Whatever goals you have, most tips in self help books and articles, tend to emphasize the benefits of doing certain things.
What if not doing certain things, or even undoing, would help you in reaching your goals and have a more fulfilling life? How can restraint, and not doing help you ?
As we navigate a louder and busier world, in order for you to reach your goals of success, happiness, or whatever word you use to articulate what you want, it is also important to focus on restraining from certain habits most of us have. This will save you time and energy to focus on more important aspects that you have in your life, and at the same time, improve the quality of your relationships.
Restrain from interrupting when someone else is speaking
People like to talk, but mostly, they like to be heard. Not all of us have the best listening skills. We are alwyays ready to jump in, when the opportunity shows up, to start talking our beautiful ideas, without having paid any attention to what the person in front of us was talking. Learn to listen without interrupting holding the mindset of learning with the conversation and with each other. Everyone has valuable and unique experiences that they are willing to share with you and others. So value the opportunity of a conversation as a great way to learn and connect with others, by being able to listen.
Restrain from Showing Off Your Intelligence
Sometimes, smart people like to show off their intelligence too much. This can be problematic as it can diminish others, and people in general don’t like being corrected and made feel inferior. They don’t want a mirror reflected on their own inadequacy. “A know-it-all is a person who knows everything except for how annoying he is.” — Demitri Martin
Most people are interested in connecting with others that they know how they can play a role in their life that benefits them.
Restrain from paying attention to what people say about you
Everyone is saying things about each other, because no one is pleased with what they are. In our culture always thriving for self improvement and perfection, we are all imperfect and struggling with that fact. So stop paying attention to what people say about you. Distract yourself by reading a book, watching a film, going out with friends.
Restrain from putting yourself down
Even though this is a hard one, let me tell you a secret: we all have those annoying thoughts about how “no one loves me” and ” I am so dumb” or “I am a failure” moving through our heads all the time. I was going to write: stop them! But I know how hard it is. So just don’t pay any attention to them. I you caught yourself spending hours in negative self talk, go distract yourself! Take a walk in the park, meeting some friends, go salsa dancing. You will see how much more energy you will have , when you get rid of negative cycles of thought that don’t lead you anywhere.
Restrain from getting scattered by the overflow of all your different desires
Whatever you want to achieve in life, you need focus. Your energy needs to be concentrated on a specific objective and in order to do so, you need to learn how to let go of other projects and desires. Restrain from saying yes to all your different desires! Too much ambition can make you waste your time in many avenues, that will lead you nowhere. That waste of energy leaves you tired and completely scattered, thus hampering your chances of getting what you want. Saying no and restraining from doing everything that comes your way is key.
Putting these tips into practice is not easy. We have been so used to do things a certain way, that our instincts will push us in the wrong direction. It takes effort and will to train yourself to restrain from doing things the way you did all your life. In other words, what you need to develop is self control. To control our buried instincts sounds hard, but it is possible and worth a try. Soon you will see how your relationships and work goals will improve just by doing… a little bit less.
Maria Fonseca is the Editor and Infographic Artist for IntelligentHQ. She is also a thought leader writing about social innovation, sharing economy, social business, and the commons. Aside her work for IntelligentHQ, Maria Fonseca is a visual artist and filmmaker that has exhibited widely in international events such as Manifesta 5, Sao Paulo Biennial, Photo Espana, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Joshibi University and many others. She concluded her PhD on essayistic filmmaking , taken at University of Westminster in London and is preparing her post doc that will explore the links between creativity and the sharing economy.