. Silence makes thoughts more coherent, makes one more intelligent. A person who does not practice silence cannot be intelligent at all. What he talks makes little sense. If you want to make sense, it has to come from silence.
All of us have experienced at one time or the other, an amazing phenomenon. Whether in one-to-one communication, or in addressing a huge audience, something intangible moves people more than the words. We try to rationalize by attributing this to charm, charisma, presence, body language, etc. Yes, these all do play a role, but the essence of all that is the inner silence.
Real communication is beyond words. If you are firmly established in the zone of silence, if your mind is calm, you will find yourself suddenly being able to influence individuals, groups, and masses. What a single glance can convey, a thousand conversations cannot.
The sound of intelligence
When we go deep into silence, we experience a form of communication without thoughts. This is when all the questions in one’s mind disappear. The highest intelligence within starts speaking. If one could only be totally in silence and eliminate all the noises of the mind, that intelligence will never fail to reveal the best solution even to the most critical problems.
Get on the mat
For short periods of time every day, meditate and stay in silence. When you reach that space of silence through meditation, you will always be guided as to what needs to be done. Silence enhances one’s inner strength and sharpens intellect; keeps one in a happy frame of mind and invokes joy.
It’s now known that the amount of energy that one gets in meditation is much more than in sleep. Twenty minutes of meditation can equal to eight hours of good sleep. This formula could easily solve one of the most common problem working people face - working all the time and not getting enough sleep.
The Himalaya Within
People often think that one cannot be successful without being stressful. They are made to believe that there is no nirvana without quitting the world. But Indian spirituality offers plenty of ways of rejuvenating oneself without quitting the world! The body dropping you is death; and you dropping the body is meditation.
It’s time we all learn the art of dropping the world for a few minutes every day before it drops us. Its rejuvenating effect can make us better players in the world!
By Rachel Gillett
The best things in life may be free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire.
That’s especially the case when it comes to learning important life skills.
1. Time management
Effective time management is one of the most highly valued skills by employers. While there is no one right way, it’s important to find a system that works for you and stick to it, Alina Grzegorzewska explains.
“The hardest thing to learn for me was how to plan,” she writes. “Not to execute what I have planned, but to make so epic a to-do list and to schedule it so thoroughly that I’m really capable of completing all the tasks on the scheduled date.”
“You can be the most disciplined, brilliant, and even wealthy individual in the world, but if you don’t care for or empathize with other people, then you are basically nothing but a sociopath,” writes Kamia Taylor.
Empathy, as business owner Jane Wurdwand explains, is a fundamental human ability that has too readily been forsworn by modern business.
“Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good sales and service people truly great. Empathy as in team spirit — esprit d’corps — motivates people to try harder. Empathy drives employees to push beyond their own apathy, to go bigger, because they feel something bigger than just a paycheck,” she writes.
3. Mastering your sleep
There are so many prescribed sleep hacks out there it’s often hard to keep track. But regardless of what you choose, establishing a ritual can help ensure you have restful nights.
Numerous studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.
4. Positive self-talk
“Ultimately it doesn’t matter what others think of you,” writes Shobhit Singhal, “but what you think of yourself certainly does, and it takes time to build that level of confidence and ability to believe in yourself when nobody else does.”
On the other side of positive self-talk is negative self-talk, which Betsy Myers, founding director of The Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, believes can slowly chip away at your confidence.
Whether you’re trying a new exercise routine, studying for the LSATs, or working on an important project, Khaleel Syed writes that consistency is vital to maintaining any kind of success.
People often stop working hard when they reach the top, he explains, but to maintain that top position, they have to work harder and be more consistent in their work.
6. Asking for help
“I once was told in a job interview, ‘You can’t have this job if you can’t ask for help when you need it,'” Louise Christy writes. “Naturally, I said I could. Later, I found out that the previous person with that job had screwed up big-time because he was in over his head but couldn’t admit it and didn’t ask for help.”
She explains that knowing when you need help and then asking for it is surprisingly difficult to learn and do because no one wants to be perceived as weak or incompetent.
But a recent study from the Harvard Business School suggests doing so makes you look more, not less, capable. According to the study authors, when you ask people for advice, you validate their intelligence or expertise, which makes you more likely to win them over.
7. Knowing when to shut up — and actually doing it
“You can’t go around whining about every other thing that seems not-so-right to you in this world,” writes Roshna Nazir. “Sometimes you just need to shut up.”
There are many instances when keeping to yourself is the best course. “When we are angry, upset, agitated, or vexed,” writes Anwesha Jana, “we blurt out anything and everything that comes to our mind.” And later, you tend to regret it.
Keeping your mouth shut when you’re agitated is one of the most valuable skills to learn, and of course, one of the most difficult.
Along with shutting up comes listening, says Richard Careaga.
“Most of us in the workplace are so overwhelmed with things to do — instant messaging, phones ringing. I mean, our brain can only tolerate so much information before it snaps,” Nicole Lipkin, author of “What Keeps Leaders Up At Night,” previously told Business Insider.
One tip for active listening is repeating back what you heard to the other person. “It makes things so much easier when everyone is on the same page,” she said.
9. Minding your business
“It takes ages to learn and master this,” writes Aarushi Ruddra.
Sticking your nose into other people’s work isn’t helpful and wastes time and resources, she says. “You have no right to put forth your two or four cents, even if you are the last righteous person standing.”
10. Mastering your thoughts
To do what you want to do and accomplish what you want to accomplish, you need to consciously direct your thinking, writes Mark Givert.
“The challenge is that we are the product of our past experience and all of our thinking is the result of this,” he says. “However, the past does not equal the future.”
This article is published in collaboration with Business Insider. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
A Practical Handbook