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Fire A Friend: 7 Signs To Drop Negative People

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Firing a friend, or dropping someone you’re close to, is never fun.

It’s painful. It can be messy. And it’s extremely awkward the moment you two realize that nothing is going to be the same anymore.

But in my opinion, firing a friend is a necessary part of life in a world of constant change.

Because sometimes you meet people when you’re in a bad place, or by random chance, that just aren’t the best person for you to hang around with in the long run (or the short term).

Maybe they helped you get on your feet last year, but this year you’re a different person and you can’t keep progressing with them around.

It’s not that they’re a terrible person, though often times they are, it’s just that you two don’t work together for whatever reason.

Think about this.

As little kids we want to be liked by everyone.

As middle schoolers we notice that we enjoy spending time with some kids more than others, but we still want to be popular.

And in high school it’s clique-world where we only want to spend time with our like-minded group.

As you get older you start to realize that not all personalities work together. Two people can be so different where they have nothing in common—or too similar where they clash—that the relationship will never run smoothly.

On a scale some people will always bring more bad times than good to you. The secret is to spend the most time with people who give life to your days, not take your joy.

And unless you’re a masochist (someone who enjoys pain) it’s best for you that you drop this friend from your life. After all, this infographic from Happify shows how good friends make us happier.

This message is for you: You probably need to drop your friend if they show any of the seven signs below.

Signs Of Bad Friends

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1. Their negativity is toxic.

Negativity is a disease that eats away at people’s happiness, whether it comes internally or externally. (That’s why I suggest everyone takes this 7 day challenge.)

But some friends don’t feel good about themselves and the old saying goes that “misery loves company.” So they’ll infect you with their negativity and use you as a punching back if you let them.

For example, something amazing happens—you get the new job, salary raise, significant other, vacation booked—and you’re pumped up out of your mind.

But you know not to tell your one friend about it because they’ll find something negative to say. It’s just in their DNA to put a rainy cloud on your sunny day.

So you hide it from them and wait until they hear it from someone else or wait a few days later to appreciate the happiness a bit longer.

That’s not normal. A good friendship is when you enjoy sharing good news with them and celebrating. That’s how it’s supposed to be, but Negative Nellie doesn’t get it.

I’d have a serious conversation about their negativity. And if they don’t care to work on it, then I’d reconsider spending time with them.

2. The relationship is all about them.

This type of friend also needs to be evaluated because they’re locked in to focusing on one person only—themselves.

Common scenarios include your friend cutting you off, never listening to anything you have to say or feel, one upping you with a better story in public, and sharing your secrets publicly at your expense for a laugh.

You’d consider it a miracle if they ever genuinely asked about your day and feelings.

Because the second you bring up yourself, they change the subject to what they think. And that communicates it all right there. They want you for their sake, but no because they’re interested in you.

That’s not ok. Relationships should be give and take—not take, take, take.

Your friend should be curious about how you’re doing, what’s new, what’s good, and what you’re struggling with to see if they can help. Friends are people to go to for support and venting.

If your friend only tilts the conversation one way, it may be time to kick them to the curb for a better friend.

3. They use you.

At the core, a relationship is between two mutually connected people.

But bad friendships look more like your friend standing on your back. And the minute you want to get up, they threaten the friendship.

They are blatant about how they use you and the ugly part is they have no intention to stop. It’s 100% about them and 0% about you.

On the odd day they do something for you, their sole motive is to bring it up later so they can use you again and hold that favor over your head for way too long. That’s evil!

These bad friends take advantage of your friends, money, connections, family members, and you. And they leave you depleted in the wake.

Or if they accomplished what they wanted to and no longer need you, you can tell who these people are by their immediate lack of communication and quality time right after.

But they’ll come around once they think of a way to use you again because they suck.

4. They bad mouth the people you love.

Quality friends look out for your best interest. Bad friends look out for their own interests ahead of yours.

If you’ve got a bad friend, odds are they’re going to rip on your significant other and try to divide you two. Why? Because their jealous of the time and attention no longer coming to them.

You being happy because of someone else can’t happen in their selfish word.

