Most of us want to be a better person – be it at home with our loved ones, at work with our co-workers, hanging out with friends, or even while out running errands. The problem is that we don’t exactly know how. We do want to work on self-improvement, but in this fast-paced world of deadlines, mounting expectations, and pressures from everyone around us, constant distractions, and endless stressors, it is easy to let this aim take a backseat. However, becoming a better person doesn’t have to be so hard. There are lots of small things you can start doing daily to become a better version of yourself.
Let Go Of Stress And Anger
For most people, their lives are an endless stream of stressors. Be it a nagging spouse at home to a demanding boss at work, to an incessant flow of political commentary and financial troubles to keep one up at night, there is an endless list of stressors that cause people to feel angry and bitter throughout the day.
While anger and exasperation stem from situations that are out of your control or people who don’t behave the way you expect, clinging on to anger for protracted periods can be detrimental to your health and well being, wreak havoc on your happiness and performance at work, impact your personal and work relationships, and ruin your peace of mind.
What makes successful people different is their ability to let go of anger and stop trying to take control of situations that are not in their hands. For starters, try to stay mindful of things that upset you and if possible, reduce your exposure to them.
For instance, if someone at work is a real pain in the neck, remind yourself that once you go home, you can detach from them. If watching politics has you fuming, limit your time watching TV. Additionally, try engaging in relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing, meditation, mindful exercises, and periods where you are disconnected from devices.
Go Deep, But Also Go Light
Keep in mind that your attention and time are important. Instead of whiling away your life doing things that don’t make you happy or contribute in any way to your success, aim to spend your time in a meaningful way that opens up doors of opportunity for you and expands your horizon, be it seeking out new experiences, travelling, learning a new language, reading an informative book, spending time with your loved ones, or taking care of your health and fitness.
However, it is also OK to let occasional spells of random, meaningless activities or musings overtake you, if it makes you happy. At the end of the day, if what it takes to unwind you at the end of a productive day is ‘America’s got Talent’, a little indulgence never hurts anyone. Strike a balance. Mix it up.
Listen To What People Have To Say
Entrepreneurs and business owners love to talk. Be it a groundbreaking business idea that they can’t wait to share with the world or a product/service that they are passionate abut. However, it helps to remember that constant broadcasting doesn’t build professional and personal relationships. It is a two-way road. You also have to listen to what others have to say. Aim to listen to anyone, be it your acquaintances, family, friends, colleagues, employees, competitors, or your customers.
I am not just asking you to lend an ear; listen actively, partake in conversations and express interest in other people’s words. Seeking input from others makes them feel valued and can provide you with information you never knew you needed. I got to meet some of the most amazing people, close some of the biggest deals, and develop connections that will last me a lifetime all because I took time to listen to people.
Empathy is a keen understanding of how others think and feel. Even listening keenly to people in order to make them feel valued is an example of empathy.
We trust our own point of view and judgement in most situations, but it helps to put yourself in someone’s shoes and try to see from their perspective if you truly want to resonate with them. After all, not everyone and everything on this planet revolves around you and your needs. A leader who lacks empathy will never be loved by his employees.
Similarly, unless you demonstrate to your clients that you care about their challenges and that their business is valued, they will never trust you completely. Even in personal relationships, practicing empathy brings you closer to people who matter—which goes a long way towards keeping you content and motivated professionally as well.
Don’t Be Afraid To Apologize
Entrepreneurs aren’t superhuman. They are normal humans, with their own weaknesses, faults, and ability to err. However, when you are the one in charge, and it’s your own vision at stake, admitting your mistake in front of your subordinates isn’t easy.
Apologizing is humbling and not everyone has the courage to deliver an authentic apology. Simply saying the words doesn’t suffice; you have to look the person who has been wronged in the eye, explain why you have been wrong, and explain the reason behind your remorse. Apologizing won’t make them think any lesser of you; on the contrary, you will be surprised how grateful people will be after.
This goes beyond saying sorry. Being authentic sets you apart from your competitors. Being genuine as a person translates into acting toward others, as you perceive yourself on the inside. People shy away from phony and untrustworthy people, and never want to do business with them. Don’t be the person you wouldn’t want around.
Use Positive Self Talk
It’s easy to get caught up in being critical of your perceived failings. But this negative inner monologue, this unproductive self-talk can lower our overall motivation and drive us in to darkness. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you aren’t a good person or that you are a failure, it is hard to come by motivation to take steps toward self-improvement.
The next time you find yourself feeling incompetent or overwhelmed, catch yourself in the act of negative thinking and try to placate your nerves by telling yourself that you feel confident in who you are and what you are doing.