Tips for Negotiating Life as a Grown Up

By amandaalexander | Raising Kids

My eldest son Max celebrated a very special birthday 2 weeks ago. He officially become a “teenager” and at this gateway to adulthood, I decided not to buy a card but to write him a letter instead. So this week, I have created a (less personal) version of this letter for you with 7 minus 1 tips for negotiating life.

Why 7 minus 1? Well, there was a 7th tip for Max – but that one was all about how his mum will always love him, no matter what. And I figured this is less useful for you!

I hope that that my 7-1 tips for negotiating your life as a grown-up inspires you this sunny Friday!

1. Smiles

Take your smile with you wherever you go. Bestow it generously. You will never run out of smiles – they last a lifetime. Use a great big smile when you least feel like smiling. You’ll be amazed at what a difference a smile can make to you and to others. When you smile at someone, you cast a little magic spell. And your smile will have a ripple effect. So Use your smile to cast a ray of sunshine on someone’s day.
(Just be careful about who you smile at in dodgy pubs or night clubs!)
There are many people suffering in this World, in many different ways. We can all make a difference and the difference starts with your smile.

2. Kindness

The next difference you can make is to be kind and you can do that in so many different ways. You can be kind to the World by picking up litter, even though you didn’t drop it; you can be kind to yourself by accepting yourself as you are and not saying mean things to yourself in your head. You can be kind to other people by listening to them with all your heart, by not judging them and by avoiding gossip (unless it’s REALLY juicy!)

3. Being your own man (woman!!)

Remember that none of us knows what is going on in someone else’s life or someone else’s mind. So even though you will judge others, try to also be curious, open-minded and to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s a much nicer way of living when you expect the best of people rather than expecting the worst.

Each of us has our strengths and weaknesses. I read a quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger: “The only person you need to be better than is the person you were yesterday”.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Every human being is unique and every single person has something special. Of course, I agree that it can be difficult to find the “nice” and “special” in some human beings, but it is there somewhere!

Practise not worrying about what other people think at every opportunity.This is easier said than done and I’m still working on it myself! But I know that the little inner voice that whispers fearfully in the middle of the night, “But what will they think of me?” holds people back from living full out. Tell that voice to shut the f* up! Yes really – swear at it. Don’t feel sorry for it, just because it’s a scaredy cat. It’s a wimp and you are not a wimp!

The fact is, people will think what people will think and there’s nothing you can do to stop them. You can’t stop people from thinking good or bad about you. Don’t be a people pleaser as you’ll end up resenting it. If you’re going to live your life full out, if you’re going to make a difference to this World in your own little way, not everyone will agree with you.

4. Doing the right thing

Always try to do the right thing. And if you don’t do the right thing, THEN do the right thing to balance out not doing the right thing in the first place! Be honest, apologise and make amends in some way. It’s all about the karma!

5. Confidence

I heard Vin Diesel being interviewed before the premier of “Fast and Furious 7”. I caught the end of the interview when he said that his one piece of advice to young people who have big dreams was this:

“Be confident and the rest will follow”

For the past 13 years, the one thing that I have wanted for my children most of all is confidence.

But there will be times when we don’t feel confident and sometimes life bashes us around a bit. When those times come, I have 2 pieces of advice:

1. Don’t give up, even though you may feel like it
2. Reach out and get support from the right people, so that when you waver, they can remind you that you DO have what it takes. And you do!

6. People in your life

Which brings me to the next thing… people. You WILL get hurt by people – men and women. We all do, us humans! Friends you thought were lifelong friends will let you down, partners you thought were soulmates may well turn out to drain you. This is all part of living and learning. Of course you will experience pain – and the pain you experience from other people can feel as if it is incurable. But it isn’t. Time does heal.

Every single person who touches your life will add to its richness.Connecting with people is one of my big things – talking to other people, learning from them, laughing with them – so spend your life marvelling at human beings. We are hard-wired to seek out and connect with other people. The more you open yourself to connecting with as many people as you can, the more successful you will be. I absolutely promise you, this is true!

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