The 7 secrets to being persuasive

persuasive

The only way to be truly persuasive is to understand the human mind.

The human mind doesn’t work by rules of logic when it comes to being persuasive but there are rules involved when seeking to influence others.

Tali Sharot is a professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London and her new book is The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others.

In this book, Sharot has helpfully identified 7 factors that influence our ability to be persuasive.

1. Prior beliefs

Don’t start off by telling people they are wrong. The reality is when people hear things that contradict their beliefs, their minds turn on defensive mode. So, instead, start with common ground between your position and theirs and then move on to try and influence them to your side. Once you find middle ground with your opponent you’re halfway to being persuasive.

2. Emotion

Emotion affects judgement. One of the most persuasive ways to communicate arguments effectively is to share feelings. Emotions are contagious and by expressing our feelings the audience will empathise with you.

If the time is not appropriate to share emotion, for example, in policial or legal debate, then try to inject emotion through storytelling. Take the audience on a journey with you, help them to understand where you are coming from and by the end of your story, they should be able to take up your point of view.

3. Incentives

A little story – hospital staff started to be electronically marked in terms of feedback. Every time a doctor or nurse washed their hands, the numbers on the board went up. Interestingly, the number of workers washing their hands increased to almost 90%. The takeaway – provide an incentive, if you want someone to do something. Whether this is following an order or following your way of thinking, be imaginative and think about how you can subtly incentivise them do it. Remember subtlety is key – nobody likes to be told what do to – and if they think they are being ordered around they are highly likely to rebel.

4. Control

Former FBI lead international hostage negotiator Chris Voss says it’s critical in any negotiation to give the other side a feeling of control. And the research agrees.

So, when you seek to be persuasive, don’t order but instead, give options. Guide them towards the light and they will often believe they got there on their own.

5. Reframe negativity

People often don’t want to hear bad news and will do their best to ignore it. So, if we have to deliver bad information, we have to reframe it, as a positive. This is because when people hear positive information, they become curious and intrigued. So in effect, you are reframing the message to highlight the possibility for progress, rather than the doom.

6. State of mind

An interesting exception to the above rule. Researchers found that people under threat were far more inclined to take in negative information.

Another interesting point is that when we feel positive we are far more likely to take risks.

So the point is, align your speech with the other person’s mood. When they are low they are far more receptive to suggestions that make them feel safe, when they’re up they’ll be more responsive to riskier ideas, or thoughts.

7. General consensus

Whether it be a negative or positive consensus, if there is a following backing one side of an argument over the other, people will support the general consensus.

What that means for the power of persuasion is try as best as you can (without obviously being misleading) to frame your position as the positive and popular one as it simply gives your argument more weight.

 

To read more on this topic read the magnificent blog on Barking up the wrong tree, on this topic, here.

Small daily tweaks to make big happiness gains

happiness

Happiness is influenced by our actions.

We can choose to live in a way that makes us feel happy, or not.

But, the reality is, we get too caught up everyday day life, to sit back and cultivate our happiness.

For example, travelling makes me happy but, can I do that every day? Not right now. So, does that mean I am subjected to a life of depression? Of course not.

Luckily, for you and I, there are some simple tweaks – that can significantly boost our daily happiness.

1. Write a “control pad”

Write a paragraph, in your note pad, on how you honestly feel about your present place in life – cover work, love and family alongside anything else important to you. Below that write three things that are within your control to change in the next 6 months.

2. Take a warm bath with your favourite scent 

“You time” is crucial to your happiness and overall wellbeing. Even if it’s just 20 minutes, take it and protect it with your life. Your mental health relies on it.

3. Wake up ten minutes earlier and drink your tea or coffee slower than usual

Try to do this facing a window, preferably with daylight and take in your morning without rushing or flooding it with nervous energy.

4. Cook your favourite dish for lunch or dinner

Cooking food can be very therapeutic. If you don’t enjoy cooking, as much as others, maybe involve your friend, partner or children to make it more fun. However you decide to cook, the end result of eating delicious food will certainly boost your happiness.

5. Drink one more cup of water than you usually do

Instead of reaching for a coffee to help you break through the afternoon slump, drink a glass of water, you’ll be shocked at how energised you will feel after.

6. Write down your favourite quote and frame it 

Recognise words that motivate and inspire you. Use these words as your mantra. Reading your favourite quote, each day, will help you to stay on track with your personal goals and also remind you why you are pursuing them.

