You’d think that if you have a passion it should be obvious to you what it is, but that’s not necessarily true. How would you know what it is if you haven’t stumbled across it yet? It’s not always as straightforward as simply “music” or “animals”; some people’s passions are more specific so they have to explore different niches to figure it out, like composing soundtrack music or rehabilitating wild animals. Other people might have general interests that they know they’re passionate about but want to narrow it down into something more focused so they can work on building a career they love. In any case, if you want to find exactly what you’re passionate about, you can do it though some simple exercises that involve asking yourself a handful of exploratory questions.
One obvious thing to do is to examine where your interests lie. You’ve probably done this before, but if you haven’t done it in a structured exercise, give that a try. Get out a sheet of paper and write down absolutely everything you can think of that you’re interested in. It’s hard to tell which interest will spark an idea about what else you love, so include anything that comes to mind. And it’s okay if the interests are all different; at this stage, you’re not trying to come up with a final answer, just exploring how you feel about different subjects and activities. You can connect the dots later, but for now, wrack your brain for anything and everything you like.
It can also be helpful in this exercise to create a separate list of things you definitely don’t like. Consider activities and subjects, either separate from or related to the ones you’ve listed as interests, that you’ve tried before but didn’t enjoy or that you feel actively disinterested in. Looking at things from this perspective will be helpful in a later step and can also help bring up ideas about things you do like.
While making your list of interests, you might get stuck. If you’ve neglected the things you love for a while or have been feeling depressed or stressed out, you might be in a place where you’re not even sure what your interests are anymore. It’s not uncommon and it doesn’t mean the search is hopeless; you just have to think outside of your present. One question you can ask yourself is, “What did I love when I was a kid?” Little kids are at a point in their development where they just do what they like without worrying about what other people think of it and never question whether or not it’s worth doing; their interest is honest and unrestrained. So think back—what were your favourite toys, what kinds of activities did you like to do? There’s a good chance you have the same basic inclinations now. Once you’ve thought of a couple, consider what kinds of activities you could connect to them. For example, if you were crazy about playing with Lego bricks, think about activities that involve building. Would you be interested in architecture, carpentry, or sculpture? Add those thoughts to your list if any catch your attention.
Another question you can ask yourself is, “If I could have anyone’s job, skills, or talent, whose would it be?” Explore the reasons behind the answers you come up with, because it might not be that you want their exact job. For example, you might write down that you admire the founders of a particular company—why? Is it because you want to be able to work in a similar field or because you want to run your own business, even if it’s a different kind? How you feel about someone else’s career and abilities can tell you a lot about what you might want to accomplish in your own life. Include any potential interests that come up in this exploration on your list.
Now that you’ve got a good written collection of things that interest you, it’s time to start looking for ways you can incorporate them into your life. Pick out one of the interests that stands out to you and write it in a bubble in the center of a new page. As you get ideas of what you could do with that interest, draw a line for each one stemming out from the bubble and write it down in a new bubble. SO, if you start with “wrestling” in the middle, you might have ideas like wrestler, coach, commentaror, blogger, or podcaster written around it. Those ideas might lead to even more specific ideas and you can record them as offshoots of those secondary bubbles. Now you’ve got plenty of options in front of you. Do this with a few different starting points and see where you get.
You should also see what kinds of connections you can make with the items on your interests list. Some of them might be compatible in a way that points you toward a potential passion or a career you could be passionate about. If you’ve got travelling, language, and children written down, teaching overseas might be an idea for you. If you like art, shopping, and business, maybe you’d love running a gallery. See where your interests overlap and be creative; unconventional combinations might result in something that you’re not only passionate about, but the result could carve out a unique place in the world and earn you success. You probably won’t be able to mix more than two or three interests at a time, but when they’re things you love, that’s plenty. They could add up to a true passion.
Depending on what your interests are, finding connections could be tricky. If you need some help, try adding in some things that you’re good at and see if it helps you create any new ideas. You may not be passionate about math, but if it’s a strength of yours it could give you a new idea when it’s put next to something you do love. Math is useful for fields that require precision, so if you have “clothing” listed and add in math, you might come up with fashion design. If you have math and decorating, you could consider carpentry. It can also help you to see which ideas you’re more likely to thrive in, though, when it comes to just figuring out your passion, this isn’t the focus; it’s totally acceptable to choose something at this point that you’re not naturally skilled at but that you can learn to be good at later, so don’t limit yourself that way.
Don’t limit yourself by what you think can be monetized, either. Focus first on your happiness when you’re seeking out your passion. Once you’ve got that figured out, you can make a plan to incorporate it into a career or a side job. Don’t discount ideas because they seem unrealistic either. Dream big! If thinking big helps you find what you’re passionate about then it’s great to do it. You can revise your idea later or dial is down so that it feels more within reach, but for now, brainstorm without limitations. Let your thoughts flow naturally and go with whatever you find yourself excited about. Seeking your passion is a process; you don’t have to have an answer for what you should do with it or how to approach it right from this early stage.
Once you’ve got something you think could be your life’s passion, find a way to test the waters, especially if it’s something you don’t really have experience with. Your possible passion doesn’t have to be something you’re already involved in; it can be something you’ve never tried before but you’re really interested in getting into. Have you gone through the brainstorming exercises and decided that you’d probably really love journalism but haven’t tried writing an article before? Try it out! Start a blog with investigative posts or seek out freelance work so you can do a couple of small jobs without making a commitment. Or did you figure out that being a chef is something that feels really exciting? In that case, take a cooking class or hold a dinner party and challenge yourself to cook something a bit more advanced than you normally would for yourself. Find opportunities for you to get real experience with the possible passion you’d like to pursue. It’s the best way to find out if it is something you are or could be passionate about.
Some people have a passion that they’ve had forever and have always been sure of, but for many people, that’s not the case. Passion can be hidden by life’s problems and obligations and it takes some exploration to find or rediscover it. Not to worry though—just because you don’t know what your passion is now doesn’t mean you don’t have one or that you won’t find it. You can! Follow the suggestions in this video, brainstorm and investigate your interests, and see what you can come up with. It can be a process and there will be some trial and error; don’t get discouraged if some of your ideas don’t pan out. Keep going; finding something your passionate about will be worth all the effort when you’re doing something you love and feeling happier than ever.
A friend is someone you’re close to, who you know well and can relate to on some level. They should be a positive influence in your life, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes a friend changes and becomes a hindrance to your wellbeing and sometimes they’ve always been deprecating and you somehow got tangled up with them and their negativity anyway. This kind of friend is one you don’t need and at some point you’ll start to realize it.
It’s not easy to cut a friend out of your life. They’re your friend after all, so they mean something to you. Maybe your attachment to them is even making you deny how much their presence affects you. It can help to know the signs of a toxic friendship so you can be sure that the relationship is no good.
Your time together should be uplifting; if you find your self-esteem, happiness, or stability compromised as a result of your interactions, it’s a sign that your friendship is a harmful one. You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around them for fear that they might lash out or because they’re intensely sensitive and become distressed easily. Occasional constructive criticism from a friend can be helpful, but frequent, harsh criticism is not beneficial in any way. If you’re often in a worse mood after seeing your friend, there’s a problem.
Your friendship also shouldn’t be overly dependent. Maybe your friend doesn’t insult you or take advantage of you, but if they rely on you too heavily it can become a burden that weighs you down. You’re not responsible for their happiness and if they treat you like you are and frequently get upset when you don’t come through, it’s another form of toxicity. The friendship still isn’t good for you and, really, it’s not good for them either.
Or maybe it’s just the opposite; maybe they’re neglectful of you. Friendship is a two-way street; it’s give and take for both sides. If you find that you’re always the one who initiates conversation, they let you down regularly, and you feel like you’re far more invested in the relationship than they are, you can come to feel unappreciated and frustrated. It can bring you down, even if it’s not intentional on their part. It’s not healthy and it’s time to stop putting so much effort into a relationship that is so unbalanced.
