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4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

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4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

Making a life-changing decision is something that everyone dreads, and everyone feels if only they could get away with not making it. But, just like math in school, you have got to do it. There are many factors at play, knowing what to focus on first and how to go about it helps.

So, today I will be talking about the 4 principles I follow whenever I find myself in such predicaments. This is something that knowingly or unknowingly all of us do anyway. But, when you make a conscious effort to follow these, we feel a little more in control, and that is what we need at that moment.

1. How much importance does it hold?

By default, when we are in a tough situation, we make decisions based on our emotions. What we are feeling at the moment clouds our judgments. Because of this, we neither make an informed decision nor see the bigger picture.

Considering all your options, evaluating the effects of the decisions in the long term, taking into account your plans and situations are all important parts of decision making. When we skip all of this, there are high chances that we are setting ourselves up for failure.

While our emotional state rules the decisions at the moment, our physical, financial, social, mental states are neglected, and as a result, suffer as soon as the phase passes.

What you have to do is take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and think. Write down everything on your mind, when you do that, you get a clear picture of where you stand and what you stand to gain or lose if you go through with the decision.

Sometimes, it so happens, that to avoid distress in our near-future, we set ourselves up for an even bigger failure. And that brings me to my next point.

2. Is the win worth it?

4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

Sure, you get your peace for the moment. You feel like you have solved the problem and you can take a breath of relief. But, is that really the case?

Most of the times temporary solutions are just that, temporary. It might get you out of difficult times, but it isn’t going to last. Problems that aren’t solved properly have a way of coming back. Hasty decisions have the same fate.

Sometimes losing right now is okay if that means a big win in the future. Risks are important if you want to get to the next level. Most big things don’t happen without taking big risks. Failures are needed to learn and grow and get better opportunities.

Always think of the ratio between the losses of failures and the benefits of success. When you make a decision that involves a lot of risks, knowing it is worth it helps.

3. What are you going to regret?

Now talking about failures and successes brings us to this point. While we need to not let emotions control our decisions, we need to use them as an important tool to learn the base of that decision.

Where exactly is that decision stemming from? What caused the ball rolling? What will happen if you fail? What do you have to lose? Can you afford it? What have you got to achieve if you succeed? Can you do without it?

The answers to these questions will give you a clear vision of what you actually want from the decision you have been toying with.

  • Where exactly is that decision stemming from? Knowing what part of you wants whatever it is to happen is important. Sometimes we think we want something just because it is triggered by something completely unrelated to the topic of the decision.

Suppose you want to quit your job. There can be many reasons – you found a better opportunity, you feel underappreciated, you feel overworked, etc. But, if the reason is that your co-worker quit his job and then won a lottery, then you really might want to rethink your decision.

  • What caused the ball rolling? Like I talked about the job example. If you had any of the other reasons then that would mean, you were feeling that way for some time, which in turn made you come to the conclusion that you need to quit the job. That means that the decision was at work in your brain for quite a while, meaning you had the chance to ponder over it.

If your decision is based on the lottery thing, then that means you didn’t have enough time to think of all the pros and cons and all that matters. Which means it isn’t as important to you. I am not saying that instantaneous issues aren’t worth it, they are. But, understanding why you need to make the decision and what will happen if you don’t is very important.

  • What will happen if you fail? What do you have to lose?  You know what you have on the line if you fail. If you don’t, you need to have a clear idea of what all you are betting on this decision. Which is why it is important to write everything down. Consider all the aspects of your life that can and will be affected by your decision.
  • Can you afford it? Once you have the idea of it, think about the implications. If you fail, would you be able to deal with it? Will you be able to get back up from the fall? If the answer to that is yes, only then go ahead. If you are sure that failing can make you lose more than you can afford then it is probably not worth it.
  • What have you got to achieve if you succeed? While considering the failing scenario is important, so is the succeeding scenario. No, you are not counting the chicks before the eggs hatch. You are just thinking about the meaning of having those eggs in your life. You know that you can make a profit with them. You have to focus on that. Is the success you are going after significant enough to make the change, take a risk, apply the decision? If yes, then that brings you to the last thing you need to ask yourself.
  • Can you do without it? This is something that many people either don’t do, or they most probably don’t know about it. Yes, thinking about how much profit will the eggs bring or will you be okay if all the eggs break is important. But, will not having the eggs at all bother you enough, is the question that is the last nail here.

