How to Get What You Want in Every Negotiation

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Negotiation is an everyday human interaction — a process that takes place when two or more people with different stance try to work together for a mutually beneficial result. This includes anything from an employee/employer discussing a pay rise, to a customer trying to get better deals, to a mother/son discussing leaving home. Negotiate happens all the time, but most rarely realize it. This is why negotiation skill is something that everyone should take up.

In a negotiation, compromise is key — each party will likely have to sacrifice something to get what they want — and they may not get all that they want. Negotiation without compromise will never work. Here I will help you get the best out of a negotiation without sacrificing too much benefit to please others.

Know the Other and Know Yourself

Identify your position.

This will make you strong yet flexible, and less susceptible to rash decision-making or influence from your counterpart, even when negotiations become intense.

  • Specify your objectives. Envision what the ideal outcome will look like to you – be specific. Articulate what the conclusion to your negotiation is so you know how to work towards it. Now do a reality-check.
  • Ask yourself – what might I need to sacrifice to get what I want? Categorize these items into what’s negotiable, and what isn’t. This helps you identify two important parameters: (i) your ideal outcome and (ii) your minimum acceptable outcome – the point at which you are no longer willing to negotiate.
  • Prepare a backup action in the event that the negotiation does fail. Otherwise, you’ll be a weak negotiator, making regretful sacrifices under pressure in order to come to an agreement at any cost.

Identify their position.

Get as much information as possible about what your counterpart really wants. If you can understand what they truly value, you can offer them an appealing solution that also benefits you.

Both parties should disclose all of the points that are up for negotiation. When you both know what’s at stake, it becomes clearer where you can both benefit (a win-win scenario) and where some give-and-take will be necessary.

Say a disgruntled employee who used to be conscientious suddenly complains about her salary. At face value, your main options are to increase her pay for doing the same work or refuse and risk losing her.  However, when you take the time to talk with her, you discover that it’s not really about the salary. She has high ambitions but was overlooked for a recent promotion opportunity. Then you can propose to support her to help her rise in the company.

Build Trust, Not Enemy

A key goal in any negotiation is to build trust. Earning trust helps you both during the negotiation and in the longer term.

Even with difficult negotiations, always be the party open to finding a mutually beneficial solution. Remain professional and follow the above steps, from preparation, to manoeuvring, to the negotiation’s conclusion.

Firstly, being professional gives you the edge in the process, as it encourages transparency and cooperation from your counterpart.

Secondly, even if you can’t come to an agreement in a particular negotiation, your counterpart will leave the encounter knowing that you are firm, flexible, clear, and honest. Worthy counterparts will return to you for future negotiations, and non-worthy opponents will realise that they need not try their luck with you.

Give Them Freedom

Prepare multiple give-and-take options. To give your counterpart the ability to choose is a powerful bargaining advantage to you.

Imagine you’re a parent who wants your toddler to eat more vegetables. Instead of repeatedly asking them to eat, and getting a ‘no’ as a response, you could prepare two different types of vegetables and ask them if they want to eat the broccoli or the peas.

Doing this reframes the options from ‘yes’ vs. ‘no’ into ‘this’ vs. ‘that’. Your toddler feels empowered because they’ve made an independent choice. And of course, since your goal was for them to eat more vegetables, ‘this’ vs. ‘that’ is really a disguised ‘yes’ vs. ‘yes’.

Be Silent About Your Sacrifices

Don’t reveal the value of your sacrifices. I’m not suggesting that you be dishonest. Keep matters straightforward because value is in the eye of the beholder.

A small sacrifice for you may be of great benefit to your counterpart. If you inadvertently reveal to them your most painful sacrifice, they’ll perceive that to be the thing of high value.

Offer low value sacrifices early in the negotiation as another way of showing goodwill. It helps to lower their defences and sets a cooperative tone. Similarly, package together several low value sacrifices to satisfy your counterpart.

Now imagine you’re going to a fishing region for your next family holiday. It’s further away than where you usually go for holidays, and isn’t quite as fun for children. After discussing it with the family, they’ve agreed to the holiday that you want. And you’ve agreed that you’ll (i) clean and tidy the car before you leave, (ii) do all the driving, (iii) take your 10-year old to the nearby zoo on two of the days away. This seems like a lot of work, but you enjoy driving, you need to tidy the car anyway to fit in your fishing gear, and you like spending time with your 10-year old.

Make Yours a Limited Edition

In other words, emphazise its value by informing your counterpart that your offer has a time limit. The goal is to get them to envision a possible future where your deal is no longer available to them. This should compel them to apply value to your offer in the present, and take action.

I have a friend, Michelle, who makes dresses. She agrees to make six dresses for a client (a boutique clothing store) at a discounted rate because it will solve a pressing cash-flow problem. However, she doesn’t apply a deadline to her offer. As a result, the client has achieved what he wanted in principle and doesn’t bother executing the deal for several weeks. Since then, Michelle has made sure that any deals she makes are strictly on the condition that her clients accept the offer within the week.

Delay, Delay, Delay

Don’t be too quick to respond, otherwise you may seem desperate. This may make your counterpart suspicious. Or a ruthless opponent may take advantage of your apparent desperation to close. Furthermore, the party who can afford to wait can increase their bargaining power.