In some cases, it’s just their persona that impacts you and not the way they treat you. Friends who are always stressed out, depressed, or angry are taxing to be around. It’s not necessarily their fault, and patience is a reasonable response, but only to a point. It’s unfortunate that they’re having problems of their own, but you can only handle so much before it takes a toll on you. Stress can make you sick and cause you physical pain; if being around this friend is causing you distress, it’s time to let them go.
Basically, your friendship should be enjoyable and if it’s breaking you down instead, it’s probably toxic. It can be a hard thing to admit to yourself, but it’s an important realization to come to. Then you can figure out the best way to end the friendship and move on. You may not be ready to just break it off since there’s history between you and you feel an attachment to them. But you need to start accepting that letting them go is for the best. Don’t make excuses for them or try to justify your friendship; if it’s not working, it’s not working.
The best way to end a friendship is to sit down with them and tell them you need to end it. It makes your intention completely clear so there’s no way that they’ll misunderstand you. It’s also courteous; just because you’re cutting ties doesn’t mean you should treat them badly when you do it. This gives them the opportunity to fully understand the situation.
Before you have the talk, plan out what you want to say. Not necessarily word-for-word, just the general ideas you want to express. Tell them how the friendship has been affecting you and that you can’t stay in it any longer. But don’t criticise them; focus on where your needs aren’t being met or where you’ve been hurt and do your best to avoid accusing them or assigning blame. Planning out what you want to say beforehand will help you organise your thoughts so that you can focus on your feelings and not drift into picking them apart. It’ll also allow you to stay on track so you can get out everything you need to say and end the conversation.
While it’s important to be honest and tell them how you feel, you don’t have to over-share. Just give them the basics, especially if your friend has a tendency to be verbally abusive. There’s no point in pouring your heart out to someone who would probably take the opportunity to stomp on it. So let them know you’ve been affected, but there’s no need to get deep; just stick with what you’ve prepared. If they do get angry and insult you, do your best to hold yourself together emotionally. People who say hurtful things to you are often hoping to get a response out of you. Remind yourself that this is why you’re cutting them off and continue with what you have to say or choose to end the talk there and leave.
It’s also possible that they’ll be saddened by your decision. It can be hard to stay strong and carry through when they’re visibly upset, but do your best to keep moving forward. You don’t have to be heartless; tell them you’re sorry that it hurts them, but you need to take care of yourself first and that the friendship is detrimental to your wellbeing. You can tell them how much you care about them but make it clear that it doesn’t change how you’ve been impacted. Stand your ground and keep in mind that how they respond isn’t your fault; it’s your responsibility to stand up for yourself in a respectful way and it’s their responsibility to choose how they feel in reaction. You need to focus on your needs.
After you leave, it’s important to stay dedicated to the break. Don’t reach out, don’t back down, don’t doubt your decision. If you were driven to the realization that the friendship was toxic and felt sure enough to plan out how you were going to end it, it was the right decision to make. Ideally, you’ll delete their number from your phone and remove them from your social media accounts. As in romantic relationships, a clean break is more likely to stick and is easier to get through. Then you can mourn the friendship and start moving on without constant reminders of them popping up or having them contact you to try and get you to change your mind. Toxic friends are dangerous because they’ll try their best to persuade you into staying friends and then continue to mistreat you. Just cut all ties and let it be done.
This isn’t the only way to end a friendship. Slowly making yourself less and less available until they lose interest in you is a commonly used method, or cutting ties abruptly and all at once. These aren’t ideal though and have a lot of potential to backfire; slowly blocking them out will have them frustrated and could encourage their problematic behaviour to worsen, and doing it all at once could infuriate them, causing them to find ways to lash out. Not to mention, both of these are hurtful. Even if you’ve been mistreated, it’s not right to retaliate with similar behaviour. Have the courtesy to let them know what’s going on so that they understand and can, hopefully, see your side. They may be more likely to cooperate.
If you don’t feel like you can get through a break-up-style talk with your friend because you’re concerned you won’t be able to go through with it or you’re afraid of how they’ll react, write an email instead. This is an acceptable option if you don’t feel safe talking to them in person but need to get them out of your life. You can get your thoughts organized, express what you need to, and break off the friendship without being interrupted or challenged. Follow the same outline as for the in-person talk: keep it about your feelings, not their shortcomings; be respectful; be clear.
However you choose to end your toxic friendship, it will probably be difficult. But know that it’s for the best in the end and that your life will be better without it. You can then focus on the friends that are good for you and will have time in your life to welcome new ones. Removing even just one source of negativity can make a huge impact, and filling that space with positive influences will make it easier not to look back.
A mindset is essentially a set of beliefs you carry with you that determine how you view and interact with the world. Depending on what kind of beliefs you have, both conscious and subconscious, you might be more optimistic or pessimistic, high strung or laid back, a leader or a follower. These kinds of mindsets can have a powerful influence in your life. There are as many different combinations of beliefs as there are people, but Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck has identified two basic ones that everyone falls into one of: fixed or growth.
Individuals with a fixed mindset believe that they are what they are. They see their intelligence, athleticism, and creative ability as being fixed and don’t think they can be changed in any meaningful way. They believe there to be a sort of standard against which their, and everyone else’s, abilities are measured and that success is an affirmation that their traits are at a satisfactory level.
On the other hand, those with a growth mindset believe that abilities can be developed through hard work. They recognize that people may naturally have certain talents but that anyone can learn and grow in any area. That’s not to say that they believe anyone could be an Olympic athlete or a world-class painter; but they do feel that anyone who can dedicate themselves to improvement can strengthen and develop their abilities significantly.
Put simply: a fixed mindset believes in fixed personality traits and abilities and a growth mindset believes in the potential for substantial personal growth.
Which mindset you fall into isn’t a matter of random chance; the development of it starts in childhood and is dependent on the environment you’re in. Oftentimes when adults in a child’s life, like their parents or teachers, give them praise for their natural abilities, it leads to the formation of a fixed mindset. This would include something like congratulating the child on their success due to their innate intelligence. They grow into a mindset that believes everyone has innate abilities and that they are, more or less, set in stone. They recognize that they’re smart, but will consider their weaker skills to be unchangeable.
Children develop a growth mindset when their parents or teachers praise them for their effort. In this case, instead of telling the child that they did well because they’re smart, they congratulate the child for the hard work they put in. This gives the child the message that their success is based in how much they studied or practiced. They develop a mindset that tells them they can achieve their goals and grow their abilities if they work for what they want.
The mindset you develop becomes significant in your life, affecting you in many areas. One of the most significant is the way you view yourself. As mentioned, people with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities are fixed; this means they feel they have to accept that they are the way they are and they can’t get better or change. This leads them to feel insecure because they feel inferior to others but believe they can’t improve themselves. They wind up focused on avoiding failure at all costs to try and preserve their feeling of success. They avoid trying new things because if they don’t think they’ll be good at it, they believe they’ll never be good at it and don’t want to be seen as a failure. It’s very limiting and frustrating.
Individuals with a growth mindset tend to see themselves as having the potential to do well in all kinds of things. They don’t see themselves as limited by the abilities they currently have, but believe they can learn to do whatever they choose to so long as they’re willing to learn and practice. They’re willing to try new things because they know their success is dependent on their effort, not innate ability. They’re not focused on avoiding failure because they trust that if they do poorly in something, they can improve and succeed in time. Good self-esteem and confidence often come with the growth mindset.
