What does it mean to be “practical,” exactly?
It sounds like the sort of definition that would be suggested by an elderly aunt, along with a sneer of distaste toward those who don’t fall under that perceived umbrella.
After all, if someone is considered “impractical,” they’re usually dismissed as being irresponsible daydreamers who can’t be counted on.
That’s probably why practicality is often mentioned as a byword in the workplace, and valued in personal relationships.
But what are the exact traits that define an individual as highly practical?
And why are these aspects so valued in those we live and work with?
1. They are efficient and organized.
One trait of a highly practical person is being time efficient.
This means that one is able to organize and assess a task quickly. Then, by dint of talent and/or experience, execute it quickly and thoroughly while the rest of us mere mortals are still thinking about starting it, or simply having another cup of coffee!
When we can show others that we’re well organized and efficient, they don’t feel a need to micromanage us. They know that they can trust us and count on us to get things done, and can have faith that we’ll do a good job.
And would you rather have an employee – or a romantic partner for that matter – whom you can rely upon? Or one you have to prod and parent to get anything done properly?
2. They have good self-awareness.
To go through life without any real awareness or understanding about who we are, and why we do the things we do, can lead to strange circumstances and repeated mistakes.
How have our life experiences influenced us? Why do we act certain ways or react to certain phrases, for good or ill?
The most practical people amongst us often have a great deal of inner clarity. This usually stems from spending time with one’s own thoughts, assessing past projects and personal disposition in order to improve upon previous work.
In short, it’s crucial to look within and reassess how one can improve and up their game in whichever field it happens to be.
3. They have strong concentration and focus.
As mentioned above, strong self-awareness and inner clarity often accompany the most pragmatic amongst us.
They also tend to be fully engaged and immersed in whatever they put their minds to. This could be a large work project that they’re managing, or just diligence toward the day-to-day tasks at hand.
It’s interesting to note that some of the most practical people are also quiet and reserved. They are very project orientated and tend to be reticent and shy away or divert the topic when it comes to discussing gossip or other drama.
They have little use for small talk, take great pride in their work, and balk at anything they consider frivolous.
4. They take pride in personal accomplishment.
A practical person will often derive a great deal of satisfaction from their accomplishments: a series of tasks that they’ve managed to achieve, usually to a high standard.
They enjoy everything having its place and achieving things before – or at least by – a deadline.
There is a love of structure and order for its own sake, yet also because it allows them to accomplish much more in a shorter space of time.
Their focus is generally inward and it’s infuriating for them to be delayed by others who seem to lack this purpose and would rather be more lax.
If you’re aiming to be more practical, start by focusing on what you’re doing. Keep that focus, and learn to gently but firmly disengage from people and situations that don’t serve you.
By doing so, you’ll find that you get a lot more stuff done, more efficiently than ever before.
5. They are flexible and adaptable.
Being a practical person often means being very flexible and adaptable, both in the home and work environment.
Their objective is to complete a task, staying clear and organized. As a result, they plan ahead and are rarely caught out as circumstances inevitably shift and change.
They despair of clutter both mentally and materially and are guaranteed to fly into a cleaning frenzy if they find a new territory or workplace in utter shambles!
A fairly high level of consistency in their approach to life is usually found.
Some people who are more eccentric than others can bypass this with excessive talent in their perceived field. That said, internally they tend to be under more stress and strain than their more methodical peers.
6. They are consistent in their personal habits/schedule.
Practical people thrive with consistency, whether it’s gardening, improving at a physical discipline such as calisthenics or climbing, blacksmithing, or cooking.
If you’re fairly practical, no matter what skill you’re practicing, you’ll discover that quiet consistency and clarity on what you’re doing always contributes toward your development.
Observing the masters of a particular art or skill and learning from their mistakes allows you to improve your profession or hobby further.
Another advantage to the slow and steady approach is that it’s immensely emotionally rewarding over time.
Every step may be small, yet it’s solid, and will lead to success over a period of time. Whether you’re looking at artists or champion bodybuilders, you’ll find that the tortoise will always beat the hare.
However, even with a steady and thorough approach, one must also have a sensible idea to bring into manifestation, and the right materials.
Improving one’s consistency starts with humble list making, or keeping a progressive journal or chart to track your progress.
Essentially, remaining realistic and focused on your goals is a great sign of being practical.
7. They set realistic goals.
Speaking of goals, a practical person will choose goals that are actually achievable, not just pipe dreams.
Many people cling to the idea that anyone can achieve anything if they just put their minds to it, but having goals that align with one’s natural talents and abilities is a lot more practical than daydreams that will require an insane amount of effort for minimal return.
For example, a person who is under 160cm tall won’t necessarily be able to achieve a great career as a basketball player. They might dream of that, but it’s not a practical goal to aim for. If they want a career in athletics, they might excel in gymnastics instead.
8. They make wise investments.
A practical person is realistic and focused when it comes to their achievements. Similarly, they don’t spend money on things that don’t serve any purpose.
That doesn’t mean that they’re stingy, but rather that they know what’s worth investing in.
Why buy cheap pairs of shoes that will wear out after a few months, rather than investing in a well-made pair that will last for years?
Why throw away their health on convenient junk food when they can spend more on high-quality, organic food that will keep them strong and healthy all their lives?
They know that if they’re frugal in day-to-day life, they can save money to go on wonderful holidays a couple of times a year. They spend wisely so they can indulge in memorable experiences.
9. They have personal discipline and motivation.
Discipline is a rather complicated idea, and one that is often misrepresented.
Essentially, forcing or pushing yourself into doing something you don’t want to do is a largely unenjoyable form of self-abuse.
The most practical people don’t need to force themselves to stop procrastinating or distracting themselves from a goal or project.
They WANT to be doing what they’re doing, or have found a way to find pleasure in the mundane.
Keeping a clean, tidy space is not so much a chore, for example, but a reassuring exercise. By keeping things neat, they can find something quickly. It takes little effort to re-tidy it and they have more time to do fun enjoyable things.
Or, it can be seen as an exercise in mental self-control. It’s vital to embrace our childlike, youthful inclinations, yet not to be ruled by them.
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