Posted in Health, Latest News

Trapped in Serbia, migrants seek refuge in derelict warehouse

More than 1,000 migrants, trapped in Serbia after fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and Central Asia, have occupied a derelict warehouse in the capital Belgrade, where they are preparing to tough out a bitter Balkan winter.

More than 100,000 migrants have passed through Serbia this year, from countries such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, to seek sanctuary in the wealthy countries of northern Europe. But border closures have left many stranded.

“We want to go to Italy, Germany, France, but the border is closed at Hungary and Croatia,” said Najib, who said he was from Afghanistan.

Around him, men warmed their hands on camp fires, as smoke drifted up into the high rafters, and others perched on car tyres as they washed at a makeshift sink in a vain attempt to keep away the filth of the tumbledown building.

Last year, hundreds of thousands of refugees swept through the Balkans, prompting countries to throw up near-impenetrable barriers to block them. More than 6,400 refugees are trapped in Serbia, 1,200 of them in this warehouse, aid workers say.

Some who had made it further north said they were beaten by police at the Hungarian border and sent back to Belgrade. Many had Serbian documents telling them they had no grounds to remain – but few have the means to return home.

“Here, look at this place, it’s very dirty. I become sick,” said Imrar Khan, 17, who left Pakistan three months ago. Dozens of migrants bed down in rows between piles of garbage in the warehouse, near the city’s central station.

Authorities blame people traffickers for much of the influx. Since the beginning of the year, they have prevented 5,000 illegal border crossings and charged 356 people with the smuggling of around 2,000 people.

Posted in Latest News, Report

Iraqis are world’s most generous to strangers – global survey

More than half of people in 140 countries surveyed had helped strangers – with the most generous in countries hit by disaster and war

Although torn by civil war, Iraq is the world’s most generous country towards strangers in need, according to a new global index of charitable giving.

Eighty one percent of Iraqis reported helping someone they didn’t know in the previous month, in a global poll commissioned by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF).

For the first time since CAF began the poll in 2010, more than half of people in 140 countries surveyed said they had helped strangers – with many of the most generous found in countries hit hard by disaster and war.

Despite suffering instability and violence, Iraq has twice been ranked top in terms of helping strangers. Libya, with its own internal conflict, was second on the list this year and Somalia, embroiled in civil war for 25 years, fourth.

Image result for Iraqis are world's most generous to strangers - global survey

“I think that the lesson here is societies are incredibly resilient and that large scale disasters tend to activate a collective humanitarian response,” said Adam Pickering, international policy manager at CAF, which promotes charitable giving.

In terms of donations to charity, Myanmar held the top position, with nine out of ten surveyed saying had they given during the previous month.

The Southeast Asian country also retained its position for the third year at the top of the World Giving Index – a combined measure of respondents reporting help to strangers, donations of money and time spent volunteering.

The report said the generous giving reflected the practice of “Sangha Dana”, where the country’s Theravada Buddhist majority donate to support those living a monastic lifestyle.

The United States ranked second on the combined measure of generosity.

The World Giving Index is based on data form a global poll by market research firm Gallup of 140 countries.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Posted in Business, Entrepreneurship, Latest News

Economic Recession: How businesses can create value in difficult times

We are experiencing tough economic times in Nigeria, and many sectors of business have been brutally affected by the recession, which has naturally resulted in rising costs of goods, and consumers spending less. Now is the time when consumers want to get real value for their money and spend it on what they regard as necessary and lasting. At the end of the short stick are the small business owners who have to adjust to rising inflation, a high cost of running a business and consumers’ regressing spending habits.

The journey of an entrepreneur is an unpredictable one – satisfying and sometimes joyless. In these times, the big issues that create obstacles and impede growth such as inadequate power, security and high cost of doing business have escalated. The recession has somewhat created competition for the little resources.

