5 Things To Start Doing For a More Positive You

5 Things to start doing for yourself today

For some positivity is second nature and a natural state of being. For the rest of us life sometimes gets in the way. Over time that natural positivity fades away. Until we have nothing to cling to except our sanity (yes I’m slightly over dramatic).

The truth is, life treats us all the same. The only thing that is different is how we choose to react to the situations that we find ourselves in. Our reactions, in turn, affect our emotions. Or at least that is how it’s supposed to work. The problem comes in when situations directly affect our emotions. They bypass our minds and evoke emotionally charged responses. This way takes away our control and we are left to go about life at the mercy of life’s events.

You need to train your mind to recognise that you are in control. Even the most positive of people cannot control what happens in their life, it’s all in the response. You can recognise an interaction with a colleague as something out of your control and choose how to react. The best reaction to negativity is non-reaction. Non-reaction won’t lead to an emotion filled rage on your insides.

So here are a few tips from the peanut gallery on how to be positive

5 things to start doing for yourself

1. Ignore the news

Ah the news, our to connect to whats wrong with the world. I’ve realised that the news is a stream of negativity that in actual fact has no practical use in our daily lives. We already know bad things happen right? So why should we be listening to the gory details? There is no logical explanation for you to listen to the news. It’s a bad idea to let this stream of negativity into your life.
You won’t miss out on important world events. Those will reach you through the grapevine or internet somehow.

2. Be conscious of your environment

Taking stock of the elements in your environment is key. Things like the music you listen to, movies you watch or the games you play do have an influence on your mood. Maybe not immediately but in the long run it can. Rap and rock are my genre’s of choice but I noticed it’s filled with negative lyrics. I urge you to do an experiment, exclude these environmental negativities for a while. Replace them with other music or a game that have a positive affect on your mood and note the difference. As a rule after conducting my own trail run, i’ve excluded rap and rock from my playlist at work. I now listen to music with no lyrics at work.

Test the effects of the following genres on your mood. Reggae, Jazz Fusion (Jazz and Latin American) and Classical.

Another way to be more conscious of your environment is to start meditating. Meditation helps you to become a better observer of the situations you find yourself in. Better observation allows you to take a step back and respond in a manner you approve of. Meditation can help you in be more present in the moment which is excellent for getting off of auto pilot.

3. Make gratitude a part of your day

If there is anything from these tips that you should actually take away and incorporate its this one. Gratitude will assist you in recognizing the positive things. Appreciating things will train your mind to take note of the positives in your life. The things you do have, that you have accomplished, the things you can do. You’ll also learn to ignore all the “nots” and “cants”. Start by being grateful for what you have, say them out loud or write them down. I know for some this practice starts with great amounts sarcasm. For me it started with:”Good on you cat, you got onto the counter and ate off the dirty plates. I’m grateful that you found a snack, sista’s doin’ it for themselves.

Alex Ikonn has a 5 minute journal that is worth checking out as a way to introduce gratitude into your life.

4. Take a look at those around you

Take stock of those around you. During my stock take i saw that most of my negativity stems from growing up in a society that loves to complain. A complaint is the easiest way to strike up a conversation. “Oooh this que is taking forever” is met with many grunts and nodding heads. Saying something positive like:” I love your shoes” results in the person feeling uncomfortable. Also my family is so logical. By that I mean bordering on the verge of cynical, which has trained me to hope for the best and expect the worse.

Do your stock take. See what habits of negativity you’ve learnt from those around you. Be aware of them and choose to break those habits. That way you will not fall into those conversational traps and thought patterns.

5. Acceptance of those who aren’t

Some of us can’t choose who we have in our company for most of the day. You can’t choose your colleagues after all (unless you have some blackmail on someone in the HR department at work). You also cannot tell those around you how to live. (You may want to but you can’t). You can’t change people’s outlooks and their love for complaining. The best reaction to those around you who are negative, is no reaction. Putting energy into dealing with someone who isn’t a positive influence in your life is a waste of time.

You should focus your energy on things and people who you find worth while. Where you spend your energy, that is the aspect in your life that will grow.