Your mindset also affects your relationships with others. Those with a fixed mindset, who feel insecure in their abilities, expect that their romantic partners will make them feel good about themselves. They want a mate who praises them for what they’re good at, someone to instill in them the confidence they haven’t been able to create for themselves. But this is problematic; what happens if the relationship ends? The feeling of confidence their partner gave them fades. Individuals with a growth mindset have confidence in themselves on their own so they don’t need a partner to provide that for them. They appreciate a partner who challenges them and encourages them to explore new things. People with a fixed mindset also expect their relationship to be perfect from the get-go; disagreements seem like unfixable problems and can ultimately ruin a relationship prematurely. People with a growth mindset, though, recognize the imperfections in themselves and their partner but believe in the possibility of working though problems together. They know when a problem is big enough to end a relationship and when it’s something minor that will just take some compromise.
Because of how people with a fixed mindset view their abilities, they can be held back when it comes to success. Though they’re desperate for approval, they’re also unlikely to push beyond their perceived capabilities to reach the success they’re after. These individuals will listen to feedback on their existing abilities but will ignore information about how they can learn to improve their skills. They get stuck because they’re so afraid of failure that they’re unwilling to try to develop. But with a growth mindset, people are eager to find out how they can get better and will then work to improve themselves. As their abilities grow, so do their opportunities. They can identify where they need to change to achieve what they want and are then open to working on honing their skills. It ultimately makes them more likely to find success than those with a fixed mindset, whether it be in business, arts, athletics, or academics.
It’s easy to see, then, how your mindset can affect your overall happiness and satisfaction with life. A fixed mindset makes you feel limited to what you already have, and makes you feel dependent on others to make you feel good. It holds you back from success because you’re afraid of failure. A growth mindset allows you to believe in the potential for improvement and makes relationships feel a bit easier and success seem within reach. The growth mindset seems more likely to create happiness. So what can you do if you’ve got a fixed mindset?
Luckily, a fixed mindset isn’t itself fixed. Pay attention to how you think and choose to change your thoughts. At first it will feel awkward and you probably won’t believe the thoughts you choose, but you’ll slowly start to believe in the things you tell yourself and will eventually see from the perspective of a growth mindset more naturally.
Start by accepting that you are not perfect, but remind yourself that you can improve. You can be more athletic or knowledgeable. You can be a better cook or a better artist. Then push yourself to try, even if you’re still afraid you’ll fail. Change your perspective on failure and criticism, because they don’t really mean anything about your future or your worth; if you feel you’ve failed at something, see it simply as room for growth. That’s not a negative thing, just an acknowledgement that you can get better. And tell yourself that if you stick with it, you will get better.
But don’t get lost focusing on the end result, because that can leave you prone to feeling like you’ve failed if that’s something you’ve feared for a long time. Instead, focus on the process. Goals are good to have, but can be destructive if you place too much value on them and too little on the road toward them. Enjoy the experience of learning and of just taking part in something you’re interested in. While you’re in the midst of the journey and are feeling discourage, you might fall back into old thought patterns and start telling yourself that you’re “just not good at this.” If that happens, take a minute to correct your thinking. It can be done as simply adding the word “yet” to the end: “I’m just not good at this yet.” It’s a small change that can make the difference between you admitting defeat and you deciding to push forward despite facing a challenge.
Your mindset is powerful; it affects your life on many levels. In a fixed mindset, you’re likely to find yourself feeling limited, and in a growth mindset, you’re open to possibility. But you have the power to choose which you want to live with. If you’re unsatisfied with how you feel about yourself and your life and think you’d benefit from a change, you can change your mindset to one that believes in growth and put yourself in a better position to thrive.
The way you think heavily affects the way you feel and how you perceive the world around you. Your mindset can determine how well you handle difficult situations and overcome adversity. When your default thinking mode is pessimistic, you’re likely to interpret the things that happen to you more negatively and experience bad moods more frequently. But you can reduce the pessimism in your thinking and even remove some negative thoughts entirely through a number of different techniques.
It’s hard—and probably near impossible—to just decide you’re going to start thinking more positively and then do it when you normally think negatively, so small steps will be important for you. Start by just trying to become aware of your thoughts and identify when your thinking is pessimistic. Recognizing exactly where the problems lie is the first step toward fixing them. Louise Hay, and international best-selling self-help author, says: “If you want to clean a room thoroughly, you will pick up and examine everything in it. […] It’s the same thing when we clean our mental house.” Without finding the thoughts that are problematic for us, we can’t sort them out.
As you recognize negative thoughts come up, try labelling them as such. For example, if you’re working and get stuck with a problem, your first thought might be “I’m so stupid.” Catch yourself in the thought and say to yourself, “I’m having a thought that says I’m stupid.” The first statement sounds like fact, but the new one acknowledges that the first thought is only that—a thought. It’s puts it in perspective and changes an inherently negative statement into a neutral one. This opens up the possibility for a bigger change in thought and is a great place to start.
Questioning the negative thoughts is also a great early step, but can involve some deep contemplation, so be prepared to learn about yourself. When pessimism is your natural state, negative thoughts come up and go by without being stopped or considered; they’re just part of your view. By consciously noticing your thoughts as they come and giving them some consideration, you’re reaching beyond your conscious mind and into your subconscious where there’s stored information—ingrained beliefs—that have formed your worldview. Ask yourself if the thought is true and where it came from. When you think, “I can’t do this,” ask yourself “Why do I think I can’t? Is there some proof that I can’t? Did someone once tell me that I can’t? Why did I believe them?” These kinds of questions challenge your stored beliefs and start to put cracks in them. When you can break them down, your natural mindset can start changing toward one that’s more positive.
As you break old beliefs that cause you to think negatively, replace them with positive ones. Whenever something self-criticizing comes up, remember how you challenged that belief and then choose a thought that is more positive, like “I’m capable of doing whatever I need to do.” Even if it’s a bit exaggerated or seems over-confident, it’ll put you into an optimistic mindset and make you feel good about yourself, which is what you need to be doing in this process. If you have a thought about how much you’re dreading going to work, choose to think that work will be fine and you’ll get through the day successfully. Every time you switch out a negative thought for a positive one, you start to shift your thought process in a different direction and teach your mind to react in a different way. It begins forming a habit of thinking positively that drowns out negative thinking.
It sounds simple, and it kind of is; but it’s not easy. If you’ve been thinking negatively for a long time, it’s a pattern that your mind has become used to and has reaffirmed the validity of day after day. In order to overcome the negative thoughts so that you can form new, positive ones, it can be useful to use a variety of approaches to overcome the negative thoughts as you introduce new ones.
Most people who naturally have a negative mindset have a similarly negative view of themselves. Questioning the critical thoughts as they show up might reveal memories of where these kinds of thoughts started, but actually letting go and replacing them can be really difficult when you’ve come to believe your harsh opinions of yourself are true. Remind yourself frequently of this: no one is perfect, and everyone has flaws. Your flaws don’t change your worth as a person, though; they’re just a part of you and help make you unique. If you have flaws that really, truly bother you and you feel get in the way, know that you can change. But for many things that you feel bad about, other people probably don’t notice or just don’t care. You’re far more critical of yourself than anyone else is of you. Let go of the self-judgement, learn to accept the flaws you can’t change. Focus on finding what you do like about you and you’ll start to see yourself in a positive light.
Starting your morning on a high note can make it easier for you to chase out negative thoughts throughout the day. If negative thinking is what you’re used to, you might jump right into that frame of mind the second your alarm goes off; doing your best to begin your day by getting into a happy mood is not only beneficial in the moment, but from there your mind will be more cooperative as you work to switch your usual negative thoughts into more positive ones through the afternoon and evening. Switch your alarm to an upbeat song or plan to have a breakfast you love. There are lots of ways to wake up and slip right into a good mood. [For more ideas, check out our video about waking up early feeling good.] Find what works for you and it’ll help you along your journey of shrugging off negative thoughts.
