Wednesday

Seven Ludicrous Lies You Keep Telling Yourself

There are so many lies that society ingrained inside of you, that you adopted as you own. From your parents to your teachers, these lies snuck into your life, without you even realizing it.
Now it’s time to uncover them to achieve the success you truly deserve.
Here are 7 ludicrous lies you tell yourself that keep you away from success - first published in entrepreneur.co.za

1. I shouldn’t fail

The most successful people fail and they fail often. If you want to speed up your path to success, take goal-aligned actions that are above what you think you’re capable of every single day.
Failing involves trying and moving out of your comfort zone.  If you avoid the risk of failing, you are setting yourself up for failure by default.
Remember:
“When we give ourselves permission to fail, we, at the same time, give ourselves permission to excel.” ~ Eloise Ristad

2. I shouldn’t be scared

We live in a society that tells us, “you must overcome your fears and radically eliminate them”. This makes us thrive towards an unrealistic state that we may never achieve.
Fear will only disappear when you do nothing, try nothing, be nothing.
It disappears when you stay within your comfort zone and avoid taking any kind of risks – but for that, you pay the price of a boring life.
The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is not their degree of fear – but how they respond to it.
As Stephen Pressfield famously wrote in the ‘War of Art’:
Stephen Pressfield Picture Quote
 (“The amateur believes he must first overcome his fear; then he can do his work. The professional knows that fear can never be overcome. He knows there is no such thing as a fearless warrior or a dread-free artist.”   ~Steven Pressfield)
Accept your fears and use it as a catapult for progress by doing what needs to get done.

3. I should be able to do it alone

Successful people create an environment that supports their goals and surrounds themselves with the right people.
You don’t have to do it alone and find all the answers yourself.  A friend of mine once said:
“The more you ask, the more you can get.”
If asking makes you feel uncomfortable, become a giver. A person that gives feels no discomfort in asking, they see it as a mutual exchange of love.
“The strong individual is the one who asks for help when he needs it.  ~ Rona Barret  (Retweet this)

4. My circumstances are my problem

People view the problems that they encounter external to themselves. They blame others for what is happening or not happening. They blame the economy, the environment or anything else they can find.
Life is a projection and your problems are mere delusions of your thinking. In the philosopher’s notes on ‘Love what is’ by Byron Katie, there is a great little story that goes like this:
Imagine you’re in the cinema watching a movie. When the movie starts, you notice some smudge on the screen. So, you get up and try to wipe it off – but it doesn’t go away. You try harder and harder, but nothing changes. You get frustrated and annoyed and can’t enjoy the movie anymore.
The problem was never the screen but rather the projector that had smudge on its lens. Your mind is the projector and your life the movie screen. If you see smudge on the screen , you don’t need to wipe down the screen – but the projector that projects it.
Don’t go through life thinking you need to change the “movie screen” – your life – instead change the projector by changing the way you think.

5. I shouldn’t struggle

Your struggles are not your problem – your response to them is.  Some say the word struggle derived from  Proto-Germanic “strūkōną” – “to be stiff”. When you struggle, you don’t flow with life, accept, and embrace life as it comes.
What if you see your struggles as gifts that give you the optimal opportunities to grow, develop and mature? Eliminate the idea of struggles and problems: Life either presents itself as “blissful experiences or as blissful opportunities to learn”.
“Education comes from within; you get it by struggle and effort and thought.“ ~ Napoleon Hill

6. I just need to fix my weaknesses

Your areas of strength offer the biggest room for personal growth. Instead of wasting your time fixing weaknesses, going from terrible to mediocre, spend your time and energy to develop excellence. This can only be achieved by focusing on your natural talents and developing them into strengths.
Successful people are not well-rounded,instead they capitalize on their strengths and manage around their weaknesses. By fixing your weaknesses, you ultimately aim for average. It’s not the path to glory.
Play to win instead of play not to lose.
“Emphasize strengths, don’t fix weaknesses.” ~ Tim Ferriss

