Last week I had the misfortune of having to deal with a very negative person. As challenging as it was there are so many amazing lessons that can be learnt from them and there is an opportunity for all of us to improve ourselves at the same time
What causes these negative people to go out of their way and make everyone else feel miserable, I believe, comes down to a lack of self-development and a host of other issues that are to do with their own life. It takes courage and belief in yourself to overcome their effect on you – we can defeat them, though!
In the particular situation I had to deal with, the individual felt the need to make complaints about everything I do and insist I do things their way. Unfortunately for them, they hadn’t met an individual like me who uses every self-development tool there is to overcome these very situations.
Even with all of the self-development training and strategies that I have learnt over the years, the effect this person had on me still lasted 48 hours – this goes to show just how toxic their influence was. Giving feedback is one thing, but going out of your way to try and make everyone else perfect is another.
So rather than dwell on this situation too much, I thought I would share with you the nine ways to rise above negative people’s influence.
1. Move towards positivity and away from negativity
The reality is that you can’t completely block out negative people (I have tried) but what you can do is use a strategy that Tony Robbins introduced to me called “moving towards, and moving away from.”
Rather than completely ignore the person, just change the ratio in which you interact with them.
In the situation that recently happened to me, I have chosen to lessen my exposure to this toxic person. This involves a few weeks of no interaction (to let the emotion subside) followed by minimum future exposure. Think of them as a germ, you can’t avoid them all together, but you can be careful not to touch a dirty floor or share a drink with a sick person.
In this strategy, the idea is to increase the time you spend with positive people and lessen your time with the negative person whose influence is seriously affecting you. By executing this strategy, you put the odds in your favour and increase the chances of rising above future negative people that you might come into contact with.
2. Sleep on it
After a serious encounter with a negative person, like the one I had, the key thing that person wants you to do is to get caught up in the emotion or react. The first thing I recommend on doing is getting away from the person and environment they are in as soon as possible.
By making any decisions in an emotional state, you are most likely going to do something that you regret. Always insist on not making any decisions about how you are going to handle this negative person until you have had at least one night’s sleep or ideally a weekend to recover.
When someone has worn you down with their negativity, your energy levels are low, and you most likely haven’t eaten the correct foods while dealing with the issue. The result of these two things is that you are asking your brain to make an important decision without being rational and relaxed – just what the negative person wants.
The next morning after my incident I still found that I was not in the right frame of mind and delayed the decision about dealing with the negative person until another nights sleep. Then I was calm and rational and decided not to react. Next came the weekend, and I made a further decision not to react. Having had enough time to think, I decided this person was not worth wasting my time on.
If I had tried to make the decision earlier, I suspect the outcome would have been much worse. Always act in a calm, positive state where possible and your success will increase substantially.
3. People can always fault you
The reality is that people can always find a fault with something you are doing. It’s so easy to stand back and criticise what someone does or the way they are doing it. Guess what? They are measuring you based on their own set of rules about how things need to be, but that’s only their rules, not yours.
What makes their rules right? Nothing.
The most obvious sign that someone’s using their faulty rules to judge you is when you run the situation by other people in your network, and 100% of them say that this negative person’s perspective is rubbish.
This is exactly what happened to me and everyone I spoke to said that the situation was completely misjudged by the other person. What shown through was that people said my intent is very obvious, and my goal is to do the right thing by people.
So when someone says I write stupid things to people, you know what I did? I said to everyone around me in a polite tone “read Addicted2Success and you can see exactly how I write and what people think of my actions.” The truth always trumps inaccurate statements.
4. The negative persons view is only theirs
By having a negative person treat me like dirt and say inaccurate things, I learnt that this negative persons view is only theirs. No two people’s view will be identical. Just because they think that you are not intelligent or don’t know what you are doing, that doesn’t mean it’s true.
Often this negative persons view is shaped by their prior experiences.
5. The problem is them not you
Upon reflection I realised that the issue that happened to me was actually the negative person’s issue, not mine. As it turns out, they have judged other people, in the same way, acted inappropriately before, and gone out of there was to make people have a bad day.
When I realised this, I instantly felt better because I knew that they were the real problem, and I just got tangled in their web of unresolved problems of the past. They have most likely failed in many aspects of their life and dealt with lots of uncomfortable emotions.
Most of this failure has been caused by their failure to truly understand themselves and what it takes for them to be successful. They decided to take the easy route in life and inflict pain on others rather than deal with their own – don’t ever do this, you are smarter than that.