Your external environment is significant when trying to change your internal environment, so do your best to create a positive space for yourself. A big part of this is the kind of people you surround yourself with; if you spend more time with people who are upbeat, optimistic, and generally cheerful, their behaviour and perspective can create a space that encourages the changes you want to make. Their persona rubs off on you; listening to them talk about the things they love and what they’re looking forward to will have you thinking about what you love and things you want to do. You start to adopt a similar mindset and the negative thoughts take a back seat.
Inevitably, you’ll hit bumps in the road throughout the course of your day. You may not be able to change what’s happening, but you can change how you see it. Recognize your negative thought about the situation and switch over to a new one. Actively look for something positive in the situation. For example, you might be upset when your friend cancels on you, and it’s okay to be let down as long as you don’t linger in that feeling for long. Move on from the disappointment and think about how you now have some free time to relax on your own or to get through some tasks you’ve been putting off but would like to finish. Change your thoughts as you have them and you’ll soon be able to let go of the negativity more quickly and find the silver lining on just about anything.
And remember to keep things in perspective. Let’s say you’re headed to school and you miss the bus; negative thoughts can pop up, like “I’m going to be in so much trouble” or “it’s only early and my day is already ruined.” But how bad is the situation really? People with pessimistic mindsets are more likely to make mountains out of molehills. Sure, you might be late, but if you explain that you missed the bus and apologize, it’ll probably be okay. And your day isn’t actually ruined; it had a rocky start, but the rest of the day is unwritten and there’s time left for it to pick up. Chase out the negative thoughts with reason; catastrophic negative thoughts are rarely accurate, so take a deep breath and try to think about the situation realistically.
Negative thoughts don’t disappear overnight; it took time for you to get stuck in a pessimistic mindset and it’ll take time for you to form an optimistic one. With some practice, you can re-train your brain so that the negative perspective you’re used to is diminished and some of the specific negative thoughts that plague you are out of your head. Just take it one day at a time and stick with it.
Even the most talented of creators get hit with blocks now and then. So what can you do to get back on track? Everyone has their own way to deal with it, and no one way is better than any other. It’s all about what works for you to get the ideas flowing again.
A block doesn’t necessarily mean you have no ideas at all. You probably do have some ideas coming through, they’re just not fully developed and you’re having trouble fleshing them out or you’re not satisfied with the kinds of things you’re thinking of. If this is the case, try writing out every idea that comes up on a single page. It can be an organized list or in a more abstract pattern that shows how things connect, depending on how you prefer to work. Don’t discriminate—include absolutely everything, even things you don’t think you’d ever pursue. You never know what ideas those things might lead you toward. Seeing everything laid out can help your mind make new associations and bring up fresh thoughts. It’s a simple exercise that can yield great results.
But including everything doesn’t mean you should consider every idea to pursue. It’s tempting to linger on ideas when they’re sparse, but it’s counter-productive. You want to keep moving forward. Keep looking, keep digging, keep bringing up new fragments of ideas, and if there’s something you don’t like, leave it alone. Don’t force it to work, because staying on that one idea that you’re frustrated with could be holding you back from thinking of something you really do like.
If your conscious mind isn’t producing ideas, try searching for them in an altered state. Note that that’s not a suggestion to get drunk or use drugs. It’s a suggestion to get into a natural state that allows you to access your subconscious more easily. Meditation can open your eyes to thoughts lurking below the surface and ideas you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Brainstorming in the hazy headspace between waking and sleeping is another option. Simply search your mind for ideas as you’re falling asleep and, if you come up with something that you think might work for you, write it down. To make it less disruptive to your night, keep a notepad next to your bed or a note app on your phone so you can quickly jot the thought down and go right back to falling asleep.
During times when you’re feeling blocked, it’s a good idea to always keep a notebook and pen or pencil with you, even just small ones tucked into your bag or one of your pockets. A creative slump can make ideas that do come through extremely valuable so you’ll want to record them as they come—and you never know when that might happen. That way, you’ll have them ready to explore further later or, if you have time, you can develop the concept wherever you are right then.
Habits can cause us to get stuck, and staying with your usual medium while you’re in a block is unlikely to help you break it. If you’re stuck for ideas and have been sketching endlessly with a pencil, switch to paint or pastels for a while. If you’ve been playing guitar but can play other instruments, switch to one of them. Each medium is different to work with, either in a small way or significantly, and the change can help you to see things a new way and this opens the door to new ideas.
When exploring your own thoughts in different ways isn’t producing results, look outside of yourself for inspiration. Take a look at other people’s work, whether it’s paintings, fashion design, music, or any other type of creation. A particular shape, phrase, or harmonic sequence in their work can bring out new ideas in your own mind and from there you can build the concept independently. It’s something that many people do when they’re blocked, and it can be really helpful to get your thoughts moving; but be careful that your result is original and not a knock off of someone else’s piece. Finding inspiration from another’s creation is great, but plagiarism is never acceptable. If your work starts to look or sound familiar, take some time to come up with more ideas so you can revise your work and make it truly unique.
A change in your environment can spark inspiration too. Having a designated workspace can help you stay focused and organized when you’ve got projects to finish. However, being in the same space all the time can be stifling to your creativity and probably won’t help during a creative block. Take your work to another room or, if you can, to a café, a library, or a park. New surroundings could inspire you in a way your usual space doesn’t.
Inspiration can be found anywhere if you look for it. Other people’s creations and pleasant spaces are obvious places to look, but far from the only options. Try looking in places that you actually don’t expect to find inspiration—you might just find it there. Go for a walk through your home, school, or neighbourhood with the goal of being more actively observant. Look at the ceiling and see how the beams cross or find patterns in the stucco. Look at litter on the ground and notice the way it’s disintegrating and what kinds of insects are crawling nearby. Inspiration isn’t only found in things that are typically considered aesthetically pleasing. This exercise challenges you to look at things differently and, even if you don’t like what you’re looking at, the change in perspective can produce fresh ideas that you do like.
Personal project allow you more freedom since you don’t have to please a client, and when that’s the case, just finishing something can help push you through your block. Anything at all. It doesn’t have to be something you feel great about, because just taking part in your craft can get you into the creative mode, get your mind working, and get you back into a more imaginative state. It may sound like a waste of time to make something you don’t care about, but if it helps you through a block, it’s still a productive endeavor. And, besides, you might surprise yourself and wind up liking it.
On the other hand, sometimes a break is the best thing. If you’re pushing yourself to come up with an idea and you’re getting frustrated, you could benefit from stepping away for a while. That can mean an hour, a day, or even longer if you feel you need it and don’t have a deadline in place. Leave your brainstorming or project alone, clear your head, and come back to it ready to start fresh. It gives you a chance to let go of the stress of not being able to come up with an idea so you can approach it feeling relaxed, which can allow new ideas to come through.
While a creative block can seem to come out of nowhere, some of them are the result of an unrelated problem that’s impacting your general wellbeing. How have you been feeling lately? Having a problem in your personal life or being stressed out from work or school can cause an emotional slump that throws your usually active imagination out of whack. Negative emotions can sometimes be channeled into your work, but they have just as much potential to disrupt your thoughts. If there’s bothering you, take some time to address the issue, to relax and sort out your feelings. When you’re feeling better, you’ll be in a better place to conjure up some brilliant ideas.
You may also be experiencing emotional problems relating your art that are getting in your way. One of the most interruptive feelings is self-doubt. In this kind of block, you may be having ideas but are putting up a wall by deciding your ideas or your work isn’t good enough. It’s common for creative individuals to be critical of their own work, and that can be constructive; identifying what you like and don’t like about each completed project and making plan for how you can improve next time helps you develop. But if you let your self-criticism get too harsh, it’ll only hold you back. You might stop creating entirely for a while. Remember to be kind to yourself, and that if there’s something you feel you’re not good at you can always get better—but only if you practice. Start with some small sketches or writing a few lines. Go into it without the expectation of it being great right off the bat. As you get back into the swing of things, you’re likely to start feeling more comfortable and will soon be more optimistic about your work again.