So yes that’s my two cents worth.

If these tips are helpful, or if you have more please share them with me.

Are You “Taking a Break” From Something? A Guide to Getting to Things Now

Are you taking a break from something justbepixie

Hello there friends, I’m back.

So I’ve been missing for a couple of months and the reason behind it isn’t an excellent one.

I had a lot going on in my life. In March I started a new job and had to fall into a new routine. My logical thought was to give myself a break from writing. I also assumed there would be a point, after a month or two at most, at which I would feel like writing again. When that time comes then I’d automatically make time for it. So now close on half a year has passed and I’ve come to a scary realisation.

You will never feel like it!

Now I feel the need to elaborate. Yes, you can enjoy doing something, whether it is a project or a hobby but a day will come where you don’t have the energy, the motivation or the will to do it. Your brain will play nasty by making excuses for you. Who can blame it? That’s it’s job, to keep you in your comfort zone so that you don’t feel overworked, overwhelmed or fatigued. But in doing so, you stay on your comfort zone aka the zone where you don’t grow. You need to be exposed to discomfort in order to push through and learn to cope, it’s how you grow, right? Yes.

So previously my theory was that if you love something enough, it will exert a force great enough to overcome your brain’s excuses for staying in bed, or keeping you on YouTube instead of doing something productive. Now I’ve learned that nothing can exert a force strong enough to get you to do it without ifs butts and coconuts. There will always come a day where you just say: “Nope” and promptly hit the snooze button.

So you, yes you, in the middle of taking a break from gym, diet, writing, starting a website, putting that proposal for work on paper, creating a capsule cupboard, scrap booking or insert your life changing activity here. You are the person in charge of making sure that you become all that you envision yourself to be. In the big world there are no parents to tell you:”No you can’t have ice-cream for breakfast”, “You can’t spend the whole day in your pajamas, get up and brush your teeth”. It’s all on you. It’s your job to FORCE yourself.

My tips are:

1.     As soon as you have a thought or an idea, action it.

So if in the morning your alarm goes off because the previous night you thought it would be a nice idea to get up early. Do it immediately. Don’t let your mind talk you out of it and make excuses to keep you in bed. No! You can’t snooze the extra 30 min.  Your sound mind made a choice whilst it was motivated and your groggy mind is overriding that decision the next morning. Don’t entertain your zombie brain. Sure it’s going to be hard, it’s like ripping of a band-aid, just do it. You’ll be better off for it in 30 min time.

Similarly if you have a great idea, do not let it pass, make it happen by writing it down or telling someone about it. That way you get the ball rolling, your thought becomes something solid.

2.     Stop the negative internal dialog

I find that envisioning yourself reaching your goals is a good way to stop the negative talk. Focus your mental power on looking at your future self. So for example, the future you after three months of diet and exercise. The future you in your own office and an extra bit of spending money because the proposal went over great with the directors of the company you work for.

3.     Tell people about it

Share your ideas, dreams and visions for yourself with people. You are much less likely to climb into your comfort zone if you have people holding you responsible to be more and do more for yourself. People who have high expectations of you and who want to see you succeed are the best as they hold you accountable.

Its all on you to break that cycle and to ignore or be louder than the voice in your head that makes excuses for you! Do it by any means necessary.

Just remember your comfort zone is where you lack, have less of everything it is that you want. The only way to go beyond is to get out of it.

The lady who inspired me and opened my eyes is Mel Robins

How to Use People’s Perception of You to Your Advantage

how to use people's perceptions of you

This article contains the one thing I wish I could tell everybody. In a perfect world everyone would accept it and understand it because it is applicable in all areas of our lives. People trust what they see. This has many implications for us. One implication is that how people see you is important, despite the fact that many of us are taught not to care what others think. This “logic” we’ve been taught all our lives is flawed. How people perceive you in your adult life can make you or break you. It influences your job opportunities, the positions you are offered, your pay scale, how you are treated, the type of friends you attract and what type of partner you attract.

I’d like to tell you how you can use the fact that people trust what they see to your advantage.