7. Learn one new thing a day

This doesn’t have to be huge. It can be something as small as an animal fact (if you want to learn more about animals!). Try to point your daily learning towards a large concept that interests you, this way all your learning will have a purpose.

8. Accomplish one small goal a day that’s dedicated to personal development

This can be anything from reading more personal development literature, exercising more or start meditating. Whatever your personal development goal, make sure you start chipping away at it, each and every day.

9. Spend at least 20 minutes walking outside, per day 

Nature is mother natures remedy for stress. Just simply looking at trees can make you feel more at ease and peaceful. So make sure you spend at least 20 minutes per day, in green nature to feel the benefits.

10. Give something back 

This can go from complimenting a colleague to taking on a young mentor. Either way, make sure that you acknowledge the fact, that the world isn’t all about you and give something back.

11. Look at old photos and reflect on how much you’ve grown and changed over the years

It’s always nice to see how far you’ve come. Really study yourself and learn about how you have grown. Remember what it was like to be you all of those years ago. Were your worries ever necessary? What have you learnt?

12. Give yourself five reasons why you’re glad to be alive

This allows you to stay grateful and humble. Two things integral to our happiness.

13. Sit in a dark room and do absolutely nothing for 15 minutes

During this time try to focus on your breathing and take yourself to your happy place. It’s worrying how much our digital distractions destroy our inner peace.

14. Create a bucket list of all the things you want to do before you turn a certain age

This will challenge you to seek new experiences, dream boldly, and stop holding yourself back. Hold yourself accountable to this list.

15. Reach out to a few people you admire

Tell them how your life has changed for the better because of them. This helps you to understand the value of others and the importance of a strong network. It also helps you to solidify existing relationships.

 

How to ask for a favour and get it granted

favour

There will come a time in your life when you will need to ask for a favour.

It doesn’t feel great, asking someone to do something for you, but it’s sometimes a necessity.

So, here is how to ask for a favour and actually get it granted.

1. Consider the other person

You need to recognise that it’s not all about you.

You’re asking someone to help your needs at the cost of their time, energy and/or money. Don’t just brush it off as nothing because it does put the other person out. The best way to address this is to acknowledge it. When you ask for the favour, think about what it involves for them and make it clear you’ve considered this in your communications. Not in an overly apologetic way but more of I have thought about what this ask, involves for you. This not only builds trust but actually works to persuade the other person – if you’ve carefully considered what they have to do and you’re still asking them for it can’t be such a huge deal.

If you can try and strike a win/win deal, where if they help you – you’ll help them. This can work in most businesses contexts for example support with covering shifts or work.

2. Ask with the expectation that your request will be granted

If you ask them for a favour with your tail between your legs, then you’ve already failed.

Mentality is everything.

You need to believe you’re going to get what you ask for. This means not profusely apologising or saying that this is a waste of their time. You wouldn’t genuinely approach someone if you felt like you were wasting their time, so don’t play games or give them too much power. Ask to win.

If you play it up, they are less likely to accept, but if you don’t create a huge fuss about it they are far more likely to accept.

3. Be truthful

Being truthful gains trust.

Make sure to not tell any white lies, or butter anything up no matter how large or small. Studies show that when you come at people from a place of honesty, they tend to feel a lot more secure with you, because they empathise with and understand, you.

Tell them why you’re asking for it. Help them to understand your motive. It helps people to empathise and see that they would probably do the same thing if they were in your position.

4. Be very specific about what you need

Don’t be vague or unclear.

It’s crucial when you ask someone for something that they understand it in the first instance. Otherwise, it becomes more lengthy and confusing then it needs to be and they will be annoyed in helping you.

Be clear, concise and exact. That way you’ll get exactly what you want.

Common networking pitfalls

networking

Networking can be a hectic time. Why? Because there is typically several factors whizzing around your head when meeting new people. Firstly, you may have personal grievances – you may be shy, nervous or even tired. Secondly, there will be certain conversational steps you need to action such as remembering names, shaking hands and asking good questions. Finally, you will have your personal objectives for networking at the forefront of your mind all whilst trying to appear calm, genuine and smooth.

