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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.

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6 Reasons Why Listening To Podcasts Can Benefit Your Life

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6 Reasons Why Listening To Podcasts Can Benefit Your Life

Podcasting is the latest way of sharing and spreading information. Some people also say podcasts are going to replace blogs as they are easy to consume and also entertaining. Only time will tell that. However, podcasting is an American way of sharing information and it has been there for a long time. In earlier times, people use to broadcast them live on the radio.

They are also more personal than TV talk shows and radios. Some of the podcast hosts really open up about their personal life and share stories that motivate and inspire the listeners. Some podcasts don’t show the speaker; they are audio only. While others show both audio and video. I like the latter format.  

Here are 6 reasons how listening to podcasts can benefit your life.

1. Podcasts are a great alternative to books

Not everyone likes to learn in a structured way. In fact, there are some cultures in which it is frowned upon to take a systematic approach to learning and problem-solving. I know it is unlike American culture but there are some pros in learning things by osmosis. A podcast is a talk show where one or more than one people share their personal stories, experiences and knowledge.

For instance, listening to a podcast from someone like Neil Degrasse Tyson is far more entertaining than reading his books. His books don’t create the same dramatic effect that he is able to create in his podcasts. Consequently, listening to a podcast can be more beneficial than reading books. The listener gets to emotionally connect with the podcast host. Therefore, a better learning experience.

2. They provide entertainment

6 Reasons Why Listening To Podcasts Can Benefit Your Life
Dublin, Wednesday 31th October 2013: Pictured at the The Web Summit 2013, RDS. Photo by Dan Taylor/Heisenberg Media

It is very rare that a top podcast on YouTube or Spotify is uninteresting or boring. Entertainment is a huge factor when determining how well a podcast is going to do on these platforms. No matter how much value a podcast creator provides via his/her content, it is not going to blow up unless it is entertaining.

Listening to podcasts is like watching a TV talk show. But the only difference is that podcasts are not scripted and are unfiltered. So, a listener gets to know what their heroes like Elon Musk and Mike Tyson actually think and feel. In my opinion, Joe Rogan Experience and Joey Diaz are the most entertaining podcast on YouTube. They are also packed with knowledge and interesting facts.

3. They are authentic and genuine

Unlike TV talk shows, podcasts are created by people who are doing great things in life and are willing to share their knowledge and experience with us. Joe Rogan and Tim Ferriss are the best examples of such people. They both had already achieved so much in their life before they started to share their experience with people.

I accept that scripted TV talk shows can also be entertaining. But spontaneity and authenticity are two values that most successful people live by and also seek in other people. Jocko Willink is another example of a genuine and authentic podcaster. Jocko makes listening to podcasts a pure pleasure as he shares stories from his days in the United States Navy.

4. You get to learn from industry experts

Tom Ferry shares his knowledge on the real estate investments in North America on his YouTube channel. He not only educates people about investment but also teaches them how to become a real estate agent and grow their business in the same field. By listening to podcasts similar to Tom’s, you will not only gain knowledge of your desired industry but also get inner circle insights that are not openly discussed anywhere else.

5. It’s a great companion during the commute

6 Reasons Why Listening To Podcasts Can Benefit Your Life

It’s a good habit to listen to audiobooks while commuting to work or just traveling. Audiobooks are great at providing you with precise and step by step knowledge. But they can be flat and boring sometimes. Listening to podcasts while commuting has some additional benefits that the audiobooks don’t.

Podcast are entertaining and keep you in a social mood. Especially, when you are returning home. Audiobooks can put you in work-mode. Moreover, you can also listen to podcasts while working out in the gym, taking a walk in the park, running, etc. I feel like they have a perfect mix of entertainment and learning.

6. Most of the great podcasts are free of cost

Audiobooks cost more than $10. Even if you listen to one audiobook per week, your monthly expense on them goes up to $40. These $40 can be easily saved or used for something else. Most of the great podcasts are absolutely free of charge. You can stream or download them anytime you want. Moreover, listening to podcasts from several different authors may also give you a glimpse of what they are all about. This helps you buy the perfect audiobook for your needs.

I hope these reasons are enough to motivate and inspire you to add this new habit to your daily routine. This is one of those habits where you don’t have to do much. Just search for your favorite topic on YouTube, sit back and relax. You could support these content creator by donating a few bucks if you want but most of them don’t even ask for donations. So, there is nothing to risk or lose.

