I have just recently started a new job that I am excited about but it only took me three days to forget a cardinal rule of working in a team, especially when you are new: communicate early and often to build trust.Read More
Often we see things, mostly the behaviour of other people, and we cannot explain it. It seems odd, it doesn't make sense, and we feel frustrated because it doesn't mesh with our own view or ideas. When we talk about these things, when we see someone do something we don't understand, it is common to say they did it for no apparent reason.Read More
When I was 12 years old I went to a friend’s house for a sleepover. Let’s call him Tom, not for any made up or privacy-based reason but because that was his actual name.
Tom and I always made the most of every sleepover. We went for a bike ride, played some backyard cricket, kicked a football around, and climbed some trees. By late afternoon we had really built up an appetite and Tom’s mum kindly asked me if I liked spaghetti...Read More
It's a horrible feeling of self doubt and loathing, combined with excessive stress and paranoia. Your heart thumps, sweat oozes from your body, and there is an obscenely strong urge to just pack up and run away.Read More
Everything in life has a series of choices you need to make in order to progress and every decisive moment in can seem like a make-or-break moment, a point in time where you need to make a critical decision that shapes the future, a time where you feel that you must make the 'right' decision...Read More
Recently I attended a negotiation training course that I was pleasantly surprised. with it. The course gave me a timely reminder to be confident and back myself in the face of resistance, and it demonstrated the simple (yet difficult to master) skills that I believe are required to build positive and successful relationships...Read More
If you are living true to yourself and your inner drivers (and not purposefully trying to hurt others) then you never need to apologise for being yourself. People who want you to change, or want to belittle your thoughts and dreams, or just want you to stop being yourself are not healthy people to spend your time with. If people cannot respect you for being true to yourself then they need to be shown the door...Read More
I considered starting this off by saying that honesty plays a very important role in living a happy, positive and successful life but that just doesn’t justify the importance of honesty. Honesty is the cornerstone of all positive relationships and the number one aspect that defines our lives and the happiness and success that we can have. I know this because I used to be a big liar. I was so proficient at lying that it became a compulsive habit. I lied about nearly everything in my life trying to impress others, improve my relationships, and have more success. Funnily enough, none of those things came from lies but I only realised this when I forced myself to be honest again.
Honesty (and a lack of it) influences absolutely everything we do. But it is too easy to not be honest. Especially now, more than ever, with the ability to hide behind the curtain of social media and communicate via text message or email. It is too easy to be fake, too easy to lie to people, and too easy to embellish simply for “social reasons”.
We do this, even though the long-term results of lying are profoundly negative for our lives. The crux of the problem occurs in our usage of lies. We use them as a short-term solution, a crutch to bypass awkward social situations and (wishfully) propel ourselves into a better life. But we blind ourselves by focusing on these short-term immediate (and mostly superficial) gains. Rare is it for someone to observe the long-term negative effects of lying and even more rare is it for that person to be introspective enough to attribute their problems to their earlier lies. Instead we point the finger at something (or someone) else and never understand or accept the full impact lying has.
However, there is a way to break out of this habit. There is a method for awaking yourself from the subconscious action of lying and regaining control of your life by focusing on honesty. This method is called brutal honesty.
About brutal honesty
Brutal honesty is about being 100% honest at all times. It means always saying the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) even if the results make you feel uncomfortable. The idea is to say exactly what you are thinking without dressing it up or hiding it from others. That’s the brutal part.
It’s brutal on you (some people find it almost impossible to actually say what they are thinking) and it’s brutal on others (other people are usually not used to hearing such raw comments). But that’s the beauty of it. Brutal honesty is such a juxtaposition to what the rest of society does that it causes immediate responses and reflection.
Being brutally honest is a very hard thing to do. It requires a great deal of self-confidence, the ability to calmly observe your own thought processes, and a hell of a lot chutzpah!
But the rewards are worth it…
Three reasons to use brutal honesty
There are many benefits to being brutally honest but here are what I consider to be the top three reasons to use brutal honesty in life:
1. You get to be true to yourself
When people lie they are putting on an act, covering up their real identity and saying what they think other people want to hear. But there are many problems with this style of thinking.
The first problem is that none us are mind readers so we don’t actually know what other people want to hear. People have a hard enough time figuring out and controlling their own thoughts but somehow manage to believe it easy to understand what everyone else is thinking in every moment. We make wild assumptions on what people are thinking and then use that as the basis for forming lies and covering up our true identity. Crazy.
