Have you ever thought how much easier your life would be if only you did not have to deal with other people? Have you ever felt that people are an endless source of trouble? For example your aunt and mother have been involved in a family feud for 10 years. Two of your work colleagues consistently try to undermine each other, and your neighbours are taking each other to court over the fate of a tree. How do you navigate life without being undone by other people? How do you achieve what you want to achieve and successfully manage the many different types of paths who cross your path? How do you stay out of trouble?
I guess I’m asking this because I’ve just had two friends unload on me, and tell me about their work and romantic problems. They both seem to have got themselves into trouble. One has befriended a work colleague whose behaviour sounds almost psychotic and the other has become romantically entangled with a married woman in the office but now wants to end it. Ouch! They have both got themselves into trouble.
I was so keen to answer the question, ‘how to stay out of trouble’ that I searched for it on ‘Wikihow’ and found a lovely webpage that gives advice to teenagers on how to avoid trouble. I want to share some of those tips with you even if they are for teenagers, because they are terribly cute and of course they apply to adults.
How to stay out of trouble – advice for teenagers
- Join a sports team. It’s great for your physical and mental health, you make new friends and you can become a leader on the field, and it will also occupy your time. Remember idle hands make the devil’s work.
- Join a club – it can be an art, language or cooking club. The more clubs you join the more you will learn about your interests and abilities.
- Volunteer for a good cause in the community. You will be giving something back to society which is rewarding but you may also make new friends and learn new skills.
- Make meaningful contributions at school or work if you are an adult!
- Read widely. It will improve your comprehension, knowledge and help you to see the world in different ways.
- Create something artistic – a clay pot, painting, short story or song. Use your energy to create something beautiful and new.
- Follow your instincts. When that little voice inside your head says that actions will lead to trouble then listen to that little voice and back off!
- Spend time with your family and develop meaningful relationships with them, and also stop and give thanks for your family and the positive people in your life.
- Avoid the wrong people. That means people who are malicious and people who gossip. Make friends with people who are positive influences – people who give to the community, achieve at school (or work) and care for others.
- Develop positive relationships with your teachers (or work managers) and find a mentor. Wikihow tells teenagers that having a role model that you can look up to can help you succeed and make the right decisions.
- Avoid conflict. That means not getting involved in other people’s fights and never gossiping.
- Don’t reason with unreasonable people. I’m sorry to say that there are people out there who are straight out difficult and do not function like normal people. This includes psychopaths, narcissists and passive-aggressives (just to name a few). Wikihow tells teenagers, “Reasoning with people who don't want to hear it is guaranteed to get you nowhere, fast. It's a waste of both time and energy.”
- Don’t talk back, be disrespectful or give cheek. It will get you nowhere. Instead be polite to everyone and develop good manners.
- Finally take good care of your physical self. That means exercising, eating well and getting plenty of sleep.
I loved this sweet little ‘wikihow’ advice page for teenagers so much I might also share it with my two co-called ‘adult’ male friends.
Let’s compare the teenage advice to advice for adults
Next in my search for the answer to ‘how to stay out of trouble’ I went to the Psychology Today website. Dr Susan Biali, a qualified doctor, who also holds a Bachelor of Science, put together these tips.
- Listen to your instincts. Again if you have reservations or doubts about an endeavour (professional, romantic or financial) then listen to those doubts and reconsider your decision.
- Don’t try to reason with unreasonable people. Yes, folks there are people out there who just need to put in the too-hard basket. The problem is that they are hard to recognise at first.
- Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper. This basically means have a healthy diet, and as we age it’s best not to eat too much at night.
- Make spiritual time a priority. Dr Biali says, “There's tons of scientific literature out there supporting the benefits of spiritual beliefs and lifestyle practices on our immune system, mental health, physical health.”
- Track your spending and be financially accountable. Spending money unwisely definitely leads to trouble. She says mindless spending and being overly comfortable with credit and debt is disastrous.
- Get up early and find the extra time you long for. Often that means giving up TV, but let’s face it there’s not a lot of quality stuff on the box these days. Dr Biali says, “Even if you go to bed and get up just an hour earlier, you'll be amazed by the satisfaction you get from maximizing the gift of early morning time.”
- Make family a top priority. Dr Biali says research indicates that relationships are a prime source of happiness and health.
- Be alone without distractions. We are bombarded by stimuli now, especially from electronic devices. It is important to have times when you are still and can listen to your soul.
- If you want to be a success do the small stuff needed to get there. She writes, “It sucks that you might have to work steadily (and even unsuccessfully) for a long time without evidence that your dreams will ever materialize, but it seems to be the key to success in this life.”
- Dream big. Dr Biali’s final piece of advice was “Don't ever give up on life. Walk through it with hopeful anticipation and keep your eyes wide open.”
Okay, here is my summary on how to stay out of trouble: don’t get into ‘compromised’ relationships at work, romantically or with family members, instead aim to have a noble heart. Be idealistic, take care of yourself, dream big and cherish healthy relationships with positive people. Good luck!
ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.