Networking can seem intimidating but, it’s actually a lot simpler than we assume. With so many things going on it’s inevitable that we make a networking mistake or two. The important thing is that we don’t let those mistakes turn into misconceptions. Making some obvious mistakes, like forgetting someone’s name, detract from your genuine nature and actually makes it harder for people to trust you. The most common networking offenders typically have no idea that what they’re doing is bad. So, if you have in mind, what not do to, at your next networking event you’re already ahead of the rest.

So here are the most common networking pitfalls;

1. Lack of eye contact

Meeting new people can be intimidating especially if they are far higher in the rankings than you. A natural inclination would be to not make any eye contact or glance away at every given opportunity. But, you must try to avoid this at all costs. Not only with the person with whom you are speaking, look at you more intently but you also come across as insecure and untrustworthy. Both highly undesirable descriptions. So even if it initially feels uncomfortable, force eye contact, it will be more natural throughout the conversation and certainly, make you feel more at ease they awkwardly diverting your eyes.

Even though it seems so “macho” to focus on the strength of a handshake, the truth is that it matters. If the handshake is too weak, it can be offputting and convey at the very least that you are uncomfortable in the current situation. According to life coach and etiquette expert Mary Frances McGraw “A quick grasp of the other person’s hand, one to two pumps (slight movement up and down), and then letting go is the appropriate way to shake hands.”

3. Appearing distracted

Don’t start checking your phone for no reason. It automatically, breaks the dynamic between you and the other person and you appear uninterested, at the very least. As a rule, don’t have your phone in your hand, on the table or visible at all. This will reduce your chances of being distracted.

Be disciplined about other distractions too. Don’t lose focus in your present conversation even if you see your best friend glide into the room. If you must check your phone, leave the room discreetly and at an appropriate breaking point in the conversation.

4. Forgetting names

It’s obviously not easy to remember everyone’s name, especially if you are at a particularly large networking event. So if you forget, don’t panic. The best way to remedy the fact, that you forgot someone’s name is to confess to it. This will not only show the other person that you’re interested in them but it will also convey your genuine nature – you’re not afraid to admit mistakes. This rule doesn’t apply if you forget more than once, repeatedly asking someone their name might convey a mental illness, or too much champagne – if this does happen they try to pry the twice or more forgotten name from a fellow networker.

5. Over-sharing 

Sometimes people can go “wax-lyrical” when meeting a new person and decide to tell them a whole host of personal information. If you are under any misinformed idea, that sharing personal information, at a first meeting, will forge a closer relationship, than you are most definitely wrong. Too much is a turn off in business and networking.

Certainly, once you get to know a person, you can share your heart out. But, in a professional context, keep it short and sweet as anything more may be perceived as unprofessional.

6. Using closed body language

When meeting someone new, you’ll want to seem as welcoming and warm as possible. So standing in front of them with your arms crossed over your chest is something you don’t want to be doing. It builds an instant barrier between you and the person in front of you and comes across as defensive. Equally fidgeting, by either touching your face or playing with your hands, comes across as anxious or nervous and can make the other person feel that way too. The best way to hold your body is in a relaxed manner (i.e relaxed shoulders, no fidgeting) and perhaps your hands rested in a clasp at your front or gesticulating if that’s how you like to communicate.

If you can’t think of anything to say to the other person, the best remedy is asking them about themselves. Most people love talking about themselves. It will also give you the chance to pick up on something they’ve said and “piggyback” i.e expand on it. This allows the conversation to flow more naturally and removes the risk of you being becoming an interrogator and only firing lots of questions at them.

8. Exiting the conversation prematurely

“Working your way around the room” does not mean saying one line to each person before you run away. Whilst you don’t need to devote your entire night to one individual resist your urge to bounce around from one person to another. If you do this you won’t have made any real inroads with anyone and the networking event will be pointless.  You also run the risk of offending the person in front of you by ditching them for another. Instead, give the person before you your undivided attention – you never know what will come from a great conversation.

 

five common cultural characteristics and how they impact business

culture

The beauty of business is that it connects all four corners of the earth.

Throughout our careers, we will come across several cultures, some of whom can feel miles apart from our own.

My favourite definition of ‘culture’ is, “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively“. It follows that culture is not confined to wider society and communities but is equally prevalent in organisations.

The comforting thing to acknowledge is that typically cultures share at least five mutual characteristics. So before you’ve even started to embrace a new culture for business or personal purposes you are already familiar with at least five of their practices.

So, whether you are trying to penetrate a new market, build global contacts or you simply want to understand your playing field a bit better. here are the five common cultural characteristics that you will find in every society and organisational culture.