How to use people's perception of you

People trust what they see, so regardless of who you are, you are to people what you choose for them to see. That means if you come across as confident, people will believe that you are confident. If you come across as professional, people will believe you are professional. This goes for a multitude of contexts, whether it is business or in your personal life.

Perception is everything. A person’s perception of you is formed by hasty conclusions. Conclusions they jump to when they have their first interactions with you. I’ll take it one step further and say that who you actually are doesn’t matter to people. I say this because they don’t see you for you. You can put yourself forward to be anything that you strive to be and people will most often not question that. You are to people who they want you to be (as they perceive you). As long as you don’t do anything to the contrary of that perception you will stay that person that others perceive you to be. Each person will have a completely different opinion or perception about you. This is true because they are influenced by what you choose to show them and their own perspective and experiences.  Make sure that the side of you that you show the world is the one you don’t mind them building perceptions around.

I remember when I was studying Psychology, during the first year, I would observe the students coming in to the lecture hall. I remember one day I saw boys walking in with their baggy pants almost hanging down to their knees. They would sit and talk and giggle in the back of the class whilst the lecturer was trying to impart some great knowledge on us. This doesn’t seem like a big deal but it hit me that day: How can you take yourself seriously as a psychologist when you are not paying attention in a lecture? My perception of you as a psychologist (if you had to walk into a session acting the way you do and dressing the way you do) would be dismal. I would not want to go sit in your office and I will not have any faith in your skills. I doubt that your help will be of value. You’d just sit there with your baggy pants, giggling at me.

So as the example I gave shows, perceptions can harm your image. Making people perceive you in the best possible way can work to your advantage.  Most often the people we look up to seem to have their lives together, only because we perceive them that way. This is partly because they only put forward their best. We do not see their time of doubt, their confusion and their lack of self esteem.

You might not be confident, but you can present yourself as being confident. Body language that people perceive as confidence is; standing up straight, having your shoulders back, not looking down or collapsing in on yourself. You can speak clearly and make sure that you have even pitch and volume in your voice throughout your sentences and cut out all the doubtful phrases in your vocabulary. Such as; “i think”, “um” and “I’m not sure” and people will perceive you to be confident despite what you feel inside. If you go into the outside world like that every day, you will internalise it and it’ll become part of who you are. The same goes for telephonic or email interactions.

It may be hard to pin point which changes are necessary to portray a certain characteristic. I would suggest that you look up videos to study the mannerisms and characteristics of people who you admire. Jot down what makes you perceive them the way you do (successful, confident, in control or sexy). Then use your notes to incorporate those into your mannerisms and note the changes in how others treat you and respond to you.

At the end of the day, everybody we see or know, we know as we want to know them (because of our preconceptions) or as they have come across to us. Who they are does not matter much. In extreme cases, people have partners who are serial killers but they did not see it because their perception of them did not allow that conflicting information to be seen. But other people might say:”Well yeah, he does kind of look like a serial killer, I could have seen that coming.” (that’s a whole other article). My advice is to take note of the fact that people trust what they see and use this your benefit. Whilst not being malicious of course (we are all nice people here).

Have you ever had someone perceive you negatively, as something that you’re not? Could you overcome it? Comment below, I like hearing from you.

The Things You’re Doing To Make Men Disrespect You

This is why men disrespect you

So at one point or another you’ve wondered why you keep attracting the wrong men. When it comes to relationships I find that most women buy into the idea that mister right is out there and you will find him and he will understand you and what you want and need. I’m here to tell you that the idea of mister right is a fairy tale and that most men have it in them to be “mister right” not just “mister right now”. I would also like you to know that you’re the one determining which “mister” he is.

You do not set the benchmark for how you’re treated consciously

Stop being the victim of disrespectful men who do not show up on time for dates, cheat, play games and get away with waffling in and out of a relationship as they see fit. People will treat you how you allow them to treat you, you set the benchmark. You determine whether a guy steps up to make you happy or whether he is just along for the ride in the short term. You might not currently set the benchmark on how you’re treated consciously. I’m hoping after reading this article you will look at the way men perceive you and realize why you aren’t being treated how you deserve to be treated.