They’ll make negative comments, spread rumors, and start drama all in a secret ops mission to break you two apart. They could careless about you being happy if they’re personally not happy.

(Now if your relationship isn’t healthy and you’re with someone who brings out the worst in you, that’s a completely different story. You might have a good friend who is looking out for you. Use proper judgement and get a second opinion.)

They’ll also make fun of your other friends, family members, or people close to you because they’re insecure and need a way to feel good about themselves in front of you.

People have messed with their head and made them feel bad about themselves, so they feel the urge to do the same to you.

Drama follows them because they invite it in with their words and actions. And unless you’re an actor who enjoys real-life drama for extra practice, I’d consider dropping them like a bad habit.

5. You don’t like who you become with them.

There are two types of friends: good influences and bad influences.

Now some bad influences aren’t really that bad. They may make you stay up later than you should, or go on long road trips where you question the logic of the adventure.

That’s not the terrible friends I’m discussing here.

I’m talking about the bad influences who if you continue to hang out with them, you’re likely to become an alcoholic, drug addict, or cheater for life.

They’re with the devil on your shoulder that always wins out over the angel on your other shoulder. They whisper that you should cheat on your significant other, take advantage of the drunk at the bar, or skip work to day-drink.

Sure they’re fun in the moment, but your soul knows you don’t like who you become when you spend time with them. For example, you feel unreal at night but the next morning brings a bunch of shame and guilt that won’t go away.

And you can’t live true to yourself if you have friends who influence you to act like you know is wrong.

Those actions only end in regret.

So cut the friend off before you become a worse version of yourself.

6. You’re the only one making any effort.

Bad friends never put much effort into the relationship.

Now if they need you to do something for them, they’ll be the first to reach out. But if you’re not specifically useful in the moment, you’re the last person on their mind.

These people never text you first. They rarely respond when you text them. And when you ask to hang out, they lie and say they need to catch up on work—until you see their Instagram story and they’re out with other friends.

Honestly, if you didn’t reach out to them, how long would you two go without hanging out or talking? If you don’t know the answer, then you’re the only one trying to make this friendship work.

And it’s probably in your best interest to invest in friendships that care just as much about you as you do about them.

7. You’re exhausted after hanging out with them.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer to spend my time around people who uplift me and give me energy. Those are the best hang outs because it’s a positive vibe the entire time.

But I can’t put up with the guys and girls who suck all my energy from me because of their antics and high-school-like drama. I always question why I agreed to hang out when I leave feeling negative and depressed.

Albert Einstein said it best with, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” It’s insane to have bad friends and hope they won’t disappoint you.

Now I’m wiser and realize I’m too old for those kinds of people. It’s just not worth it when the result is mental and emotional exhaustion.

If you fire those friends, then you open up more time to spend with people who energize you. You’ll notice the difference right away, trust me—I have experience with firing friends.

How To Fire A Friend

The First Exchange

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Before you make a rash decision and immediately toss friends to the wayside, first give them a chance to hear you out.

You never know, maybe you’ve got them all wrong and they actually do care about you. They’re just oblivious or have bad habits that they’re willing to change.

But it is time to be direct with how you’re feeling if you’re going to salvage the friendship. I recommend you follow these three steps.

Step 1: Honestly express your feelings

Though you can do this by texting, emailing, or writing a letter—if you’re old school—I recommend talking to them on the phone or meeting in person.

And don’t overthink it. Just bring up what’s been bothering you and how it makes you feel.

Your language is key here. It’s best to start sentences with your feelings instead of what they’ve done wrong. And don’t talk in extremes using words like “always” or “never.”

For example, use phrases like, “I sometimes feel like,” instead of on the attack phrases like, “You always.”

The main goal is to communicate your honest feelings, not start a fight.

Step 2: See how they respond

Next, you must give them a chance to respond and be sure to listen to what they’re saying.

It can be hard to go into the conversation with an open mind if you’ve been wronged, but fight your pride to open your ears.

Hear them out and listen to their side of the story.

You may pick up new insight that you never realized. Maybe they’re going through a really tough family crisis, stressed about work, or some other external problem that has them on edge, and they accidentally took it out on you.

If they apologize and you appreciate their response, then keep an eye on how they act going forward. At the very least, it’s good news you two both want to save the friendship.