Don’t feel discouraged when you’re in the midst of a creative block—it happens to even the most talented creators. Try some of the exercises we’ve covered here to help get your imagination in action and trust that you’ll get through it. It might take a bit of time, but as long as you’re working to break through your block, you’ll manage just fine.
A bad mood can really wreck your whole day if you can’t shake it. Addressing it soon after it starts is the best way to get your day back on track, and there are plenty of ways to do that. The tips in this video are meant to help you move out of a bad mood and into a good mood quickly; it’s meant to address moods that are related to short-term problems. If you’re struggling with mental illness that can produce longer periods of anxiety or depression, these ideas might help you feel a bit better in the moment but aren’t meant to treat the condition. But if you’re just in a bit of a funk, these ideas are great to get you feeling good again.
The easiest way to get out of a bad mood involves first figuring out what got you into it. People are emotional creatures and there are countless things that could spark the feelings that start a bad mood. Are you dreading a certain task? Feeling guilty? Not liking how you look today? If something is bothering you, it’s probably standing out in your mind and should be easy to identify.
Once you’ve found what’s upsetting you, think about how you can address it directly. If you’re miserable about the things you have to do that day, make a plan to complete the tasks so your mind can at least stop nagging at you. If you’re feeling guilty about something you did, find a way to make up for it so you can let go of the feeling. If you don’t like how you look that day, wear your favourite outfit or take an extra few minutes to do something you like with your hair. For whatever problem is causing your mood, there’s an action you can take to relieve it, at least a bit. Any step you can take will either break the bad mood or be enough to lighten it so you’re closer to getting through it.
For times when trying to resolve the issue directly isn’t enough to fully lift the mood or you’re just feeling a bit off and can’t find a reason, you can take action in a way that is intended to generally improve moods. Finding an option that works can be pretty personal—only you know what makes you smile and what will make you feel worse. But there are some things that are proven to help induce a good mood, and fast, that are worth a shot when you’re feeling low.
Try distracting yourself with an uplifting activity like writing a short list of things you’re grateful for. When you’re busy thinking about the things you appreciate, you’re taking focus away from the bad mood you’re in. They can be big, significant things or small and somewhat silly things. Thinking of silly things you’re thankful for can actually help bring in the good mood you’re after more since the thought of them might be funny. You’re bound to smile thinking about how thankful you are for your dog’s squished face, for example. This exercise shifts your focus to positive things and that can influence your mood for the better really fast.
If you’ve got a pet, take a few minutes to snuggle up with your animal friend. Studies show that spending time with pets, especially dogs, can improve your sense of wellbeing in general as well as reduce stress and lower your level of anxiety. There’s something about being around a familiar animal that changes your mood for the better. Also, the affection felt—either given, received, or both—while cuddling with your pet is sure to release endorphins and get you feeling good.
Have you ever heard of colour psychology? It examines the effects that colours have on people’s behaviours, emotions, and perceptions. Most people recognize blue as being calming, but might not realize that red and yellow are known to stimulate appetite or that green is mood-boosting. In this situation, you can take advantage of green’s influence to get yourself feeling happier on a bad day. Whether you choose to have a lush green salad for lunch, wear a green sweater to work, or get cozy with a green blanket, having the colour in your view for a while can boost your mood. It’s thought that our minds associate the colour green with nature, which tends to be calming and refreshing. If you can go for a walk in an area with lots of trees, that’s even better. But anything green will help lift your mood.
Speaking of nature, you don’t have to leave your home to reap the benefits that nature can have on your mood; having flowers around can affect us in a number of surprising ways. A research study from Harvard determined that positive moods, like happiness, tend to come later in the day but that looking at flowers can have you feeling good, even first thing in the morning. The researchers recommended having a full, colourful bunch of flowers in the kitchen, since it’s somewhere that most people frequent in the morning; however, if you plan to take advantage of this trick at other times of day, you can place them other places in your home or even have a small plant at your desk at work. Along with having an immediate effect on happiness, looking at flowers was also found to ease stress and improve overall satisfaction with life.
Sometimes a positive change in your environment is enough to make a positive change in how you’re feeling. Taking a few minutes to organize your space helps clear up your mood in a couple of ways: the activity can be a short distraction from your negative thoughts; the accomplishment of something that has immediate results can make you feel good; and being in a tidier space can feel like a breath of fresh air if you’ve been surrounded by clutter for a while. And you don’t have to commit to a major clean to feel the effects; just straightening up the stationary at your work desk or the books and coasters scattered across your coffee table will make an impact. Some people thrive in chaos, but for most of us, bringing order to the surrounding area is great for a quick and easy mood boost.
A change in routine can also be great for busting a bad mood. Introducing something new into your day when you’re feeling off can feel special or a bit exciting and be just the thing to push you toward a good mood. This is another tip that can sound like it involves something major, but it doesn’t have to. It can be great to try a new activity to alter your routine and your mood, like going for a walk in a park you’ve never been to or going to a new class at the gym, but if you’re a student or have a job, your day might be too busy for you to drop everything for a couple of hours when a bad mood hits. In that case, just make a small change: order a coffee or tea you’ve never had before instead of your usual, take a more scenic route to get to work and admire the area, or choose a different seat than you’re used to in class. It’ll stimulate your brain by getting you to pay more attention to the experience, distracting you from your bad mood and letting a good one take its place.
The phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” isn’t always great advice, but there’s something to it when it comes to changing your mood. We all know that when we’re happy, our facial expression lightens and we smile to reflect that feeling; the “facial feedback hypothesis” suggests that it works in reverse, too. The idea is that putting on a smile, even if you don’t really feel like smiling, can cause a happier mood to follow. It’s not about putting on a fake face to fool other people into thinking you’re feeling fine; it’s about tricking yourself into actually feeling good by putting on a smile that might be fake at first. It’s so easy to do, it’s at least worth a try if you’re feeling down.
There are endless options when it comes to cheering yourself up; along with the ideas covered here, basic things like listening to uplifting music, watching funny videos, or venting to a friend are all great ways to break a bad mood and most of us have used them with success in the past. If one method isn’t quite doing the trick, try another. You’ve got plenty of options in front of you, and if you approach them with a sincere desire to improve your mood, you’re sure to shift out of your funk and into a happier state in just a short while.
Assertiveness is about being confident and authoritative. Assertive people stand up for themselves and communicate what they want effectively while still being considerate of other people’s feelings. It sounds like a personality trait, and it can be; but it’s also a skill that can be developed and used to help you succeed. There are plenty of books and seminars available to help those who aren’t naturally confident to strengthen their ability to be assertive, but they all teach essentially the same basic tips and we’ll cover some of them here.
As you work on developing your assertiveness, keep this in mind: always be respectful. Some people confuse being assertive with being aggressive, but it’s not quite the same. Being aggressive usually means you’re being as forceful as necessary to get what you want, regardless of how it affects other people. Assertiveness on the other hand is about voicing your needs, thoughts, and feelings in order to get what you want but not at the expense of someone else. It’s not about power over others; it’s about getting what you want while using respectful behaviour. If you’re feeling angry, consider what you want to get across before you speak, and if it sounds harsh, take a little while to think of a more tactful way to get your point across. Because, again, assertiveness is not about aggression.