However, small business owners have an opportunity to keep their businesses going. This may not result in the profits that they have gained prior to these times, but it would gain them the one thing that they need to stay afloat – consistent business. How best to accomplish consistent business than providing what consumers want – value.

What is value? In this case, it is focusing and improving on the little things that they can control; the things that they can influence, the things that do not require government intervention; improving people and their internal operations to keep them operative. It is not a guarantee for success; however, it can make a big difference.

It must be stated that the one aspect the small business owner requires no government intervention is satisfying the customer. Without customers, there is no business. Therefore, the customer is the means to create and offer value to keep businesses afloat. The benefit is the opportunity to establish lifetime value customers, who will serve as a lifeline, and whose patronage can ensure growth and stability. These are just one part of the strategy to make head way in a bad economy.

Whether or not small business owners can afford to hire staff, the following are points for reflection on how to create value that can affect customers and business sustainability.

Five-Star customer service: We associate a five-star rating as an endorsement of the level of quality service rendered by a business. The hospitality businesses, the movie businesses, among others, are one for the few sectors, known to require such rating. The financial services rating resemble grading scores +A, B etc. The point is offering value requires offering five-star customer services. If customers are going to be selective because they have a choice where they purchase goods and service, the question is: are small businesses poised to be the one that the customers stick with? Customer service is an experiential process; it’s about relationships. Small business owners should invest more in their relationships as part of offering value. Naturally, people make repeated purchases owing to familiarity, comfort and convenience. A customer would rather do business with someone they feel they can relate with, than an entity where they can just purchase things. Therefore, small business owners should double down on building quality relationships.

Invest in training: Technical know-how and knowledge always need an upgrade. When an economy takes a turn for the worse, it is usual that small businesses cut back, and this may result in the loss of jobs. Regardless, a bad economy also presents opportunities. This is a time to be innovative: to seek ways to improve operations, to run leaner, and to invest in upgrading skills or acquiring new ones, or creating a new service. As the economy improves, those who have invested in these could come out on top.

This is a situation whereby the cup is either viewed as half-full or half-empty. There is a good story about how to see “opportunity”. It’s about two men from two different shoe companies who visited a town in the hinterland to find opportunities to set up a factory. When they got there, they both saw people walking around barefoot. One sales man reported back that it was arid land because the people wore no shoes; the second sales man reported that because people wore no shoes, it was a great opportunity to establish a factory to make and sell shoes. Investing in training and knowledge can make us the second shoe salesman.

Get rid of bottlenecks: Technology has enabled small businesses to work faster and more efficiently. This is a chance to offer convenience and comfort. When a small business creates layers and layers of processes for customers to get products or answers, they raise barriers between them and the customers, which is the opposite of offering value.

Creatively solving problems: When customers encounter problems with products or services, they expect to get solutions from the business that they patronise. The take-back policy, or warranty after purchase, is not applied by many Nigerian businesses because the cost of a replacement may affect their bottom line. However, there must be alternative creative solutions to help customers, otherwise, they may likely move on to another business they perceive can solve their problems, even if at a higher premium, and give them value.

This is not an exhaustive list. But the point is, by offering high value to customers, constraints can spring opportunity. Small businesses can create opportunities to manage downtime and improve on it. Value is about the small details, not an elaborate showcase of goods and services. It’s about making investments in the business and the people, with an end goal in mind – attracting lifetime value customers in a downtime and beyond.

Posted in Business, energy, Latest News

Dangote acquires gas processing company in Netherlands

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has completed the acquisition of Twister B.V., a gas processing company headquartered in the Netherlands.
Twister B.V. used to be owned by Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1, before its recent acquisition by DIL along with its partner – First E&P.

A statement yesterday from DIL said the acquired company would help design and build the gas plants which would be critical in processing gas from oil fields for transportation via Dangote’s planned sub-sea pipeline (EWOGGS) for ultimate consumption by various industries and power plants.
Aliko Dangote, President & CEO of Dangote Industries Limited said, “This was an important acquisition for us. Twister’s cutting edge gas processing technology is fundamental to delivering our strategy to unlock about 3bcfd of gas in order to meet Nigeria’s gas needs.”

