The Key to Understanding Ourselves (and Others)

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    105 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?

    One thing for you to think about

    Listening well is not simply hearing the words being said, it’s also feeling the emotions being felt. People usually don’t want solutions as much as they just want to be understood.

    Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.

    One thing for you to ask yourself

    What’s one area of your life that you keep trying to “solve” instead of simply understanding? This doesn’t have to necessarily be a relationship either. People try to “solve” their health problems with fad diets, when often they first need to develop an awareness of the emotions that enable the problems in the first place.

    In my own life, I’ve often tried to “solve” my creativity by over-planning books and projects, when really I just needed to sit down and create and understand what I was feeling.

    Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.

    One thing for you to try this week

    Try being a better listener this week—of others, but also of yourself. Don’t just focus on the information, focus on the feeling. Then sit with that feeling. Don’t try to fix it or push it away. Just let it be there and then simply seek to understand why it’s there.

    This is Emotional Intelligence 101 and most of us suck at it.

    Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.

    Last week’s breakthroughs (and a question answered)

    In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to prioritize your self-respect and values over the perception or judgment of others. The task helped one older reader shift their perspective:

    Right now at almost 50, to get my new home renovated and debt paid off, I’ve taken a second job in retail. I’m stocking shelves, mopping floors and watched myself become invisible behind a black polo.

    It’s been humbling. I thought I was losing my pride and self-respect until I realized that the sacrifice of time and money were starting to pay off and when 51 comes around our home will look incredible and our only debt will be the mortgage.

    While 18-year-old Alex has been proudly standing up for his values at college:

    One thing that I repeatedly stand up for is avoiding drugs and alcohol. The college I attend is a massive party school. So I am constantly surrounded by all sorts of drugs and alcohol. But I’ve never turned to it.

    I’m not mainstream religious, and my parents act normal around drinking (as in they’ll have a glass of wine with dinner once a month). So I really have no reason other than the fact that I know how much of a setback it is to do drugs or drink. So I’m proud of that.

    Our last breakthrough from Dorin came with a question:

    I am going through a big transition in life right now. After a successful six-year career at Google I am starting to prioritize my values and desires by launching my own coaching business. And wow, is it fulfilling to do what you truly love and believe in!

    I am not at the point of fully leaving corporate yet but can confidently say that I really started to show up for myself and my coaching clients, despite people’s opinion (especially my family’s!).

    The biggest challenge I am currently facing is how to market myself and my services in a way that is effective and authentic, without losing my self-respect and feeling judged by others. Any advice is highly appreciated!

    Selling your services should only feel inauthentic if you’re trying to sell something that’s not there. If you are confident in the value you can provide a customer/client, then you are actually doing them a disservice by not offering it to them.

    If you are not confident in the value you can provide, well, then you have bigger issues.

    A lot of people struggle with sales because they spent their whole lives hiding themselves and playing small. They hide the value they could give in an effort to fit in and not be judged.

    This habit might serve you well in high school. But in life, no one is going around handing out awards for fake humility. If you know you can add value to the world, speak the fuck up and offer it.

    Then, let the world decide what it’s worth.

    As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.

    Until next week,

    Mark Manson

    #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
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