When you decide it’s time to make a change, the first thing you should do is assess your natural behaviour. Once you know what your current level of assertiveness is like, you can decide what kinds of changes you want to make and how much you want to change. Do you often hold back you opinions? Do you hope for a raise but never ask for one? Do you let people pile tasks on you and find it hard to say no? Find the areas you’d like to improve and focus on one thing at a time, re-evaluating as you go to see how you’re developing.
The second priority is to work on your confidence and to recognize your value. This step isn’t part of the act of being assertive, but it will make it easier for you to feel comfortable with your assertiveness. If you’ve got low self-esteem or low confidence, you might avoid standing up for yourself and that will be a problem here. So work on your confidence; find a way to feel good about yourself and know that you deserve to be treated with respect, always. Your needs, opinions, and feelings are just as important as anyone else’s. Try to observe your own behaviour; see how often you hold back because of a lack of confidence or how often to apologize unnecessarily. As you begin to acknowledge your self-worth, you’ll start to feel deserving of respect and won’t allow people to mistreat you. But remember: the idea is to recognize your value and the legitimacy of your feelings and opinions, not to feel more valuable than others. That kind of perspective can take you from assertiveness into aggressiveness.
For being assertive at work, building up your relationships with colleagues can be incredibly helpful. Many people are hesitant to express themselves to co-workers who are more-or-less strangers. Getting to know the people you work with can help you be assertive in two ways: first, it can make you feel more comfortable with being assertive with them because you know them better. Second, it can improve how they perceive your assertiveness. Having relationships with your colleagues will make them more receptive to your opinions and requests because they’ve had the chance to laugh and be friendly with you. Instead of often seeing the assertive you as work and viewing you as demanding or pushy, they recognize that you’re a likeable person who can speak out when necessary. So go to work functions with them or for drinks after work and create a good environment for you to be assertive in.
When a problem comes up with someone, whether at work or in your personal life, it’s the perfect time to assert yourself. Step forward and confront the person you’re having trouble with but avoid being accusatory. This is hugely important. Approaching a problem with someone by telling them how you think they’re acting is the perfect way to aggravate the issue. Instead, describe the situation objectively and say what you would like to change. Then, you can be subjective when it comes to telling them how you feel. For example, if your friend has bailed on plans with you last minute a few times in a row lately, don’t tell them that they’re being a jerk—that’s your perception. Summarize the situation factually; tell them you’d like them to give you more notice if they absolutely have to cancel. Then tell them how you feel, whether it’s mistreated or angry or upset. This way, you’re being honest about the problem and describing your point of view without accusing them of anything that might be inaccurate. Being assertive allows you to put your feelings on the table and ask for what you want, but does not involve attacking the other person’s actions or words, even if you feel angry.
You may find that one obstacle in the way of you being as assertive as you’d like to be is the fear of how someone else will react to your actions. You might worry that the other person will get upset or angry. But guess what—you aren’t responsible for their reactions. You’re only responsible for your own actions. Being intentionally hurtful to gain the upper hand isn’t acceptable, and isn’t assertiveness; but if you are acting assertively and not infringing on anyone else’s needs, you’re free to speak and act as you want. How the other people react is on them, so don’t let the fear of how they’ll feel stop you from standing up for yourself. Learning and accepting this fact makes being assertive so much easier.
Keep an eye on your development as you work on this skill. You might be a little under-assertive or a little overly assertive as you’re figuring out where the sweet spot is. It’s all about balance: you want to be assertive enough to be heard but not so forceful that you’re abrasive. Choose your words and your tone carefully when you speak, and act with consideration; it’ll help you find the right amount of push to use. It’s not always about the level of assertiveness though—sometimes it’s about frequency. If you’re constantly voicing your thoughts and needs, it can become a bit much, even when done with the right level of assertiveness. Know the difference between times when it’s really important to you to speak out and times when you can let it go and still be content.
Also be aware that assertiveness isn’t the ideal technique to use in every situation. It can go a long way toward helping you be heard and getting you want you’re after in a lot of situations, especially when it comes to business. There are other times, though, when it isn’t going to be as effective as a more persuasive approach. Where assertiveness is a matter of pushing from your side, persuasiveness is more focused in getting the other person to open up from their side. Look at it this way: when you want to stand up for yourself, assertiveness is the way to go; if the goal is to come to an agreement, persuasion is more likely the path to take. Both options are extremely useful, but knowing which one to use in what situation is key.
And it has to be mentioned that, unfortunately, navigating assertiveness can be more difficult for women than for men, and it has nothing to do with ability. Avivah Wittenburg-Cox, the CEO of one of the top gender consulting firms in the world, warns that women who are assertive are more likely to be viewed as aggressive than men who exhibit the same behaviour. If you’re a woman, being assertive could cause people you work with to view you in a negative light, and this might be something you want to keep in mind. However, as mentioned earlier, when you’re being respectfully assertive, the way people react to you is not your responsibility—you have the right to speak and act as you like. But be aware that this is a known possibility, and do with that knowledge what you will.
By now, you can probably see why assertiveness is so important: it prevents people from taking advantage of you, can earn the respect of others, and can help you get further at work. Assertive people are known to be more successful in their careers and happier in their relationships because they go after what they want and they don’t accept being mistreated. If you feel frustrated with your work life or the way your friends and family have been treating you, consider working on your assertiveness and get ready to see how much it can change your world.
Memory is kind of funny; some things seem cemented in right away and others, even if you want to remember them, just don’t stick. And as we get older, it’s often harder to remember things than it was in younger years, whether they were memories you made decades prior or just the week before. Because memory is so significant in our lives, it’s been a popular subject for researchers and, thankfully, they’ve discovered all kinds of things that can help improve your memory.
There are two main ways that people usually want to improve their memory: being able to better remember specific things now and keeping the memory functioning generally well. Depending on what your goal is, there are different things you can do to attain it.
When you’ve got an upcoming test, a presentation, or something else where you need to be able to recall specific pieces of information, your goal is memorizing that info and being able to recall it on the spot. In this case, you can focus on using some key tricks while you’re working on memorizing the material that will make it easier for your brain to bring it back up.
Scents can be taken advantage of when memorizing information. Have you ever smelled something and had it bring up a vivid memory of another time that involved that same scent? It’s because scents are processed by a part of the brain called the olfactory bulb which is connected to parts that are responsible for emotion and memory. It’s the only one of the five basic senses that sends information by this part of the brain which is why it tends to have a greater effect on memory than the others. The information and scent become associated in the brain, so when you’re exposed to the scent, it can bring up the information. While you’re studying, try having a bit of perfume or essential oil nearby that you can smell periodically. Then in the test or during the presentation, having that scent somewhere you can access easily can help make the memorized information easier to recall.
Another option is chewing gum. No one is sure exactly why this one works, but it does. There are two main theories: the first is that chewing increases blood flow to the area and improves brain activity. The other theory is that it works through association, similar to scent. If you chew gum while you learn the information, chewing gum when you need to remember it will help you do so. It’s a simple trick, but it can help get your mind working to bring up the info you need.
If you’re right-handed, you can try squeezing your fists to help you remember things. The technique revolves around the act of forming your hand into a fist and clenching tightly. When you’re trying to store information, like while you’re studying or practicing a speech, you clench your right fist for 90 seconds right before reviewing the material. Then, when you’re in a situation where you want to remember what you’ve learned, clench your left fist to help access the stored information. This technique was proven to be effective in a research study from Montclair State University. The scientists believe that by clenching your right fist, you activate the part of the brain responsible for encoding information, and that clenching your left activates the part responsible to retrieving it. The study only included right-handed individuals but evidence suggests that the opposite may work for left-handed people, though it hasn’t been confirmed.