But if you two don’t see eye-to-eye and they have no intention to change, then you most likely want to skip Step 3 and cut the friendship off.

Step 3: Monitor how they act going forward

Hopefully they turn around and treat you better. If that happens, you don’t need to fire them!

Great job to save your friendship.

But many people don’t change. Or they will make a change in the first week because they know you’re mad, and then they’ll go back to their old ways like you two never had a talk.

When they’re still a bad friend after your talk, there comes a time when you have to choose your own happiness over hurting someone else’s feelings.

And don’t feel bad like you’re the bad guy. They decided the friendship didn’t mean much to them based on how they acted. You’re just responding.

Cut The Friendship Off

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If you have a friend (or a few) who continues to bring too much negativity to your life, it’s time for them to go.

You’ve made your concerns and expectations clear in your first talk. And they’re not interested in being a good friend.

When that’s the case, there are three options (one good option) to break up your friendship.

Option one is to make a big scene by confronting them in person, yelling, and bringing up every time they’ve disrespected you. But unless you have your own reality TV show and cameras following your day-to-day activities, you don’t want a messy break up.

The goal is to be as drama free as possible in firing your friend. So I don’t recommend you make a scene.

Option two is to say, “Bye, Felicia,” and never speak to your friend again. Ghosting them is one way to do it.

And even though never answering their texts or calls is drama free, it’s also a childish action that doesn’t provide closure.

That’s why I recommend option three—you respectfully drop a friend through communicating with them. It’s best for them and you. Here’s what to do in this uncomfortable situation.

Give them a call and express how you feel (again, don’t use extreme language or attack).

Say you brought up your concern and since nothing has changed for the long term, you don’t want to hang out anymore. And wish them the best.

That’s it.

Although it’s short and sweet, it’s not going to be easy, because they’re (previously) your friend after all. But you have to go through with this and fire a friend for your happiness.

Choose Your Happiness

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In my transition from high school to college, I fired a bunch of friends because I outgrew them. And even in my transition through college to the real world I also had to fire friends for my happiness.

Was it easy? No.

But since I’ve cut these people out, I’ve found freedom to be myself and strive to become the best version of me.

Do you know how refreshing that feels?

That means I’m no longer tied down to negative people and feelings that only got in my way of being happy.

I no longer have to waste another second living a life not true to myself and doing stupid things to please people who don’t care about me.

It’s a simple math problem of addition by subtraction. In getting rid of bad friends, I’m more fulfilled than ever.

So I encourage you to first reflect about your friendships. Think if you have any friends who only drag you down. That’s not how true friendship is supposed to be.

If you have some friends in mind, go talk to them about your concerns and feelings.

Give them a chance to come around and mend the relationship. But if things don’t change, you have to look out for your own happiness and cut them off.

You’ll be better off for it!

And as a motivational send off of why you’re doing this, read these quotes:

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me. – Henry Ford

A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself. – Jim Morrison

One loyal friend is worth ten thousand relatives. – Euripides

Related

How To Handle A Mooching Friend

How To Connect To Anyone

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Career

Life Tip: Never Take Anything Good For Granted

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Have you ever had something really good in your life, until you took it for granted and lost it? What a horrible, miserable feeling, right? It’s the worst.

I know from experience.

My senior year of basketball still leaves a sour taste in my mouth thinking about it.

It’s strange though because it started out good, like really good.

After thousands of hours of insane dedication to practice my basketball craft and improve my shooting, dribbling, passing, defending, and rebounding, I reached a dream of mine: make the starting lineup for the St. Xavier Bombers varsity basketball team.

Not only that, my first game of the year couldn’t have been better considering I only played 14 minutes the entire game. The stat line below proves it.

brian-robben-basketball-stats

And we won the game by 23 points. Everything is going smooth, until it wasn’t.

From the next game through the last game of the year it was all downhill.

Let me explain.

The Lost & Final Basketball Season

Let’s just say I was a different guy in high school. Now I’m all motivated and focused on building my businesses and leaving a legacy.

But the 18-year-old Brian was all about wreaking havoc and having a good time above all.

