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8 Reasons Why Adventurous People Are To Be World-Class Leaders

8 Reasons Why Adventurous People Are To Be World-Class Leaders

The spirit of adventure has been inside every great leader in history. Great achievers like Queen Elizabeth and Steve Jobs; along with movers and shakers like Lady Gaga and Walt Disney, all share a common thread: they weren’t afraid to try something new.

To succeed in life and lead others you must acquire, possess, and maintain an adventurous attitude. Even if you’re afraid to eat at new restaurants and try new foods, or you’d rather die than embarrass yourself in public; you can still learn to be adventurous!

You don’t have to do something that scares you every day (as Eleanor Roosevelt suggested), but you have to get over your fears eventually. Stepping outside of your comfort zone on most days is a good place to start. Consider the following traits of adventurous people to learn why they make phenomenal leaders.

They Have a Vision

Walt Disney believed in his dreams, in spite of a world that told him he was crazy. He knew that it was his optimism and persistence in pursuing the things he had dreamed about that was behind his great success. As he said, “The more a vision can be expressed in a vivid, imaginative way, the more it will motivate people to action in the present.”

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They Do Not Conform

Lady Gaga did not try to imitate or emulate anyone. She wasn’t afraid to go against the norms. She credits these facts with leading to her success. She set standards for herself and ignored naysayers. By trusting her instincts and refusing to conform, the bullied girl that felt out of place as a youth became one of the best-selling musicians of all time, breaking records that no one but herself thought she would break.

Gaga holds 13 Guinness World Records, 6 Grammy Awards, and a Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Contemporary Icon Award (the first ever recipient). She was also listed by TIME as one of the most influential people of the decade in 2013.

They Aren’t Afraid of a Challenge

Peter Dinklage plays Tyrion on HBO’s wildly popular Game of Thrones. He was never afraid to face a new challenge. Born with achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism), Dinklage faced many challenges on his way to becoming an award-winning actor. He credits his sense of humor and natural optimism with readying him for the many obstacles that would come between him and becoming a star.

Dinklage was not afraid to do things others said he couldn’t do – such as becoming a leading actor at only 4-feet, five-inches tall. He knew that without risk there could be no success. He embraced the challenge and succeeded.

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They Are Independent Thinkers

Charles Darwin, the father of evolutionary theory, was expelled from school at 16 for laziness and lack of original thought. Despite his teacher’s disdain for him, Darwin trusted his own judgement and his ability to figure things out independent of other people’s beliefs.

His independent thinking led him to revolutionary insights into the process of Natural Selection and the nature of life on the planet. His Origin of the Species was published in 1859 amid great controversy, but has consequently changed how we all see the world.

They Radiate Persuasiveness

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, was able to convince the world that they could not possibly live without a personal computer. He was able to sweet talk people into following his vision of the future. To become a leader like Jobs, you must be able to win trust and influence the actions of others through sheer force of will.

They Have a Natural Sense of Wanderlust

Padma Lakshmi was always curious about the world around her. She was anxious to see it. Despite a devastating car accident that left her horribly scarred, Padma had a desire to travel the world as a model.

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Many powerful agents told her that she had little chance of succeeding in the modeling world without major reconstructive surgery. Without any major operations – but with a heart that longed to explore – she not only became a model, but she also became an actor, author and successful television host.

The lesson here? Don’t be like the absurd amount of Americans who don’t take their paid vacation every year. Soak in everything you can from your experiences as you roam away from home.

They Are Courageous and Determined

Tina Fey had the courage to step outside of her comfort zone and become a performer. She is now one of the most successful writers and actors in television and films. Fey is best known for her roles on Saturday Night Live, Thirty Rock and as writer of the feature film Mean Girls.

Her original desire to write comedy was soon abandoned as she realized that she must step in front of the camera to live the life she dreamed. She was bold enough to quell her anxieties, get over her stage fright and achieve the success she craved.

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They Have No Regrets

Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii when she was just thirteen years old. She refused to dwell on her misfortune and had absolutely no regrets about what befell her.She returned to surfing within a month of losing her arm and won a National Surfing title just over a year later.

Adventure comes to those who look for it and embrace it. You can adopt an adventurous spirit even if you’re not among the lucky few who were born with the trait. You can train yourself to be adventurous by opening your mind to new possibilities.

I leave you with the following two reminders. 1: Step outside your comfort zone at every turn. 2: Take every possible opportunity for adventure that presents itself.

Featured photo credit: Pete R. via photos.bucketlistly.com

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Anum Yoon

Writer & Journalist

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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