Let me add to this article by offering Five Things You Should Start Doing in 2012.
To be successful in your personal and business life, I’d suggest these:
- Listen. It’s probably the most valuable thing you can do, in both the short and long term. It’s also absolutely free. When I’ve been quiet and focused on what another person is saying to me, and haven’t appeared to just be waiting for them to stop so I can now talk, it has always paid off. It’s also one of the hardest things to do sometimes. Here’s one technique: decide ahead of time that in the next business or personal conversation you’re having with someone, you will purposefully hesitate before saying anything when they finish their sentence. Don’t fake it, because people can sense odd, pregnant pauses when they aren’t genuine. Instead, use your pause as breathing space to form a question back to the other party, that will relate back to what they just said. It will indicate empathy, make a healthy deposit into your bank of good will, and most of all, you’ll learn something. For extra benefit, use this with someone you wouldn’t normally find yourself talking to.
- Breathe. Are you impulsive? I am. One lesson learned through some hard times has been to just breathe. When you hear something going wrong or a situation going downhill, just breathe. Everything’s going to be OK. Taking a breath or two will help you put things in perspective and your reactions are more likely to be perceived better by others.
- Refuse to have negative conversations with yourself. Self-doubt, self-hate, too much self indulgence — all of these distort our perspective and have a tendency to reproduce and manifest themselves. Kind of like bacteria. Find some way to keep the positive channel clicked on in your head. Remember, positive thoughts breed and have children just like the negative thoughts do.
- Appreciate the tiniest gifts you have, along with every second you can of our short time on earth. The old Seals and Crofts song says “we may never pass this way again.” We won’t. Absorb your child’s gap-toothed smile just an extra second. Be grateful to see another sunrise, sunset, and go actually touch the leaf of a tree.
- Simplify. See how little you can get by with, in every phase of your life. It’s amazing how rich and happy you will be.