Take charge of your life with 4 easy steps

Do you sometimes feel like you’re not in control of your own life? Do most situations leave you feeling lost or helpless? If that’s the case, you need is an internal locus of control.

Locus of control is where you believe the control in your life comes from. When you have an external locus of control, you see people or factors outside of yourself as ‘controlling’ your life. Conversely, having an internal locus of control means that you believe you have some control over the events in your life. You know you can’t influence everything, but you believe you can manage your own actions and thinking processes.

 

So how can you operate from an internal locus of control? Here are four tips I give students in my Positive Psychology training courses:

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Control emotions so they don’t control you

Have you ever said something in anger that you later wish you could take back? When you act on your emotions too quickly, you often make decisions that you later regret.

Your emotions are connected to key drives in your psych. They can seem to creep up without warning and completely take over. Emotion regulation allows you to recognise and manage your feelings so they don’t drive your behaviour.  

Emotional Intelligence expert Daniel Goleman has shown that emotion regulation is one of four key skills that contribute to professional success. Like any other skill, emotion regulation takes time and practice.

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Improve your relationships with ONE skill

When a relationship has soured, how do you turn it around? The answer is to give positive attention to the other person.  

Humans need positive attention in the same way we need air. Like oxygen, positive attention is essential to both our physical and mental well-being. The key to positivity in any relationship is active constructive communication. To be active constructive, you need to show genuine interest. For example, you might ask for more information or say, “Wow, that sounds like a surprise…” 

To respond in active constructive mode, react to others’ bids for attention in positive ways. You also need to bid for their attention – but in ways that build the relationship. There are four simple ways to do this.  

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5 reasons breaking my arm was worth the pain

Resilience turns pain into learning

I’m not a big fan of tourist buses, so I decided to take the local bus to Portofino. This proved to be a bad decision. The bus was overcrowded, and I was squashed into the space next to the door. My arm was trapped when the door opened resulting in a fractured elbow and risk. In some ways, my visit to the Italian hospital was even more traumatic than the accident itself. In the long months of recovery and rehab though, I learned some valuable lessons in resilience. I’ve always been fascinated by the psychology of resilience. After all, resilience is what allows us to bounce back after traumatic or negative experiences. My accident certainly gave me an opportunity to test my practical application of what I’ve learned through all my years of studying this field. Five unexpected lessons emerged from my mishap.

 

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Speak the language of influence

First-rate negotiators are adroit influencers. They know how to subtly guide their counterparts’ thinking by making smart linguistic choices. These are word choices that prime a listener to give a positive reaction. Think about the most influential people you know. I bet they’re skilled in the art of priming. They keep others on-side by framing their messages in positive and collaborative language. This means they get ‘yes’ responses more frequently.

 

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Don’t let ‘no’ hold you back

It’s a frustrating situation. During a high-stakes negotiation, your counterpart shoots down every idea you put on the table. They respond to every suggestion you make with a resounding ‘no’. They definitely don’t seem to know how to disagree without being disagreeable. Oh dear. This behaviour can really bog down a negotiation and create a stalemate.

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Can being ‘in flow’ make you a better negotiator?

Do you think of negotiation as a stress-inducing activity, or do you see it as fun? If you answered fun, you’re operating from the same mindset as a savvy negotiator. Savvy negotiators take pleasure in the art of communicating with their counterparts. They enjoy the to-and-fro of concession exchange. They’re also playful and creative in both their thinking and communication patterns. They enter what positive psychologists call a flow state. Being in this state vastly increases their negotiation effectiveness.

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Beware the difference between collaboration and capitulation next time you negotiate

When you think of win-win negotiation, what comes to mind? Obviously, a key tenet of the win-win approach is the idea of winning together, or mutual gain. But in practical terms, what exactly does this mean? For inexperienced negotiators, striving too hard to show a co-operative approach can blur the line between collaboration and capitulation. What’s the difference? And why does it matter?

 

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Resilient mindset: a savvy negotiator’s key advantage

What’s the difference between negotiators who cave in at the first sign of opposition and those who persist, are assertive and create win-win deals? It’s not just skill-set, it’s mindset. I’ve observed thousands of negotiation role plays. And I’ve noticed that people with positive, can-do attitudes tend to get better deals than those with less resilient mindsets. So what is resilience, and how can you apply it in your real-life negotiations?

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