Behavioural changes make us have bad days

One evening, I sat with some lovely people at a café, discussing the way forward for a project. Everyone was proposing constructive opinions. It was great! While listening to them though, I drew a cube in my book. And shaded it.

That was it! My mind shut down and I stopped listening. When they asked for my opinion, I became John Rambo. You have no idea how horrible I felt later. But what led to this behavioral change?

I have worked in the corporate for many years. I have attended endless meetings; sometimes all day. Colleagues would ask why I looked drained. I said it was because I was. But they refused to believe it. “How can meetings be exhausting?”, they asked. “What better way to spend your day than talk and do no work?”

nice guys dont finish last

Serial entrepreneur Danny Shader pitched a business idea to investor David Hornik. Hornik loved it and quickly offered Shader a term sheet showing his keenness to invest. Logic dictated that he make a lucrative offer with a short deadline so that Shader accepted fast.

But David Hornik did the opposite. He set no deadline, and encouraged Shader to pitch to other investors. Hornik sent Shader a list of forty powerful references who could attest for his caliber as an investor, hoping that would sign with him. A week later, Shader called and said, “I’m signing with another investor.” Hornik was devastated.

We shudder at the thought of being a nice guy. Being taken for granted, being burdened with others’ work, being friend-zoned, and losing out on opportunities which others grab. Who wants punishment for being good in today’s evil world? That’s it! No more Mr. Nice Guy!

Wikipedia describes a nice guy as a teenage or adult who is perceived as gentle, compassionate, sensitive and vulnerable. He puts others’ needs before his own, avoids confrontation and generally acts nicely. But we often consider him to be an unassertive person who does not express his true feelings (this applies to all genders). As a result, he ends up feeling used and disrespected. “Ruthless tactics succeed more than kindness,” said baseball manager Leo Dorucher. No wonder nice guys finish last.

Having a bad day

Have you fought with a good friend and, as a result, blown away a diet plan that you had followed well until then? Did an argument at work lead you to having one drink too many? Or did you jump a traffic signal after a having bad day, get pulled over by cops and screamed, “You don’t know my day was!” Have you woken up the next day wondering whether you could have avoided everything that you did? If yes, you are not alone.

What makes us turn into people whom we cannot recognize on bad days? Are there ways to avoid behaving in ways which make us feel miserable later, and force us to apologize to others?

Before we dive into reasons and explanations, let’s look at an interesting case study.

how to become a good entrepreneur while keeping your job

You long for it – to become an entrepreneur. Flexible working hours, being your own boss, hiring people to work for you and no office politics. Wherever you go, people ask how your business is doing. You say it’s slow but picking up, and their eyes fill up with respect. Does that life sound amazing?

It IS amazing. Pursuing something that you enjoy doing is a deeply satisfying feeling. Goodbye Monday morning blues.

Every day, people of all age groups are quitting their jobs to become entrepreneurs. You too can achieve this lifestyle that you desire.

But this life is not a bed of roses. In fact, far from it.

how to make your boss listen to your ideas

I walked to my desk and flung my diary. It thudded loudly and jolted my teammates out of their seats.

What happened?” Arun asked.

“He just doesn’t get it, does he?” I said.

“Did you speak about your idea with the boss?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, working hard to stay calm. “And he said it’s not a priority right now. I mean, what part of ‘improved user experience’ doesn’t he understand!”

“That sucks. It was a good suggestion,” Arun chuckled. I would hate his chuckling as much as I hated my boss.

“I should change my job,” I mumbled. “The new boss will appreciate me.”

“He won’t,” Arun said.

That hurt. I didn’t speak to Arun for a couple of hours. But it was the truth. I needed to hear it, even if I didn’t want to.

Tips to get ahead in your career

One day, Narad muni asked Lord Vishnu, “Why is the statue of Garud (Vishnu’s eagle and vehicle) placed in your temples? Why not mine? Am I not your greatest devotee?”

Before Vishnu could answer, a crash was heard outside the main gate of Vaikuntha (Vishnu’s abode). “I have sent Garud on an errand. Can you check what happened, Narad?”, He requested. Keen on seizing the opportunity to prove himself, Narad rushed out and returned a few seconds later and said, “A milkmaid tripped and fell.”

Tips to improve productivity at work and in life

A day has 24 hours. For you, for Richard Branson and Elon Musk. You have so much to do. Work, meeting friends, Facebooking, sleeping and, if time permits, doing something you are passionate about. Don’t you wish there were more hours in a day? How do some people get more done in 24 hours than the rest of us can in a week!

Turns out that you don’t need more than 24 hours. True, sometimes despite managing time immaculately, you don’t. But that is rare.

How can you do more in a day? The answer lies in developing one ‘skill’ which is important in every phase of life, one which it takes practice to implement it with finesse. It’s especially important at work, because that is where we spend most of our time.

tips to build effective presentation skills

Picture this: You deliver a fabulous presentation on a topic. Your audience hangs on to every word you say. It ends in a long, genuine applause. Your audience is happy because they can take a lot away. Break the ice with important people in the audience is easy because they already have a positive impression of you.

Tough? Yes. Unless you possess a natural flair for speaking publicly.

Impossible? Certainly not! Many have mastered the art of presentations despite being afraid of them in the beginning.

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