I’ve racked my brain for years on how to cause life to happen, as opposed to just letting it unfold. My results have varied, all the way from run-of-the-mill fulfillment to complete emotional turmoil. However, in recent past, I’ve come across a few critical distinctions to salvaging precious energy while making life work—most notably with the people in it.
If you look at the human condition, we weren’t trained to care for others. With the primary function of the brain set in survival mode, it’s not natural for us to be around others. Yet, it’s essentially impossible to live a fulfilling life on one’s own.
As I’ve gone through the trials and tribulations of friendships, relationships and business partnerships, there are several scenarios that pop up consistently. Human nature is to handle it a certain way, yet it often translates to feeling stuck in the interaction or relationship.
Here are three common communication pitfalls that by avoiding, can save you copious amounts of energy to direct towards more important things in life:
TAKING REQUESTS PERSONALLY
If you think about it, life is an ongoing series of conversational requests. Making friends, getting a job, and getting married are all instances where a question is involved prior to the life event happening or not.
What’s important to look at, is how we make these requests and how we handle the outcome. While it’s very natural to focus on the desired outcome when making an inquisition, it clearly deters the conviction behind the request. By remaining on the field and dialed in on what you’re committed to, there’s no attachment to the result—putting the other party at ease and free to choose a yes or no.
Moreover, should they say no to your request, you are able to take it for what it is. They’re saying no to the request, not you. There’s no need to identify or associate with it because what you’re committed to supersedes all. It’s just yes or no — that’s it. If the answer fulfills on your commitment, great. If not, go back to work. End of story.
“Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” – Jim Hightower
TAKING FEEDBACK PERSONALLY
One of life’s certainties is you’re going to receive loads of unwanted feedback. How you handle this forgone truth, however, makes all the difference. Because we pride ourselves on our beliefs, many people automatically associate feedback as an attack.
We think that someone giving us feedback is code for “you’re not good enough,” “you don’t belong,” or “you’re going to end up alone.” This type of neuro-association obviously doesn’t lead to very healthy responses, typically ending in communication breakdowns.
A great way to overcome this default response is to flip the lens. Instead of viewing feedback as a personal attack, look at it as coaching. Very successful people view everyone in their life as a coach—someone invested in their improvement and prosperity.
By viewing everyone who provides feedback—no matter how much we don’t appreciate how it’s delivered—as a contributor, we start to see people as leaders instead of haters. When someone volunteers to lead something, they’re taking responsibility for those they are leading—which ultimately is only going to make your life easier. It also gives you the satisfaction of being a leader yourself. Great leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.
LISTENING TO OUR INTERNAL JUDGMENT
It’s crazy to think just how often we take ourselves out of the game of life by simply staying in our head and listening to the ongoing judgment being recited. That inner dialogue is no genius. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
The only way we can create change in life is through action. Action doesn’t happen by thinking or feeling. They may be a prerequisite to a certain degree, but you can’t think your way into a promotion or a new relationship. You have to get in the game.
By acknowledging our judgment as an unhelpful dodging of responsibility instead of a road-map to situational success, we can remain present and distinguish the best ways to move the conversation forward. The default of the mind is not forward momentum. We must cause positive results.
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER
Life wouldn’t be life without the challenging moments, however, we often make things harder than they have to be. We allow our view of things to dictate how we treat others in varying situations.
By understanding the alternative views we can try on during times we typically break down, we can preserve energy better spent elsewhere—on making a difference for other people. The energy you save from not taking requests or feedback personally and quieting your internal judgment will light you up as much as the alternative typically brings you down.
The extra energy you walk around with will be impossible to ignore, and everyone will want to know where they can get it for themselves. Leave the door wide open for you to be a leader for your community and facilitate a better future of human interaction with the people that matter most to you.