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How Smart People Handle Difficult People

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https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/290372

entrepreneur.com

How Smart People Handle Difficult People
10 min read Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Difficult people defy logic. Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people's buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

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Key Ideas

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Handle difficult people

Difficult people defy logic. They create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

90 % of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in ord...

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Set limits

People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude.

Avoid this by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary.

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Rise above

Difficult people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. 

Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science p...

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Stay aware of their emotions

Maintaining emotional distance requires awareness

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Establish boundaries

If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. 

The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries i...

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Don’t die in the fight

Smart people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. 

When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re...

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Focus on solutions

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. 

Focus instead on how you're going to go about handling them. This ...

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Don’t forget

Smart people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

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Squash negative self-talk

There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or...

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Get some sleep

Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. 

A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative and proactive in...

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Use your support system

Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effor...

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Stress and motivation

Used effectively, stress can motivate us to accomplish more than we had imagined possible. Stress can jolt us to reach our potential. Without stress, we’d feel rudderless and without purpose.

Not all stress is bad for you

  • “Good stress”: which psychologists refer to as “eustress,” is the stress we feel when we’re excited about something.
  • Acute stress: when something surprises us or catches us off guard. Acute stress is the body’s response to ensure you react and take measures to deal with the unexpected situation. It has no lasting negative effects if we deal with it quickly and move on.

Build your resilience

Resilience is how we deal with stress effectively so we “bounce back” after a difficult time.

As we deal with issues that cause tension and strain, we learn to face adversity, deal with significant issues and overcome problems. We learn how to formulate realistic plans and carry them out.

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Emotional intelligence when facing uncertainty

Emotional intelligence when facing uncertainty
As we face uncertainty, our brains push us to overreact in a place where emotions, such as anxiety and fear, are generated. And these inhibit good decisio...

Strategies to improve the quality of your decisions

  • Be wary of fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface.
  • Stay positive. 
  • Know what you know—and what you don’t.
  • Embrace that which you can’t control. 
  • Focus only on what matters. 
  • Don’t seek perfection - it leaves you lamenting what you failed to accomplish instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.
  • Don’t dwell on problems. Rather focus on actions to better yourself.
  • Recognize when you are overly influenced by your assumptions and emotions or by another person’s opinion.
  • Have a contingency plan without asking "What if?"

Happy people are well rounded people

Happy people are well rounded people
  • They savor the moment. They "stop to smell the roses".
  • They're busy, but not rushed. A healthy work-life balance is key.
  •  They don't sweat the small stuff...

Happy people invest in their relationships

  • They spend money on others. One reason is that it creates social connections.
  • They celebrate other people's success through "active and constructive" responding.
  • They treat everyone with respect and kindness. Kindness, like happiness, is contagious.
  • They're proactive about relationships. They work on maintaining their relationships.
  • They express gratitude. It improves mood and energy and decreases anxiety.
  • They engage in deep, meaningful conversations.

The attitude of happy people

  • They're optimistic. Bad things happen to all of us. Happy people don't complain, whine or let pessimism become a self-fulling prophecy.
  • They view problems as challenges. They focus on solutions to the problem and reflect on what they're grateful for.

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Resilience

It's the skill that enables us to recover quickly from difficulties. It means adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy or significant stress.

We build our resilience by learni...

Build a circle of trust

The primary factor in resilience is having supportive relationships, inside and outside the family. 

Close friends, family and loved ones represent our social support; they encourage and motivate us, and let us know that we aren’t alone.

Reframe stressful situations

The way we view a potentially stressful situation can either make the crisis worse in our mind or minimize it. 

Reframing things in a more positive way can alter our perceptions and relieve our stressful feelings.

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Identifying problems

Optimists tend to avoid difficult conversations and this could lead them to miss the opportunity of addressing critical issues. 

Pessimists inherently look for the problems more than ...

Hearing only agreement

Pessimists are good role models for those who are "yes men". 

If you only have around you people that agree with you, you are being set up for failure.

Unprepared for the downside

Optimists often fail to have a Plan B because they believe they can control all the elements within Plan A.

Pessimists can alert a team regarding the risks that would require a Plan B.

Slow down

Try not to react immediately, but be patient and gather as much information as possible.

If the problem will not matter a year from now, distance yourself somewhat from the situation to gain ...

Stay positive

When you are in a stressful situation, do not allow your mind to imagine the worst-case scenario. 

Focus your mind on something positive.

Never ask “what if?”

The "what if" line of questioning induces panic and lets you focus on imagined situations that escalate the problem.

Focus on the facts and work on a solution.

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The Paradox of Choice

Having more options doesn’t mean that we will be happier, although, we often think that it will.

When we have too many choices, it is more difficult to take action, and if we decide, we are l...

Money

Money is related to happiness. If you don’t have enough money to feed your family, more money will more likely increase your happiness. 

But once you have met all of the basic needs, money is less influential.

Engagement and work

People are happiest and perform their best when they are actively engaged in what they are doing. 

To find happiness in your work, the key is to have projects that take you just outside of your comfort zone.

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Classical Music

Listening to classical music can help people perform tasks more efficiently. 

The absence of words in the music may be one factor, as songs that contain lyrics have been found to ...

“The Mozart Effect”

This theory suggests that listening to classical composers can enhance brain activity and act as a catalyst for improving health and well-being.

Nature Music

Listening to the sounds of nature (waves crashing or a babbling brook) has been shown to boost moods and focus. They also help mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing

Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds (flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises (bird calls and animal noises) can be distracting.

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Sense of self

You have to know who you are and what you want. 

Self-improvement begins with a keen awareness of who you are and what are your values, beliefs and the larger purpose you wish to ...

Sense of curiosity

Curiosity creates a longing to know more, do more and be more.

To have a successful life, you have to cultivate your sense of wonder and be curious about what the future might hold. Curiosity helps you see any situation as an opportunity for your advancement and learning.

Sense of direction

It improves your ability to prioritize and it makes decision-making easier.

It also provides commitment: it's usually hard to commit to something that has no foreseeable future.

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Self-sabotage

Self-sabotage occurs when your logical, conscious mind (the side of you that says you need to eat healthily and save money) is at odds with your subconscious mind (the side of you that stress-eats cho...

Understand self-sabotage

Self-destructive behaviors can become habits and can continually undermine your success and happiness.

Self-sabotage is when we want something, but somehow we never accomplish it, because somewhere deep in our subconscious we’re fighting against that goal:

  • Our disorganization distracts us.
  • We’re constantly overthinking all of our decisions.

Recognize self-sabotaging habits

  • Procrastination. Start setting deadlines and mini-deadlines to work toward your objective.
  • Negative self-talk/negative thinking. Be patient with yourself; be kind to yourself. Work to build yourself up.
  • Perfectionism. It is an impossible standard that keeps you from moving forward.

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