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?
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
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.
Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times
We live in a digital age. Everything, from socializing, to office work, to shopping is shifting to the online space. The advent of inexpensive (and fast) internet and smartphones has meant that now no matter where you go, you are always connected to the cloud. And, that invariably, you end up turning to this messianic network to satiate your every need.
Smart companies are busy embracing this very change. The workplace of the future is not one of a unified brick-and-mortar structure. Employees can now sit thousands of miles away and still collaborate successfully on a project. This is not just something I’m pulling out of thin air. Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, postulates that if only more organizations embrace the immense power of the internet, they would be able to streamline their operations and ensure a happier and more productive workplace. You can listen to his amazing, thought-provoking and insightful talk in the video given below.
Personally, I have always been an advocate of the work from anywhere culture. Partly because of the time it saves me (which I can then spend on any one of my myriad other hobbies), and partly because it frees me up to travel the world.
What does one have to do with the other? Well frankly, the kind of location independence afforded by the advent of Skype has made it possible for anyone to interact with their colleagues no matter where they are. Like I pointed out earlier, not being restricted by a physical office means you can be just about anywhere in the world, and still get work done.
However, there is another facet of this digital revolution which has fascinated me even more. Honestly, it is something which seems to be staring you right in the face, but it is surprising how many people still fail to (or is it a refusal to?) connect the dots and use technology to their advantage. What is this facet I talk about? Well, it is the ability for just about anyone (yes, I mean anyone) to become an entrepreneur.
“But,” you contend, “entrepreneurship isn’t really for me. It takes time and money, and really, where’s the job security in entrepreneurship?”
I would have agreed with you if I myself didn’t know better. For the past many years, I have bet big on online entrepreneurship and reaped great rewards. Frustrated and sensing the endless possibilities afforded by the internet, I quit my regular 9-to-5 job and decided to start my own online business. As an added challenge, I left just about enough money in my savings account to last me one year. The very fact that I’m happier than ever right now bears testament to the fact that, when done well, online entrepreneurship can give you the freedom you deserve.
When you come to think of it, the market hasn’t ever been better for an online business. It is now possible to get your own website started for less than $50/year. And even if you don’t know a single word of coding, you can have your very own, professional-looking front-end, thanks to the power of content management systems like Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. Don’t like the plain vanilla look they offer? One Google search, and hey bingo! Thousands of themes and skins to choose from! Are you into e-commerce? No worries, mate! Payment gateways like PayPal and its ilk have you covered. Don’t have money to invest? That’s alright. Start a free website on Wix.com. Or, just start hawking your wares on Facebook.
My point is that in this day and age, there really is no excuse to not have your own business. You don’t even have to have the next big Facebook killer to be successful as an e-entrepreneur. I know of enough people selling junk jewelry (sourced from their local flea market) on Facebook/eBay/Etsy. And guess what? All of them seem to be doing really well for themselves. How well? Well enough to not have to work for anyone else to earn their living.
All that you really need to succeed online, in essence, is the will to actually take the plunge and just start something. It really is as easy as that. I’m sure even you have a killer interest you’ve always wanted to exploit. A love for movies perhaps? Or expertise in minting long-form articles your current job has no use for. Or, even an insane desire to turn every song you listen to into a minimalistic poster. Yep, I just gave you three solid ideas for online businesses. Yep, you don’t necessarily have to sell something to be an online entrepreneur. Even Google AdSense revenue from your movie blog counts. Or, commissioned works your Facebook and Behance design pages fetch you.
If you still aren’t really sold on the entire concept and ease of online entrepreneurship, maybe you should actually ask yourself whether you’re actually happy with your day job; whether it fulfils you. If you, like me, happen to be like the majority of the working population, chances are you aren’t really satisfied with what you’re doing.
Maybe, ok, it manages to pay your bills, but it’s either the rigidity of the corporate world, or a bad boss, or the endless commute to-and-fro, or even the nature of the work itself, which gets to you. And, I also know that much like the majority of the workforce today, you too have a secret desire to be your own boss and just do something for yourself. It’s all about the right day.
The right day, frankly, is on us. We are firmly in the middle of the small and medium enterprise revolution. The parity of opportunity between the big fish and the startup has never been greater. In the coming weeks, I will guide you through the various kinds of online businesses you can start and how to actually go about setting them up. Like me, you too can earn a good living running your own business.
Welcome to the age of the e-entrepreneur. Welcome to the best time in human history to start your own business and be your own boss in the true sense – the good and the bad.