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Twister’s CEO, John Young said, “We are delighted in the confidence DIL and First E&P have shown in Twister to be their core provider of gas separation solutions. After a very thorough due diligence, our technology has been recognised as a key enabler to reduce gas project costs which is crucial in this current environment. We are excited to be part of the Dangote family of companies.”

It would be recalled that the refinery and fertilizer projects of Dangote Industries Limited are reported to have the capacity of creating a minimum of 235,000 new jobs – both direct and indirect jobs – as it becomes operational in the first quarter of 2019.
Aliko Dangote, who revealed this recently, also stated that the projects would cost a minimum of $17 billion.

Dangote said the $12 billion refinery would have a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day.
He assured that there would be the market for the refined products because even in Africa, only three countries had effective functioning refinery with others importing from abroad.
He said: “Our refinery will be ready in the first quarter of 2019. Mechanical completion will be end of 2018 but we will start producing in 2019.”

When the projects fully take off in 2019, Dangote said it would help the country save $5 billion spent on the importation of oil into the country.

Posted in Business, Environment, Latest News

The Galaxy Note 7 is dead

…As Samsung ends production after issuing worldwide recall

Samsung has announced it’s ending production of the Galaxy Note 7 around the world, pulling the plug on the phone after a months-long controversy over its defective, dangerous batteries. “Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7,” said Samsung in a statement. The announcement follows yesterday’s news that the company is recalling all Note 7 devices, including the supposedly safe replacement phones.

Samsung issued the worldwide recall yesterday after at at least five replacement Note 7 handsets caught fire over the past week. “Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7,” said the company yesterday. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission commended the decision, with chairman Elliot Kaye saying: “It is the right move for Samsung to suspend the sale and exchange of all Galaxy Note 7s.”


Consumers using any Note 7 (including replacement units) are urged to power them down immediately and return them to wherever they were originally purchased. Carriers have issued statements letting customers know that replacement Note 7s can be exchanged for another handset from Samsung or other manufacturers.

The Note 7 was originally released in August to highly positive reviews, but before the month was out, the first reports of the phone’s battery catching fire began to emerge. Samsung issued a recall of the original device on September 2nd and that same month began shipping out replacement Note 7s to carriers. However, these too have proved to be a fire risk, leading to the company’s expected — but still momentous — decision to cease production altogether.

Although Samsung and the rest of the mobile industry will be dissecting what exactly went wrong here for years to come, early reports suggest that the fault might have been caused by the Korean company’s desire to beat this year’s ‘dull’ iPhone. Samsung is certainly not out of the mobile business despite this disaster, but recovery will be slow. The company’s shares tumbled eight percent today, its biggest one-day decline in nearly a decade, with analysts estimating the recall could end up costing as much as $17 billion.

Samsung has recalled 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones just a couple of weeks after they went on sale due to safety concerns with the battery. There have been 35 reported cases of phones either exploding or catching fire, and Samsung is recalling all of the units it has produced so far.

The company says it has identified a problem with the battery cell and will be rectifying it in the coming weeks. That means that if you’ve already bought a Note 7, you should probably return it or exchange it when Samsung has released an updated model that’s considered safe.

Posted in Business, Latest News

FG To Promote Production, Consumption Of Local Goods

Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, has disclosed that the Federal Government is working with the private sector and relevant stakeholders to encourage production and consumption of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services even as the vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo described Dangote Group as a game changer to the Nigerian economy.

Speaking at the opening of 22nd edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit (NES) yesterday in Abuja with the theme: “Made-in-Nigeria,’’ Udoma said with more patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services, producers would be encouraged to improve quality and create jobs for the teeming youth.