Singing the information you want to remember to a tune is another trick to try. Have you ever tried to memorize a paragraph but had a hard time remembering the words, even after seemingly countless repetitions? How about song lyrics? You probably know the lyrics for dozens of songs. For some reason, it’s easier for us to remember words when they’re set to music than when they’re on their own. This is a great way to learn facts. Write them out in a way that fits with a song you already know and sing it to yourself until it starts to stick. It’s a bit of work to get it laid out, but it’ll make the information easier to memorize and help you retrieve it more easily when you need it.
If you don’t have the time to make a song and sing it to yourself, try talking to yourself instead. Typically when we’re trying to learn information, we’re exposed to it by reading notes or watching a video or listening to a recording—it comes to us from an external source. When you speak the information, you’re filtering it through you, and it offers your brain another way to absorb it. Speaking the information yourself has been shown to improve the accuracy of your memory by up to 10%. One benefit of this method is that it can be used not only while studying, but also in the moment you’re exposed to new information. For example, use it in social situations to help you remember someone’s name. When the two of you are introduced or before you part ways, saying something as simple as, “Nice to meet you,” and including their name can help it stick in your mind. For people who consider themselves bad with names, this is a trick to remember.
So now you’ve got a few ideas for how to better remember bits of information, but what if you want to work on your memory’s ability in general so it can be improved now and preserved over the years to come? That requires habits that are repeated over time rather than small tricks to use in specific situations.
One contributor to memory deterioration is stress. It can interfere with all three stages of memory processing: encoding new information into a short-term memory, consolidating that into a long-term memory, and recalling the memory later on. If any part of the process is hindered, you’ll have trouble with remembering things you’ve heard, seen, or experienced either because the brain couldn’t store the memory or because it can’t access it. For the sake of your memory and your overall health, make stress reduction a priority—take a bath, do yoga, get a massage, or do something else that relaxes you when you’re feeling stressed out.
Meditation is a good option for relaxation, and is also an activity known to improve memory function. As people age, it’s not uncommon for parts of the brain to suffer some loss of volume; but in meditators, especially those who’ve been meditating regularly for many years, the brain is often found to be well-preserved. One study found that mindfulness meditation can change the structure of the brain after just eight weeks, increasing the cortical thickness of the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Another study found that meditating for 20 minutes, four times per day can increase cognition from 15% up to 50%. While that’s big commitment, even just one 20 minute meditation session most days of the week can offer some positive effects. The memory benefits of meditation are well-documented, so it’s a good option to consider if you want to secure your memory function.
Exercise benefits almost every part of the body and the brain is no exception. For some time it’s been known that exercise is helpful for memory but it’s only recently that scientists learned that it’s because aerobic activities encourage the growth of fresh grey matter. It may be due to increased blood flow, stress reduction, or the hormones released during exercise. In any case, exercising regularly is great for keeping your brain—and your body—in shape.
Stimulating your brain through puzzle games like sudoku or crosswords will also help with your memory. This is another one where the exact reason why it works isn’t known, but it’s believed that the way these types of games activate synapses in parts all over the brain helps delay a decline in function. If you’re not into those type of games, video games can be beneficial as well. This specifically applies to game where you move in three dimensions as opposed to 2D ones, like side-scrollers or top-down games that are common for older systems. A study was conducted where participants were asked to play Super Mario 64 for half an hour every day for two months. By the end of the study, participants saw an increase in volume in a few different parts of their brains, especially in those parts used for strategic planning, muscle control, spatial navigation, and memory formation. Games are an easy way to keep your mind and memory sharp while having fun.
Memory function is important for our quality of life. Forgetting facts for a test can be frustrating in the short-term, but frequently forgetting things like where you put the keys or when an appointment is can make life difficult every day. Taking advantage of proven memory-improving tips can help you remember what you need to remember and keep your brain in great working order as you age.
Not all friendships are built the same; there are perfectly compatible best friends, constantly clashing frenemies, and every variation in between. Part of what determines the kind of friendships you have is what kind of friend you are. To form strong, lasting friendships, being a good friend is key. With a little effort, you can learn to be the kind of friend that people want to have.
But being a good friend isn’t the only thing that decides the state of your friendship; the kind of people you’re friends with is important too. After all, not every person is compatible with every other person. We’re all different. Having friends that are similar to you makes it easier to build meaningful friendships. It’s not mandatory, but we tend to mesh better with people who have the same views, interests, and personality traits as us. People who aren’t very similar to you but who are generally positive and supportive are also good candidates for building strong friendships with. People who are negative and regularly treat you in ways that bring you down aren’t ones you want to put a lot of energy into. It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to have valuable relationships with them and spending more time on them could be detrimental to your wellbeing, so let them go and focus on the people who bring joy into your life.
In order to build a friendship, it’s important to be yourself. It’s good life advice in general and so important in any kind of relationship. If you aren’t being yourself, you form a barrier between you and your friend instead of letting them in so you can really bond. We can often tell when someone is being fake; sometimes they give off an insincere vibe or just seem generally awkward in the persona they’re trying to present. It’s hard to make friends with that kind of person. So be yourself. Be open about what you like and what you think and you’re bound to find people who feel the same way and would make great friends.
Once you’ve got a person in your life that you see potentially having a great friendship with, it’s time to put in the effort needed to build up that relationship. Start behaving like a good friend and you’re likely to find that that person will be a good friend to you too. A good place to begin is being attentive in conversations since, chances are, conversation is going to be a big part of forming that initial bond between you. And if you’ve been friends for a while, it’s still important to do if you want to strengthen and maintain your friendship. Pay attention to what your friend is saying and absorb the information before responding. Ask questions that help clarify their perspective and then summarize what they’ve said when you’re giving your thoughts on the topic. They’ll recognize that you’ve cared enough to really hear them. When they feel appreciated, they’ll appreciate you back and your friendship will deepen.
As you’re chatting, you’ll probably feel like sharing your view. That’s great and part of what keeps a conversation going. However, when it comes to giving advice, keep it to a minimum. If your friend asks you for advice, it’s a perfect time to make suggestions on how to deal with their problem or what decision to make; but if they’re talking about a problem and haven’t asked you what you think they should do, they probably just want to vent. Stepping in to offer advice too often makes you come off as a know-it-all or overly opinionated about their life. Simply listening to your friend and offering your support can mean the world to them and help them to see you as someone they can rely on. They come to feel accepted by you and will value you deeply as their friend.
On that note, accept your friends for who they are. When they open up to you, don’t judge them; when you give them advice, don’t be trying to change them. Despite how much you may have in common, you’ll probably disagree on at least a couple subjects and have some differences between you. That’s natural—we’re all individuals and are all different. But to have a strong, long-lasting friendship, you have to be willing to accept those differences and respect your friend for who they are and how they feel. If the disagreement is something big, something that is really significant to you and bothers you, it’s okay to let the friendship dissolve and to move on. It’s not okay to try to change the other person to fit your preferences. Solid relationships require respect and acceptance. Without them, there will always be a gap between you.
If you choose to stay friends, it’s surely because you like a lot of things about them—so compliment them! Not constantly, since that can become a bit overwhelming and border on creepy, but occasional compliments can make your friend feel really good about themselves and feel appreciated by you. If your friend looks particularly nice one day, if they’ve done some good work, or if there’s something about them that you admire, pay them a compliment. Be the kind of friend who is uplifting, helps build their confidence, and makes them smile and they’ll enjoy being around you and appreciate the positivity you offer to them. It’s the kind of behaviour that adds to the strength of your friendship and makes it more likely to last.
Making time for your friends is another way to show that you appreciate them. Spending time together is obviously enjoyable, and when you can talk and laugh together it builds your bond. But when you move out of high school and into adulthood, into separate colleges or jobs, it can be a lot harder to find time to see each other. When your lives become busy, deliberately scheduling time to get together is not only a chance to catch up with each other but shows that you’re committed to the friendship. You’ve shifted your schedule or found a couple of free hours between meetings and proven that your friend is a priority in your life. This makes them feel important, and that’s something we all like to feel. If you move far apart or are in a period that is just too hectic to meet up, try sending a quick text to let them know you miss them or squeeze in a short Skype call. Putting in the effort can make the difference between a lasting friendship and one that fizzles out.