7. I need to have the end in mind

Stephen Covey talked about beginning with the end in mind, having a clear focus on where you are heading. But constant thinking about your goals means being mentally in the future, disengaged from the current moment.
Being mindfully present in the now with focused attention on the task, is the key ingredient for high performance.
In his book ‘Overachievement’, psychologist John Eliot explains that overachievers act in the “trusting mindset”, being total engaged in what they are doing, without thought.
To live your best life, be present and mentally engaged in the now.  Success starts in this very moment, with the choices you make right now.
first published in entrepreneur.co.za
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10 Quick Lessons from Great Business Thinker

BusinessWeek calls him “the man who invented management..He advised the heads of GM, Sears, General Electric, IBM, Intel, and the American Red Cross. And in 2002, President Bush—who was a follower of his teachings—gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The man is Peter Drucker.
And to see why Bush and so many executives look to Drucker’s work for guidance, here are 10 of the best lessons from the man himself… lessons that may very well change the way you think about business, forever.

1. “Results are obtained by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. ”

Problem-based thinking: How can we divide this cake fairly?
Opportunity-based thinking: How can we bake more cakes?
If you focus on problems, at best you maintain the status quo. If you focus on opportunities, you achieve results above and beyond what already exists.
Ask yourself: Are you spending most of your time putting out fires and focusing on problems—or are you focusing on exploring new opportunities?

2. “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency that which should not be done at all.”

Managing your time is less about doing things right, and more about doing the right things. Before you try to optimize your schedule, look at it first to see what you can cut-out all-together.
What are you doing on a daily basis that you can eliminate? Delegate? If you stopped doing it right now, would your life change much?

3. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”

Every management system you put in place should make the jobs of your employeeseasier to do, not harder. If you have to keep pushing people to do things your way—maybe it’s the wrong way.
Ask yourself: What procedures do you have in place that rarely get done? Should you reconsider if they are even necessary?

4. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself”

Conventional wisdom tells us marketing is about letting people know about our products and services (“brand awareness”). Drucker reminds us that marketing is actually the process of getting to know your customers—their fears, frustrations, aspirations—so your product or service fits their needs so well they want to buy it without you having to beg for the sale.
Be honest: Are you getting to know your potential customers before creating the product – or are you creating a product and then hoping people will buy?

5. “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes."

Unless you are constantly building on and improving your knowledge in a certain field, you are losing it. If you thought you could learn about marketing in business school and then never revisit that knowledge, you might as well have not learned it in the first place.
In what areas have you stopped constantly building on your knowledge? What can you do to re-start it today?

6. “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.”

Innovation makes products; marketing sells products. Other than those two departments, everything else in your business is a cost – which means you should cut back spending time on them as much as possible. If not, you’re investing in areas that aren’t producing much return.
What business departments are you focusing your energy on that are not driving the top line? Can you pull back at all?

7. “Entrepreneurship is ‘risky’ mainly because so few of the so-called entrepreneurs know what they are doing.”

So many people just want to “start a business”—they take out a loan, open up a bakery, and then it’s out of business a year later. Then they chalk it up to bad luck or a bad economy.
But how about this? What if you spent more time sharpening your axe before trying to cut down the tree? What if you spent a month devouring The Lean Startup by Eric Reisand Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz? You can take some of the risk out of the equation (not all) with one word: reading.
Are you spending as much time reading as you should? Mark Cuban says he reads three hours a day—how do you compare?

8. “If the executive lets the flow of events determine what he does, what he works on, and what he takes seriously, he will fritter himself away 'operating.'”

The most successful people don’t just show up to work and answer phones calls and put out fires. They are focused on their battle plan every day. They don’t let people just barge into their office and dump their problems on them. A successful day starts off with deciding you’re going to play on the offensive, not defensive.
Are you in control of your schedule? Or are other people’s problems running how you spend your time?

9. “The three most charismatic leaders in this century inflicted more suffering on the human race than almost any trio in history: Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. What matters is not the leader's charisma. What matters is the leader's mission."