Say you are really keen on a certain PA role and you know they’re keen to take you on, but their salary offer is lower than the minimum amount you’d accept. Instead of making a quick decision, emails them to say you’re not convinced, and that you’ll look at your options and let them know. Wait a few days, the HR will find you to ask if you’ve made your decision yet. If you say no, they may even raise their offer.

All’s Well That Ends Well

Keep the above tactics in mind and you will master every negotiation. Remember, negotiation requires compromise. The outcome of a negotiation should always be beneficial to both parties.

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By |July 30th, 2017|Commercial|0 Comments

When Negative Thoughts Keep You Down: How to Break the Addiction

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We think we are our thinking, and we even take that thinking as utterly ‘true,’ which removes us at least two steps from reality itself.” ~Richard Rohr

Do you frequently obsess over worst-case scenarios? Do you struggle to think well of yourself or others? Are you frequently stressed, anxious, or depressed? You may be suffering from an addiction to your negative thoughts.

We all fall into patterns of negative thinking from time to time, often triggered by difficult circumstances or everyday stress. But when that pattern occurs over a long period of time, it can degrade our health in body, mind, and spirit.

When bad things happen to us, we can feel incredibly helpless. Sometimes the way we fight back against this feeling is by making negative thinking a default way of life. It satisfies our deep need for a sense of control over our lives. It keeps us from being disappointed when disaster visits.

We trade our own joy and happiness for certainty. It’s a huge price to pay for a bill of goods. Because in truth, the certainty we crave is an illusion.

I’ve experienced the toxic effects of negative thinking in my own life. Growing up with a severe stutter meant that I was always on guard for negative comments from others about my condition.

My peers in school constantly teased and mocked me. This was the crucible in which I formed the habit of thinking negatively about myself and others.

Convinced I had nothing good to contribute to the world, I spoke very little and avoided people. Even after the bullying subsided, I deeply mistrusted the goodness of others. I was always looking for the worst in others rather than the best. My negative thinking became a compulsion.

As I grew into adulthood, I realized how much my addiction was costing me, as my most important relationships suffered needlessly. I needed to break the addiction. Over the course of improving my own life, I learned some important lessons that helped me. If negative thinking is causing you to suffer, consider taking these steps:

1. Own your negativity.

Avoid blaming circumstances or other people for how you feel. When we blame, we surrender our power and ability to change our thoughts and feelings. We put ourselves at the mercy and whims of our environment and other people.

The first critical step to overcoming any addiction is to acknowledge and own the problem. Understand that only you can choose how you react to your circumstances. Only you can challenge your negative thinking and change your life. Once I owned my reactions to people who teased me, I was ready to reclaim my power to choose a different response.

2. Challenge all-or-nothing thinking.

Many of us fall into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking. If things don’t go exactly according to our expectations, we immediately turn to the worst-case scenario. Such thinking is usually a distortion of reality. When we’re caught in this trap, we engage in faulty interpretations of the actions of others.

If you’re waiting to hear back from someone, do you entertain thoughts such as: “She hates me” or “The answer must be no.” Instead of attaching yourself to these thoughts, immediately ask yourself, “What else could it be?” When you do this, you’ll probably come up with a list of other possibilities that can diffuse your negative thinking and may be actually closer to reality.

For me, this meant challenging the belief that everyone I encountered was mocking my speech in their minds.

3. Give people the benefit of the doubt.

As we learn to entertain other options, the next important step is to choose those options that give people the benefit of the doubt.

In her book Rising Strong, Brené Brown wrote about her arduous journey to discovering this ultimately freeing idea: “People are doing the best they can.” It’s hard for most of us to be this generous in our thinking, but it will free you from the mental trap of thinking negatively toward others.

When the emails go unanswered, when your boss says no to your request, when someone says something that comes across as mildly offensive, choose to believe that people are doing the best they can. Choose to believe that they are not purposely trying to hurt you.

4. Let go.

Learning to give people the benefit of the doubt can open the door to forgiveness.

For a long time, I deeply resented the people who mocked my stutter. This happened mostly in my childhood and adolescent years when my stutter was much more pronounced. Even now, an ill-conceived remark can transport me right back to those painful years. But I’ve since learned to let go of the hurt associated with these memories.

Is a past hurt or painful memory fueling your negative thinking? Choose to let go of that memory every time it comes to mind. Say, “I choose to let go of this memory and to forgive the person associated with it.” Know that the process takes time. Know that there will be days when you won’t feel like letting go. But when you do, you’ll begin to experience inner freedom.

5. Think big.

Negative thinking allows us the “luxury” of not expecting too much from ourselves and others. If we always expect to be let down by others, we spare ourselves the pain of being let down.

By allowing our negative thoughts to thrive, we create a safe and small space for ourselves—free of judgment, disappointment, disillusionment, and heartache. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that thinking small will likely not protect us from pain. And it will keep you from the joy that comes with personal growth.

I struggled with the idea that my stutter meant that I should be silent—that I had nothing worthwhile to say anyway. Then I came across the famous “Our Greatest Fear” quote by Marianne Williamson.

The line “Your playing small does not serve the world” struck a chord with me. I decided that I would not allow my stutter to silence me. I decided instead to think big by deciding to speak up. Allow yourself to think big, even when your inner monologue tells you not to.