1. The Initiation

Cultures all tend to have a ritual for becoming a new member. A newcomer starts out as a stranger and then embarks on a rite of initiation, created by a particular culture, which marks the passage of that individual into the community. Some of these rituals may be so informal as to be hardly noticed (e.g., the first time you are invited to a coworker lunch), while others may be highly formalised (e.g., the call to the bar ceremony for Barristers). In every business, there are groups, power struggles, and unspoken ways that members earn their way from the role of a “newbie” to that of a full member.  All these challenges are to be expected in any culture.

2. Common History

Think for a moment about the history of a business like Coca Cola. Do you have an emotional response to the mental images of the red and white Coca Cola logo? Traditions form as the organization grows and expands. The history of every culture, of every corporation, influences its present state. Its history also influences where it might want to be in the future and further what is may struggle to compete with. You just have to reflect on the history of a business to understand it more.

3. Common Values and Principles

Cultures all hold values and principles that are communicated from older members to younger or newer ones. For example, time (fast customer service) and cleanliness are the two pillar values of the McDonald’s corporation. A new employee may take these for granted, while a seasoned professional who inspects restaurants and its franchises, may see the continued need to continually reinforce these core values. Without reinforcement, norms may dissolve, and if this were the case it could fundamentally change the success of a business which has been founded on its core values. This reinforcement of values is seen across every successful organisation. These businesses owe their success to certain values and they respect those values.

4. Shared Purpose

Why are we here? What is our mission? Throughout every culture, this fundamental question is asked. In business, the answer to this question can be found in the mission and vision statements of most organisations. Employees or members will be expected to acknowledge and share the company vision. The most successful organisations make sure each member is working towards the same goal in unity.

5. Common habits (Symbols, uniforms, language, and rituals)

Cultures have common symbols that mark them as a group; the knowledge of what a symbol stands for helps to reinforce who is part of the group and who is not. Cultural symbols can be seen in organisations in the form of logos however they can also include dress, such as the Western business suit and tie, the Scottish kilt, or the Islamic headscarf. Symbols also include slogans or sayings, such as “Just do it” or “because you’re worth it.” The slogan may serve a marketing purpose but may also embrace a mission or purpose within the culture.

Cultures have their own vocabulary and unique ways in which they communicate. Consider the lawyer or the accountant both have and use specialised jargon when communicating within their field. This language is learned over time and “on the job”. While a textbook can help, it can’t give you the first-hand experience of how it’s used within a particular culture. The use of this language is a defining feature of whether you are part of that culture or not.

Rituals are another core component of cultures. They can most simply be seen in company practices, for example, whether they have embraced the digital landscape or whether they exist largely on paper. Or, in how they recruit staff and so on. Rituals mean that organisations can have formalised processes which then stifle their future ability to innovate or adapt to new circumstances. This can be a real sticking point for organisations as the business world is far from stagnant and is in fact constantly shifting. However, once organisations get around any disadvantages of pre-existing rituals they can start to build practices allowing them to remain competitive.

The first step for any organisation, wishing to compete at the forefront of innovation, is to understand their deep seeded company culture. Without acknowledging it’s cultural advantages and restrictions companies cannot hope to grow.

For more information on this topic read here.

Tired of being tired? Proven ways to beat tiredness

tired

Being tired can make even the smallest of tasks feel insurmountable.

Something as simple as getting out of bed can seem like the end of the world.

But imagine if you could overcome feeling tired.

Imagine if, even after a hectic working day, you had enough energy to spend quality, yawn-free, time with your family or friends.

Sounds like a dream, right?

Well, in fact, with just a few lifestyle tweaks, you could dramatically increase your energy levels throughout the day.

So, what are you waiting for? Try these 6 proven techniques now.

1. Get moving

Ironically, the more you do, the less tired you feel. Numerous studies show that physical activity actually boosts energy levels. In short, exercise improves the working efficiency of your heart, lungs and muscles, meaning your body can better handle physical activity.  Not only that but it also boosts your confidence, giving you more of a “can do” attitude to anything that comes your way.

2. Yoga

Although almost any exercise is good, yoga may be especially effective for increasing energy. After six weeks of once-a-week yoga classes, volunteers in a British study reported large improvements in their energy.

Yoga is suitable for all ages and it’s also a great way to meet new people. So don’t knock it until you try it. Stretch your yawns away.

