I was recently in a business meeting with two men who disagreed on a plan of action. Is this uncommon in the workplace? Nope. Can it be uncomfortable? Um, definitely… especially when egos get involved.
Everyone else in the room braced themselves while the two executives faced off with their wildly different opinions. But to our surprise, the meeting went remarkably well… and all because one of these men simply exuded a calm maturity that was impossible to fight against. He met his colleague’s argumentative tone with absolute tranquility, and the situation diffused.
Instead of offering rebuttals and contradictions, he kept saying things like, “I absolutely see your point, Jeff,” and “You’re right about that. Could we consider…”
I was impressed. Egos didn’t rule that morning; they couldn’t. There was too much calm in the room.
And you just can’t meet that kind of Zen-like state with fire.
So what are more ways to bring tranquility, maturity, and inner peace into our lives? What we focus on has a tendency to expand. So if you focus on the drama, that’s what you get, but if you focus on serenity, well… who couldn’t use a little more of that this year? Here are seven ways you can bring more of that cool, collected calm—and the successes that results from it—into your life.
1. Focus on your own sh*t.
It can be so easy to compare ourselves to other people over our paychecks, the contents of our closets, relationship statuses… but when you realize that all that matters (and all that you can control) is you, you can’t help but just do you. And when that happens, life gets awesome.
2. Don’t overthink stuff.
When you stop trying to dissect and interpret the words, texts, tweets, and motivations of others, you’ll experience that dose of tranquility you need. “Analysis paralysis” is such a precious waste of your time.
3. Know how to laugh at yourself.
Joan Rivers said, “Life goes by fast. Enjoy it. Calm down. It’s all funny.” Life doesn’t have to be so serious, does it? And once you get to the point where you can laugh at yourself, you can laugh at pretty much anything.
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4. Work before you play.
Maturity can almost always be measured by delayed gratification. Do the work first, don’t half-ass it, care… and then play. Work can be fun too—especially when you commit to doing work that you love. Adulting can be great adventure, if you give it a chance.
5. Don’t gossip.
When you just walk away from the water cooler when the boss is being whispered about, you’re really doing yourself a favor in the long run.
6. Don’t blame others.
I don’t think there is anything more grown-up than taking 100 percent responsibility for your life. No excuses or exceptions—parental, governmental, or otherwise. When you own your circumstances and your “stuff,” you’re empowered.
7. Don’t react.
There’s nothing like watching reality TV to observe some highly reactive, immature, theatrical overreactions… and onscreen, they’re great. Bring the drama!
But when you become a reality TV star’s polar opposite—when you’ve mastered the art of non-reaction and let something that could have offended you just slide—then you’re really winning.
Maturity begins when drama and dissatisfaction ends. We can quantify our calm by our ability to, in the words of T-Swift, “shake it off.” You really can choose to free yourself from anything: a rude remark, an under-the-breath diss from someone you’ve never liked, an online hater, a passive-aggressive colleague… whatever.
When you can shake all that off and just focus on the present moment—which is all we ever have—you kinda have it all figured out. Guilt and regret can have you living the past, and anxiety and worry can make you future-trip. When you can simply Be Here Now… well, that calm will carry you far.
Susie Moore is Greatist’s life coach columnist and a confidence coach in New York City. Sign up for free weekly wellness tips on her website and check back every Tuesday for her latest No Regrets column!