6. Expect failure and setbacks.

Negative thinking often begins with the unrealistic expectations that the path should be clear for whatever you’re trying to accomplish. When things go off-script, as they often do, the negative mind will gladly use the event to reaffirm idea that you’re a failure or that you’re no good at anything.

Instead of dreading or hastening failure through your negative thinking, expect it. When you’re tempted to entertain negative thoughts, smile or laugh. Take each challenge as a signal that you are working toward something worthwhile. Use setbacks as a chance to hone your skills rather than seeing them as a sign that you are no good. Decide to do this ahead of time don’t waver regardless of how you’re feeling.

7. Practice meditation.

One of the primary benefits of meditation is that you eventually realize that you are not your thoughts. Negative thinking addicts get a fix from their own thoughts and their way of thinking about the world. They fully identify themselves with those thoughts. So the thought “I am a failure” becomes all of who they are.

By practicing meditation, you will be able to observe your own thoughts without identifying with them. Why? Because you are not your thoughts. Learn to observe them without judgment. Watch the thoughts come and go without clinging to them. Watch long enough and you’ll see that your negative thoughts have no power over you.

8. Practice self-acceptance.

We often discount the practice of self-acceptance because it feels too passive. At least when we’re actively engaging our negative thoughts, it feels like we’re doing something to control our circumstances when we feel most helpless.

Morrie Schwartz, who taught the world how to practice acceptance in the face of death wrote, “Acceptance is not passive—you have to work at it by continually trying to face reality rather than thinking reality is something other than what it is.”

Most of the time, our negative thoughts are anything but realistic. Self-acceptance allows us to acknowledge all aspects of ourselves without clinging or judgment. Instead of fixating on the bad, it means loving all of who we are. It means having the courage to correct any behaviors that are harmful without engaging in self-loathing.

You Have What It Takes

Want to break your addiction to negative thinking? Understand that your addiction is based on the illusion that you can avoid pain by experiencing negativity on your own terms.

Yes, negative things will happen to us. And it will hurt. But you have what it takes to face the pain and negativity without becoming addicted to it. As sure as day follows night, know that the pain will eventually subside. Know that opportunities for happiness and joy will come knocking again. Let go of negativity so that you can fully embrace these opportunities when they come.

About Cylon George

Cylon is a spiritual chaplain, musician, devoted husband, busy dad of six, and author of Self-Love: How to Love Yourself Unconditionally. He blogs about practical spiritual tips for living well at Spiritual Living For Busy People. Sign up and get his free guide 20 Little Tricks To Instantly Improve Your Mood Even If You Feel Like Punching Something (or Someone).

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A Powerful Technique That Can Help Heal the Pain of Regret

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“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” ~Rick Warren

Regret—whether for things that you have done or things that you had no control over—can keep you frozen in the past, unable to move forward. Sadly, there are no magic wands that can turn back the hands of time and change what has happened, but despite this I believe we’re not entirely powerless to affect the past, after all.

I first began thinking of this subject when my daughter was young and having serious ongoing problems with fear. She wasn’t able to go to school or to be separated from me for any length of time at all.

I really could sympathize with her. As an adoptee from Korea, I knew that she had been relinquished by her mother at birth, placed in an orphanage, then with a foster mother, and ultimately taken from that woman to make the long journey to America and her “forever” family—but not without a whole lot of emotional baggage onboard.

I wished with all my heart that I could have been with her through those first months so that she would have known that she was safe and loved. I was sure that was the root of her troubles now, but no amount of safety in the present seemed to make up for the lack of it in her past. It seemed there was nothing I could do about her rocky start in life. Or was there?

Being a meditator, and someone who is comfortable with visualizations, one day I had the brilliant idea to try simply “re-writing” her past.

I visualized myself in the birthing room with Lia, taking her tiny body into my arms and telling her how much I loved her, that she was safe, and that I was waiting for her. I also whispered in her birth mother’s ear that I would take good care of her daughter, and that everything was going to be all right.

The visualization felt wonderful, and I repeated it many times, going on to visualize myself at my daughter’s side through all of the other changes she went through in those scary first months of her life.

Whether or not I was actually impacting my daughter, I certainly found these visualizations helpful to me! I felt I was somehow able to make up for what she had missed out on and, over time, I really think it did help Lia to overcome her fear (although I’d never be able to prove it).

Perhaps it was only because my energy had changed, which affected her in turn. At any rate, she gradually seemed to relax and gain the confidence that had eluded us through so many years and so many other attempts to help her feel safe.

Since then, I’ve used my “time travel” meditation in many other circumstances. For instance, I think every parent has had lapses of control that we deeply regret in hindsight. I vividly remember once losing my temper with Lia as a toddler, for breaking an item that was precious to me. As she grew older and seemed so intent on always being perfect, I wondered sadly how much I had contributed to her fear of “messing up.”

So again, I went back to that remembered situation in a visualization. Obviously, I couldn’t change the fact that I had yelled at her, but I visualized surrounding her in love and whispering that everything was okay—she hadn’t done anything wrong.

In my imagination, we watched my earlier self yelling, and I told her, “She’s just tired, poor thing. She’s not really mad at you, she’s mad at herself. Let’s just send her some love.” And we did.