3. Stay hydrated

Dehydration is the biggest energy killer. It also decreases alertness and causes fatigue even during the most menial tasks. How to know if you’re drinking enough water? Well, pay close attention to your urine colour (gross, I know but, important). It should be a pale yellow colour, anything darker means you need to drink more water.

4. Get to bed early

Sounds obvious but at least try to get into bed early and attempt to sleep more hours. You’d be surprised about how much we hinder our sleeping ability by going to bed late and with digital distractions in our bedrooms. Lack of sleep increases the risk of accidents and is the leading cause of daytime fatigue. The solution is simple: Get to bed early.

5. Eat fish

Omega-3 oils also boost alertness. According to a 2009 study by scientists at Italy’s University of Siena, volunteers who took a fish oil capsule for 21 days demonstrated faster mental clarity and an increase in energy. Omega 3 can be found in oily fish – see there is always a good excuse for sushi.

6. Note your circadian rhythm

Some people get a burst of energy first thing in the morning. Other people perform at their best at the end of the day. Spend time working out when you’re in your daily prime.

These individual differences in daily energy patterns are determined by brain structure and genetics, so they can be tough to change. Instead, become aware of your own circadian rhythms and then structure your day to compliment them. For example, schedule demanding activities when your energy levels are at their peak and avoid making important decisions when you are likely to be fatigued.

How to learn to love your job, again

love

Perhaps your job felt like love at first sight but slowly it turned into your heaviest burden. Maybe, you worked incredibly hard to get your role but, actually executing it is far less glamorous than you first thought. Whatever happened to change your rose tinted glasses perspective about work, it’s possible to revive your relationship. If you’re reading this now, you’ve already taken the first step.

Set goals with your supervisor 

Work can seem aimless if you don’t have things such as goals, that you are striving towards. Work with your supervisor to set reasonable but motivating goals. These goals will help to provide structure for your working week. Trying to achieve these goals can be a great challenge and really get you engaged in your role, again. Once you reach these goals they can also be excellent negotiation points for a promotion or an alternative role.

Make a list of things you want to improve 

Make a list of what aspects of your current job you’d like to improve. Take some time to be objective and clear your head. Write a list of everything you don’t love about your job. Be as specific as possible. Name, names if you have to. Then spend the same amount of time writing a list of how you can improve these negatives. More often than not there is always a solution, even if that solution means a change in your attitude so you can bear a certain annoyance. Having a game plan to deal with the things that disgruntle you at work, can make the world of difference to your coping mechanisms.

Figure out what you really love to do

Write a list about the parts of your job you really love to do. Drill down into the key activities that make you happy. Then, brainstorm a dream working day, involving all of the activities you particularly enjoy. Finally, look for the overlaps in your current role. Consider talking to your superior about making these enjoyable tasks a bigger part of your day-to-day work. If there are no overlaps, you can look into other opportunities, that provide what you need, to feel excited about your role.

Leverage your network

Make connections in your field by attending industry meet-ups, events, or conferences. This can, not only help to build a support system around you, but it can also open up more industry-wide doors for you. Meaning, that if you are really unhappy at work, you can start to prep yourself up for another role by either speaking to others with the jobs, you want, or by making connections with preferred organisations. If you are content where you are, you can benefit greatly by building relationships with others in your organisation. Connections open more doors, period.

Stay present

It’s impossible to love your job if you’re mindlessly browsing Facebook, Instagram, or Amazon all day. You are, in fact, making your working day even harder for yourself. It’s not satisfying to waste your time by procrastinating. When you do this, you ignore your problems and push yourself further into a negative rut about work. Try to stay present and concentrate on the task at hand. Actively work on your levels of engagement. Before long you’ll start to feel your brain pumping and this challenging feeling will motivate you to enjoy your role, once again.

Make a ‘Gratitude List’ for Your Job

Write down all the things you’re grateful for, in relation to your job. This can be the list of things it enables you to do, or who it has made you become. All your failures or speedbumps, simply make you a stronger, more experienced professional. Studies have shown that listing everything you’re grateful for can help you to feel more optimistic about your current circumstances.

The best survival tactics for an overwhelming workload

tired

We are all familiar with the work-life, battle.

It has it’s up’s and downs. The up’s are usually promotions, great work recognition’s and so on. The down’s are usually, let’s face it. More work. What I mean by that is when you have so much work, you cant enjoy your job, you simply feel too overwhelmed.

