Have you ever found yourself at your destination, wondering how you got there? Or have you ever searched for an item, only to find it without any memory of keeping it there in the first place?
Human Psychologists tell us that we are creatures of habit; most of what we do daily happens without us really thinking about what we’re doing. We live essentially on autopilot.
But when we desire to lead truly fulfilling lives, we must consciously disrupt this process to develop certain habits – especially while we’re young. These habits can be developed later in life but generally, the changes get harder to make with age. Now that you’ve decided you want to live an awesome life, what are some of the key habits you need to start acquiring and mastering? Here’s my short list.
#1. THE ABILITY TO SAY “NO” TO PEOPLE (INCLUDING CLOSE FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS) WHEN NEEDED – AND NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.
This is one of the hallmarks of emotional maturity. When you need to, can you say “No”, stick with it, yet feel no guilt? (Actually, the guilt part fades with time – so we can start with just saying no and sticking with it)
Right in your teens and twenties, train yourself to clearly, firmly, and nicely state your refusal to requests you cannot honestly oblige and ignore the invitation to go on a guilt trip over it.
Do you find yourself bending over backwards to please people, many times having to forego your desires just because you don’t want to offend them by refusing? Have you realised that you somehow have enough time to do what everyone else wants but can’t seem to get your personal affairs sorted out because you’re always ‘so busy’? It’s time to make a change.
You don’t need to become a cold-hearted, self-centered villain who makes no sacrifice for others. Of course not. But we know how people are – they’ll always make demands on you. Your job is to evaluate those demands, frankly assess them and if you’re convinced you cannot handle it, use the two letter word- and lavishly too. Trust me, it’ll pay you BIG in the coming years.
Yes, they’ll disappointed or even angry for a while but you know what I’ve found? They’ll survive.
#2. THE ABILITY TO STOP AND ASK “IS THIS REALLY WORKING?”
Being busy is one of the best ways people hide from themselves. By crowding their lives with activities, many suppress the fear of what they may find if they paused long enough to examine the sum of their actions and compare with the results generated.
Many are too scared to stop, shut down, look in the mirror and tell themselves the truth. So they hide behind an unending stream of action and ‘drama’, never realising that the summary of their lives is a circular path – always in motion but never really going anywhere.
Being a young person, now is the best time to develop the habit of periodically suspending action, reflecting and honestly evaluating your actions vs. results.
#3. THE ABILITY TO PRACTICALLY INTEGRATE ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE TO EVERYDAY LIFE.
I stumbled into a powerful saying in my personal study recently.
If you’re living it, you know it. If you’re not, you don’t.You may have heard about it, read about it but you don’t really know it.
True knowledge shows.
So you’ve read 10 books on business and financial management. How much of that information have you accurately incorporated into managing your business or personal finances? Are you still struggling with maintaining a functional budget? Have you effected any changes in your approach to business challenges? What results have you produced so far by applying this new knowledge (Habit #2!)? That’s the true test of what you know as opposed to what you think you know.
The essence of studying is not information; it’s application. When you acquire new and relevant information, curb the urge to quickly spill to a friend or on social media. Instead, sit back and ask yourself “how can I fix this into my life?”. Design a method to make it a part of your life. It may displace a few things but I guarantee this singular habit will work wonders in your personal transformation process.
[TO LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO INTEGRATE NEW KNOWLEDGE INTO YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE, READ MY BLOG: AFTER THE GOOSEBUMPS (BRINGING REAL AND LASTING CHANGE TO YOUR LIFE)]
#4. THE ABILITY TO CLEARLY EXPRESS WHAT YOU EXPECT.
We all agree that people aren’t exactly mind readers. So why in the world do we expect them to instinctively decipher our thoughts and intentions?
It’s quite frustrating to watch folks gripe about unmet expectations that were never clearly expressed. And I’m thinking, “Hello, if you wanted them to do it, why didn’t you speak up?”
I’ve found the route to frustration, disappointment and resentment. It’s a highway called ‘Assumptions’. People don’t always do what you expect – so you must learn to express and inspect. That’s if you desire to live a happy life. Express your expectations and inspect their compliance. As a young person, there’s no better time to learn how to communicate your expectations clearly. Start now.
Let’s pause here today. Stay alert for the concluding part of this post – it’s loaded.
But before then, I love reading your comments. Which of the habits above would you say you’ve most mastered? Which seems hardest to practice in real life? Let’s meet up in the comments section.
Live by Design.