6. Understand that negative people expect perfection
The moment someone expects you to be perfect is the moment that you know that they are going to cause problems. That’s because each of us who have taken the time to learn about self-development know that we are never going to be perfect.
In fact, as we grow even more we realise that the greater something is imperfect, the better it is. Think of antiques, they have rust, dents and dirt, and that’s what makes people want them. It’s the aging that has occurred, their rarity, and the history the antiques reveal that makes them so special.
The more we strive to be imperfect and fail, the wiser and more powerful we become. I personally love to try something and have it blow up on me because I know there are going to be some great lessons on the other side.
I have never studied a successful person who was perfect, and the most successful people seem to be very far from perfect – do you want perfection or do you want success?
7. You can turn even the most negative people into supporters
A key lesson that I want you to get from this article is that while in the short term you may reduce contact with this negative person, in the long term you have a fantastic opportunity. This opportunity is one I have taken many times in my life, and it’s one I encourage you to take.
After a negative person has really affected you, and a few months have past, see if you can attempt to reconnect with them. One outcome that I have seen is that when a negative person figures out your strategy and realises how you operate, they can often change their dealings with you to a more positive interaction.
This has happened many times to me, and I put it down to the negative person understanding that my positive mindset cannot be altered and that I shape my beliefs, no one else. When people realise that I am very stubborn when it comes to the tools of success, they can often change their future dealings with me.
The other reason I encourage you to re-engage with a negative person at some point is that you can learn a lot about yourself.
8. Watch some great movies
So after going through the situation of dealing with an extremely negative person I found one of the easiest ways to recover was through a good movie. It’s phenomenal how an inspiring movie with a good story can stop you focusing on yourself and make you think about how you can be successful.
If you want my two recommendations for movies that are bound to take you out of the disempowering state that a negative person can put you in, then try “The Pursuit Of Happyness” and “The Blind Side.” There is no way you can stay disempowered after watching these two movies.
9. Remember the negative persons diet
So one common trait I see with all negative people is a poor diet. Thinking back to the negative person I had to deal with, I remembered that they consistently drank lots of coffee and ate non-nutritional food.
It’s no surprise that they got in a disempowered state so easily, their energy levels didn’t allow them to see any positivity. When you poison your body with junk food on a regular basis, your ability to make positive decisions and think clearly is impaired.
This poor nutrition leads to a constant brain fog and no way to have the energy levels that successful people have.
“Your thoughts and decisions, and whether they will be positive, are radically affected by your diet”
Rise above the naysayers. Reduce your time with toxic people.
Always remember that no outside force can change your mindset or your beliefs, only you can. In times of uncertainty and pain the self-development you have done will be the deciding factor in how you handle negative people.
Self-development is the best tool you have against the crusade to fight the effect of negative people. Stand tall, be a leader and remember why you do what you do. You are someone who has unlimited potential, and all you need to do is unlock it.
How 8 Minutes of Meditation Can Give You the Productivity Boost You Need
Of all the productivity hacks I’ve tried over the years, none has had as much of a positive impact relative to the time I put in than meditation. Just 8 minutes per day to be precise. Meditation is a practice that has been around for centuries. Once primarily used by practitioners of Buddhism to reach a higher level of consciousness, science has since shown it has a lot of more earthly benefits as well.
As Healthline reports, meditation improves concentration, reduces fatigue and stress, brings a sense of relaxation and improves sleep patterns, among other benefits. All the above reasons explain why some of the most successful people rely on meditation to thrive in their professions. Jeff Weiner, former Yahoo executive and the current CEO of Linkedin says that meditation has made a huge positive impact on his productivity. Similarly, Ray Dalio, who is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, attributes a big part of his success to meditation.
5 Ways Meditation Helps with Productivity
Before I get to my own meditation routine that takes just 8 minutes of my time daily, let me first go over in general how meditation can give you a huge leg up in your career and business, backed by studies.
1. Improves Your Attention Span
There are tons of factors that improve productivity, but one that plays a very important role is the ability to focus. Being attentive enough to complete the task at hand means you’ll finish your work with higher accuracy and better efficiency.
According to Pubmed, several studies have shown the efficacy of meditation in reversing parts of the brain that cause mind wandering and the inability to concentrate. Russell Simmons, the CEO of Rush Communications, says that meditation is one of the things that has helped him focus the most.