So, when you are about to take a huge decision, think about it. Think if you really need that thing if you are aiming for. If you are going to regret not going after something, then that is something you should definitely go for.

4. Write everything down

4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

I have mentioned it one or two times in this post already. But I feel it is one of the most important things, so it needs a separate mention as well.

When you write everything down, you can see all the points together visually. That brings you a clearer idea than when everything was swimming in your mind surrounded by uncertainty. Make a list of pros and cons, of requirements, of cost, of profit, of ability, of everything you can think of. Put it aside for a day or two. Come back to it and go through it with a fresh mind and you will know what you want.

Making big, tough, life-changing decisions can be nerve-racking but taking a structured approach towards it, thinking of it is as just another puzzle to solve can help you a lot. I hope this helps you feel less overwhelmed about the changes you need to make in your life and helps guide you through it.

Entrepreneurs

Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

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Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

Marketing is aimed at making a product or service look as desirable as possible so that people feel a need to buy and use it. While there are many tactics that can be used to boost marketing and increase sales, ‘social proof’ is one of the most underused tactics by many marketers. 

And honestly, this is quite unfortunate since social proof can be used to create a huge positive impact on how the public perceives your product and service. Here are some simple methods of using social proof to improve the results of your marketing campaign.

Use Statistics

One of the easiest ways to use social proof in marketing is to use statistics that display the standing of your business, product, or service. 

Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

For example, if you manufacture baby talcum powder, find out how many people buy them, its market share, how many people prefer it over other brands, and so on. You can then publish such statistics which will act as social proof that the product or service you offer is indeed of high-quality and in good demand. 

When people see statistics like “2 in 3 mothers use our talcum powder for their kids” or “60% of first-time buyers prefer to buy our brand for the next time,” they tend to have a positive impression about the business. This makes the customers feel more comfortable because it sways them to think that they are making an informed decision.

Testimonials

Another simple tactic you can use to boost sales through social proof is by publishing testimonials. A testimonial is simply a statement from the users of your product or service on how they benefited from it, how the product or service produced much better results compared to those of other similar brands, and so on. 

The effect such testimonials have on people is tremendous. People generally end up developing a favorable view of something that is viewed positively by numerous other people. And this will make them try out that specific product or service. This is also why influencers are becoming far more valuable to marketing.

Visual Proof

Visual proof is one of the most potent tactics out there. Visuals can be such a strong social proof that the audience may even go out and buy the product being promoted solely on the basis of these pictures and videos. 

Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

For example, imagine that you conduct a weight loss workshop that guarantees a person will lose almost 20 kilos in just about 3 months. Now, you can publish a detailed text on how the regimen works, what results to expect, etc., but they will have far less impact than a few pictures that show the participants of the program before and after joining it. When the audience sees the visuals of people having lost belly fat, it will act as a strong reconfirmation in their minds that the program is worthy of their investment.

Visual cues are easier for people to remember and act upon. It makes sense to make the launch or advert of your product as visually appealing as possible so that people actually take time out to look at it.

Expert Opinions

There are also companies that use expert opinions in order to boost sales. This is also the use of social proof, which in this case are the opinions of a few respectable intellectuals from a particular field. 

A business that sells anti-virus software can use the expert opinion of tech experts and professionals from the field of safety and security. Positive reviews about your software will let the audience know that what you offer is a completely secure anti-virus software that has been approved for purchase by some of the best people in the industry. This will obviously boost the sales figures for your product.  

Consumer Reviews

Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

While expert opinions are good social proof, a much stronger source of social proof is consumer reviews. Expert opinions are about people who just test your product for a few days and state their observations. In contrast, consumer reviews are created by people who have already bought your product because of their interest it, used it and then stating their observations about it. 

People generally tend to trust consumer reviews a lot more than expert opinions. This is mostly because of the understanding that such reviews are written by people who are just like them. 

So, ensure that you get as many positive reviews about your product or service and publish them on websites and social media to show potential customers that you have a strong existing consumer base.

Surveys

Yet another form of social proof is a survey. You can conduct surveys on subjects relating to your product or service and publish the positive results online. 

For example, if you manufacture shampoo that guarantees to reduce hair fall and strengthening the strands of hair, you can set up an online poll on social media asking your followers as to how many of them experienced an improvement in their hair quality after using the product for three weeks. 

Once the survey is finished and the results come out positive, you can publish it and let them know that a good majority of users have benefitted immensely from the hair shampoo. 

The positive results from the live survey will surely influence the people who have not used your product to at least consider buying and trying it out.  