To express himself at school or during basketball team activities, he’d go as far as he could to toe the line of breaking the rules for pure laughs and excitement. Often he crossed the line.

Here are some of the reckless things I did during that basketball season:

  • After receiving a hard foul when driving to the basket, I stayed on the ground and racked off 5 push ups before shooting foul shots
  • On the bench during a pre-season game, I grabbed my phone and sent a tweet out to my Twitter followers explaining what I just did (tweeted during the game)
  • Ruined team pictures by putting a 3 goggles sign on my thigh, so the school had to retake them a week later
  • Stormed the refs locker room after a frustrating overtime loss when a bunch of questionable calls went against us
  • Put a teammate in a headlock during a shoot around hours before a game
  • And a lot more crazy stuff

That’s not close to all of the bad-boy moves.

I don’t know if you realize this, but it’s hard to play solid basketball and stay in the coaching staff’s good graces when you’re messing around whenever you can. It doesn’t work out well.

take-basketball-for-granted

That’s why it’s to no shock looking back that I got suspended twice. The first time I had to sit out two quarters against our biggest rival. And then I was suspended a full week from the team later in the year.

Not to mention a bunch of other disciplinary issues and conflicts with coaches that I don’t have time nor want to discuss.

It all boils down to the fact that my antics sabotaged my final year of basketball.

After the season ended, the problem was I couldn’t go back in time to stay focused on basketball and give it my 100% again. That ship had sailed. The opportunity was gone.

So I had to, and now have to, live with regret when thinking back to that year and what could have been.

But regret about not appreciating the game of basketball isn’t the only thing I received from that experience. It’s the unforgettable lesson: never take anything good for granted.

Fortunately I learned this lesson at age 18, not 48.

Never Take It For Granted

Thanks to my failure that year, I developed a wiser perspective to appreciate the good things in my life.

So now I know never to take my work, my company, my clients, my health, my friends, my family, and life in general for granted. Regret is the worst feeling out there so I want to live in a way that eliminates it.

Where maybe if my senior year basketball season went smoother I’d never have learned the full extent of that lesson. Who knows? Maybe something far worse than a disappointing basketball season could have went down.

But because of the outcome I get to hold that experience in my back pocket going forward. I turned a scar into an advantage.

Although it’s always cool for me to flip negative experiences into positive ones, it’d be even better if I didn’t have to learn the hard way.

Truth is you don’t have to be a dummy like me.

I don’t know what your “it” is (I can guess it’s your family, friends, faith, career, pets, house, teachers, and country). I do know you need to never take it for granted if you want what’s best out of your life.

Also, don’t forget to appreciate the little things that come and go during the passing days.

It could be your peaceful commute to work where you’re alone with your thoughts. It could be the Monday morning cup of coffee you can afford without thinking about. Or it can be your place’s proximity to the beach that other people would kill to have.

Never taking life’s big and small gifts for granted is a big step to living the good life.

And there’s another reason to have this mindset: you don’t want to mess around with regret.

Regret Is Brutal, Eliminate It

Regret is the worst feeling out there in my opinion.

Sadness sucks but you can become happy again. Anger isn’t fun but you can eventually relax and get over it.

But regret, there’s no way to reverse it and recover. It sticks with you the rest of your life. That’s why it’s brutal.

Your only solution is to do your best job to eliminate it at all times by both being super grateful for what’s good in your life and staying focused to keep it going well.

If you are unappreciative and lose focus, there’s sometimes no going back from there. Your fate is often sealed once the moment ends.

I want my life to be filled with as little regret as possible. That’s part of the ingredients for a great life, in my humble opinion.

Don’t you agree? Please join me in this effort to never take anything good for granted.

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Personal Development

Brian, Promise You’ll Never Stop Writing

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Hey guys, to celebrate video number 40 on my YouTube channel I put together a different kind of video.

Here I share a personal story and value I hold dear to my heart. It’s all about my relationship with writing and how it’s went from zero to hero in my life.

I hope you enjoy the video and feel inspired!

If you’re interested, here’s the transcript:

Let’s first take it back to high school. You sucked at writing. Just like all of your other classes, you hated it and let your teachers know by your classroom antics or naps, and doing the bare-minimum on papers.