As before, I have no idea whether my visualization actually had an impact on Lia’s perfectionism (I hope it did), but it certainly helped me feel more compassion and less shame regarding my past actions.

On yet another occasion, I mentally placed a retroactive bubble of love and protection around Lia when she was facing a scary situation that I hadn’t known about at the time. There are literally endless scenarios for tweaking things in the past, so don’t go too crazy with this! Save it for the situations that really weigh on your heart.

These techniques work equally well even if you aren’t a parent. You can mentally send the adult version of yourself back into your childhood to provide love and support to your earlier self.

Children are especially vulnerable, since they have so little understanding of the true context of what is happening. We all remember times when we felt alone and frightened—how wonderful to take that scared child in your arms and let her know it will all be okay, that she isn’t truly alone.

Although it’s tempting to imagine different outcomes for those painful times, I try to always stay true to what actually happened and simply provide whatever energetic support seems best. For better or worse, we are the product of these experiences; they are a part of who we are. But it may be possible to heal some of the wounds they left behind, even many years down the road.

Does it really work? We know so little about time, but quantum physics gives us some understanding of how slippery a concept it is. At the very minimum, these techniques bring present comfort and a sense of being able to help what previously seemed beyond help.

The feeling of powerlessness to change the past is one of the most corrosive aspects of regret. Even if it is only “imaginary,” the sense of efficacy we get from taking some retroactive action is priceless.

For very traumatic situations, especially ones that you have not already explored in therapy, I would definitely recommend first trying these techniques with a therapist. However, most of us have a long list of more garden-variety regrets we could safely use “time travel” meditation to address.

To begin, simply relax and breathe deeply, gently allowing the situation to come into your awareness. Let your intuition be the guide, and use any words, color, light or other visualizations that occur to you. (As a general rule, you can never go wrong by simply blanketing the experience with love and compassion.)

Don’t force yourself to feel forgiveness if that isn’t what you feel—if there is some antagonist involved, you can safely just ignore them and concentrate on providing comfort to the one who needs it. Remember that you are the “wise adult” in this scene, there to provide perspective and support, not justice or retribution.

Continue to breathe deeply and notice whatever emotions come up. Close the meditation when it feels complete, and return as often as you like! Sometimes once will be enough; sometimes (as with Lia’s birth) it will take many sessions to feel complete. Again, let your intuition be your guide.

Be respectful if you use the technique on other people or situations that you didn’t personally experience. I felt close enough to Lia to insert myself into that scene, but I would hesitate to do so in most other situations. I also shared with her what I was doing and, even though she was still fairly young at the time, I think she loved the idea that her mommy was there, at least in spirit, at her birth.

Although it’s true that “what’s past is past,” it may be possible that we don’t need to leave it at that. I believe we can send our love and our energy through time and, in the process, perhaps heal ourselves of painful regret.

About Amaya Pryce

Amaya Pryce is a spiritual coach and writer living in the Pacific Northwest. Her newest book, How to Grow Your Soulis available on Amazon. For coaching or to follow her blog, please visit

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

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The Dot Com Lunch – Tesla Model 3 Priced Lunch

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On this episode of the Dot Com Lunch, I talk about the new Tesla Model 3 and how it cost almost as much lunch at Pho Ba Co. You’ll also learn the history of Vietnamese iced coffee and Vietnamese subs.

Click Here To Download John Chow’s New eBook, The Ultimate Online Profit Model!

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Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here's How to Stop It

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Procrastination is in human’s biological makeup. Thanks to our limbic system, the neurological powerhouse that controls our emotions and memory, we are inclined to feel before we think. To avoid experiencing negative feelings, we keep away from tasks that may overwhelm or inconvenience us.

Because we are inclined to seek and enjoy pleasure first, we tend to give in to things that make us happy instantly. It is so instant that we don’t see a point in neglecting ourselves. But it blinds us from viewing the consequences due to procrastination — more than 3 hours go missing every single day, and about 55 days — almost 2 months are lost every year.

It All Comes down to Our Emotions

The essential way to overcome procrastination is by regulating the emotions. When obligations are dreadful, they drag our feet to complete them. Most people tend to confuse work with emotional suffering because the task at hand may appear to be complicated or difficult; which can cause panic or despair.

The more complicated or challenging the work may be, the more paranoid we become. All of these negative feelings and reservations add up, making people avoid the tasks altogether to keep from experiencing suffering or negativity.

Adjust the Task and Your Mood Will Change

Difficult or complicated tasks tend to easily overwhelm people, causing them to lose interest in the project and faith in themselves. The key is to make these tasks more manageable.

How do you do this? By breaking them up into smaller, digestible elements that will eventually add up to complete the big picture. This way, a lot of the strain is lifted, and you can find a little more enjoyment in your work.

Before breaking down the tasks, as a whole they appear to be time consuming and challenging. That is why you need to break the project down into small, manageable parts that you can take action on immediately. The smaller the tasks, the easier you will find them to manage. It’s good to break down your tasks into elements that will only take you 45 minutes or less to complete.

Keep the big picture in mind, but keep your workload light and only focus on one small task at a time. When you commit your attention to one element at a time, you are gradually making your way towards the larger goal.