You are self sacrificing

The key to earning respect is demanding it, you demand it by setting standards. Women tend to be self sacrificing, we will make concessions, allowances and compromise because that is the polite and caring thing to do. What most don’t realise is that in a new relationship the concessions could easily come across as a lack of standards. You need to set standards because they act as rules that people should follow when it comes to dealing with you. When people deal with you in a certain way it makes you feel valued and respected. Your standards could include that a man open the door for you, reply to texts immediately after they have been read, show up on time for dates and contact you as soon as he realises he is going to be late. These standards differ among women.

You make concessions for people

The reason why it is important for you to set standards for yourself is because standards prescribe to other people how it is that you want to be treated and it’ll show other people that you value yourself. The best way to get people to treat you with respect is to show them that you respect others and that you respect yourself. That’s why its important avoid making concessions for people. You might think that you’re doing it to avoid confrontation or you want to be drama free and therefore you allow people to treat you how they want instead of how you would like them to treat you.

Standards can be quite useless if you choose to make concessions with them and not have them adhere to everyone that you come across. If you let some man get away with not meeting you on time for a date or not replying to your messages when you know they’ve read it (or whatever standard that it is that you choose to set), that person is going to perceive you as the person who just lets things slide. That if someone doesn’t adhere to your standards its okay, because the person that you are making exceptions for does not know that they are the exception.

The Things

You keep the peace

I find that woman are scared of confrontation. They don’t want to say “No, you can’t treat me that way” or “No you cant just come and go as you please”. They feel like they need to be the ones who are keep the peace. The drama free, happy-go-lucky, fun people in order to attract a suitable partner. It’s those woman who do not command respect (regardless of the reason) who do not receive it.

In the dating world women are so scared to chase of potential partners that they allow the men to do what they want and  treat them how the men see fit. Now I ask these women: “What is it that you are protecting when you’re allowing people to treat you like they want to treat you?” You are only setting yourself up for a bigger failure in the long run if you make concessions or neglect your standards because you might as well set your standards early on, find the people that are going to adhere to them and move on if those people decide not to. Instead of being stuck in a long, disrespectful, unhappy and eventually dead relationship.

You make yourself sexually available

I’ve also realised that in the dating world, women think that they need to make themselves seem sexually available to men in order to capture their interest. What are you doing out there dressing provocatively and sending nude pics of themselves to men?  Please hear me, by doing this you are giving the man access to your body without requiring the guy to commit to you. That person is not going to be your “mister right”. You’re showing them that they don’t need to measure up to something in order to get into your pants.

It is possible to build a relationship on something that doesn’t involve having a man being sexually aroused by you. Surely you can be interesting enough by using your mind and humour instead of your body. As soon as you get naked for a man who doesn’t measure up, you lose his respect. By all means be sexy, be attractive but don’t be trashy. Perception is key and if your put yourself forward as trashy that is what you are prescribing for yourself. Trash begets trash.

In hindsight this article could’ve been called : “Standards… Get some”. So my advice would be, take a long hard look at what it is that you want in a man and prescribe that every man you meet treat you that way. If they don’t then you know they are not the person for you, so move on swiftly. If a man sees you have standards he will crave to adhere to that. If he wants to be in your life and he wants more than something quick and meaningless then he will actually keep up to your standards, no matter how absurd these standards might seem.

Do you have any thoughts on the subject? Please share them with me down below.

How Not to Be Lonely

Stop the cycle of loneliness & isolation. Be popular

So how often do you feel lonely, unpopular and just generally down about the prospects of building meaningful relationships with other people? You might lack the confidence to go out alone and put yourself into situations where you could meet new people. Starting conversations with strangers can be complicated because we don’t know if we’ll be received well and have the same interests as the interesting person standing in line with us.