But if we focus on being honest; always speaking the truth about our own thoughts, feelings, and desires then we do not need to worry about performing the miracle of mind reading. We can just focus on living an honest life and reaping the rewards.
Remember, an honest person is comfortable with themselves and confident with their own thoughts. They always act in a way that is congruent to their internal drivers and they are respected for doing so. Even if other people do not like what you say they will at least appreciate your honesty and respond in kind. Honest people always receive genuine response in social interactions.
2. Honesty is win:win
What happens if you believe you know what someone else is thinking so you make up some lies (maybe to impress them) and then you find out that they actually dislike whatever it is you lied about? You went to all that trouble of hiding the real you and making something up to impress the person, only to have the complete opposite effect.
This happens all the time when we lie to others. When we try to make ourselves seem different, we create a fake version of ourselves that we *think* the other person will like. But if we’ve read the situation incorrectly (quite easy to do) then we end up in a worse position then we started. Not only is the target person not impressed with us but they have also made a negative judgement of us based entirely on a fake version of ourselves.
When we lie we create a lose:lose situation. If the lie is accepted and liked by others then we now must continue the deceit forevermore into the future which is tiring and emotionally draining. But if the lie is not accepted or liked by others then we incur a different loss. We discover that all our efforts (being fake and lying) were wasted and we’ve been judged on these falsified actions rather than being judged on who we actually are.
But when we are honest we create win:win situations. If we are honest, truthful and congruent at all times then we can accept the response we receive from others. If someone does not like our truth then that is fine. It is their prerogative and their opinion and they are entitled to it. But at least you have both been honest and you both know where you stand.
3. You gain more respect
Honesty is always respected. A known liar will be greeted with mistrust, held at arms-length, and never fully welcomed into any interpersonal interaction. But someone who is known for their honesty will be welcomed with open arms. These people are respected and trusted because you know exactly where you stand with them. There is no second-guessing, no game-playing, and no manoeuvring or backstabbing because you know you can trust what an honest person is saying.
And that level of trust gives an honest person more power. Their opinions will be held in higher esteem, their ideas will be given more credence, and their stories will captivate the attention of others. We look up to honest people and, as such, we give them a greater level of attention and respect.
Honesty has many benefits for our life, and brutal honesty is just taking normal honesty to the extremes. It’s a method that forces us to think about our action and it reminds us to live an honest life that is always true to ourselves.
Do you need a little bit of brutal honesty in your life?
Across all facets of daily life we have interactions with other people in which we can shape their future. And sometimes we do not even have to specifically interact with a person to bring changes into their life. But no matter if it is through indirect or direct interaction, it is obvious that our individual actions have the ability to dramatically change other peoples' lives. Every action we take can be grouped into four simple categories based on the potential impact it has on our life and the lives of others. The four categories are: lose-lose, lose-win, win-lose, and win-win.
These are the four types of “offers” we can make whenever we interact with our surrounding environment, and although it may seem obvious to some that win-win is the best possible choice, too many people fail to take this option regularly. Some people simply do not think this deeply about their actions and their respective consequences, others do not care, and some are not even aware that they have a choice.
But there is always a choice and this article is going to show you why you should always try to create win-win situations.
Four Offers You Can Make The World
This is a no brainer. Not only is it the obviously bad choice but it is also the most destructive and negative option. Offering (or accepting) a lose-lose situation in life is the worst possible action you can take as it can destroy everything - friendships, careers, and relationships.
Examples of lose-lose situations include “taking someone down with you” when you get in trouble, backstabbing your friends, and making a relationship turn sour because you do not have the balls to breakup.
The lose-win situation is when you are willing to accept a disadvantage (i.e. a loss) in your life so that someone else can gain an advantage. It may sound noble but unless you have utter and complete happiness in your life then offering a lose-win situation actually has a very negative impact. In fact, it is often worse than the lose-lose situation because you can convince yourself that you’ve done something good, even though the result for you is anything but.
Examples of lose-win situations are "being there" for someone when you know they wouldn’t do the same for you, giving someone the shirt off your back (literally), and not speaking up when the jerk at work eats your lunch.
The win-lose situation is generally exhibited by those that like to take advantage of others. This option results in you reaping great rewards (i.e. the win) for yourself but at the expense of someone else. Sometimes the win-lose can be offered to you (i.e. by someone else who lets people “walk all over them”) but this does not mean that you have to accept it. In fact you should definitely not accept it. It is up to you to make a little bit of effort and create something positive: a win-win situation so that everyone can benefit.