5 Lessons for Communicating Efficiently and Professionally Through Quotes
Considering we have been communicating since we were born, by crying and yelling, in the beginning, to get our message across, to slowly learning the words to do the same, you would think, we would have mastered it by the time we reach adulthood. How right yet how wrong that logic is?
When you think about it, communication is one of the first skills we learn. We have been talking and conveying our thoughts for our whole lives, yet, it becomes harder to effectively communicate as we grow up. There’s just something about communications that’s harder than it should be for us.
Of all the skills we develop as leaders and professionals, communicating is one that many people fail in. We frequently miscommunicate, bypass the point, cause an unintended reaction, or avoid a messy discussion altogether. As a result, not communicating holds us back.
“You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t get them across, your ideas won’t get you anywhere.”
How many times has it happened that you have had a great idea, an obvious solution, known the answer to the question that’s worrying everyone, but haven’t voiced your thoughts? When you have difficulty putting your thoughts across, you choose not to speak at all. While that saves you from discomfort in that particular moment, it only harms you in the long run.
You might never stand out from your colleagues, even though you have better ideas. You might never be taken seriously because you don’t speak when it is needed. You might miss opportunities because you were too afraid to put in your two cents. Remember, if you don’t ask, the answer is always going to be no.
“Communication is the solvent of all problems and is the foundation for personal development.”
Following up on the previous quote, when you speak out, you get feedback. When you get feedback, you understand whether your idea is brilliant in reality or just your head. You learn how to implement it or learn where it falls short.
While not speaking out means your ideas will never fail, it also means that you will never learn and you will never grow. Hence, it will stump your personal development.
Apart from that, it is really a solution for most problems – personal as well as professional. Many times the things that are bothering you can be easily solved with communication. Putting up boundaries, being open to discussion, raising objections, apologizing, a lot rides on words and how you put them.
“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise, you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
You communicate to be heard, to be understood; so if you use words that aren’t that common while speaking, then you are going to be getting nowhere. Try to keep your dialect as simple as you can when conveying something. Try to think of the least qualified person in the room, if even they can comprehend what you are saying then you are doing great.
This also applies to exaggeration when we are trying to sell an idea that isn’t great. We might succeed in selling it now, but no one is going to believe it when you actually do have a great idea.
“The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”
-Sydney J. Harris
This goes hand in hand with not using big words when putting your thoughts across. If it is a meeting with people from different departments, then chances are that not everyone is going to be familiar with the jargon of your sector.
While using jargon and technical mumbo-jumbo will help make you sound intelligent, it won’t help you put your point across. Try to communicate your information by finding a balance between speaking in layman’s terms and including enough to make you sound authoritative.
“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
-William Butler Yeats
This is more applicable in professional life, even though it has an influence in personal life as well. When you are in meetings or business setting, not everyone is going to have the same expertise as you. While you might think in the terms of statistics, it might mean nothing to the person who thinks in the terms of profit margin. This is where it is important to learn to put your messages in a more understandable dome. If you have ever been into public speaking, then you will know that it helps you with being tactful about what you say, how you say it, and it is received.
In personal life, you might be able to look at a situation logically being at the outside of its direct impact radius, that does not mean you can put it as it to someone who is clearly in the center of everything. This helps no one, instead, it has the power to ruin, something that could have been easily solved. Sometimes you have to use your knowledge to help you navigate a situation without quoting your knowledge.
Communication might not be your strength, but it isn’t something that can’t be developed. Read books about communicating effectively. Basically, sound confident when you speak, try being concise with your words. Think about what you need to put across and mould your words to that. The words you choose should not be based on you but on the listener. Simpler the dialect, better it is perceived – fewer chances of miscommunication and misunderstanding.
When you start reading more, listening to more than just words, and writing down your thoughts – it becomes easier to communicate. To be able to give, you should learn how to receive. Communicating is a skill that is a necessity. You need to be able to put yourself out there to be seen, to be heard, and to be understood.
How Commitment and Accountability Can Help You Achieve Your Dreams
Sticking to your goals is really important if you want to achieve your dreams. It isn’t as easy as saying that you will stay committed though. Not straying from the path is difficult, sometimes the reasons we are sidetracked aren’t even in our control. We keep trying to hold ourselves accountable but fail. We try to say committed but fail. We then give up.
“Press forward. Do not stop, do not linger in your journey, but strive for the mark set before you.”
Many people find holding themselves accountable to be difficult. It is easy to come up with reasons to convince yourself that not doing something is most probably okay. Why do we make excuses in the first place?