2. Increases Neuroplasticity
For a long time, scientists believed that brain development only happened during childhood and then ceased. But recent discovery regarding the neuroplastic nature of the brain concludes that our brains actually continue to change and adapt through experiences. In other words, the brain is continually reorganizing itself by creating new neurons and new connections.
Meditation is one practice capable of changing your brain’s structure and functions. In fact, Harvard Researchers at MGH have shown that meditation increases grey matter volume in your brain. What this means is that it causes more neurons to accumulate in one space.
Another theory that explains how meditation boosts neuroplasticity is that it increases cerebral blood flow (CBF). By placing you in a state of relaxation, blood is able to flow more freely leading to better oxygenation and nourishment in your brain. With increased neuroplasticity, your ability to acquire new skills and positive habits increase.
3. Sharpens Your Memory
A major benefit of mediation is that it boosts one’s working memory capacity. The working memory determines how much information the central nervous system can hold and process at any time. It’s like the Random Access Memory in a computer.
A study was done to investigate the effect of active meditation on individuals’ working memory capacities. Researchers had the participants take part in a 45-minute meditation exercise twice per week. After a couple of weeks, they recorded the results and discovered that the respondents’ working memory capacities had increased by more than 30%. Put simply; they could hold and process 30% more information than the average person.
The study proved that meditating increases the working memory capacity. With a larger working memory, you can take on more sophisticated tasks and handle them efficiently.
4. Improves Cognitive Thinking
As you age, your cognitive functioning deteriorates gradually. The resulting deficit weakens your ability to reason, remember and process information. All these are factors that can make you less productive at work and in other areas of your life. Good news is, practising meditation and mindfulness can help with that.
To examine the impact of meditation on cognitive function, researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted a study. They asked 48 undergraduate students to attend one of two classes: a nutrition class or a mindfulness class. The result? Those who attended the mindfulness class saw marked improvements in their exams afterwards, while the nutrition group saw no statistically significant improvements.
One factor that can explain this outcome is that meditation improves the balance of the left and right sides of the brain. Synchronizing both brain hemispheres allows for greater processing power and neural communication.
5. Reduces Stress
Stress is something that people experience on a daily basis, and more so at work. According to the American Institute of Stress, work-induced stress is the most common form of stress. Based on a recent survey they did, at least 80% of Americans experienced stress at work, hampering productivity and leading to mistakes.
Thankfully, having a meditation practice as part of your routine can lower stress and make you more productive. It goes beyond just stress reduction, however. According to the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, meditation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks.
How 8 Minutes of Meditation Daily Has Changed My Life
My personal journey with meditation has been nothing short of life changing. What if I told you there was a productivity hack that only required 8 minutes of your day, and as a consequence, will double your attention span, mental stamina, and ability to function under stress? What if I told you, thanks to just 8 minutes a day, a once self diagnosed ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) sufferer now frequently loses track of time as he ticks off one item after the next on his daily to-do lists? Yes, that’s what meditation has done for me, and I believe it can do that for anyone.
The meditation routine I follow is based on the best selling book “8 Minute Meditation” by Victor Davich. As a meditation guru, Victor sought out to devise a meditation program that fits in with the ultra busy lifestyles of Westerners while still delivering the main benefits the practice at its fullest provides.
Here is the gist of the “8 minute meditation” that I practice every day right before I go to bed:
- Set a timer for 8 minutes.
- Find a comfortable sitting pose. This could be in a cozy meditation chair or sitting with your legs crossed on a yoga mat
- Close your eyes slowly as if you were planning to sleep. Avoid squeezing them or shutting them involuntarily.
- Next, start taking slow, deep breaths.
- With every inhale, envision that you are breathing in light. Follow the light as it enters your body.
- With every exhale, imagine breathing out all the tension and negativity that you have been harbouring. Relax every muscle from those on your face, chest, back, legs all the way to the tips of your toes.
- As you breathe in and out, your mind will most likely start to wonder. Do not get upset. Just slowly bring your awareness back to your breathing. Imagine catching a fish and just letting it go.
- Continue this until the timer goes off. Then, slowly open your eyes again..
A big part of the magic happens in meditation when you do it consistently. For me, with every day of practice, my ability to stay focused on my breathing and stay present increased during those critical 8 minutes. And as my ability to do those seemingly simple things improved, that’s when I started to notice all the tangible benefits of meditation I mentioned earlier.