Examples of win-lose situations are all forms of stealing, bullying someone (in the workplace, friendships, or relationships), and...being the jerk at work that eats someone else’s lunch!
At last we’ve reached what is the only true option for living a happy and wonderful life: the win-win. Making this your default option should be your top priority as it promotes an environment of mutual advantage, where everyone can prosper.
The problem is that creating win-win can often be a damn sight harder than win-lose or lose-win. It’s easy for one person to gain an advantage but to ensure that everyone involved has a win requires a great deal of awareness, self control, and the ability to enjoy delayed gratification.
Examples of win-win situations include setting up a babysitting rotation with your friends, providing emotional support for a close friend or partner going through a tough time, or maybe taking on an extra workload so that your partner can quit their job and start their dream business.
Why You Should Only Create Win-Win Situations
When your actions have a direct influence on the outcomes for you and others around you, it is important to be always striving to create win-win situations.
You deserve more than a loss
If you are willing to accept a losing option, one where you are put to a disadvantage, then what does that say about you? What image of self respect does that convey to the rest of the world? How could you expect others to treat you well, and offer you advantageous opportunities when you don’t even do that for yourself?
By accepting a losing situation in your life you are essentially saying “I am not worthy of positive outcomes and I do not deserve to have good things in my life” and once you start thinking this way, your brain will try to find proof that it is true and other people will automatically align with this view of you.
Your life will become a perpetual series of lose-win (or worse, lose-lose) situations because that is all that your mind will be capable of seeing. Worse still is that you will only attract other people into your life that will also fulfill this arrangement. That means, in all aspects of your life, you will naturally find people that want to take advantage of you or people that want to feel sorry for themselves by creating destructive lose-lose situations.
Neither of them is a positive influence and neither of them bring any happiness to your life.
And your happiness is the most important part of your life. It is the key factor underlying your confidence, your relationships, and your success in life. Therefore, making someone else happy at your own expense is counter-intuitive. It may yield a superficial short-term burst of positive energy but the long-term effects are disastrously negative for your happiness.
Others deserve more than a loss
The same applies for allowing losing situations to occur for other people. If you like to take advantage of other people, or maybe just do not care about their outcomes, then what does this say about you? What sort of relationships will you create in your life?
The attitude of willingness to allow (and worse, purposefully create) losing situations for other people is rife with problems. Firstly, you create vicious cycle where you establish a connection with someone new and you coexist in a negative win-lose environment for a small period of time. But it is not sustainable in the long-term and your friendship/relationship/acquaintanceship will end, often badly, and you move on to the next person.
Which leads to the second problem with being win-lose oriented – you only attract negative people, emotions, and energy into your life. The action of taking advantage of other people (intentionally or not) never attracts a positive and happy person that can bring improvements to your life. These people are busy interacting with other positive and happy people, leaving you jump from one negative situation to the next trying to take your advantage.
The “wins” that you get from a win-lose situations are not good for you or your life because they are laced with the previously mentioned negativity. They are not real wins in terms of you progressing your life towards happiness. They do not provide long-term fulfilment, establish positive relationships, or lead to successful outcomes.
It is actually quite common for the win-lose oriented person to look back on their life with many regrets, simply because they filled their life with negative wins rather than positive ones. They are unlikely to establish close friendships and even less likely to have successful long-term romantic relationships.
Win-Win is the only positive choice
To avoid such negativity in your life it is imperative that you always aim to create win-win situations.
The win-win attitude is like a barrier that prevents negative people from entering your life. With this mindset you will only attract like-minded (win-win) people who will have a positive influence on your life. No self-hating lose-lose people, no self-wallowing lose-win people, and definitely no self-obsessed win-lose people.
Your life will become filled with positive people, emotions, and energy. You will be rewarded with fantastic opportunities, wonderful experiences, successful business ventures, and great long-term relationships. You will achieve far more than you could ever have imagined just by always working towards win-win situations.
Win-win is the only real choice for a happy and positive life.
Relationships play an important part in our lives but they are tricky to get right. According to most popular relationship guidance the keys to successful relationships are said to be things like good communication, being honest about your feelings, being affectionate often, showing gratitude, and so on. But I feel these items are missing the point. Don't get me wrong, they are great ways to maintain a strong relationship but they are merely subsets, or derivatives, of a more important relationship requirement: that each person in the relationship is living their own individual lives to their full potential. How we live our life as an individual defines how we live our life as part of a relationship. If we are not true to ourselves, not living our lives to our full individual potential, then how could we fully commit ourselves to building a successful and wonderful relationship? It's not possible. The effort that each person brings into a relationship is directly related to the effort they put in to themselves as an individual.
