Stay Grounded and in Touch With the World Around You

By nature, young professionals tend to be, to some degree, self-centered. We are in a stage of life where our personal and professional goals must be in the forefront of our minds at all times in order to succeed. Needless to say, some of us may find ourselves getting a little carried away, forgetting about the small but important things in the world around us, like the plight of others and those in need. Take a moment to consider this idea, and ask yourself if your priorities may be a bit out of whack, and if it might just be coming off in a way that doesn’t really reflect your true character. If so, we offer you these easy strategies that can be used on a regular basis that will help to bring you back down to earth.  

1. Avoid beginning sentences with the word “I”
You’ll be amazed at just how hard it really is to avoid beginning sentences with the word “I.” Try it for just one day while at the office, or at home with friends and family, and you will realize just how much you talk about yourself. Additionally, try this technique when writing texts and emails. The lesson here is that the art of conversation does not center solely on personal opinion. There is a give and take necessary in conversation, which includes asking questions of the other person and expressing genuine, reflective reactions. In a previous Notable article, we discussed the power of asking others’ questions about themselves. New studies show that when people talk about themselves, a rush of dopamine is released similar to when one talks about food, sex, or money. When you are the one asking the questions, you become associated with this good feeling, creating a memorable interaction. So ask yourself: do you want to be the one indulging in your own dopamine, or the one creating the memorable conversation? Further, remember that as interesting as you may be, there is a lot that can be learned from really listening to others. Try conversing without so many “I” statements and you’ll be amazed not only by how much can be learned, but by how much better you’ll be received. 

2. Ditch the “worry about your own” philosophy 
Where would the world be (where would you be!) if everyone worried just about their own little corner of the world? Sure, many of us feel that we have enough stress and work of our own to be concerned with, but it is an absolute guarantee that someone else out there has a whole lot more. Beyond how good volunteering looks on a resume, helping others also brings outside awareness and appreciation to many laser-focused YPs. Taking time out of your usual YP lifestyle to help someone in need doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Although building schools in Africa would be an amazing thing to donate your time to, helping out can be done on a much smaller, but just as important, scale. Consider visiting an elderly neighbour once a week, or offering to help with yard work. Take a young family member on a special outing, freeing up time for the parents as well as becoming a mentor. Spending your time making someone else happy is one of the greatest things a human being can do. For us smart, able-bodied YPs, such acts can be so simple and easy, yet can make a world of difference to someone else.         

3. Read the paper
Not only is being up-to-date on current events important and practical in the YP world, but being aware of the plight of others also helps to build appreciation for our own lives. Additionally, ignorance is one of the biggest enemies of motivation. If you know you require a swift kick to get into the idea of helping others, look no further than your local paper. That family that just suffered a huge house fire, the homeless shelter that may have to shut its doors, or the countless acts of violence occurring in your city all deserve your attention, your care, and maybe even your action. Making ourselves aware of the not-so-pretty stuff happening to others around us helps not only to humble us with the reminder of just how fortunate we are, but also to remind us of what we are all working so hard for: a happy, safe, and secure life.

You may be young but you are an adult, a functioning member of society. If you hope to succeed in this world, it’s up to you to make it a world worth succeeding in. It’s OK to keep your eye on the prize in order to get ahead, but be sure to designate at least a small amount of your time to learning about and helping others. Your character will surely shine and your pace toward success will only increase (in fact, your whole concept of success might just change, too).

Photo courtesy Energetic City