Meditation is not a new concept. And it doesn’t require you to invest anything that you don’t already have. This is one of the greatest benefits of meditating; it doesn’t require any special equipment or registration for training. Essentially, you have nothing to lose but so much to gain. To me, meditation dare i say is the greatest productivity hack of all time.
5 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Hitting Rock Bottom
At one time, the term rock bottom was completely foreign to me. I can remember feeling really bad for anyone who claimed to have ‘hit rock bottom.’ What devastation they must feel. Their whole world must have just collapsed. How will they go on? I was soon to find out.
My journey to rock bottom
I’m not gonna say I had it all but for the most part, my world was pretty good. It wasn’t perfect and I’ll admit, I was sailing through on a song and a prayer. I lived in a nice house in a posh neighbourhood with my partner and in 2010 I purchased my first business, a hair salon.
I belonged to an amazing networking group of successful women. I was well respected in the community and had lots of friends. You could say my life was pretty good. However, this didn’t last for long.
Three years after the purchase of the salon I closed the doors and declared bankruptcy. Six months after bankruptcy, I walked out of my abusive relationship with nothing to my name.
I was a shell of a person. I had nothing and in my eyes, I was a complete and utter failure. At 52 years old, my whole world came crashing down on me and I for the first time in my life, was absolutely terrified.
I walked around in a daze for months. I was completely empty inside, both emotionally and mentally. I had no desire to rebuild my life. There was little life left in me to work on. I secured my old job at the salon I was at prior to my business purchase. Every day I had to face people who I’m sure were disappointed in me and most likely laughing at me behind my back.
I was a loser. They knew it and so did I. When you hit rock bottom, any and all self respect and self confidence you ever had goes right out the window. You’re constantly embarrassed and feel worthless all the time. However, one day something snaps when you look in the mirror and can’t stand to look at the person looking back at you. This is without a shadow of a doubt the moment some confidence and hope arises to change.
I looked in the mirror one day and I didn’t recognize the person staring back. She was sad, empty, blank and lifeless. This wasn’t Iva and I so desperately wanted her back. I missed the optimistic, bubbly and outgoing girl that used to stare back at me in the mirror. And I was determined to get her back.
I had reached a point where I was tired of crying and feeling sorry for myself. I was tired of telling myself I was a loser and a failure and that I would never amount to anything. But I was mostly tired of just existing with no purpose or passion.
“Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” – J.K. Rowling
I started devouring self help books and reading any and all blogs I could on how to get your life back on track and how to find self love and self worth again. I read inspirational quotes and listened to motivational YouTube videos day in and day out. I journaled and cried and prayed and meditated. All the things I have never done in my life, I was doing daily without fail.
Slowly, Iva was emerging but she was so much different this time around. She had hope, faith and determination and nothing was going to stop her or stand in her way of rebuilding her life. My journey out of rock bottom took almost a full year to complete but in that time, I learned so much about myself, people and life.
Here are the 5 life lessons I learned from hitting rock bottom:
1. Failure isn’t real
There’s no such thing as failure. I’m not even sure why this word exists. You had an idea or a plan, tried it, and it didn’t work. You learn lessons from this and you move on. Always remember one very important thing: you tried. Most people don’t even bother. Believe in yourself.
2. You’re not stuck anywhere
If something isn’t working or isn’t good for you, leave it. I was terrified to leave my abusive relationship because I knew it meant I would lose everything. And I did. When I finally took the plunge and left, everything in my life changed for the better. Have faith!
3. Change is fun and scary, but do it anyway
Although change is terrifying, it’s necessary. We don’t grow in our comfort zone or in our misery. Sometimes you have to do things that will scare the daylights out of you..do them anyway. This is where you learn and grow. You meet people and you experience things you never would have if you stayed in your comfort zone. Take the leap.
“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
4. Everything is temporary
The good and the bad. Nothing is forever. No matter how horrible your situation is, it won’t last. It will eventually go away or maybe even turn out great! Embrace all the good life has to offer you and learn the lessons the bad will give you. Have patience.
I was determined to change my life any way I had to. I did whatever I had to do to turn my life around. Was it easy? No. Is it impossible? No. I knew I had the power to change and it was up to me, and only me, to do that. No one could do it for me.