Writing never interested you because it was a part of the school system you went to war against.

Brian this is a note to your future self.

Things changed your freshman year of college. You wanted to be a big time lawyer, and writing soon became your major since top lawyers know how to read and write well. So you needed to write, and write well, to get a top GPA and reach your dreams. And you did.

But things changed again. You said see ya to law school, hello entrepreneur land and started the blog takeyoursuccess.com. That meant constant writing, and hours of it to publish 2-3 posts a week for the past few years. And then you became an author from your writing, already accomplishing a major achievement on your bucket list through this method of communication.

Now writing is your daily routine as much as breathing and eating is. Writing is your public and personal journal, the world sees it but you know the heart of what’s behind the words and the words unsaid. Writing is magical to you.

Although you’re a business owner, author, and coach, at the end of the day, remember your journey all started from a blog, from writing. You’re a writer, writing your story as you go, figuring it out piece by piece, and telling the world, striving to create your legacy one word at a time.

So note to future self, never stop writing. You wouldn’t be the same without it. And all great stories have a storyteller. You happen to be your own storyteller, just how you like it.

What’s your story?

What do you want to tell your future self to commit to?

What’s magical to you?

I hope by hearing part of my story you find clarity in your story. Because we’re all in this thing called life together, so let’s make the most of it.

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Career

The Art Of Negotiation: Care Less

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The art of negotiation is truly an art. Either you’re skilled enough to win, or you’ll stumble to the finish line as a loser. Those are the only two possible outcomes.

Depending on the deal, the difference in winning and losing could mean securing your dream job or entering unemployment, getting a deal or getting ripped off $10 grand, and building a million dollar business or going bankrupt.

But like many things in life—how to write a winning resume, who to marry, how to make money, how to invest—no one teaches negotiation.

Our parents: only if we’re lucky. The school system: fails at this. The government: nope.

If government and corporations had it their way, we’d never learn to negotiate so we would have to take the short stick without complaining. That’s just wrong.

Since you’re reading this article, you’re on the right path though. Because the first step is to want to know how to negotiate better.

The second step is to learn how…

“He Who Cares Less, Wins”

Emotions can often be helpful.

For example, you should feel love toward the person you’re about to marry before you go through with it. Duh!

Or you should feel sad when your parents are getting old and sick. That sadness can help you appreciate them better and prioritize quality time going forward.

But in the negotiation arena, emotions will kill you before you know it. It’ll be like a sniper with his finger on the trigger and a red dot on your chest—it’s already too late for you.

Why do emotions kill negotiation ability? It’s mainly because feelings cloud judgement.

Your brain focuses on how it’s feeling instead of reason, logic, and answering does the math work for you to go forward. Insecurities also come into play, which can make you do the opposite of what you intended.

Clouded judgement leads to rash decisions and often buyer’s remorse.

It also costs you real dollars.

This study found anxious negotiators were more likely to take deals 12% less financially attractive than their counterparts. If it’s a 12% loss off a $500,000 mortgage, we’re talking about $60,000. That’s a big deal!

But consider someone’s approach who couldn’t care less about winning the deal: They’re relaxed. They speak clearly and listen carefully. And they’re focused on the specific details of what they’re getting and giving.

Not to mention they hold the leverage because they don’t need the deal. If it helps them they’ll take it, but by no means are they getting on their hands and knees to beg for it like a dog.

It’s not hard to figure out that someone who is relaxed and focused performs better than someone who is scatterbrained and under pressure.

This explains precisely why caring less helps you win.

Plus, when you care less, you can’t lose. You either win the deal on your terms or you leave it on the table as a draw.

Caring less is precisely how you ensure you never make a bad deal that takes the shirt off your back. Those deals are the unrecoverable ones that will leave you unable to sleep at night.

Let’s check out how caring less comes to play out in day-to-day scenarios.

Real Life Negotiations

Negotiation happens everywhere, all the time.

You probably just miss it or don’t label them as deal-making.

To open your eyes and get a grip on how this goes down, read these four examples about how negotiating the right way changes the entire landscape.

1. Grad school admissions: Whether a grad school accepts you and how much money they give you comes down to 100% negotiation.