Influencer Marketing

In the social media space, there are people who are known as ‘influencers.’ These are basically people who have a large following and are therefore in a position to influence how their followers feel about something. 

Ways to Improve Marketing Results Using Data from Social Channels

You can use such influencer marketing tactics to create a positive image of your business by enticing the influencers to post a few lines that say good things about you and your products. Using multiple influencers in multiple time periods is the best way to ensure that a constant stream of social proof about your product keeps appearing in social media. 

Keep in mind, the influencers you choose to represent your product must have a strong base of followers that come within your ideal target consumer group.

Celebrity Endorsements

This is one of the most expensive social proof tactics on the list. But this can also be the most impactful. 

Big businesses always use celebrities to promote products and services. The status and positive image of the celebrity makes the product look trustworthy in the eyes of the audience. Your business can try out the simple tactic by hiring a popular celebrity if you can afford one.

Although, the influencer market is getting so big in the current space that you won’t be missing out on much if you can’t afford celebrity endorsement.

Final Thoughts

Social media has given businesses a valuable tool to understand their customer base and to tap into their target audience market. Approaching potential customers was never easier. To quote myself from when I wrote an article about making the most of social channels – 

We have so many amazing channels available to us to reach out to the customers and making the best use of these channels to cultivate a loyal customer base directly correlates to the success of the business moving forward.

Understanding your customer base and attracting the right customer base is important to start a business and keep it running. Social media provides valuable feedback from real users and also helps you lead your target audience back to your products. It helps your business make a one-on-one connection that has a huge impact on the overall standing a brand has in the market.

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Entrepreneurs

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World’s Largest Social Media Platform

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How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform. And if you have a community page on the site, then you have limitless potential to grow it into an active meeting place for people who are interested in the same things as you. 

But even though starting an online community on Facebook is an easy process, attracting new members and keeping them interested in the community can be difficult since there will be many competing pages that cover interests similar to yours. 

If you have just started a community and are unsure of the steps to take next, then the following tips will definitely help you in building a thriving community on the world’s biggest social media platform.

Always Publish Relevant, Informative Content

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

When publishing content to your Facebook community, you have to focus on two core areas – relevance and information. 

Firstly, only publish posts that are completely relevant to the members of your community. For example, if you have started the community with a description which states that it will deal with superhero movies, then you must only publish content in that specific genre. You should also only encourage discussions within the topic.

Just because you saw a meme of a cat that got a million likes, it does not mean you share it with the members. Never do such a thing. Although you might benefit from such a move in the short term, you will dilute the focus of the community by sharing unrelated stuff. 

And other members might stop being active in the community since they are not always getting what they expected – superhero updates.   

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

-Leo Burnett

Secondly, always make sure that most of the posts you share within your community have information which the members find valuable, unique and interesting. For example, if your community is focused on topics like home care, then you can share content that helps them rectify air filter problems in the air conditioning. 

The tips that are immediately effective, while remaining unique and not shared a million times before, will be valued. 

The methods you share should be workable enough that the member can implement the tips and correct air filter issues. If your methods do not produce desired results, then too, the members will start losing interest in the community.  

So, as long as the material you share is both relevant and informative, your community is guaranteed to grow.

Use Facebook Live

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

If you have been avoiding using Facebook Live, then it is time you rethink your decision. Facebook Live is one of the fastest-growing aspects of the platform. And the reason for its growth lies in the fact that people like to see other people live on-screen rather than read their ideas through a post on the community page. 

And in certain subject matters, having a regular Facebook Live session can bring about greater bonding among community members, while also attracting newer users. 

For example, if you have a community page dedicated to the NBA, then you can use Facebook Live to stream your reaction and viewpoints about a game in real-time. And if you are really good at presenting fresh insights into the game in a way that interests the audience, then the members will definitely wait to watch your live reaction to the next game.

Share Member Questions and Suggestions

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

Try to let the members know that you care about them and value their opinions. A good way to do this will be to answer some of the member questions and discuss suggestions. You can do this through a regular text-based post, but a video post is ideal since your audience will see you and are more likely to connect with what you express. 

For example, if you run a community that focuses on hair care, and someone raises a question as to how hair can be made shinier, then be sure to cover the topic in your next post while mentioning the name of the person who brought it up. 

Similarly, if someone suggests an effective method of removing dandruff from hair, their solution should also be shared with the community. When the members see that their questions and suggestions are being valued, they are more likely to remain active in the community.  