There is no “best kind" of leader. There are social ones like Richard Branson and quiet ones like Tony Hsieh. Both have taken their organizations to unimaginable success.
What makes someone a leader is not how enthusiastic they are at the podium. What makes someone a leader is what their vision is—and how well they lead others toward it.
How clear is your mission? Are you giving it as much attention as it deserves?

10. “It takes far more energy to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”

It’s easier to go from good to great than from bad to good. So focus on growing your talents into strengths instead of trying to be a ‘well-rounded’ person.
A person who is good at a lot of things is replaceable. A person who excels in something is indispensable.
In what areas are you already good at? What can you do to turn those things into your super-powers?
PS: Like this article? Then connect with Willem Tait on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemtait
Credit: Author (Crown/Random House) and Venture Associate (Alsop Louie Partners)

Monday

10 Quick Tips to stay focused and productive

Some days the 8 hours that you spend at the office fly by. On other days, the time really seems to drag. Staying busy is the easiest way to make time seemingly speed up, but sometimes staying busy is simply not enough. 
When you attend a meeting your calendar shows busy, but you may feel bored and time will drag because you are not being productive. 
The key is to keep your workday moving. Spend more time working, and less time meeting, with these quick tips.

Quick Tips:
  1. Keep meeting agendas short and ask your attendees to remain standing. This immediately communicates your desire for a fast, focused discussion.
  2. Conference calls are meetings too! Try standing while you are talking on the phone.
  3. Schedule meetings to start 5 minutes after the hour to help everyone make it on time.
  4. Always end a meeting on time. If necessary, schedule a follow-up on a different day.
  5. Stop accepting every invite. Sometimes having a colleague catch you up later is more practical.
  6. Ignore the default. Do not schedule a meeting for 30 minutes if you really only need 15 minutes.
  7. Wait until you have all deliverables before scheduling a meeting.
  8. Respond as tentative if you are even slightly unsure if the meeting pertains to you.
  9. Only meet to discuss time-sensitive projects. If there’s no deadline, keep it off your calendar.
  10. Think before you schedule. Would an email or phone call work just as well?

This list is meant to help you stay focused, which is often a lot better than simply staying busy during the workday. Figuring out what to work on, for example, may keep you busy while a to-do list will keep you focused on an actual project. 
Focus allows you to be more productive, and getting things done is what will help you be on your way home sooner rather than later.
PS: Welcome to also connect with me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WillemTait or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemtait

Friday

30 Quick Habits That Will Change Your Life


Health habits

  1. Exercise 30 minutes every day. Especially if you don’t do much movement while working, it’s essential that you get some daily exercise. 30 minutes every day are the minimum recommended for optimal health.
  2. Eat breakfast every day. Breakfast is the more important meal of the day, yet so many people skip it. Personally, I like to eat a couple of toasts in the morning along with a fruit beverage.
  3. Sleep 8 hours. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea. You may think that you are gaining time by sleeping less, when in reality you are only gaining stress and tiredness. 8 hours are a good number of hours for most people, along with an optional 20 minutes nap after lunch.
  4. Avoid snacking between meals. Snacking between meals is the best way to gain weight. If you are hungry, eat something concrete. Otherwise don’t. Update: for clarification, I mean don’t eat junk food between meals, but eating real food it’s ok.
  5. Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables every day. Our body and brain loves getting vegetables and fruit, so I highly recommend eating as much of them as possible. Five portions is the dose that’s usually recommended by many health associations.
  6. Eat fish. Fish is rich of omega 3 and other healthy elements. At least one meal per week of fish should be enough for getting all these nutrients.
  7. Drink one glass of water when you wake up. When you wake up, your body is dehydrated and needs liquid. Make the habit of drinking one glass of water after you wake up in the morning. Also, drink more during the day.
  8. Avoid soda. Soda is often one of the most unhealthy beverage you can find. Limit your consumption of soda as much as possible and you’re body will be grateful for that.
  9. Keep your body clean. I don’t advise spending your day in front of the mirror, but a minimum of personal care does never hurt.
  10. If you smoke, stop it. There’s no reason to smoke anymore, and quitting is possible.
  11. If you drink, stop it. Same as above. Don’t think that alcohol will solve your problems. It never does. The only exception is one glass of wine per day during meals.
  12. Take the stairs. This is just a hack that forces you to do a minimum of exercise. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs.

