Next time someone asks you to hang out, instead of giving them a coded answer like "Yeah, crazy week, let's get together soon!" just be clear and honest:
"You know what, making more social plans just isn't one of my top priorities right now, but thank you."
"We've hung out a number of times now, and honestly I just don't feel like we have friend chemistry. I don't want to waste your time or mine, so I am going to have to decline."
"I would love to spend time with you. Right now I feel overbooked, but I am putting it on my calendar right now to call you the week after next to set something up."
It's about respect. Mutual respect.
Next time you're discussing a topic with your colleagues, share your clear, unfiltered opinion:
"I think that is a bad idea for the company and here's why..."
"That marketing copy is really generic and I don't think it represents our brand well."
"It is not at all clear that spending money on this would generate any incremental revenue, and since we only have 6 months of cash in the bank, I would advise against it."
There can be an awkwardness when introducing clarity into a previously clarity-starved relationship. That awkwardness will make it hard to practice clarity when you first begin, but like all things, over time it will get easier.
And over time, you will respect yourself more, and other people will respect you more too.
Clarity takes many forms.
Next time someone invites you to another meeting that will waste your time, just say no and be clear about the reason.
Next time you're running late, call ahead and be clear with the person whose time you're wasting that you're running late, and don't exaggerate how quickly you'll be there (like all of us are guilty of doing!). Then you disappoint twice. If you think you'll be there in 10 minutes, just say 15 because you're probably being optimistic.
And be clear with yourself too.
Next time you aren't being productive at work because you have a restless body, listen up. Stop working and go on a walk, or hit they gym if you have that kind of freedom. Then get back to work with 5X the productivity.
Next time you want to leave a social situation, or a movie, or a restaurant earlier than "normal" then just do it. Life's too short to stick around.
If you wake up with a feeling of unhappiness about going to work for the 185th day in a row, well then what the hell are you doing? Listen to yourself. It doesn't get much more clear than that.
Embracing clarity doesn't mean you need spout off everything that's floating around that active little mind of yours. Omissions are often appropriate.
But when you find yourself thinking nice things, err toward clear oversharing:
"You are an absolute delight to work with. Thank you for being so awesome."
"I really appreciate the way you always are on time - thank you."
"I love your style."
Clarity feels good, and the more you practice it, the more addictive it becomes.
Because we all have muddled minds. Confused emotions. We hear mixed messages. We get persuaded one way one day, only to hear something more compelling the next. Most of the stuff we hear - from the people we interact with, the companies we buy from, the politicians on TV, the articles we read - most of that stuff is a bunch of coded jibber jabber.
Everyday, we all ingest thousands of words that are coated in stale veneers, tired platitudes, politically correct politeness, and rose-colored gloss treatments.
It's tiresome. It literally makes us feel tired. We all are being weighed down by obfuscation, code words and dishonesty.
Clarity, on the other hand, carries with it a certain lightness ... a tranquility that is hard to describe, but easy to feel. And it is a feeling that benefits everyone involved in a clear situation, so that even the person who is being told they will never fit into your life will feel a small weight lift off their shoulders, a sense of psychic relief, and a spark of energy.
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