He said, “There is no doubt that one of the fastest routes to grow our economy and create jobs is by encouraging our people to produce more and export more.This strategy will also generate foreign exchange that can help in stabilising and strengthening the Naira.’’

According to him, the government would start taking steps to encourage its officials to buy Made-in-Nigeria products. He said the government would also continue to improve the enabling environment for businesses to thrive in the country. “We will continue, among other things, to prioritise our spending towards critical infrastructure in order to improve Nigerian competitiveness. Government agencies will work with the private sector to support research with a view to develop high quality indigenous products and technologies.

“Many of our programmes have been structured in such a way as to stimulate domestic production. For instance, our School Feeding Programme will utilise only locally grown and produced food items. But much more needs to be done by both the public sector and the private sector to encourage and support local production,’’ he said.

Udoma, however, urged the stakeholders to come up with practical roadmap that would contextualise “Made in Nigeria” as an economic growth and development strategy for our short, medium and long term development.

Also, Mr Kyari Bukar, Chairman of Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) said the summit has overtime become a platform to discuss and understand economic policies in the country in the past 22 years.

Bukar commended the government for implementing some of the recommendations of NES 21 which included diversification of the economy.

He urged the government to implement more of those recommendations to help the country move out of the current economic recession.

The Chairman said that the theme of the summit would be used to embody the imperative to commit to the structural and fiscal change required to strengthen the economy.

“Past summits have made recommendations on self-sufficiency in local production and an export-driven economy.

“With our current economic realities, this is the perfect opportunity to articulate a national discussion on Made-in-Nigeria to become an economic growth and development agenda.

“It will also seek to work out strategies to achieve self-sufficiency and value-addition capacities for several products and services in the shortest possible time,’’ he said.

Also speaking at the Summit, Vice President Osinbajo said Dangote Group is an example of a game changer private sector that has been supporting the economy in many areas, saying “Once the Dangote refinery comes on stream, it will help with the forex issue and create jobs for our people.”

Osinbajo, who was referring to the ongoing construction of the Dangote Refinery with the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels a day, said the government is proud that a Nigerian company has undertaken to construct such a gigantic refinery which is the largest in the world.

He said the Muhammadu Buhari led government has a very clear policy and objective, urging Nigerians to have confidence in the government change mantra.

Declaring the summit open, President Muhammadu Buhari said the private sector is key to his administration, adding that the theme for the 22nd summit, ‘Made in Nigeria’, is apt in view of the need to look inwardly and support local manufacturers.

An associate professor from the Lagos Business School, Doyin Salami said the made in Nigeria concept was apt adding that it must cover production, global competitiveness, inclusiveness and value addition to global economy.

On his part, the minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi said his ministry is bringing in big ticket player into the mining sector, just as he said that the sector has great potentials as Nigeria diversifies its economy.

The Dangote Group is one of the major sponsors of the three-day Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja.

The NESG was incorporated in 1996 as non-profit, private sector organisation with a mandate to promote and champion the reform of Nigerian economy into an open, private sector-led globally competitive economy. The summit is organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

Posted in Latest News, Report

How to Be More Assertive – Research

“Assertiveness is about controlling your behavior, not someone else’s”

You don’t want to fight. You don’t want to be hassled. You don’t want to disappoint them. It’s easier to just nod and give them what they want.But later you feel frustrated, trapped and depressed because you’re not getting what you need and you spend all your time serving others. Ever felt this way? We all have.

For some of us, it’s compartmentalised: you’re a warrior at work but a worrier at home. Or it’s the reverse: you rule the house with an iron fist… but just can’t bring yourself to ask your boss for a raise. What’s going on?
There are 4 styles of dealing with people and they all hinge on the idea of control:

Passive people feel they have no control over others. And because they give in to avoid conflict, they also feel they have no control over themselves.
Aggressive people are the opposite. They know they have control over themselves and they also believe they should be able to control others. They typically do this through intimidation. In the short term, it often works. In the long term, people do their best to avoid aggressives.

Passive-aggressive people have control over themselves. They want to control others… but they don’t want to pay the price of being direct. They don’t want to be seen as aggressive and they don’t want to be indebted to others after asking for things. So they play games. They think there are no downsides to deniable aggression. They’re wrong. Eventually, they’re seen as inconsiderate or manipulative.
And then there’s the Holy Grail: assertiveness.

Research shows being assertive is that perfect Goldilocks balance of “just right.” It helps you get the things you need while preserving relationships over the long term. But there’s one problem…

Nobody ever tells you what the hell “assertive” really means. How do you do it? How do you get what you need without being a jerk or a manipulator?

Don’t worry. Research has answers.

Let’s get to it…

“Assertiveness is about controlling your behaviour, not someone else’s.”

That’s Randy J. Peterson’s definition. He’s a professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of British Columbia. The key thing to keep in mind is: “You are in charge of your behaviour; others are in charge of their behaviour.”

I know: sounds obvious. But when we get caught in passive thinking, this simple fact is what we’re forgetting.

Image result for Assertiveness

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

When we behave assertively, we are able to acknowledge our own thoughts and wishes honestly, without the expectation that others will automatically give in to us. We express respect for the feelings and opinions of others without necessarily adopting their opinions or doing what they expect or demand. This does not mean that we become inconsiderate to the wishes of others. We listen to their wishes and expectations, then we decide whether or not to go along with them. We might choose to do so even if we would prefer to do something else. But it is our choice. Whenever we go along with others it is our decision to do so anyway. But we can often feel helpless because we forget that we are under our own control.
The key word there is “choice.” When you’re being passive, you forget that you have a choice. But you always do. When you comply, you’re making a decision.

Passive people think, “I have to do what they want.” No, actually. No, you don’t. Other people say no all the time. The problem is often that passive people assume the consequences of saying no will be catastrophic.

The issue isn’t the request and it usually isn’t the potential consequences of declining — it’s the unreasonable assumption in your head that saying no is the equivalent of hitting the self-destruct button on a relationship.

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

Many of the barriers that prevent us from being more assertive are in our own heads. We willingly obey imaginary rules that dictate what we are and are not allowed to do. It feels tremendously liberating to realise that the arbitrary standards we set for ourselves are not carved in stone. They do not appear in the criminal code.
Yes, standing up for yourself can have consequences. But if you respect other people’s autonomy, the results are rarely as bad as you think they’ll be.

Aggressives and passive-aggressives try to control others and that’s why in the long term they often pay dearly. But just because you can’t control people doesn’t mean you’re helpless. You can still talk with others, make requests, and negotiate.

Now I know what passive people are thinking: You make it sound so easy. I’m just not an assertive person.

But assertiveness is not a trait like height. It’s a set of skills. Skills you can develop. And you don’t have to run around being pushy all the time.

Assertiveness is like a weedwhacker. You take it out of the garage when you need it; you don’t have to walk around with it running all day long.

(To learn the morning ritual that will keep you happy all day, click here.)

So how do you build these skills? Let’s look at the three big problems passive people dread and what the research says is the best way to handle them…

Read more: How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert

How To Say No

You’re wishing they didn’t ask you to do that. Why did they have to ask? You wouldn’t have asked them to do this. But they’re asking. And you can’t make them un-ask. Crap.

Remember: you can’t control other people’s behaviour. So when you start down the path of wishing they didn’t ask, you’re violating the cardinal rule of assertiveness: all you can control is your behaviour.

From The Assertiveness Workbook

…they will ask. Of course, they will. Who wouldn’t? Imagine having a genie who will carry out any request you make. It would be wonderful. If you can’t say no, you are such a genie for the rest of the world. Once the rest of the world discovers it, they will be unable to resist.
You always have a choice. When you hold the belief that you must say yes, that’s why you feel like a slave. So what do you do?

First, stay calm. Don’t just react. Don’t say “okay” out of habit. You want to strike while the iron is cool. Delay if you need to: “Let me get back to you about that.”

Next, examine your beliefs. What do you believe will be the result of saying no? “If I don’t agree, they’ll round up the townsfolk and surround my house wielding pitchforks and torches. I’ll be put in the stocks and my children will be forced to wear a scarlet ‘N’ as the child of the monster who said no.”

Is your belief reasonable? Is that the most likely result? Has it ever happened before? What would your very assertive friend Larry think is reasonable? “If you say no, the person will probably nod, shrug, walk away and not hate you forever.”

Decide based on reasonable beliefs. Are you willing to accept the likely consequences? If you are, then go ahead and say no. If you’re not, make the choice to say yes. But you’re not a slave. You made the decision.

But there’s one problem you might face the first few times you try this…

If you’ve been passive for a long time, people are going to be surprised. And if you’re dealing with an aggressive, they’ll think they can control you.

If you mumble a no and they keep asking, you might cave. And now all you’ve done is teach them to push harder.

So, early on in your attempts to be assertive, try the “broken record technique.” Say no. And just keep repeating yourself every time they push.

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

You don’t have to find the magic words that will satisfy the other person. Using a response once doesn’t wear it out. If you keep repeating the same message, eventually they’ll hear it. “No, I’m not willing to do that.” “No, I’m not willing to do that.” “No, I’m not willing to do that.” Worried that this will sound odd? Doesn’t matter. It won’t sound as odd as you think. At any rate, the fear of sounding odd is a trap that can keep you in the control of others.
(To learn how to increase your self-esteem, click here.)

Okay, you know how to say no. But how do you ask others for something without feeling awful?

Read more: New Neuroscience Reveals 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happy

How To Ask For What You Want

Other people aren’t psychic. The reason you’re frustrated is because you believe they should be. It’s just another form of trying to control people, and that’s why it makes you angry.

You want something? You’re going to have to ask. Aggressives have no problem with it. And so, for a just a second, channel your inner aggressive.

If you were a bullying jerk, what would you demand? “Take out the trash right now!”

Got the answer? Good, you know what you want. Okay, put The Hulk back in his cage. Now think about Larry, your very assertive friend…

What would he say is the reasonable version of your demand? “Can you take out the trash, please? I’d appreciate it.”

Don’t apologise or put yourself down when you ask. You ran a check in your head; this is a reasonable ask. You don’t need to feel like you’re burdening anyone.

Make sure to word it as a request — not a demand. You’re respecting the person’s autonomy.

Review, rehearse and consider the timing of the ask. You want to be relaxed and you want them to be receptive.

And guess what? They still might say no. And that’s okay. You can’t control their behaviour, only yours.

And you didn’t fail, you merely asked. They’re not going to hate you forever — you were reasonable. And you can negotiate further if you’re feeling up to it.

(To learn the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator’s tips on how to negotiate, click here.)

Alright, let’s take it to the next level. Someone has been driving you crazy. You can’t take it anymore. You need to confront them.

You can’t be passive anymore… but you don’t want to explode like an aggressive or start twisting your moustache like a manipulating passive-aggressive. How do you have a tough conversation?

How To Confront An Issue

The key concept to remember here is “Symbolic Value.” What’s that mean?

They didn’t take the trash out. Again. But honestly, taking out the trash is not a big deal, is it? Nobody gets the chair for forgetting to move garbage.

But you don’t understand! When they don’t take the trash out I feel disrespected. If they loved me they would take the trash out on time without me having to remind them!

Ah-ha! Now we’re on to something. Taking out the trash has “symbolic value.” It means respect and love. Or, more specifically, taking out the trash has symbolic value to you.

Did you ever tell them what taking out the trash means to you? I’m guessing no. So to them, taking out the trash may mean, well… “taking out the trash.” They’re not aware of the symbolic value you’ve attached to it.

But you’re assuming they are aware, and that their defiance is intentional, and therefore they are evil incarnate and they must be destroyed. (This chain of thinking can be, uh, problematic to say the least.)

You’ve got three options here:

Realise the problem is with your symbolic value and revises it.
Have a direct conversation about the symbolic value issue.
Focus on changing their behaviour.
If your partner regularly does 900 other things to demonstrate their love and respect, then #1 might be the smart choice.

If your partner regularly does 900 other things that make it clear you are neither loved or respected, #2 might be in order. (But tread lightly — making accusations and demanding immediate, massive personality change is a tall order.)

Nine times out of ten, the best thing to do is to focus on changing behaviour. But respect their autonomy.

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

We often have a secret goal. We secretly want others to admit that they are villains, that they intended to hurt us or frustrate us, and that we ourselves are completely innocent of wrongdoing… Here the task is to recognise that we have this perfectly normal thirst for victory — and then to let it go. Face facts. You probably won’t get this admission of total guilt… In general, it’s best to focus on behaviour rather than convincing people they are wrong.
Define your goal: “I would like them to take out the trash.” Then relax, rehearse, and don’t try to get them to admit they are evil. But most of all: listen. Why?

If you do, it’s quite likely you’ll get the answer to your “symbolic value” question:

I’m sorry. I had no idea how important this was to you. I’ll take care of it right now.

And you may just find out there’s some silly, stupid, insignificant thing you’ve been ignoring — that has enormous symbolic value to them.

(To learn an FBI behaviour expert’s tips on how to get people to like you, click here.)

Okay, you’re on your way from passive to assertive. Let’s round it all up and find out how being assertive doesn’t just get you what you need, it might actually improve the relationships that mean the most to you…

Read more: New Harvard Research Reveals A Fun Way To Be More Successful

Sum Up

Here’s how to be more assertive:

Assertiveness is about controlling your own behaviour, not theirs. You always have a choice. And the consequences for resisting control by others are rarely as bad as you think.
You can’t stop people from asking, but you can say no. Figure out the reasonable consequences of doing so. And then decide. Use the “broken record technique” with aggressives.

People aren’t psychic. If you want something, ask. Figure out what you want. Make it reasonable and fair. Word it as a request. If they say no, that doesn’t mean they hate you.
Symbolic Value is often what makes confrontation hard. It’s usually best to try to get people to change their behaviour, not their personality.

It takes some time and practice to become more assertive. People will push back initially. They’re used to the old you. That’s okay. Again, you can’t change their behaviour, only yours.

But once you start being more comfortable speaking up, it doesn’t just mean more conflict. It can actually mean wonderful things, too.

Professor Randy Peterson points out something interesting: passive people don’t just avoid conflict. They often avoid saying a lot of good stuff too.

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

You might think that a person who overuses the passive style would have no great difficulty giving positive feedback. They might be giving it constantly, using a “Here’s a compliment, don’t attack me” strategy. In fact, the reverse seems to be true. Most passive individuals not only avoid conflict, they also avoid the expression of positive feeling. They seldom give compliments, express affection, or provide positive feedback.
As you become more assertive, you’ll be a more encouraging, supportive, friend, partner, employee or co-worker. And that’s something that makes life better for everyone.

Those around you will come to appreciate the most assertive you.

From The Assertiveness Workbook:

Through assertiveness we develop contact with ourselves and with others. We become real human beings with real ideas, real differences… and real flaws. And we admit all these things. We don’t try to become someone else’s mirror. We don’t try to suppress someone else’s uniqueness. We don’t try to pretend that we’re perfect. We become ourselves.
In my next weekly email, I’ll be sending out a PDF of the tool Professor Peterson recommends to help people become more assertive. To make sure you get it, sign up here.

By being more assertive, you finally let those around you see who you really are.

And that’s the only way they can love the real you.