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5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

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5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

There are a lot of memes about how what we learned in school is never useful in our real lives. The skills that we need to survive in the real world are seldom taught by schools or even elders. The most important things that we need to do as adults are something that most of us learn ourselves.

Getting out of colleges and universities, we feel like we are now ready to step into proper adulthood where we earn for ourselves and pay for our own bills. But, that is not how we continue feeling; the first few years pass in figuring out how to exactly to do the adult stuff. Here are a few things that people usually struggle with and why it is important to incorporate them into our lives early on.

1. Personal finance

5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

As we grow up, we realize that money is one of the most significant aspects of life that we need to survive. Proper management of finances is seldom taught to us, it is learned through mistakes and experiences. Learning personal finance is usually expected to be coached by parents but isn’t it an important life skill which schools should be responsible for?

It is no surprise that most of the lottery winners end up getting broke or exhausting the money on addictions. Adequate management of funds and investment of money should be introduced from an early age by the school systems to make the future children more responsible.

2. Importance of mental health

5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

Mental health is something which was not even acknowledged until the 2000s. Anxiety, stress, worry, paranoia, depression, etc. are realities of life, and children should not grow up kicking themselves for feeling these things. The way a person behaves in adversity is usually molded by how that person grew up dealing with problems as a kid.

The notion that not having a good head space is unnatural, uncommon, or not important ends up worsening the situation rather than dealing with the issues at its source. Many schools are starting to introduce psychiatrist and counselors, but they should also make sure students don’t feel worried or taboo to approach them. Respect and awareness for mental health should be introduced right at the beginning of a person’s life to ease things in the future.

3. Friendships and romantic relationships

5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

A significant part of a person’s life is spent on maintaining friendships and romantic relationships, yet little to none is contributed in this direction by the schooling system. This is another important aspect of life, which is expected to be taught and taken care of by elders and parents.

The constant breaking of relationships is proof that people need to be taught how to respect others’ space, learn to trust, overcome bad times, share feelings, and communicate. Dating, romance, and sexual urges are frowned upon and ignored in certain countries, which ironically ends up worsening the situation as children grow up learning from wrong sources.

It is high time this is acknowledged as a fact of life, and schools try to lay down a foundation from the beginning of a person’s life. Some schools have taken that up by introducing sex education into their curriculum.

4. Basic life skills (cooking, repairing, and swimming)

5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

We all come across memes online on “If only I learned this in school.” Cooking, repairing, and swimming, are all life skills which might not necessarily be vital in life, but they are very common and makes a person independent and confident to live alone. Cooking is not learned by someone unless it is necessary or they have an interest in it. When people move out of their parent’s house, this is one of their biggest regrets as food is one of the basics of life.

Repair work and swimming, however, might not seem as important as cooking but they are handy skills to have in the bag in case something goes wrong. It is often the case that people say growing up is a combination of learning and getting a lot of things right, but seldom do we realize very few of them were taught to you in school. This pattern has to change to make the future kids better equipped to deal with the reality of life.

5. Professional etiquette

5 Life Skills Your School Should Have Taught You But Didn’t

It is often the case that people have to learn to speak and write formally. Writing a resume, email, or even a letter is a challenge for most; communication is poor in general. Communication and professional work etiquette are vital in life irrespective of the field one intends to go into.

In the past, recruiters have found it difficult to hire a person just because of the lack of common etiquette and communication skills. Respecting diversity and working in harmony with people you do not necessarily connect with is critical. Hostile work environment will always lead to inconvenience and less productivity. Common manners and etiquettes should be introduced by the school system to generate better workers and better work environment.

Where does this leave us?

While we all know this, and we all discuss this. Changes aren’t that easy to come. School systems changing isn’t as easy as just flipping the curriculum. Yes, we would love to have schools teach real-life skills. Many schools are making changes to incorporate various subjects and workshops for better preparing the kids for life.

It is slow, but there is progress. Meanwhile, as elders, we need to teach the children all that they will need to know when they step into adulthood themselves. Don’t shy away from teaching them about personal finances, savings, taxes, housing, anything that can be pegged as boring. Tag them along from time to time so that they get the experience of these things first hand. Take the children with you to the bank, to shopping for groceries, to pay bills – let them see what it takes and how it is done. Remember, we all need to do our part for a better world.