Since we are inclined to seek out things that bring us pleasure, small rewards can go a long way to help to satisfy our need for pleasure and positivity. Rewards give you small goals to work towards, which will help to keep you motivated. Even if you aren’t able to physically reward yourself, still celebrate the progress you’ve made along the way.

Celebrate the completion of each small step to encourage morale. Keep up momentum throughout the entire project, and tiny celebrations will help you to do just that. Expecting to see results of the task at hand immediately is unrealistic. Accomplishments are measured by the differences you have made along the way, not the end result.

Imagine holding an event at work, you must find a venue, caterer, and entertainment. You also need to come up with a theme, and decorate the venue and table settings. This is a huge project. Break it down into smaller parts and maybe focus on deciding on a theme first. When you’ve completed that, give yourself a small break as a reward before moving on to the next part. One thing at a time and reward yourself to stay motivated. Then the big project will not overwhelm you.

What if no matter how small the task is, it’s still dreadful?No job is perfect. You will always at some point find yourself faced with tedious and uninteresting tasks that you must complete. Sometimes you just need to suck it up, buttercup. To stay motivated, plan to complete positive tasks along with the negative ones. This will regulate your emotions, and ensure that you don’t only do the things that you “feel like” doing.

When you alter your attitude towards your obligations, it will make the tasks seem less tedious. It takes a lot of practice and reinforcement, but eventually it will change your work ethic. Refer to these tips to help you beat procrastination every time!

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What Makes a Person Boring

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I have interviewed over 100 people for a number of positions. It’s always exciting to talk with driven candidates, but sometimes I will admit that I have to fight the urge to yawn during an interview.

The last thing that you want to do at an interview or at a social event is lull your audience to sleep. Regardless of context, when I’m getting to know someone, I want to hear stories about different aspects of the person’s life. I want to know what is happening with them so that I can understand how they face adversity and measure their own success.

Sometimes I walk away from a conversation feeling completely bowled over by a person’s personality and accomplishments. Other times, the interaction has little impact, and I have trouble remembering the individual later. Nobody wants to be the forgettable person at the party or the lackluster job candidate.

You don’t have to go on wild adventures all the time to be interesting

After interviewing so many people, I have a good sense of how monotony manifests itself. If a person is sitting in my office, I already know that he or she is qualified. I need to know more about the human being that did all the things on that CV.

What holds true for the most interesting job candidates also holds true in life. When you meet a new person, are you drawn to someone who lists off accomplishments with no back-story, or are you moved by their unique perspective? You don’t have to go on wild adventures all the time to be interesting, but your attitude about taking on challenges and meeting new people can influence how others perceive you.

People who are willing to work hard to overcome obstacles almost always stand out when compared to people who are always trying to play it safe.

The five yawn-inducing people you don’t want to be

If you want to be a memorable person there are a few things that you should avoid at all costs. Based on my life experience and time as an interviewer, if a person demonstrates any one of these attributes, I am not likely to see out additional interactions with them.

1. The individual who can’t take social cues.

Unless you have a disorder that affects your ability to interact with others socially, you should have a basic grasp of social cues. People who can’t read a crowd are boring, and they don’t even notice it. They see their audience yawning, shifting in their seats, and glancing at their watches, and it doesn’t register that those people want to leave.

Even the most interesting people slip into a tedious tale once in a while, but if they’re paying attention to others’ reactions, they’ll adjust what they are saying, shorten their story, or rekindle interest.

I knew an individual in college who was terrible at reading her fellow students’ cues. People avoided being around her because she told lengthy stories while disregarding others’ class schedules. She’d continue talking even as her audience inched toward the exit. She was the sweetest person, but because she didn’t pay attention to her peers’ cues that they needed to leave, many people considered her to be boring.

A boring person will drone on until they’ve run out of things to say, which is usually well beyond the point when their audience has tuned out.

2. Someone too worried about what other people think.

It’s natural to want to project a positive image that showcases your confidence and competence, but someone who cares too much about how other people view him or her is bound to be a people-pleaser. People-pleasers come off as boring because their fear of offending others prevents them from expressing themselves.

Having no strong opinion about anything is downright dull, and in a work setting, it can lead teams into disastrous situations.[1] If you ask for an opinion and the answer you always get is, “I think that’s great,” “Whatever you think,” or, “That seems okay,” then you can’t grow your idea. The people-pleaser’s input is useless.

The most interesting people are willing to put forth their opinions–even if their ideas are different from the people around them. Being your authentic self requires vulnerability.[2] You can easily spot the person who wants to avoid making waves because they’ll always defer to your opinion or refuse to state their own.

When we have meaningful conversations, we can take projects and conversations in exciting new directions. It is possible to be kind and professional while disagreeing with someone. Sharing leads to growth, but pandering leads to stagnation.

3. The person with the persistently negative attitude

This may be my pet peeve. While it is acceptable to complain when something isn’t going well, grumbling should not be a person’s default setting. Constant complaining without working to find a solution is tiresome.[3] Individuals who do this are more invested in expressing their feelings than they are in fixing the problem.

Whining about problems is easy, but taking action requires effort and change. People who aren’t willing to work to improve their situation are scared to move forward. Complaining allows them to vent, but it keeps them well within their comfort zone. There’s nothing less interesting than watching someone remain trapped by their own negativity.