This blog is for the downs.

Here are the best survival tactics, for your overwhelming workload.

1. Try the before holiday rule

Think of how productive you are the day before your holiday. It’s like a Terminator sequel, and nothing is getting between you and those tasks on your list.  You only have one day to get through your giant to-do list and, to those not taking an early flight the following morning, it looks impossible. But you, always manage to get it done. Why? It’s because you apply your absolutely ruthless mentality, against the knowledge that you have only have the present day to complete your tasks and you have the perfect ingredients for prime motivation and productivity. So, the next time your workload is totally overwhelming, apply the before holiday rule and maximise your time.

2. Make yourself un-interruptable

This means, protect your time from your children, boss and even yourself. Before you think of an aimless scroll on social media or having a good old chin-wag with your best friend – remember that you have put in place the very important rule of being un-interruptable and you cannot break the honour of this rule. Set a time limit for your un-interruptable time and stick to it, like your life depends on it. Do your most burdonsome tasks, during this golden hour and feel the endorphins rush through your brain when it ends – as you relish in the satisfiaciton of ticking important tasks, off your to-do list.

3. Make a won’t do list for your busiest days

Whilst, at first glance, this seems counterintuitive. Why on earth would you waste your precious time writing a list of things you won’t do? Well, because it’s actually incredibly helpful. A won’t do list, is a list of things you won’t do because they hinder your productivity. This can be anything you perceive to be a bad procrastination habit, to asking your partner or colleague to support with a few personal/professional tasks, respectively. It keeps your day in check and helps you to get your work done.

4. Prepare the night before

You will be surprised, about how much time you waste, figuring out where to start with your overwhelming workload. If you prepare your day the night before, you can crack on straight away. You also will wake up significantly less stressed, if you know how you are going to attack a busy day. Preparation is key, for everything work-related.

5. Become a morning person

Did you know that the most successful add an extra hour to their day, by waking up earlier. Think about how much you could do in this extra hour when everyone else is busy, sleeping. If you’re not a morning person and feel frequently that you are faced with an overwhelming workload, it’s advisable to try to become a morning person. Set your alarm an hour earlier and see how much less stressed you feel. What harm will one week do? In fact, I suggest none at all, instead you will find huge productivity benefits.

For more on this topic read the helpful blog written by Francesca Rica , here.

Three ways to keep your cool at work

work

Remember how you feel during work, when you get a rude email from your boss, or when your co-worker undermines at a meeting.

Now, remember how you feel, if you face these irritations, during a particularly tough work week. Albeit, small irritations they are just about enough to push you over the edge when combined with everything else you’ve experienced during a certain week or even day.

There can be any number of road bumps in your day. And, these bumps don’t care about timing, or if you’re feeling particularly stressed or upset. Your first instinct may be to get angry, to snap, or to react. But, if you’re a respected professional, you can’t afford to do this.

There’s always a better way to handle bad moments and using your temper, is not one of them. You have to relentlessly remind yourself to keep a level-headed outlook when it comes to your job.

It might sound easier said than done but if you know you have a process, for when things get too much, it will prevent you from a reaction that could potentially ruin your carefully crafted reputation. So, next time something gets to you, try one of these three simple techniques for staying cool, calm, and collected.

1. Ask yourself how important it is

When our blood pressure rises, we lose perspective. Nothing else matters, apart from that one grievance that seems to have just turned our world upside down. So, you really need to be very quick to ask yourself; will I care about this in five years? Usually, the answer is almost always a definitive no. In fact, you will have moved on from this by next month. So when you feel your anger rising, give yourself some perspective.

2. Don’t take anything personally

You might think that everything is personal. But, if you really look into why other people do the things they do, it’s never because of you and always to do with them. Negative behaviour is deep seeded, so if you think someone is going out of their way to attack you, then it’s probably because they’ve been attacked by another colleague or it’s their insecurities or, it could be down to a whole heap of other possibilities.

There are times when you may feel like a curt email or snappy comment from your boss has something to do with your performance and there may be times when this may be the case. But more often than not, the people you work with have their own issues and stressors that influence how they’re interacting with the world—things have nothing to do with you.

3. Don’t feed your negativity bias

We are all susceptible to something called negativity bias, which means that the bad events of the day are more memorable than the good ones. But, just because it’s your natural, genetic, tendency to dwell on the negative – doesn’t mean that you can’t overcome it and reverse it.

