Global warming, tyrannical dictators, and endless violence make it difficult not to get anxious about the future.
With all this uncertainty, there’s only one kind of person that can manage their way through everyday life: a calm person.
Being calm is just like any other skill: it can be learned and mastered.
While they may lose their calm every once in a while (they have their fair share of emotional turmoil), they can easily return to the state of constant peace with themselves. And that takes practice.
Avoid letting your surroundings get the best of you with these 12 lessons that you can learn from confident calm people.
1. They Live In The Moment
No matter how much we worry, the future is still going to come.
The past is also a common pain point among people.
They wish for things to be different: that they made a better choice or said something nicer.
Wallowing in these emotions only causes unnecessary emotional and mental pain.
No one can go back in time, nor can anyone predict the future.
By appreciating what they have and the people that they get to meet, a calm person is able to return to the moment.
It was Annie Dillard that wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”.
By returning to the moment, a calm person is able to take back the wheel of their lives.
While they can also go with the flow, they are also intentional in their next actions.
2. They Take It Slow
We hop from meeting to meeting, call to call, action to action without thinking about anything other than what we’ll have to do next.
At work, speed has often been equated with overall productivity and effectiveness as an employee.
The consequences of this, however, are burnout and increasing dissatisfaction.
By taking it slow, one can be more deliberate with their actions.
To a calm person, there’s no rush.
They are patient with others and themselves.
Sometimes, they would even rather walk to where they want to go.
It helps clear their mind while also giving them breathing space, away from the unending tirade of assignments and notifications.
3. They Are Kind To Themselves
When we make a mistake, it’s easy to beat ourselves up about it. We feel that we deserve a punishment of some kind.
The more we do this, the more we subconsciously buy into the idea that we’re unworthy of relaxing or feeling good — which, of course, isn’t the case.
A calm person is temperate and compassionate with themselves.
They are still people, of course, bound to make mistakes.
How they handle it, however, is being kinder, not stricter, with themselves.
They understand their own limits, both emotional and physical.
Instead of burning the midnight oil to finish more assignments in the name of being productive, a calm person would rather get enough sleep that their body needs.
They eat nutritious food and consume everything in moderation.
4. They Look For Compromises
Some people might have black and white notions about other people’s mindset (“You’re either with me or against me!”) or decisions that they have to make (“It’s either all or nothing.”).
Seeing the world in such ways could lead to undue stress and broken relationships with people.
Since we’re always confronted with decisions on how to act, Greek philosopher Aristotle developed an ethical principle called “The Golden Mean”.
It states that, in every decision that we make, we always have at our disposal 2 options — the extremes.
Either we overreact or underreact.
The best response will always lie somewhere in the middle.
The calm person goes with the compromise — almost as a win-win situation.
5. They Don’t Worry About The Future
Basketball All-star Michael Jordan once said, “Why would I worry about a shot that I haven’t taken yet?”
It’s that focus on the present moment, on the feel of the ball in his hands, and the play of the game that has allowed him and the Chicago Bulls to be deemed the greatest icons of basketball in his time.
A calm person doesn’t burn their energy in worry and distress about what might happen next.
After putting in all the effort that they can on a project, they understand that what happens next is out of their control.
Whether it’s evaluated as good, bad, value-adding, or a complete waste, doesn’t matter to them — all they know is that they did what they could in the moment.
6. Failure Doesn’t Bring Them Down
It’s a well-known fact that life has its ups and downs. There are going to be struggles not only at work but in our personal lives too.
Rejections, lay-offs, and breakups. There is no such thing as a perfect life.
But, as the Greek stoic philosopher, Epictetus once said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
Life is unpredictable. We can either let these failures define our lives or learn from them and move forward.
By letting what happens pass, a calm person is able to keep their head up and stay strong.
They carry no expectations of the future which avoids any disappointment.
They are flexible to what happens and adapt to the best of their abilities. They view failures as important lessons to take with them while they grow.
7. They Use Their Time Wisely
No amount of money has ever bought back a single second of time.
It’s our most valuable resource exactly because of the fact that we can never get more of it.
Not many people realize this, so they spend their time on activities that add little to no value to their lives because they might’ve seen other people do it as well.
A calm person has understood what is essential and non-essential to them.
Peace is found in spending more time on what matters the most and cutting out the fat of life.
8. They See Things For What They Are
In Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is The Way, he writes that the first step to seeing opportunities is to change one’s perception of obstacles.
He provides an example to show how events aren’t bad in themselves — we just make it so. He writes that the sentence “It happened and it’s bad” has 2 parts.
The first part (“it happened”) is subjective. It’s objective. “It’s bad” , on the other hand, is subjective.
Our thoughts and feelings are usually what colors our world. Events are up to interpretation.
Seeing things as they are, neither good nor bad, devoid of meaning, is what enables a calm person to retain their equanimity and composure.
9. They Know What’s Best For Them
Saying “No” to our friends can be difficult.
There’s an underlying fear that it would make us look bad, or that we’re boring and no fun.
But when we say Yes, we then can’t help but feel like something’s wrong, that we’d rather be at home working on our novel instead of going to a party.
Calm people don’t spend their time on things that they know aren’t worth their time and energy.
Roman emperor and stoic Marcus Aurelius had a practice where he would constantly ask himself “Is this necessary?”, a question that not many people remember to bring up to themselves.
10. They’re Approachable
Calm people have nothing to prove; they’re at peace with themselves.
They’re present in the moment, even and especially when they’re in a conversation.
They are engaged and welcoming of other people, always generous, and willing to help solve others’ problems.
In group conversations, it’s easy for someone to have difficulty getting a word in.
Calm people make sure that all voices are heard, that everyone is part of the conversation.
This helps spread and promote the peace that they have within themselves.
11. They’re Kind And Understanding Of Others
There are going to be times when other people are simply mean to us.
They cut us off on the road, cut in line for the printer, or be plain rude in conversation.
It’s easy to furrow our brows in anger at these things and let it taint our entire days — but that isn’t what a calm person would do.
A calm person would be more understanding of others.
They are patient and keep their cool. These things are not worth getting worked up over, in the bigger picture of things.
12. Their Calmness Is Contagious
In times of crisis, we naturally look for a point of stability.
When the company is rocked with bad news, the employees need someone to turn to to feel like the organization isn’t about to go belly up.
In these times, a calm person’s inner peace emanates from them like a warm light.
When we see another person being calm in a situation, it can be reassuring; it might not be as bad as we think.
This is one of the best things about being a calm person.
It doesn’t only benefit you, but it also tethers other people down to the ground as well, keeping them from floating away with worries and anxieties.
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