I’ve been noticing that these feelings are quite popular and prevalent today (and can’t help to think that the internet could be hindering our social skills rather than helping). For example, in my house it’s common to spend a few minutes of face time with the family before we all get onto our computers, cell phones and tablets. It seems increasingly difficult (or people are more reluctant) to spend time with others. For some, social interaction can be taxing at times and it’s much easier to unwind after a hard day at work by messing about on a phone because with a phone you don’t have to think, consider, talk and sometimes “put up with” people and their nuances.

Most would argue that the internet cuts across borders and brings people together. We do have our social media and all these wonderful messaging apps after all. Yet the internet takes away the need for human interaction which in turn can influence our ability to communicate with people in the real word. The result is an increased lack of confidence to approach people in real life situations and a lack of social skills.

Human interaction is a basic need each of us need to fulfill. It can lift you mood, increase your self worth and confidence. A lack of human interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness, unpopularity and can mess with your sense of belonging. Most of us see other people in our day to day lives but find the idea of approaching them absurd for all the above mentioned reasons and whole lot more.

This general sense of isolation that we have become complacent with in the past is one of the things I felt I needed to overcome. I craved having some influence in other’s lives and to perhaps make some friends along the way. So I came up with 3 things to implement in my life to increase the amount of meaningful social interactions I have and perhaps increase my popularity. Here was the game plan I came up with. I think I stumbled across the recipe for world peace. (Okay maybe that is over exaggerating but it does work well).

 How not to be lonely

The solution:

1. Create meaningful interactions with people

Aim to make your common interactions more meaningful. Its helpful to keep in mind that the person on the other end of the phone or behind the counter at the store is a person, with a life and a whole different set of experiences to yours. You don’t have to spend more time than you would normally spend around people. Our schedules don’t really allow for changes that include more time with others anyway.

You can make your interactions more meaningful by practicing looking people in the eye when handing them your cash at the store. Ask “How are you?” or “How has your day been?” or pay the stranger a compliment if you feel there’s something worthwhile to mention. This advice might seem silly to some but it’s a small step to opening yourself up to others and increasing your popularity.

Friendliness is greatly appreciated by most and will foster confidence in yourself. By initiating conversation you’re opening yourself up to possible negative reactions (but at the end of the day if you’re met by a bad attitude you can just point and laugh at the grumpy person). By actively starting conversations I’ve found that most people love talking about themselves and appreciate others showing an interest in them.

By creating meaningful interactions with people, people in places that you frequent are more likely to remember you and this in turn will have an effect on the way that people react to you in the future.

2. Give a little (with the emphasis on “little”)

I’m not suggesting being selfless with your time, money and effort to the extent that you burden yourself. You’re allowed to be selective with the resources (eg. time and money) you give away. Most of us have full plates already and the last thing being charitable should make you feel, is burdened. So decide what you could possibly do for someone to make their lives a little easier and to what degree you’re willing to commit to doing things for others.

I’m giving you permission to say “No” to dropping your colleague off at the buss stop that is not en route to your house after work when all you want to do is go home and nap. A good way to start giving a little is, for example, carrying someone’s groceries to their car or making someone a cup of coffee. I, for instance, had made study notes earlier in the year and came across a student who had failed the module and would have to redo it, so I go into contact with her and offered to send her my notes.

Small gestures will make others react more positively to you. Good intentions go far in the way of reaching out to people and will make people open up to you to in a positive way. (There is a fine line between giving a little and being suck up so watch your balance there).

3. Let people know you’re thinking of them

People react well to others taking an interest in them and a short message or phone call goes a long way in building friendships. So take a second to imagine how you would react if you got a message on Facebook from a long lost friend to tell you that they had this crazy memory and reminisced about the past a bit. You’d probably be delightfully taken aback that someone you had forgot existed said they were thinking of you.

Most people go through their lives feeling isolated, unworthy, unloved, unpopular or unrecognized. Some people who I admire and look up struggle with feelings like these and the only possible explanation is that they have no way to know that people look up to them, think of them or love them. Stop the cycle of loneliness and isolation and reach out to people you find noteworthy.

What are your tips and tricks for increasing your popularity and avoiding feelings of isolation? Do you struggle with starting conversations with people? Please share your thoughts and ideas.