The university is negotiating to get the best students in their class (and fill the seats to make money). You’re negotiating to get into the school and make the best choice for yourself.

If you’re a top candidate with acceptances to all the elite schools, the game is on to negotiate the best offer package. You’ll want to negotiate for a fat scholarship, maybe a stipend, and see if you can get anything else (like a teaching assistant job) to entice you to come.

If you have average grades and admissions test scores, you’re playing a game of negotiating to get into better schools with no scholarship or less reputable ones with scholarship money. Use the acceptances into the better schools as leverage to get more money.

2. Buying a car: This is the classic negotiation scenario used from personal finance bloggers to authors. (Maybe because just about everyone buys a car and has room to negotiate.)

If you’re like most people, you’ll arrive at the lot and make a beeline to the car you want. Then tell the salesman, “I’ve always wanted this car. It’s perfect. How much is it?”

Their signals are telling them you’re an easy sale and to negotiate little. You cost yourself potentially thousands of dollars.

But say you come back another day after reading this article and bring a more tactical approach. Instead of making a straight shot to one car, you tell the salesman, “I don’t have any particular car in mind. I’m not sure I really need a car to be honest. Just had some free time and wanted to look around.”

You ask about a few car prices then “randomly” stumble on the one you actually want to ask the price, without being too excited (care less).

This is how the playing field gets tilted. The salesman is now the desperate one trying to both find you the right car and sell it to you.

And when you negotiate, you have to make an offer and be prepared to walk away with nothing (that’s a draw not a loss). There are plenty of stories where someone walks and the dealer calls them back the next day to drop the price to get the deal done.

This scenario works when buying a house, motorcycle, boat, and all other related-purchases.

3. Job offer and salary package: I feel strongly about this one. You have to negotiate your salary if you like yourself!

There’s free money on the other side if you do this well. That’s why I dedicated an entire section of my money book to salary negotiation, and have written about this multiple times on TYS. (See here and here.)

Let’s break it down (assuming you’ve been offered the job): The company is negotiating to get you on their team at a fair (or cheap) price, and you’re negotiating to get the job at a higher price.

Communicating you have other employment options and while you’d love to work here you know you may have to decline the deal, can often make the employer want you more. Odds are they fork over the extra money and hope you pan off as a long-term investment.

But if you don’t know how to negotiate and say, “I accept this,” the second after they tell you the salary offer, there’s no extra money for you. The reason you have less money is all your fault.

4. Business projects: Business comes down to negotiation across the board. If you’re an employee, freelancer, or small business owner, you need to know how to persuade the other side to get the deal and price you want.

Bad business negotiation means being in a place of desperation where you take contracts even if it’s 10%, 25%, or 50% your normal rate. The desperation will come through in your communication and be the reason you get taken advantage of in broad daylight.

A smart employee should recognize your company’s price is your price, and not care if you lose the deal because the person on the other side only values cheap labor, and not high quality work.

A freelancer should know the value in their work, price it accordingly, and have a take it or leave it mentality with clients. There’s always more work to be won instead of compromising your skill for cheap labor.

A business owner should double their rates to bring in more revenue (assuming they have a solid product, sales, and marketing), while not caring if they lose their smaller clients. That’s the quickest way to bring in more money, and it sure beats getting nickel and dimed on project rates.

Final Words

Everything is negotiable.

Knowing that, it’s your job to care less by having more options on the other side in case you don’t get what you want.

How do you get more options? The single best way is to work hard and provide value so you become financially well off.

Poor people are often in desperate, emergency-like situations where they can’t afford to shop around for a smart transaction. Where the rich have more time and opportunities to ensure they win the negotiation.

With wealth also comes the freedom to need less and become beholden to no one. This self-reliance empowers you at the negotiation table to only make deals if the numbers make sense to you.

You’re in a position of power when you’re finances are taken care of regardless what happens in these daily negotiations.

As you keep living, keep your eye out for negotiations big and small. Seeing them go down will give you mental reps and prepare you for your day-to-day negotiations.

Caring less about what you want, ironically gives you a better chance of getting it.

Related: Everything Is Negotiable

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