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7 Things Not to Say If You Want to be Successful

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7 Things Not to Say If You Want to be Successful

When we begin our journey, there are a lot of thoughts that plague our minds. Some of them positive, but most of them negative. You must have heard people mention “Law of attraction.” It means you attract what you think. Fear is one of the most prominent emotions that controls us in the starting phase. These thoughts are a result of fear and sometimes, ego.

Knowing what thoughts to hold on to and what ideas to let go is crucial to develop a positive attitude. Most of the things that I am going to talk about end up making us pessimists, egotistical, careless, and cocky.

These are the things we use as an excuse as to why we aren’t doing anything to change our situation that we hate or why we aren’t working on our dreams. These also make excuses for our own shortcomings. To be successful, it is vital to get rid of emotions that do nothing but pull you down or make you feel comfortable in your own incompetence.

1. “I’m just waiting for the right time to start doing things the way I think I should.”

Right time never comes. No time is the right time. You have to take the time and make it right. If this is your excuse for not getting started on building things the way you want them to be, then it is just that- an EXCUSE!

Many people lose precious years because they wait for the perfect moment. The perfect moment to quit their job, the perfect moment to launch a business, the perfect moment to take a risk. Guess what? The perfect moment never comes. There will always be something that will give you a reason to not take the first step. If you are looking for a reason to stay where you are, then you will surely find it. You have to get over it and just start. The start is the tricky part; it then becomes easier emotionally.

2. “I’ll start working from tomorrow.”

Tomorrow never comes for people who use this as an excuse. I used to do this with my workout plans. “I will start exercising from tomorrow.” “I will start eating healthy from tomorrow.” Trust me; there is nothing healthy about this mindset.

It is a way of procrastinating but on a much larger scale. When you procrastinate on a specific task that you will have to do, that you are accountable for, that you will be answerable to someone for, you will eventually end up doing it. But goals that you have for yourself do not necessarily have a deadline, so it is easier for your brain to keep pushing it without feeling guilty. Ask yourself, “Why not today?” If you don’t have a logical answer, then start it today.

3. “I know I need to work hard but ….”

4. “I don’t need to change anything.”

5. “I’m too busy for this.”

When you know you need to work hard, but you still find some excuse not to, just know that the problem is you. We do not like to accept that we are at fault in any situation. We are also creatures of habit. While we want change, we don’t like to go through the process of bringing change.

When we want grand things, we have to make efforts that are bigger than anything we have done before. We want something, but we don’t want to change anything to get it. This is because we get too comfortable where we are. Getting out of your comfort zone is necessary to achieve success.

“Too busy” is an excuse I hear a lot. “Why aren’t you doing something that clearly needs to be done for yourself?” is something that people ask people who keep talking about their dreams but do nothing for them to come true. If being busy is your answer, then you need to realize that you don’t want it as bad as you think you do. When you really want something, you make time for it. That’s how priorities work.

6. “He/she was born to succeed. I don’t have what it takes.”

7. “I was just unlucky this time.”

Making excuses like success depends on luck or on other people being more skilled than you are the laziest ones you can make. If you really think that all it takes to succeed is luck, then you are wrong on so many levels.

“Success comes when preparation meets opportunity.”

-English Proverb

If you want “luck” to be in your favor, you have to work hard. When you put all the work out there, you are sure to attract opportunities. Sure some people are more talented than others, but that will be the case in every scenario. Does that mean we should stop aiming for great things? No! Sometimes people with talent fail because they are not willing to put in the work needed. You will see people who are not necessarily naturally-gifted in a field making steady progress because they keep learning and improving themselves. It all boils down to consistency at the end of the day.

A negative mentality can hurt even the best works. This is why people focus so much on cutting negativity out of your life. If you are not a pessimist, surrounding yourself with people like that will make you one. People you hang out regularly with have quite an influence on your thought process. Surround yourself with people who know how to look at the silver lining.

When you are trying to make something of yourself, it is definitely hard. You are scared, you are worried, you want to be the best. You do not need to add the extra obstacle of your own thoughts. Don’t let your thoughts hold you back, if anything, they should help you propel. This is also why meditation is advised for people who have trouble getting their thoughts in order. Try meditating, and you will learn how much of an asset a clear mind truly is.

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