You can choose to focus on the minor frustrations of your day—or, you can choose to focus on seeing the positives. Even if something went terribly for you, focus on what you got from it and how you’ll be better next time. Try to channel your angry or frustrated energy in another direction. Use your frustrations to fuel your goals.

Work will never be free from annoyances, but you’re always in control of your reactions to them. Don’t let negative emotions tear down all of your good work. A good reputation takes years to built (even decades) and can be torn down by an ill temper or snappy remark, in just a few moments. If you do your best to maintain perspective and not get bogged down by your daily stressors, you will live a happier life, be well-respected and have a fruitful career.

Five of most interesting truths about the mind

mind

Emotional intelligence defines your success.

If you can understand yourself, and those around you, you have a distinct advantage.

By simply understanding how your brain reacts or processes certain facts, then you can start to be who you want (or need to be) at work. For example, if you have a tendency to be more emotionally, than rationally driven you can find ways to make sure you always make the best decision, at any one time. Or, if you find it difficult to manage certain relationships at work than you can start by understanding that person’s mind which in turn will help you to build a suitable relationship.

Here are 5 of the most interesting truths about the human mind;

1. Your mind is irrational

Most of us assume we are rational decision makers, but in the last 10–15 years, research has challenged this assumption.

Irrationality isn’t always a handicap. Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book, Blink, that gut feeling decision-making can be even more effective than rational decision making. This is because when we follow our gut, we follow a body of experience, so familiar to us, that we are able to act fast than our minds can process.

In the workplace, this kind of intuitive decision making is called, “hot decision making” as opposed to “cold decision making,” — choices based on reason and logic. Knowing that your hot decision making can be just as effective as your rational mind, start to practise using it more. Make hot decisions, as much as you would cold ones. Train your mind to make good choices faster.

2. Your mind needs work

According to Daniel Pink’s Drive, humans are built with intrinsic motivation — a desire to do something due to craving a feeling of internal satisfaction. Intrinsic motivation is natural to humans: we are predisposed to perform, to work, and to tackle problems. It satisfies our primitive genes. So why do so many of us perceive work as a terrible chore? Neil Fiore’s The Now Habit explains that we begin to lose our joy for work through negativity picked up from school, studying and even parents! Luckily, this mindset is reversible. Simply recognise that work, prevents you from feeling lost, and without purpose. So start to enjoy your professional life and use the opportunity it gives you, to edify your mind! If it doesn’t satisfy you, maybe it’s time to consider a career change?

3. Your mind believes talent trumps hard work

Many studies have shown that talent isn’t essential when it comes to excelling in life and work. In Outliers and Mastery, the writers explain that success is mostly about gaining experience, practising, and mastering a skill, through sheer dedication. What does all this mean? Simply, that talent is 90% made, not born. All you need is the correct mindset and work ethic. Pick how you want to be successful and get to work.

4. Your mind is programmed to be negative

In his How the Mind Works, Stephen Pinker explains that, from an evolutionary perspective, it is important for humans to be negative creatures. This means that negative emotions such as fear and anger have a purpose. They stopped us from being attacked by predators and enemies. Meanwhile, positive feelings such as gratitude and humbleness did little to aid our survival.

However, we are no longer primitive animals. Research now shows that people tend to live longer, more fulfilled lives when they’re happy. Positive emotions might not have been critical for our caveman ancestors, but for the modern day worker, they are crucial to our survival.

Investing in your happiness, now, will greatly assist in the success of your future professional and personal life.

5. If your mind is present, you are performing at your best

Focusing on the task at hand and being present can be incredibly hard to achieve for most people. Our minds are constantly racing, constantly trying to multi-task. But, if you can try to be present, throughout all of your collective moments, for example, when you’re breathing, eating, walking or working it can make a huge difference to your happiness. Whatever you’re doing, if you can remain present, you will be your most productive, focused, and happy self.

For more on this topic, read the excellent blog written by Blinklist for Medium, here.

Follow Blinklist for more great blogs, here.

ABOUT US

PCA Law (the Personal Communications Academy For Lawyers) are the legal sector’s specialist providers of conversation-based experiential training products

We are the only Personal Communication Consultancy in the world to work exclusively with lawyers...

CONTACT US

We are happy to come in to talk with you at your offices, wherever you’re based, so please contact us at: