I have to admit, I was never fond of learning — not in terms of school stuff but more on how things work. Or how people handle certain problems.

Simply because I had it easy growing up.

Mom would take care of my laundry.
Dad would take care of my phone bills.
Boyfriend would take care of the finances.

What else did I have to worry about?

But then I got into a horrible breakup and ended up moving back to my parent‘s house as a hopeless, 25-year old daughter who didn’t have enough work experience to pay off the bills & rent.

I realized I’d wasted most of my life doing nothing. So I began spending every minute of my day learning something new (specialized skills, social gestures, money-saving apps…) that could help me for the rest of my life.

Here’s what I use over and over again that I know will help you too.

1. Use a pause instead of ‘but’ when apologizing

It’s more meaningful to say,

“I’m sorry for being late (pause), my boss called me.”

than

“I’m sorry for being late, but my boss called me.”

When you use ‘but’ when apologizing, you give the impression that you’re making an excuse for your irresponsibility. And the more you try to “save” yourself, the bigger wreck you cause in your relationship. Eventually, the person you’re apologizing to no longer becomes the main priority. Your explanation does.

So get rid of the ‘buts’ and replace them with a pause. You’ll show others what you’re really thinking about and what you want to say, which makes you sound 100x more sincere.

2. Take photos of your bills, credit cards, driver license and passport incase you need them.

Sometimes it frustrates me when I’m buying stuff online or filling an arrival card in a new country, because I’d have to fumble through my bag.

Now, I keep a snapshot of all of my important information: Passport, credit cards, receipts, bills, even my old tax returns. It’s really convenient especially if your phone is always in your hands.

3. Negotiate for a higher salary

How much others perceive your worth begins with the price you set on yourself.

Often times, we stumble across this common question during our job interview:

How much do you want?
What are you looking for in terms of salary?

Some of us would reply with an honest answer. While others would give in to a lower rate.

Makes sense though, right? If you request a higher salary than what the company is willing to pay for that position, you lose the job. Period.

But my question is, why should you degrade your worth to a company that only cares about money, and not your experience, your talents, or your work ethics?

You know you’re worth more. So why not ask for a higher salary?

Chances are, you’ll come across a company who will truly see your potential and give you what you asked for.

4. Boost your confidence with power poses

A few years ago I watched Amy Cuddy’s Tedtalk about manipulating the body’s chemistry with power poses. Supposedly if you stretch out your arms or put your hands on top of your hips, you feel more confident.

It was a crazy theory back then. And while I wasn’t 100% sold by Amy’s research, I gave it a shot anyways.

The results were shocking.

After practicing power poses for a few weeks in front of my colleagues, friends and dates, I no longer stumbled with my words. I didn’t freeze up from nervous breakdowns. I didn’t shoot myself down if I made a stupid mistake.

I felt strong and more proud of who I was and what I could do. And the cool part is, power poses only take a few seconds before you instantly feel that boost of confidence.

Try it! You won’t regret it.