When you do get together it’s always nice to indulge in activities you both enjoy, but trying new things together is a great way to strengthen your bond even more. Doing something for the first time tends to form a memory that stands out more than doing something you’ve done dozens of times before. Including your friend in the new activity makes them part of that significant memory, part of something that sticks out in your mind. Doing something thrilling for the first time, like going on amusement park rides or skydiving, not only has this benefit, but also offers a situation where you bond through supporting one another. Take going on a new rollercoaster for example: while you’re waiting for it to start moving, you’re sitting there together, laughing about how excited and scared you are, but ready to do it because your friend is there to experience it with you, which gives your mind the impression that they’re a good support. Meanwhile, the thrill of this new experience is beginning to store in your brain as a memory—and your friend is a key part of it. Being a part of each other’s memories solidifies your friendship in your mind.
Though most of your friendship should be enjoyable, it’s not uncommon for friends to butt heads and wind up in an argument now and then. If it happens, apologize. No one wins by holding a grudge—you hurt your friendship and you probably feel miserable. If you know you’ve said something or acted in a way that was inappropriate or hurtful, swallow your pride and apologize. It shows that you appreciate your friend enough to admit that you were wrong and that you’re sorry for what happened. Even if you feel you were right and your friend was wrong, stepping up and apologizing can be the break in the tension that leads them to apologize too. If you want to mend your friendship and have it last for years to come, saying you’re sorry when you’ve messed up is an important, if difficult, thing to do.
Ultimately, being a good friend is about being positive, supportive, and accepting. Be the kind of friend you want to have because it’s probably what your friend is looking for too. And when you offer that kind of friendship, it’s likely to be returned to you. Being a good friend goes a long way toward maintaining the relationship, and being willing to put in the work to stay connected will do the rest. It can take some effort to get them, but having great friendships can make life more fun and a little easier.
Hey guys! In this article I’m going to be talking about 7 signs that successful people have. This means you can look into yourself to see if you have these qualities, and predict, to an extent, if you may be like them, or look to your friends, to see if they might be successful. All of these are in your control to at least some form, which means you can also take these traits and grow them, constantly work on them, to increase your comparative advantage to be more successful.
Successful people are usually highly competitive. In many ways too. They are competitive when selling a product, when advertising, when offering the cheapest price, when reaching goals, but it all comes down to competitively offering the most value. Take a look at some of the largest brands out there, they all have competition, and without their CEO’s being super competitive, they would not have succeeded. Now, it is important to be competitive in two areas, the first, obviously is other brands, businesses and people in your market that are trying to steal your customers.
This happens all the time, but what distinguishes massively successful people from the rest, is the fact that they are competitive against previous version of themselves. They are always bettering themselves in many ways, and we will talk about that in a future step. So having a competitive nature is a great trait of someone successful.
Obsessive. So when most people think of obsessive behaviour, a negative connotation is correlated with it, I actually made a whole video about that. But, think more like very focused, driven, and dedicated. You can’t have a multimillion dollar business without being obsessed about the product, your employees, your customers, and most importantly your vision. This trait ties in with the first one, to be competitive, always tracking your competition, being obsessively tracking your own growth and always knowing where you are. Psychologically, being obsessive means you’re always thinking about it, adapting it, changing it to be better.
There are many ways to learn, but successful people never stop learning. When they stop learning, they stop being successful. You just have to stay ahead of the curve, reading new books, going to seminars and conferences if that’s your thing, talking to the most successful people in your industry, testing, learning, experimenting. Warren Buffett, who’s net worth is over 60 Billion reads at least 5 hours a day, every day. Most people don’t even pick up a book after graduating and getting a 9-5 job. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.
Just like Obsessive behavior tied in with competitiveness, thinking ties in with learning. Successful people, especially entreprenuers, are always thinking. Thinking of how can I do this better, how can I reduce the cost of this, Has something like that ever been done before? The cool thing about it is, the more you learn, the more you can think about, the more you can experiment, the more you will increase your chances (combined with hard work) to become even more successful.
Napoleon Hill stated this in his “Think and Grow Rich”book; having more ideas and learning more will produce more and more ideas, like, imagine the ideas in your head are people, if you have two people in a community, you don’t want their children having children with each other. Introduce them to more ideas, so they can have healthier and even more children. That was a weird analogy, but really if you’re in a rut, start doing something to learn more so you can think more and your brain will grow new ideas and solving problems all by itself.
I know a lot of people struggle with this one, but ending things is a great predictor of who is going to be successful later in life. If you have ever started a puzzle, but never finished it, it’s like starting a business and not continuing to work on it. There are many people who are like this, and we need them, but there will always be someone more successful than them.
We need starters, people who have ideas, people who invent, people who create new things and fail, but those who stick with it, and continue to grind when things get hard, those are the ones who will make it big, be remembered, and stay in history forever.
For example, no joke, I counted and I created 98 videos before one big video took off in the recommended algorithm on this channel. That’s why being passionate about something on Youtube is insanely important to your paycheck. How many channels are people going to start, and quit after 20 videos? After 50 videos? The same with other markets, selling clothes, selling electronics, starting a retail business… someone is going to stick with it longer, learn more, think more, be more competitive and squish their competition who didn’t do those things. So, this tip could be summarized into being persistent.
I really like this tip, but a lot of people struggle with it, specifically because it involves meeting new people and maintaining a relationship. It also involves cutting out toxic people, and most of the time the most toxic people are those you’re closest too. I’m going to be working on some psychological tips and more videos on ways to find and meet people who are smarter, earn more, or are generally more successful than you think you are currently, but if you’re not spending at least a ⅓ of your time around people who are doing better than you, you’re draining yourself and throwing a lot of growth and potential success away.
A lot of motivation, inspiration and work ethic problems could really be solved with changing the people you hang out with most often. That is super important, and I’m going to make a video on the psychological aspect and benefits of spending your time around people who are in a better position than you are in, so hit that bell to be prepared! Spending time around these people will also help you with learning more and thinking more too. Increase the quality of the people in your circle to increase your success.
Now, some people like to surround themselves with people in a way that they will always feel the most successful, by surrounding yourself with unsuccessful people, you’ll stand out and feel bigger, but you won’t continue to grow. Getting rid of your ego and spending time around people who are better than you will make you better.
This tip comes into play not only in business, but in life in general. You’ll be happier, have more energy, and make better decisions. Everyone knows what optimism is, but let’s discuss realistic optimism. You’re not going to be happy or a millionaire if you’re complaining about how the stocks are super low, nobody will buy your product, how your competition will always be better than you. However, you can’t go too far the other way either, don’t pay $50,000 for a product you haven’t tested, you have to be realistic about it, just because you have an awesome idea that came from your heart, and your mom support you 110%, doesn’t mean people are going to buy your solar-powered, eco-friendly toothbrush, Rick. Optimism does great things for your mental health, and actually your physical health. A study, I read in “Learned Optimism” by Martin Seligman, showed that optimism could actually reduce your chance for cancer, but the same book also said most optimistic people had a deluded perception of the world, which is why you have to be realistically optimistic.
SO, the seven things, be on the lookout for these qualities in yourself, in your friends, and work everyday on developing these traits, because I believe, and psychology proves you can improve some of these. You can become more optimistic, you can spend more time around higher quality friends, you can pick up a book for 30 minutes a day, and these will set you apart from the crowd, from those who will continue to complain about how unsuccessful they are and those who will sit in a chair in 70 years wishing they had another chance.