Productivity habits

  1. Use an inbox system. Make the habit of keeping track of all the ideas and things that comes to mind. You can use a notebook to do this, and then sync everything on your computer.
  2. Prioritize. If you have a list of things to do, where do you start? One way is to prioritize your list. If you are in doubt, ask yourself: “If I could only accomplish one thing today, what would it be?”
  3. Plan, but not too much. Planning is important, and you should decide in advance what you are going to do today or this week. However, planning for more than a few weeks is usually inefficient, so I would not worry too much about that.
  4. Wake up early. Waking up early in the morning is a great way to gain extra time. I personally like to wake up at 5 am, so that by 9 am I have already accomplished what otherwise would have taken me many days..
  5. Check your email only twice per day. Email can easily become an addiction, but it’s usually unnecessary to check it every 10 minutes. Make an effort and check your email only once or twice per day, see if the world will still rotate as before after you try this.
  6. Eliminate unimportant tasks. Being busy all day does not mean you are doing important stuff. Eliminate every activity that’s not important, and focus on what really matters.
  7. Clean off your desk and room. Having a clear room and desk is important to maintain focus and creativity.
  8. Automate. There are a lot of tasks that you need to perform every day or every week. Try to automate them as much as possible.
  9. Set strict deadlines. When you do something, decide in advance when you’re going to stop. There’s a rule that states that you will fulfill all the time you have available for completing a task, so make an habit of setting strict deadlines for maximizing your productivity.
  10. Take one day off per week. Instead of working every day, take one day off per week (for example sunday) where you are not going to turn on your computer. Use that time for doing recreational activities like going for a walk.

Personal Development habits

  1. Read 1 book per week. Reading is a good way to keep your brain active. With just 30 minutes per day you should be able to read one book per week, or more than 50 books per year.
  2. Solve puzzles. Quizzes, word games, etc. are all good ways to exercise your brain.
  3. Think positively. You are what you think, all the time.
  4. Make fast decisions. Instead of thinking for one hour wherever you are going to do something, make your decisions as fast as possible (usually less than 1 minute).
  5. Wait before buying. Waiting 48 hours before buying anything is a tremendous money saver, try it.
  6. Meditate 30 minutes per day. A great way to gain clearness and peace is through meditation. 30 minutes are not a lot, but enough to get you started with meditation.

Career habits

  1. Start a blog. Blogging is one of the best way to put your word out. It doesn’t have to be around a specific topic, even a personal blog will do.
  2. Build a portfolio. If your job is creating stuff, building a portfolio is a great way to show what you are capable of. You can also contribute stuff for free if that applies to your work.
What do you think? What are the habits that changed your life?
PS: Welcome to also connect with me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WillemTait or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemtait

19 Bad Excuses Holding Good People Back


NO more negativity.  NO more laziness.  NO more quick fixes.  NO more blaming others.  NO more “I’ll do it tomorrows.”  NO MORE OF THESE EXCUSES:

1. “It’s too late.”

It’s never too late to live a life that makes you proud.  If you don’t learn anything else from this post, learn that.  We get one shot at this.  There’s no age limit on changing your course, and to settle in and be stuck in a life that isn’t authentic is a tragic waste.   Honestly, it’s never too late or too early to be who you are capable of being.  There’s no time limit – you can simply start and stop whenever you want.  You can change or stay the same.  You can make the best or the worst of it.  It’s up to you, so make the best of it.  Do things that startle you.  Feel things you’ve never felt before.  Spend time with people who help you grow.  Live a life you’re proud of.  And if you find that you’re not, have the courage to make a change.

2. “I’m not good enough yet.”

Nonsense!  Do your best and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  If you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, and changing the world for the better.  We can’t make anything valuable without making mistakes.  Not a painting, not a relationship, not a career, not a life.  If you wait until you have it all figured out to try, you will be waiting forever.

3. “I need approval first.”