No matter where you are in your life right now, if things aren’t working out the way you expected, don’t worry. Things will always get better if you try to make them better. You can do anything you want. All you have to do is find the power that’s in you and unleash it.
Have you ever hit rock bottom? What advice do you have for someone who’s there? Share your ideas and advice below!
9 Personal Growth Lessons I Learned From Being Bullied
Wherever I went, bullying seemed to follow me. Whether it was school, work or even family, I could never seem to find any kind of escape. For years, I was stuck in the victim mindset, constantly asking myself what I did to deserve this kind of behaviour towards me. I decided to turn my struggle into a personal growth strategy to help others who might be silently struggling with what I did.
Here are some of the key personal growth lessons I learnt from my harrowing experiences:
1. Be the victim
Be the victim but put an early as possible expiration date on this. Realise that it is okay to feel sorry for yourself; it is okay to validate yourself by reinforcing the fact that you didn’t deserve what happened to you. This will help you give yourself the compassion that you need in that moment. Recognition of the hurt and validation are the first steps towards starting the healing process, but the key is not to hang around there for too long otherwise you will be stuck with a victim mentality.
This is a question that is often asked – why did this happen to me? Were the stars misaligned or is this karma for sneaking the last doughnut from the party? Rather than getting bogged down analysing why you went through the harrowing experience, focus on what you learnt from the experience. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as finding your voice and setting boundaries. Every difficult situation offers an opportunity to learn.
3. Focus on the lesson, not on the pain
Whenever faced with a tough situation, ask yourself, “What am I learning from this?” Often, when drowning in dire circumstances, we cannot see light and we fear that any light might be an oncoming train. The best way to deal with this fear and overwhelm is to refocus your thoughts. Oftentimes, the lesson falls under one of the following categories: perseverance, patience, consistency and my personal favourite – staying true to who you are.
4. Control the controllable
Within every difficult situation, there are always factors you can control: your responses, your disposition and your actions. Using what you can control, redirect your energy on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t do. Sometimes, what you can do is simply getting through your day and giving everything you can. This helps in building self-confidence and self-esteem.
“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” – Steve Maraboli
5. You do you
It is a normal human desire to be liked by those around us. Avoid trying to change who you are based on what others say about you. It is very tempting to do this because we all want to feel accepted and want to feel that we belong. The more you do you, the more you will attract people who love you for the “real” you.
6. It is not about you
When people criticize you incessantly, recognise that they are battling their own demons and they are easily triggered. You are not the real reason for their hurtful behaviour, they are filled with fear, anger and hurt which they vent out to others. You can only give what you have and if fear, anger and hurt is all you have, it is the only place from which you will function.
7. You have the power to choose
It is easy to forget that we always have the power of our choices and decisions, while our circumstances may be overwhelming, we can still make wise choices so as not to become victims of our circumstances. We should never forget this power as this is what keeps us afloat and breathing when caught in a flood of difficulties.
8. Revenge is not the answer
While it is perfectly normal and human to wish revenge on those who have hurt us, it is crucial to note that what we wish upon others, mirrors back to us. Wishing your culprits to battle incessant sneezing while stuck in traffic controlling explosive diarrhea might give a moment of satisfaction, but is this something you are willing to risk mirroring back to you? I certainly am not. Put quite simply – negativity breeds negativity while positivity breeds positivity. Remember, you have the power to choose.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer
Don’t gasp so loudly. Yes, forgive those who have hurt you. Why? It definitely doesn’t absolve them of the hurt they caused you, but it releases you from the chains of negativity that are binding and rooting you in place preventing you from moving on. How do you forgive? Ask whatever higher power you believe in to filter those who have hurt you out of your life, sending them blessings and healing wherever they may need it in their lives while also blessing over positive outcomes for all of you.
I have used this technique personally and I swear by it. Sending blessings and healing while asking for positive outcomes, results in all these wonderful things happening to you as well. Giving what you have mirrors back to you. You have the power to forgive, let go and move on. This is a choice that you also happen to have the power to choose.
The next time you feel stuck and overwhelmed by your circumstances, revisit these personal growth lessons and apply them to your unique situation. You will be glad that you did.
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Many people are ashamed of failure. If they so much as smell a whiff of failure, they quit instantly because the public notices it quickly. But you shouldn’t be ashamed of failure. A lot of people have failed. I’ve failed over and over again in my career, business, relationships and more. Yet, I keep trying because failure isn’t the final verdict. (more…)
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