It can also be helpful to learn from those in the trenches. A recent Quora thread asked users for their best unconventional life tips.
Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Follow the “60/60 rule” to get more done.
Quora user Doug Parker’s “60/60 rule” says that “one minute on the phone will accomplish more than an hour or more of texts or emails.” Sometimes you need to stop writing and just make a phone call.
2. Critical people can be blessings in disguise.
“If you meet a person who will criticise you immediately and bluntly in a way that seems completely rude or offensive, keep that person close and never let them slip away,” writes user Josh Manson. “When you find someone who cares about you enough to tell you exactly how you do things wrong, make sure you appreciate that person.”
3. Don’t call in sick — call in well.
Quora user Rob Hanna says to “call in well.” Literally.
When he started his career as a “grunt sales assistant” on Wall Street, he couldn’t help but notice the insane hours logged by the majority of his coworkers. The top performers, however, followed a different schedule — they came and went to the office as they pleased.
“I simply decided to mimic and model the behaviours of people I wanted to become most like, and started to call in ‘well’ as a grunt. I surprised my VP by saying, ‘Hi, I’m feeling really good so I’m taking the day off to go to Central Park,'” Hanna writes. “He was stunned by my audacity, but my best insights on growing my sales and evolving our business model came from those periods of building positive feeling momentum in my life…
“Creatively loaf first to build positive feelings, and then you’ll highly perform. Just remember to perform.”
4. Sometimes all you need is a broom and dustpan to refocus.
“When you are overwhelmed with too many things to do and it feels like you don’t have enough time to finish all of it, sweep the floor,” says Parker. “Do something simple that will make your area seem less cluttered; this will allow you time to calm down and see that it is not as much as you may have thought previously.”
5. Don’t make New Year’s resolutions.
Rather than crafting a list of resolutions to abide by, try eliminating one bad habit a year. “It will take all year to actually get rid of it,” says user Jennifer Bullard. On the flip side, you could add one good habit a year, and spend the year focusing on making it stick.
6. Random acts of kindness are powerful.
“Do something nice for someone once a month anonymously,” suggests Bullard. This can be as simple as paying the toll of the car behind you, putting coins in someone’s parking meter, or buying coffee for a customer behind you.
7. Mix in some healthy pessimism.
“Be pessimistic,” says user Manish Baluja. “Imagine the worst case scenario of your actions, and then plan accordingly.” It never hurts to be over prepared.
8. Don’t underestimate the power of a smile.
Parker puts it nicely: “A smile has a sound when talking.”
Hanna suggests you “smile, then ask” when negotiating, requesting a favour, or simply asking a question. “Keep the sequence correct,” he says. “Always smile FIRST, and then ask. The reverse sequence smacks of insincerity and disrespect to your audience, and is only good for comic relief.”
9. Never forget your manners, even when ordering fast food.
While the manners lesson was hammered home for many of us as children, “75% of people don’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ at the local fast-food joint,” says Parker. “Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.‘ It’s considered one of our culture’s considerate, social oils.”
10. Recess is not just for kids.
“Play with a child at least once a week,” encourages Bullard. “And I’m not talking about taking your kids to their soccer practice or teaching them their ABC’s. This is about silly games you make up on the spot. Run around being 5 again.”
11. When nothing is going right, go left.
“Leave it behind you, and move on to something else,” says Manson. “It’s OK to quit something you can never succeed at.”
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