3 Things Being Retrenched Taught Me

retrenched

So earlier this month I was called into my boss’ office and told that there was “very very bad news”. Our regional branch office (the one I’m employed with) is closing down and that I, along with my other colleague, should start looking for other employment immediately as the office will stop operating on the 31st of January 2015. So at first I thought: “Wow universe, first Monday of the year and you kick me in the face. Thanks.”

Upon sitting down at my desk, after a conversation filled with motivational words with my other half, I looked up at my hand written pink post-it note on my cubicle wall that reads:”Do what you love and the rest will follow”. This post-it was written by me a couple of months ago to remind myself that just because I’m not paid for doing what I love shouldn’t stop me from doing it on my own time. This sentence has led me to start this blog and inspired some changes within myself.

So here is what being retrenched taught me:

3 things being retrenched taught me

1     This retrenchment is getting you out of comfort zone

So looking up that post-it note I mentioned earlier, I told myself: “Myself,  if you really believe that practicing what you love will make everything fall into place, now is the time to test it”. Please understand that I loved what I do as Office Manager, even with the little career growth opportunity. In hindsight I would’ve started stagnating (scratching at increases year after year).

Loving what you do and doing what you love are two different concepts, the one calls for you to love your job, the other (doing what you love) is answering your to your vocation. That is what this blog is for.  I love sharing experiences,motivating people and perhaps help others learn or think differently about things. I would like to help people see that life is not as complicated as we make it out to be.

Essentially a retrenchment can act as an opportunity to change your trajectory, an opportunity to seek growth, development and a company that values people outside of what they mean to the company (or whatever it is you wish the retrenching company did for you that they didn’t). You’ve lost your anchor, you’re free to explore new things.

So now instead of grabbing at any job that provides a stable income, I invite you to find your fit. Take time to look around and get a job in a field you’d enjoy, even if you thought that you would never succeed by doing what you like or love. Yes, some of us do not have the luxury of being picky but I urge you to look after yourself in the best way you can given the time an opportunities available to you. Move to that country, open that business and apply for that position.

2   Your company does not have your best interest at heart

This is pretty self explanatory but might come as a shock to some. Most companies that are retrenching will not go the extra mile for you. Harsh i know, but no matter how nice your boss is, he will probably not give you more than the bare minimum in terms of notice or severance. The company is in a difficult spot and management has their interest at heart, that is how businesses are (there are exceptions but they are few and far between). Therefore it is very important for you to look out for yourself and stand up for what is yours.

You do this by looking at your employment contract and making sure that the company is acting in accordance to this. Have they adhered to the governing labour law in terms of notice and severance payment? If not, you have to bring it to your immediate superior, HR or IR department’s attention. These contracts and laws are there to protect your best interest so make sure you use them.

Have they formally communicated with you in writing about the reasons for your retrenchment? Do you have a definite date at which your employment expires? You would need this information to start your job search and to claim from salary protection policies. There is a certain process that companies have to follow, these processes are put in place to ensure that your retrenchment is not surrounded with uncertainty and will enable to move on from this job speedily and with the least amount of mess.

3     Get yourself out there ASAP

Whatever your plans are for the future or whether you have no clue where to go, you need to start getting yourself out there before the dust settles. Update your CV’s and on-line profiles to include your current employment. Give your CV a spring clean by taking off irrelevant positions (Like that baby sitting job you had for 6 months in high school. It’s not going to help your case if you’re looking for a career in the banking industry).

Start thinking about issues such as, what salary bracket you fall in now with your extra experience. Maybe you were due to receive an increase soon, had lunch support and a fuel allowance? Add this up so that you know you’re not selling yourself short when you start talking numbers with possible employers.

So now it’s back to the job hunt and swimming in the shark tank with other hungry candidates, awkward interviews and dodgy offices. Yes this is not the optimum situation. What i’d like you take away from this post is you are free to go anywhere, just make sure you look out for you, because it is no one else’s responsibility to make sure that you get the best deal.

Have you been retrenched or fired? What did you learn? Please let me know in the comment section.