Don’t be scared to step out of line.  It’s OK to go off the beaten path, as long as you know why going a different way is right for you.  Some people may resent the freedom that you create in your life when you choose to be true to yourself.  If you come across these people, ignore them and carry on.  Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself.  If you’re being true to yourself and it isn’t enough for the people around you, change the people around you.

4. “I don’t want to be judged.”

Most people are judging you far less than it seems.  The truth is, while you’re busy worrying about what others think of you, they’re busy worrying about what you think of them.  Crazy?  Yes, but true.  The good news is this knowledge instantly frees you to let loose and do more of what YOU want.  And while doing so, you’ll also liberate others to do the same.

5. “I don’t deserve it.”

There are two versions of this excuse.  The first makes you think that you are not worthy of something beautiful like love, respect, success and so forth.  The second makes you feel that you are unfairly targeted by life’s difficulties.  Either way, this excuse ties you up and holds you down.  It’s time to let this one go!  When you catch yourself wondering “Why me?”, ask “Why not me?”  Remember, in the grand scheme of things, you are just the same as everyone else; neither nature, nor God, displays favoritism or unfairness.  So learn to accept both the good and the bad that falls on your plate with grace.

6. “I have way too much to lose.”

In the end, you will not regret the things you have done nearly as much as the things you have left undone.  It’s always better to be left with a few “oh wells,” than a bunch of “what ifs.”  It’s better to have a lifetime full of experiences and mistakes you learned from, rather than a heart full of regrets and empty dreams.  Someday you will want to look back at your life and say, “I can’t believe I did that!” instead of, “Gosh, I wish I would have…”

7. “There’s just no point.”

Not with that attitude there isn’t.  A statement like this is self-defeat at it’s worst, and yet I hear it so often.  Snap out of it!  There is a point… The point is you’re helping yourself and others.  The point is you’re doing something positive.  The point is you’re taking action and trying.  The point is you’re not living in premature self-defeat.  You are taking your own ideas from concept to actualization.  You’re bringing value to the world.  Even if no one sees it, you can have the satisfaction of knowing you did the best you could.

8. “It’s too hard.”

Almost everything worth doing is hard.  Think about it.  When was the last time “easy” had a huge payoff for you?  In life, the hardest thing and the right thing are often the same thing.  You can’t underestimate a person who always works hard.  Be that person.  Because you don’t get what you wish for; you get what you work for.

9. “I’m unlucky.”

Not true.  Other people are NOT more lucky than you.  Pure luck is a myth.  If someone is “lucky” they are doing stuff behind the scenes you’re not seeing.  Taking action and simply doing something instead of making excuses will do wonders for your “luck.”  Ultimately, luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

10. “I have too much baggage from my past.”

There comes a time when you have to choose between turning the page and closing the book.  Some stories need to end before new ones can begin.  Life is too short to spend at war with yourself.  Practice acceptance and forgiveness.  Letting go of the past is your first step to happiness today.  

11. “It wasn’t supposed to be like this to begin with.”

When we resist reality, we are imprisoned by it.  Period.  The secret to happiness and peace is letting every situation be what it is, instead of what you think it should be, and making the best of it.  Over time you will find that life isn’t necessarily any easier or harder than you thought it was going to be; it’s just that the easy and the hard aren’t exactly the way you had anticipated, and don’t always occur when you expect them to.  This isn’t a bad thing; it makes life interesting.  With a positive attitude you will almost always be pleasantly surprised.

12. “It’s out of my control.”

You cannot control everything that happens to you; you can only control the way you respond to what happens.  In your response is your power

13. “With my disabilities (or circumstances), it’s impossible.”

Nothing is impossible.  Josh Blue is a hilarious stand up comic with cerebral palsy.  Nick Vujicic is a world-renowned preacher and motivational speaker who doesn’t have any arms or legs.  Kyle Maynard doesn’t have arms or legs either, and he’s an ESPY Award-winning mixed martial arts athlete, a motivational speaker, and known for becoming the first quadruple amputee to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics.  There are artists who create with their mouths, runners who win races on artificial legs, brilliant writers whose fingers never touch the keyboard and a host of other successful individuals with physical and mental disabilities who refuse to let their circumstances hold them back.