Interviews

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

Another good way to build a thriving community is by conducting exclusive interviews. The interview need not be with a big shot. Instead, you can conduct a video interview with someone who has achieved some success in the particular field that you are interested in. 

If the interviews are informative and useful to the members, they will continue to actively participate in the community. 

For example, imagine that you have a Facebook community covering, ‘Counter-Strike Global Offensive.’ You can conduct weekly or bi-monthly interviews with people who have jumped in the rankings, inquiring how they did it and discussing tips and tricks that can help other players. 

If your interview makes the members more knowledgeable about the game, then you will definitely succeed in keeping the community active and growing.

Hold Events

How to Build a Thriving Community on the World's Largest Social Media Platform

If your community page mostly consists of members who are concentrated in specific geographic areas, then you can consider setting up special meet-up events as well. 

For example, if your community is focused on Photoshop Tips, and you are an expert when it comes to the software, then you can conduct special training seminars at a few cities for free or a nominal amount. 

This will bring members together at a physical location and will likely increase their commitment to the community. And if you are solid on the business side, you can even conduct such events at zero cost and turn in a profit by soliciting sponsorship and selling Photoshop add-ons and relevant software as an affiliate.

In addition to the above, there is one more important thing that you have to remember – always treat your members with respect. Just because you own the community does not mean that you go about rejecting differing viewpoints of the members and behave negatively with them.

Work up your leadership skills when you manage a community. People need to know they can trust you and count on you. If you’re respected, what you say and do becomes more valuable. 

Whatever suggestions they provide, accept them if right, and politely reject if not. If you remain fair with the members, then they will see you as a good administrator, which will ensure that the community remains active for a long time.

Final Thoughts

Facebook is a very powerful tool that comprises of a widespread audience. You should be dedicated to creating a community because you want to bond with people not because you want to push your business. If you keep pushing your business, chances are that people won’t stay around long. Build a relationship first, and it will automatically convert into business.

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Self Improvement

Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Lead to Success

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Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Lead to Success

We often have a lot of things that we would like to do – some short term and some part of our long term goals. There are only so many hours in the day. Knowing how to dedicate those hours to goals that actually matter is very important to achieve success.

Everyone has the same hours given to them in a day and how we spend those hours defines what we are going to achieve. You see many people working non-stop yet some of them succeed while others don’t. What do you think sets these people apart?

The people who are crushing it have realized the importance of prioritizing the tasks they dedicate their time to. The importance of time management is something that when learned will help you achieve wonders. 

“Think of your priorities, not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.”

-Dan Millman

To achieve what you want, it is really important to learn how to prioritize – there will always be a plethora of things you want to do but they will never all be at the same level in the priority chart. You need to learn to teach yourself to decide on what is important and stick to doing that.

Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Lead to Success

Under the guise to achieving success and doing as much as we can, we’ve all had that feeling where we’re working at an incredible pace and intensity. Even after that, we see ourselves making very little progress. 

The reason it feels like our progress is low or we are making no progress at all is because it is exactly that. The notion that we can possibly be doing a million things back-to-back and still be effective is preposterous, to say the least.

People often mistake being busy with being productive. When you keep all your tasks at the same level of priority, it is easy to be sucked down the path of being busy rather than being productive. Busy without productivity is one of the major reasons for failure. It is sad because you won’t know that the issue is you, the feeling of doing a lot and still failing is enough to demotivate you into doing nothing.

It is Important to Remember That We Have Constraints

Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Lead to Success

You need not be doing the most to succeed, you need to be doing the things that you need to succeed. Individuals and businesses alike need to prioritize their focus. As individuals or as growing businesses we have constraints in terms of resources and time. 

None of these things come in abundance so we need to be highly vigilant when doling out our time and resources to certain tasks.

It is highly important for a person or business to spend their time on the most important areas that can drive success.

“In all planning, you make a list and you set priorities.”

-Alan Lakein

To work our best and to make the most with the constraints we need to take into account, it is important to not take up unnecessary work. This applies to professionals heavily. When you are working with others, it can be difficult to say ‘no’ to extra work that keeps coming your way but you need to understand that it is not rude or unprofessional to say ‘no’ time to time when you have your own important tasks you would rather be doing.

We somehow grow up with the notion that we need to fill our plates as high as we can – that might come with attending weddings and buffets and trying to make the most of the spread. It doesn’t work in the professional sense though, all it will do is overwhelm you. Do not take on more work than you can manage to do. 