I had an acquaintance who fell into this negativity trap. I tried to help her problem-solve, but she would always reply with, “Oh that will never work,” or “I can’t do that.” It seemed like no matter how many ways I tried to help this person with her growing list of issues, she refused to help herself. Eventually I became frustrated with her unwillingness to work toward a solution, and I stopped interacting with her.

4. Everyone is boring other than himself 

This is a subtle form of narcissism that I’ve seen a number of times during interviews. A whopping 55% of hiring managers agree that seeming disinterested during an interview is grounds for rejection.[4] People who can’t take an interest in others often don’t like new experiences, and they aren’t willing to make connections.

You may have met this person before. This is the person at the party who doesn’t mind holding court and telling their own stories, but their eyes glaze over whenever anyone else starts to talk. They get bored quickly if the conversation isn’t aimed toward something they like.

Memorable people work to connect with others, and connecting involves being willing to speak and listen.

5. Someone who put stability as their first priority

Some people are happy to stay in their bubble and stagnate. They don’t desire change, and they fear new things.

You’ll catch these people avoid meeting new people or breaking from their routine. They tend to make excuses and say things like, “This is too much for me,” “I don’t think I will like it,” and “I’m good at what I’m doing.” Knowing when to say no is an important part of living a balanced life, but people who refuse every opportunity may be more interested in avoiding fear than leading an exciting existence.

People who won’t try anything new have created a prison for themselves. Their unwillingness to be exposed to novel situations leads them to a comfortable but mediocre existence. They talk about a few topics all the time, or repeat a handful of stories because there simply isn’t much going on with them.

Break out of your comfort zone and bamboozle us with your greatness.

You don’t have to be a social butterfly or a daredevil to be an interesting person, but you do need to be open to what the world has to offer. If you show no interest in anything, and everyone seems boring to you, it might be time to look in the mirror and decide if the world is boring or if you need to make a change.

There’s no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone. -Unknown


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How To Boost Your Mental Health With Nootropics

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Are you looking for an effective way to boost your mental health? Or maybe you want something that will help you stay focused when you need to stay up late at night? If so, then you may want to look into nootropics. Over the years, nootropics have become increasingly popular, thanks to a growing body of evidence that shows their effectiveness in terms of increasing mental performance and even treating certain mental health disorders. In this resource, you will learn how you can get started with nootropics to help boost your overall mental well-being. What Are Nootropics? Also referred to as smart drugs or neuro enhancers, nootropics are supplements meant to help users attain the mental performance. They are most popular among young professionals who spend countless hours at work and students who need to study for long hours in preparation for an exam. According to a recent study, 16% of young adults in the US already take cognitive enhancing supplements. This number is only expected to rise in the following years. The nootropics industry continues to grow larger, with more and more people acknowledging there are many health benefits. Why Should You Use Nootropics? Nootropics are expressly designed to help increase mental performance. The problem, however, is that the term mental performance can be too vague. Each person may have his or her own definition of mental performance. This causes some people to end up getting disappointed after using nootropics without experiencing any noticeable benefits. This is exactly why many health experts suggest taking a more particular approach when it comes to using nootropics. A good starting point is to learn the two categories of neuroenhancers: natural supplements and nootropic drugs. Natural supplements are extracted from leaves, herbs and organic oil. Vitamins and brain foods are also placed under this category. If you are looking for something that can help boost your mental performance over the long term, then natural supplements should be your number one option. Since they are made from natural ingredients, you can expect to suffer from zero side effects throughout your use. The downside, however, is that they provide mild effects compared to nootropic drugs. Nootropics, on the other hand, are created from laboratories. They are made from a variety of ingredients, which may include natural sources. Nootropic drugs are designed in a way to deliver more potent results. Also, a nootropic is usually developed to deal with a particular mental health problem. How To Get Started With Nootropics? Just like taking any other kind of supplement, the results you get may vary from other users. This is because boosting your mental performance depends on several variables include in your daily diet, genetic predisposition, and exposure to environmental toxins. Also, you cannot expect nootropics to magically increase your mental clarity, attention span, and focus. When you're first starting out, try to hold the factors mentioned above as constant as you can. Through this, you can try different nootropics and see which one works best for you. You may also want to start with premixed stacks. These come with several ingredients that have been shown to provide the most benefit in terms of improving mental health. If you are dealing with a specific mental health disorder, then you may want to consult your doctor for proper diagnosis. Once your condition has been diagnosed by a medical professional, you may seek advice regarding the use of nootropics. The doctor can help select the best nootropic that addresses the particular mental health problem you have. This also helps you avoid what supplements can interfere with other prescription medications you're taking for your condition. Summing It Up It's interesting to see how far nootropics have gone over the years. They are now widely used by millions of people across the globe, with an increasing number of psychiatrists swearing by their efficacy. Remember, though, that getting the results you expect depends heavily on choosing the appropriate nootropic drug for your condition. You cannot shop blindly without understanding what a particular brain supplement can do for your health. Keep in mind that you can always work with your doctor to choose the best nootropic that will take your mental acuity to its peak.
Garry is a nootropic enthusiast and the site owner of "The Nootropics Review". Visit his website and read his in-depth reviews to find the right nootropic stack for you.