14. “I can’t commit right now.”

Fair enough, you have a lot on your plate.  But when can you commit?  Don’t use this excuse to push something aside forever.  If it’s genuinely interesting, look at your calendar and ask “When can I commit?” and put yourself on a productive path.  And if you don’t want to do it, be honest and admit you’re not interested.  People will always respect honesty over being strung along.  And you will feel less stressed with unnecessary obligations too.

15. “My kids (or family) take up too much of my time.”

No doubt, balancing kids (or family) with any kind of substantial personal goal is tough.  At the time of this writing, Angel and I have a newborn son, our own business, and several open projects in queue.  It’s a balancing act, but it’s doable.  If we can do it, you can too.  It requires self-control and maximum use of productive rituals and disciplines.  Even so, at the end of the day you may feel shattered sometimes.  Keep it up; you’ll build endurance.  This endurance doesn’t just make you a more effective goal achiever; it allows you to enjoy family time that much more too.

16. “I’m comfortable right now.”

The most common and harmful addiction in the world is the draw of comfort.  Why pursue greatness when you’ve already got 324 channels and a recliner?  Just pass the chip dip and forget about your grand plans.  NO!  The truth is, growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone will put things into perspective from an angle you can’t grasp now, and open doors of opportunity that would otherwise not exist.

17. “No one understands me.”

Everyone has their own life to worry about; everybody is busy.  At the end of the day, no one has the time or energy to figure anyone else out.  If it really matters to you that someone understands you, simply communicate and make it easy for them to do so.  Quit playing games and beating around the bush.  Say what you mean and mean what you say.  (And remember that it’s not necessary that everyone understands and agrees with you all the time.

18. “Nobody cares about what I care about.”

Can you imagine what would happen if everyone behind a good cause took on this attitude?  We’d never have any charitable organizations, fuel-efficient cars, health breakthroughs, peace efforts, literacy drives, etc.  Forget about everyone else for a moment.  Care about something because it’s important.  Take a stand.  If you truly care, then become a champion of the cause and help others understand why you care so much, whether they agree with you or not

19. “I’ve already lost too much.”

The truth is, everything will be okay in the end.  If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.  We’ve all gone through some hard times, and you, personally, will likely go through more hard times in the future too.  But it’s worth it.  It builds character and teaches necessary lessons.  I can trace some of the best stuff in my life right now to things that were really hard when I was going through them.  So when things seem like they are impossible, or you feel like you are never going to feel better, just know that you will eventually look back in amazement at how far you have come.  Yes, it’s going to be okay

PS: Welcome to also connect with me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WillemTait or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemtait

Saturday

15 Things You Don’t Owe Anyone At All (But You Think You Do)


Many choices we make in life—ranging from what we do, to how we conduct ourselves, and who we interact with—are subject to prying questions and commentary from those around us. Family members, friends, and even total strangers, it often seems like everyone has an opinion on the things we do, no matter how small or insignificant those things might seem to us.
Sometimes people go so far as to ask you to explain yourself for the decisions or choices you make in your own life. You might feel obliged to respond, but some things are really no one else’s business and you don’t owe anyone an explanation at all for the following 15 things—though you think you do.

1. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR LIVING SITUATION.

Whether you are cohabiting with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, crashing in different motel rooms across the country, or living with your parents for a while when you are past your twenties, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone for who you live with and why if you don’t want to. If you are fully aware of your living situation, then it means you have your own reasons for being in that situation that are nobody else’s business.

2. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR LIFE PRIORITIES.

You have your own ideas about the things that would make you and your loved ones truly comfortable and happy, which is your main priority. Since we are all unique individuals with different values, dreams and aspirations, your core priorities will be different from the next person’s. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for what you determine is your core priority in life. That is your personal business not other people’s business.

3. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN APOLOGY IF YOU ARE NOT SORRY.