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside. The enemy of the ‘best’ is often the ‘good’.”

-Stephen Covey

Otherwise what happens is that all the unnecessary tasks keep us from doing the work that we are actually supposed to do. It also stems from our inability and hesitance to say ‘No.’ Most people have a hard time saying ‘no’ to requests, if you are one of them, then you better start asserting yourself and start turning down requests that take away from your productivity. If you start doing extra work for everyone else, you will never be able to get the free time you need to enjoy your life or take care of your priorities or to take care of yourself. No matter how busy you are, you need to find time for self-care.

How Does Prioritizing Your Tasks Work

Why Prioritizing Tasks Can Lead to Success

Like we have already established, it is really important to know what tasks need to be done when. You can use any indicators that make the most sense to you when setting priorities. My process includes dividing all the tasks into high-priority, priority, and low-priority. You can also call them must-do, should-do, would-like-to-do – whatever clicks with you. Give them a number, or assign a letter or color to make it simpler for you to consult the list.

Suppose,

A is high-priority,

B is priority,

C is low-priority,

now write down the letters next to the tasks; now you know which ones to do first. This also helps isolate the tasks to further organize your tasks in a workable fashion.

One thing to keep in mind is to not add more than 2-3 tasks in the high-priority section. Chances are that the high-priority tasks are the most stressful ones and there is only so much stress we can handle in a day. If all your tasks for the day fall in that section then you are most probably setting yourself up for failure.

“When you have too many top priorities, you effectively have no top priorities.”

-Stephen Covey

Also, try to get the MITs (Most Important Tasks) out of your way first. Many people just try to handle various activities as per their instinct or according to whatever they are in the mood for and end up never doing the important things. Later, they might blame it on ‘not having enough time’, which obviously is untrue.  

It can be tempting to do all the smaller tasks first so that you have more completed tasks on your list. While it might seem like a good idea and might make you feel that that will make you feel accomplished and push you toward working more, it is rarely what will happen. The reality is that your mind will be tired doing a myriad of mundane tasks and by the time you reach the important and heavy work for the day, your mind will not be at the sharpest causing you to procrastinate.

“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

For example, imagine that you are required to submit a report by tomorrow evening. But you have a few personal activities that are pending, including watching a movie, a send-off party, and visiting your friend who is in the hospital. 

Now, if you give priority to your personal activities, then your report might not be ready by evening the next day. This can lead to various complications on the professional front while not tending to your personal work might do the same to your personal life. To avoid this, you have to arrange the activities as per their importance to you. 

Here are the tasks you have –

  • Complete the report
  • Watch a movie
  • Attend the send-off party
  • Visit your friend in the hospital

Tasks like watching a movie can be done any other day so it has the least importance in the bunch. Next, visiting a friend who is at the hospital may be necessary. But again, since you can visit them on any of the upcoming days depending on how serious they are and how long they are going to be in the hospital, you can postpone it. If this friend is close to you, then it will be a priority. See that this particular task has a lot more branches to consider to make a decision than a simple root cause.

Next, the send-off party that is scheduled today can be one of your priorities since you won’t be able to attend it on any other day. And lastly, the report will come at the top of the priority list since it is related to your work.

“In all planning, you make a list and you set priorities.”

-Alan Lakein

Now that you have identified the priority of the activities, the only thing left to do is to follow them. So, start doing your project today and check-in at the party later in the night for a few hours if you can’t put it off. Tomorrow, you can continue with the project and finish it off. 

Then, you can visit your friend in the hospital after you submit your report. Most hospitals will have visiting hours so that is another thing you have to take into account. If the hours are in the evening, you can drop by before you go to the party. 

You can then finish the day by watching a movie late at night. And by following this tactic, you will never make an excuse for ‘not having enough time’ when required to do something within a time limit. That being said, managing all the things in quick successions takes a lot of determination, self-restraint, and a sense of commitment and accountability

This becomes easier over time. If you are new to the game, you might have to let go of the party altogether along with the movie because the report and a friend bound to the hospital will take precedence.

Final Thoughts

Without priorities, the tasks we have lose their luster. For us to do our best and keep working toward our goal, we need to identify the tasks that require most of our attention. Because without knowing what tasks will help us achieve our long-term goals and dreams, it becomes easy to be sucked into doing a lot of unrelated tasks daily without making an actual impact. Prioritizing tasks makes sure that you do not stray from the path of achieving success.

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