Dash of Positivity

turn your head toward the sun motivation

 

Yes I did hear this in Rihanna’s song but no, she isn’t the one who said these inspiring words originally. Its an old Maori proverb and I first came to know of it through my biology teacher wrote this in my journal when I graduated primary school.

I love this motivational quote because it makes us responsible for the lightness as well as the darkness we experience. All that matters is our focus. It simply states that focusing on the positive things in life will distract focus from the bad.

Taking responsibility for your own happiness or lightness is so empowering. It is easier said than done. I think I should tackle this topic and post a link here when I’ve completed it.

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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.

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.

Everything Wrong with New Year’s Resolutions and How to Fix Them

new year's resolutions

So it’s that time of year where we are setting up new ideals in an attempt to better our lives in some way. New Year’s resolutions are great for promoting growth and motivating yourself. The ugly truth is that these goals are hardly ever realized, but who can blame us? New Year’s resolutions, in my opinion, set us up for failure before we even start.

The problem

1. We aim too high
We often set our sights high with visions of radical changes. With stars in our eyes we envision being healthy, wealthy or loved by many, all in one go. These are the goals, yes, but how about setting out some more realistic goals to help us toward those ideals. Being healthier, wealthier or more loved sounds pretty good to me too and more importantly, more achievable.

2. The time line is all wrong
So how often have we said we are quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, starting a diet or saving money as a new year’s resolution? Every year right? Now the reason why we don’t stick to these for long is because we rely on our willpower to stop the cravings and deal with the everyday pressures. Let’s face it sheer willpower isn’t the strongest of “powers” in the human arsenal. We have those habits, cravings and emotions that are way more overwhelming and hard to cope with.

Besides, I can think of no greater punishment than to be cut off from the fried foods and snacks at the new year’s buffet table from 24h00 sharp. What are we punishing ourselves for? This is the perfect example of dooming yourself before you even start.

The fix

My suggestions on fixing the New Year fallacies are to set achievable goals and get the time line to resemble something that’s more manageable than a deadline. Here’s how you do it.

Instead of placing your sights on radical change, focus your efforts on targeting specific behaviours instead. So as an example, instead of aiming to quit smoking all together, make a resolution to no longer smoke whilst driving. Similarly, with eating junk food, promise yourself to stop eating take-out for 5 days a week and have 2 days where you can still deal with the cravings. You can set your sites on what feels doable for you.

So all that’s left to do is to fix this dead line (or doomsday) feel to the New Year resolution practices. After all, we don’t want to be stuck at the buffet table shoving copious amount of food into our mouth because the clock reads 23h55 and you haven’t tried that one dip to left of the chips on the table.

To remedy this, practice new year’s resolutions in advance. This way you get a running start and by New Year’s you would have the reins on whatever it is in your life that you wish to tame. For example, instead of spending the first weeks of the new year in pain and highly strung because you’ve started to go to gym diligently every week and you’ve cut down on smoking. Rather start frequenting the gym and changing your behaviour patterns a month or two in advance so that you’re no longer in the training wheels stage, come the New Year.

This way you would have the mood swings, aches, pains and cravings when you started changing your behaviour and can enter the New Year with a foundation to work with.

What are your New Year’s resolutions? and how do you make sure you stick to them?
Please leave your comments, thoughts, tips and opinions. I like hearing from you.