You've read How To Boost Your Mental Health With Nootropics, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Erin’s Things: Sunday, June 30

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Thanks for joining me for my weekly round-up. This week, I've got a couple of really cool apps, devices and a movie. I'd love to hear what you're really into, so read away and then leave a comment below! Be well, Erin

Sometimes I need a little inspiration to get working, so when I discovered, a design and aesthetic focused furniture start up I was super excited! You've got modern and inspiring (key word here!) pieces, never predictable. I especially love the desk headphone hanger and the ‘Hay’ laptop brush. Where you work in terms of the effect it has on positivity can be just as important in sparking your creativity. I'm up for trying anything that will make me more productive!

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath’s only novel, as a film! It’ s directed by a woman, who just happens to be actress turned filmmaker Kristen Dunst. The film stars Dakota Fanning, another fantastic talent. I have always loved this book, a classic story of its central character ‘Esther Greenwood’s melancholy decent into mental illness. It is an acclaimed tale of the young and unreachable out there, and with a fresh adaptation co-written by Kristen Dunst herself and Nellie Kim, I am beyond excited to see this all female version light up he screen.

Things get busy in life, to the point where I find myself calling ‘exercise’ a few minutes of yoga stretches in the morning and at night. For those of us who don’t necessarily belong to any gym or take regular studio classes to work out, there is now an iOS app that solves this problem and it even gets you in on incredible discounts! Open Sweat is a great new app that  is free to download, you register on a platform then you browse all classes in Los Angeles that are under booked. Best thing to add is that every night between 6pm the night before and 30 minutes before the class, you can get discounts of up to 50% on these classes. SO if I find myself having the time on any given day, this app makes it easy and affordable.

Remember that part of that lyric to that song ‘got the whole world in his hands?’ Well, now that is reality! That is if a large part of your world revolves around your smart phone (and let’s be real…). This ingenious device is a pocket electricity generator, shaped like a ball that you can take anywhere with you wherever you go. It works to generate the same current it would take to charge your phone to an external outlet, but with your own body’s energy charging a built in battery. That is GENIUS! You only may look a little strange to some as you rotate your wrist trying to get energy into your phone…but the upside of that is it can be surprisingly meditative? Just a hunch.  This is an energy efficient product and I’m all for it.

The indie rock band, Trophy Dad, has something special, unassuming and contemplative on one hand, dance worthy on the other hand. Lyrically and musically on point with interesting narratives smattered throughout. Their single ‘Louis Sachar’ has a melodious hook that is still in my head as I type this. They’re on my to watch list for sure.
What are you loving this week? Let me know in the comments below!  

You've read Erin’s Things: Sunday, June 30, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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Seven Tips For Buying Cheap Appliances for New Homeowners

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Home ownership is on the upswing for new couples and an important consideration that comes with house ownership is appliances. Without the right ideas, purchasing appliances can easily burn holes in any couple’s wallet. According to financial expert Howard Clark, just upgrading old appliances will cost an average of $1,033.

Fortunately, there are some valuable steps a new couple can take so they can get reliable but cheap appliances to meet their needs- without breaking the bank. Listed below are six of them.

Know What Features You Need Before Buying

Today’s technology can make it easy and tempting to spend money for features you don’t even need. Do you really need a stove with a built-in computer console or an ice maker on your refrigerator that can cube ice six different ways?

You probably don’t.

The hard truth is that the functionality between very expensive and cheap appliances is the same. Most of the time, they only differ in the extra features they can offer. When buying appliances, decide which features you truly need and compare them with the ones that are only nice to have.

Take Advantage of Holiday Sales

cyber monday

Appliances are often greatly marked down during holidays, like Christmas and Labor Day. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are also great opportunities to save a lot of money.

Most new appliance upgrades are rolled out in September and October, making for great deals on older appliances. Refrigerators, however, are the exception as new models roll out in June.

Don’t be Afraid to Negotiate

Cars aren’t the only big-ticket items with negotiable price tags. Many items, including appliances, are negotiable as well.

Financial guru Howard Clark claims that only 33% of Americans are willing to haggle the price on appliances. Around 75% of them are able to save an average of $100 per appliance. For others, they get discounts when they pay cash. In some cases where discounts aren’t offered, customers can get free delivery and installation. Some even get free haul away of the old appliances

You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Buy Pre-owned Appliances

Often, when people want to upgrade to more features, they sell their old appliances on Craig’s List and other venues at greatly reduced prices. These appliances usually have a lot of life in them and are perfectly functional. People just want to get rid of them so they can upgrade to a model with more bells and whistles.

Don’t Overlook Scratch and Dent

Dealers will sell “scratch and dent” appliances at large markdowns. This is a chance to save anywhere from 10 to 50% off of the retail price.

Don’t worry about getting damaged appliances. Those scratches and dents aren’t that noticeable unless you’re really looking for them. Plus, they don’t affect the functionality of the appliances.

Don’t Forget Security

home security system

While you’re getting new appliances, don’t forget to invest in a good home security system to protect them. Most systems come with a convenient app for your security and peace of mind.

See Also: 10 People in Urgent Need of Smart Home Security Systems

Do Your Research

This is one of the most important things you should do when looking for cheap appliances. Compare different brands, prices and features when you visit dealers and you’ll be surprised at the price differences same items have. Use the information you collected in deciding which features you really need and which are mere luxury items.