A wise woman (my mum) once said...
If you are not living to your whole individual potential, then you can never be the full half of a relationship
People that are willing to accept underachieving, mediocrity, or are just happy to be "above average" will get that exact same level of quality in their relationships. Why? Because they will think that to contribute (and receive) "above average" is all they need for their relationships.
Relationships require sacrifices
Being in a relationship requires effort. A lot of effort actually. Ignoring all the nice thing about relationships (romance, passion, etc) relationships are really just the union of two people (unless you're a polygamist) that can function as a single unit to work towards common goals. That sounds a bit cold but stay with me, I'm making a point here. :P
Relationships provide us with many benefits including pooling resources (e.g. money, house, cars), sharing experiences (e.g. travel, new activities), and bringing happiness through emotional connection. But all this requires a concerted effort because sometimes the decisions made as a functioning couple may actually be in opposition to the desires of one of the individuals. This is what most relationship experts call making a sacrifice.
Sacrifices are very important in a relationship. Being part of a relationships requires an individual to consider the needs and thoughts of the other person, and sometimes even place those ahead of their own. That is, there are times when an individual must make a sacrifice for the sake of improving/helping the relationship or the other person.
But, and here's the catch, a person who is not fully living their own life as an individual will be less likely to choose to make a sacrifice. A person that feels like they are "missing out" in their life, that they have not achieved everything they want, or that their life has been wasted, is not someone who will willingly make a sacrifice.
It is only when you are truly happy being alone that you can become selfless and dedicate yourself fully to someone else.
Live your own life
What exactly does "living your own life" mean and why is it so important? Put simply, every second of our lives is spent with ourselves, living in our own minds. We cannot take a break from it, we cannot go live someone else's life, and we cannot simply shut it off if we don't like what is happening. It's our life and we have to live it 24/7.
No relationship that we start will ever come close to this level of time in our lives. Even if we managed to spend every single second with our partner we will still not ever be as fully immersed in the relationship frame of mind in comparison to the individual frame of mind. Our brains are wired to think as an individual and it is only through a conscious decision that we move into the relationship frame of thinking, but even so it is still our individual mind that was activated first and had to make that choice.
As such the attitude we take to our life as an individual is what shapes everything else around us. The way we choose to live, think, and behave as an individual pervades our entire life. As previously mentioned, every second of our life we are living as an individual, therefore every second of our life is determined by how we treat ourselves as an individual. If we do not respect ourselves, or cannot be honest with ourselves, then it is impossible to expect anything else from our life. This includes our work, our family and our relationships.
If you are not fully living your life to your maximum potential then you can never fully contribute to a relationship.
An Example (using Maths!)
Most health relationships function with a roughly 50:50 split of contribution between the two people involved. Let's consider an example relationship with a fictitious couple where the two people have a pretty decent life - they both work in respected professions, both have good incomes, maybe they have some children, a few close friends, they've ticked a few things of their bucket lists, and they are relatively content with their life. But contentment is not necessarily happiness is it?
Looking a bit deeper it is obvious that both are not operating to their full individual capacity. For whatever reasons they are coasting through life, content with being "above average". For this example we'll say that they are both only functioning to 50% of their true individual capability.
Doing the simple math, it becomes obvious that the maximum each person can contribute to the relationship is 25% (50% effort x 50% contribution = 25%) and when combined that only comes to a grand total of 50% effort for their entire relationship. That means their happy little life together will only ever reach half of it's maximum potential. Their relationship may be good now, but it has the potential to be so much better if they just put a bit more effort into their own individual happiness.
This example might seem overly simple but it was done that way for a reason. Because it is actually this simple! If each person is only bothering to achieve 50% compared to their actual ability then they will put the same (or less) effort into their relationships, and the result will always be a relationship that is just good instead of being the wonderful and exciting adventure that it should be.
How to fix it
The answer should have struck you by now, but I'll spell it out just in case. If you are not living your life to your full potential, not chasing your dreams, and not being 100% honest to yourself then you are sabotaging your life and ruining your relationships.
If this sounds like you then you need to start making some positive changes in your life. Find what excites you in life, be honest at all times, try new things, and never give up on your dreams. Do not settle for "above average". Do not lower your standards to accept what is nearby and common, but rather set your goals higher and see what steps up to meet those lofty heights.