If you don’t regret your actions, still think someone is wrong about something or don’t care much for their forgiveness, you don’t have to apologize. Many people are too quick to offer apologies and try to mend wounds that are not yet ready to be mended, which only serves to aggravate the wound and bring more problems. You really don’t have to apologize if you are not sorry or your side of the story hasn’t been heard.

4. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR REQUIRING ALONE TIME.

You might worry that you will come across as “rude,” “anti-social” or “aloof” when you cancel plans or other obligations because you need some time alone to reboot, unwind or just enjoy a good book by yourself. However, spending time alone is a completely normal, natural and necessary practice that more people should adopt. Take your alone time confidently because you don’t owe anybody an explanation for it.

5. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE YOUR AGREEMENT ON THEIR PERSONAL BELIEFS.

Just because someone shares their personal beliefs passionately doesn’t mean you have to sit there and nod in approval to everything they say. If you don’t share in their beliefs, it is unfair to yourself and to the other person to suppress your own thoughts and feelings and pretend you agree with them. It’s okay and better to disagree with them gracefully instead of bottling up your disapproval and frustrations.

6. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE A YES TO EVERYTHING THEY SAY.

You have a right to say no whenever there is no compelling reason to say yes. In fact, the most successful people in the world are those who have mastered the art of saying no to everything that is not a priority. Acknowledge other people’s kindness and be grateful for it, but don’t be afraid to politely decline anything that takes your focus away from your core goals and priorities. That’s how to get ahead.

7. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR PHYSICAL APPEARANCE.

You might be slender, plump, tall, short, pretty, plain or whatever, but you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone for why you look how you do. Your physical appearance is your own business and you are obligated only to yourself. Physical appearance shouldn’t determine your self-worth.

8. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR FOOD PREFERENCES.

There are certain foods that you just don’t like at all for different reasons, including taste preference and health issues. You don’t have to explain to anyone at all why you prefer certain foods. Your food preference is a matter that is best left to you. If anyone pesters you about why you are eating (or not eating) certain foods, shrug it off and just say you feel better eating (or not eating) those foods.

9. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR SEX LIFE.

As long as it happens with another consenting adult, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for where, when and how you conduct your sex life. You can wait for marriage, try one-night stands or experiment with same sex encounters to your heart’s pleasure and still not have to explain your sexual preferences to anybody.

10. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR CAREER OR PERSONAL LIFE CHOICES.

Sometimes circumstances force us to choose between work and “having a life.” The decision is not always easy and you might end up choosing work, not because you don’t care about your family or social life, but because you are working on something that will give you security in the future. Either way, you don’t owe others an explanation for choosing a career over your personal life (or vice versa) as long as you are confident about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

11. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL VIEWS.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Catholic, Protestant or Muslim, that is your own personal choice. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you are what you are and believe what you believe. If someone can’t accept you for who you are, that is their personal dogma—not yours.

12. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR BEING SINGLE.

Whether you are single by design or by default that is nobody’s business. Being single is not a personality disorder. You are free to be in a relationship or not. Besides, you are far more than your relationship status and singlehood is just one of those social labels no one should really care about.

13. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE A DATE JUST BECAUSE THEY ASKED.

Someone might be nice, good looking and you may even be a little interested, but you don’t owe them a date just because they ask. If you feel deep down you don’t want to go on that date, then don’t. You may offer a reason for declining, but keep it brief and stick to your decision.

14. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR DECISION ABOUT MARRIAGE.

Whether or not you choose to get married and have kids or stay unmarried and be childfree, that is your own personal decision. Even your mom who is dying for grandchildren should understand that marriage is a personal decision and not suited for everyone. She should respect your decision about it no matter how hard it is to swallow.

15. YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE AN EXPLANATION FOR YOUR RELATIONSHIP CHOICES.

Sometimes people make inappropriate commentary about your romantic relationship(s), which is really none of their business. You might overhear comments like you are not the “perfect couple” or you should find someone else. However, you are not answerable to anyone but yourself for your relationship choices. Live your life and never, ever leave or stay in a relationship just because someone else says you have to. Make your own mistakes if you must, but learn from them always.
PS: Welcome to also connect with me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WillemTait or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/willemtait