Buying cheap appliances may seem like a daunting task. Modern technology has made everything more complicated in many ways, but most appliances still have the same basic features that they have had for the past 40 years. Hopefully, this article is able to give you some ideas to get the best deals for your money.


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I've Read More Than 500 Cover Letters and Here's What I've Spotted

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There are about 3.69 million results on a Google search for “cover letter template,” which isn’t surprising. Many are concerned with making sure they have the right cover letter format, so they go searching for a template.

Here’s the problem with that approach: by definition, a template (especially those residing on Page 1 of Google’s search results) is something that thousands of people are using. This cannot stand out from others. Your cover letter begins from a very average place.

The average number of applicants to a job these days is 59,[1] with most jobs receiving far more. Recruiters and hiring managers simply don’t have the time to go through 60+ resumes and cover letters thoroughly without sacrificing many other priorities during the day.

A good, interesting cover letter — especially one that hooks the reader immediately — can be a huge difference in getting you a job. A generic cover letter on the same template the recruiter just saw 50 other times? No.

When we discuss cover letter format, then, let’s shift the focus to how to make yourself stand out as a candidate via your cover letter.

Make It Personal (Like You Know the Hiring Person)

This is actually much easier in the modern age, because you can use LinkedIn often to find the specific hiring manager for the position. For example, a writer job may report to a marketing or content marketing manager, and a design job might report to a marketing manager or Chief Designer. Once you know the hiring manager, you can personalize the cover letter format pretty easily:

  • No sir/madam; use the name.
  • Look at their career arc and mention one commonality between theirs and yours.
  • Mention one skill or concept you think you could learn from them.

Now the cover letter is directed at one person and wholly personal. This is a great first step.

If you can, look up potential pain points for the employer online. Some sources are Google News, Seeking Alpha, The Wall Street Journal, and other financial sources. If you’ve determined the biggest problems they face and you have a few sentences about how your role could solve them, that might endear your candidacy to them.

Narrate Your Story

Nothing resonates for the human brain like stories. Tell a great one here — especially given the time constraints for a hiring manager to read all these letters. Some tips:

  • Use the inverted pyramid approach and put the most important information first.
  • Assume that with every additional word, the chances of the hiring manager continuing to read it declines. You can assume that because it’s been proven by research.[2]

A good story-driven intro might go something like this:

Hi Mr. Peterson,

I saw that you were a river guide for a while in your 20s. I was also for three years and a near-death experience I had with a group from a corporate retreat changed everything for me about how I considered my career arc.

Mr. Peterson is likely to keep reading. The story has hooked him.

Play up Your Connection with the Company

This is where your research (LinkedIn and otherwise) comes into play. You need to convey why working for that specific company is important to you, not just the concept of having a job. The goal is to build emotional attachment based on the research you did. Here’s an example:

Hi Mr. Smith,

My dad always told me his best experiences were in family-owned businesses, so I’ve been gravitating towards those in my recent search. I discovered how many awards your team has won, including the 2017 Best Business award for the metro area, and I began doing additional research on your culture. It seems fantastic, especially that part about company-wide data accountability and bonding “color days.” I’ve been searching for a great fit like this since those long conversations about being a male and career-building with my dad, and your approach seems excellent. I’d love to show you why I’m the best candidate here.

This references research, shows you care about the company, and plays to the ego of those already inside the company. It’s a triple win!

Focus on 3 Attributes Only

When the iPhone first came out, there were over 200 features. Steve Jobs could have discussed them all in that famous opening press event. He discussed seven only. If he had discussed 200+, the event would have taken forever and no one would remember the key elements.

You don’t need seven features for a cover letter, but picking three attributes is usually a good start. It may look something like this:

I believe I can add value in this role in three specific ways, namely advanced data analysis, communication and presentation of that data to senior leadership, and project management around the initial stages of transferring what the data says into a direct action plan. I’ve been working in the data context space for six years, and some examples of my biggest projects include…

The letter/section would go on, but the important point is that you specifically defined your value adds. The experiences underscoring those value adds comes next.

At this point, the optimal cover letter format focuses on:

  • Emotions
  • Stories
  • Personal context
  • Background research
  • Defining your value-add
  • Friendly tone

And now, let’s get to some more logistics.

Make It Easy-To-Read

This means font (Arial, Courier New, Times New Roman, etc.) and size (usually 12-14). Use standard margins. It should be one page or shorter, and save it (as with your resume) as a PDF instead of a MS Word file, which can look different across different devices.[3]

Also make sure it’s clearly labeled as the cover letter, as oftentimes you’ll send as attachments with the resume. While this may seem minor, confusing a recruiter or hiring manager for even a few seconds could get your cover letter tossed.

The baseline: no mistakes. Avoid typos, run-on sentences, poor grammar, or misspellings (especially of the company or hiring manager’s name). This is a baseline that will get any cover letter tossed aside. Proofread it and make sure you run it through a spell check process.

The Bottom Line on Cover Letter Format

As the number of applications to a standard position rises, you have to make your cover letter stand out. An impressive cover letter will get you through those top of funnel hiring stages and onward to an interview with the hiring manager.

Your cover letter format is less about the exact best template and more about the story you convey. That’s going to push the door further open in the hiring process.


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