We lie to ourselves, we are scared to experiment with our capabilities, we scared to fail; we have fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of uncertainty; and most importantly, we scared of change.
Think about what reasons and excuses you often make and you will get some answers. You need to know about yourself – your fears, insecurities, and flaws. You need to know what makes you feel the most under-confident. When you know the trigger, only then will you be able to fight it. Knowing your weak points lets you rise above all fears and achieve self-confidence.
You must have heard this popular anecdote, it describes what we are talking about really well –
Five frogs were sitting on a log. Four decided to jump off. How many are left?
Five. Why? Because deciding and doing are not the same. It always seems impossible until it’s done. Cut the crap and just do it. Now, that you have decided to keep working, try finding ways to hold yourself accountable.
A good method to help you stick to your goal is to commit to another individual who will make you accountable for it. For example, imagine that you are an overweight person and wish to shed about 30kgs. You draw up a 6-month diet and exercise plan with monthly targets that define the process.
The next thing you should do is to get in touch with a very close person, a friend or relative, and share the goal you have set for yourself. For example, you can disclose the plan with your brother coupled with the condition that you will pay 20% of your part-time income to him if you fail to meet the target. The prospect of failing in front of your brother and the loss of your income will act as a good motivation for you to try and meet the set goals.
Begin With Avoiding Comparisons
Comparing your progress to others is you being unfair to yourself. You cannot compare your start to someone’s middle and come out happy from that thought. All it will do is take you down. When you start working at something that involves a huge risk, it is easy to look at everything with distrust, it is easy to compare, it is easy to judge. You have to try to think of ways to change your perspective during crises. You have to actively stop yourself from thinking about external things that are completely out of your control.
External roadblocks are easier to pinpoint, but the ones we create ourselves, our mental roadblocks, those are what stop us from succeeding. Living in denial about how you yourself are holding yourself back is not going to help. Instead of doing that, you need to recognize the signs that tell you that it is time to change your mindset for a better standing point.
When you start holding yourself accountable, it becomes easier to not compare your progress with others. Because you know how much effort you have been putting in, and what changes you can make to move faster. When YOU and YOUR GROWTH are what you are focusing on, it becomes easier to not make comparisons and let that bring you down.
Avoid Dwelling on the Past
You can’t spend your whole life cribbing and blaming the mishappenings of your past. Having a positive outlook is necessary. Every bad experience teaches you a thing or two, let’s focus on that rather than feeling sorry about ourselves.
So what if you were not appreciated for your work before? That reason is not enough to stop you from trying again. No hard-work goes unrewarded. Failing your commitments can easily break your confidence. You start losing trust in yourself and your promises. This stops you from making further commitments because you know what is going to happen.
This is exactly what you are supposed to fight. Unless you commit to achieving something and learn how to not deter from the path, it will be difficult to work toward something with determination.
Stop allowing your yesterday to ruin your today. Accept what has happened. See every day as a new challenge, a new chapter.
Take Full Responsibility for Failures and Mistakes
We have a habit of blaming everyone or everything else instead of ourselves for our own actions. It is easier to not take responsibility. Life is built on our ability to successfully adapt to the changing conditions that life throws our way.
Courage is admitting your mistakes and taking full ownership of your mistakes – learning from them and growing. This helps you go further – it enables you to make better judgments and keep little problems from growing into big ones.
Focus on solutions and new opportunities whenever you feel stuck. Seek alternate perspectives by asking other people for their opinions, comments, and feedback, but always be the one to take the final decision. Focus on your strengths and use your weaknesses to better yourself. Same thing when it comes to developing a sense of commitment and accountability.
Stop saying I won’t, I can’t, I’ll do it later, I’ll try, I may do it, tomorrow, day after… NO! DO IT NOW! If you want to get from where you are in life to where you want to be, you need to avoid making excuses and focus on the tasks that are going to get you there. While these qualities will take you where you want to be – you need to work to develop them as well.
Tips for Surviving Your Twenties
The Importance of Having a Purpose in Life
Why Do We Need Measurable Goals?
Why Starting an Online Business is a Good Idea in Current Times
3 Simple Tips to Getting Over Jet Lag as Quickly as Possible
How to Break Free From Your Boring Life to Live Your Passion
How Making Decisions Using the 10/10/10 Method Can Change Your Life
Qualities of Humorous People that Give Huge Benefits in Life
Practicing Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) to Become More Healthy and Productive
5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Goals And Double Your Success Rate
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