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14 Things Phenomenally Successful People Do Differently

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14 Things Phenomenally Successful People Do Differently

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure”-Bill Cosby

What quality do you think differentiates the winners from the losers? Why are some people so successful in reaching their goals while others can’t achieve them? Because of their mindset, beliefs, and habits. Your brain is the first keystone to success. The second is your everyday actions, your daily habits. This list consists of 14 habits and beliefs that characterize phenomenally successful people—14 things that can transform your life as soon as you put them in your arsenal. If you want to become successful, you should get some paper and start taking notes.

1. They Know That Time Is Their Most Valuable Asset

They don’t let others make them invest time in activities they consider boring and counter-productive to their self-development. You shouldn’t do that either. When you think that something is a waste of your time, don’t do it. Your time is an asset that IS NOT INFINITE. Nobody on this planet has unlimited time, yet people tend to spend their time like garbage. The first thing you MUST DO if you want to change your life, become more successful, and achieve your goals is to change your perception of time. Realize that your time is not infinite and that you should spend it wisely, because it doesn’t come back.

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2. They Step Out Of Their Comfort Zone

The only path to personal growth is doing things that make you feel awkward. When all you do is walk inside your comfort zone, you can’t grow as a person. You stay static because your activities can’t change you. If what you do doesn’t challenge you, if it’s not uncomfortable and difficult, then you should raise your standards and increase the game difficulty. You can’t build muscle if all you do is lift feathers. You have to lift heavy rocks.

3. They Create & Pursue Specific Goals

Most people don’t have goals at all. They don’t know what they want to do in their lives. They are just walking around like zombies. Would you ever take your car and start driving endlessly without knowing where you are going? Well, of course not. So why are you doing the same with your life? This is not a game, you don’t have 8 lives, only one. Setting up goals and having a destination is essential if you crave success. But that’s only the first step. The second step is to take these goals and make them specific. A goal like “I want to lose weight” isn’t specific. A goal like “I want to lose 15 pounds in the next 3 months” is what you should have in your mind.

4. They Focus on Small Continuous Improvements

Most people try to achieve overnight success. They want results instantly! Those who succeed in life know that things take time. How much time will it need? It takes as long as it takes. There is no certain period of work that guarantees success. Instead of trying to get rich in one month, you should focus on making little daily improvements. These improvements add up as the time passes, and after months or years of daily commitment, the progress is HUGE. That’s what every successful person does. Unfortunately, people can’t see the daily effort, as they only see the final outcome. Don’t ignore the progress. It might take some time, but it will be worth it. Focus on getting better every single day instead of trying to achieve a huge leap forward in just a week or so.

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5. They Dress to Impress

When you dress like a winner, people tend to respect you more. In psychology, this is known as The Halo Effect. In particular, people tend to make a perception of your whole character based on a single quality that you have shown them. If you look great and you take care of your appearance, then people assume that you are someone who deserves their respect—someone who is also successful, reliable, and kind. When Aristotle Onassis went to America, before becoming a millionaire, he spent all his money to buy clothes that would highlight his style and class. If Onassis gave such importance to his physical appearance, I don’t see any reason that you shouldn’t do the same.

6. They Maintain a Positive Mindset

Your thoughts are the brush that paints your destiny. Successful people think positive and don’t look at their disadvantages. They fight with what they have and always seek improvement. But this improvement can’t come if your mind is continuously occupied by negative thoughts and stress. Positive thinking has been found to reduce stress and, according to Mayo Clinic, it also offers benefits like:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

7. They Embrace Failures

Phenomenally successful people carry the belief that failures are the stepping stones to success. Each failure yields rewards bigger than a win because it can offer you an invaluable life lesson. Start seeing your failures as an opportunity to become better instead of letting them bring you down and disappoint you.

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8. They Surround Themselves With Winners

Jim Rohn has said that “you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” People with who you associate play a significant role in your life because they form your lifestyle and beliefs. If you are around people who are full of negativity, you won’t be able to maintain positive thoughts. On the other hand, if you are around people who write down their goals, focus on daily improvement, and dress to impress, you will be pushed to become the best version of yourself. Surround yourself only with like-minded people who have big dreams and are eager to take the necessary steps to achieve them. They will take you to the top with them.

9. They Don’t Seek The Perfect Moment, They Make a Random Moment Perfect

What are you waiting for? The right moment will never come. The circumstances will never be ideal, and if you wait for tomorrow to get started, it will never come. Tomorrow is just an excuse for inertia. There is no perfect moment. What matters is to get started as soon as possible and make the best out of what you have.

10. They Don’t Brag, They Listen

Successful people are ALWAYS eager to learn new things. They ask questions and they listen carefully to other people’s advice. They usually don’t talk too much because they are focused on listening and processing information. On the other hand, losers always speak about how much they know and how amazing their accomplishments are. They are so blinded by their need for acceptance that the only thing they care about is to brag about what they know. And in most cases, they just talk the talk. They don’t walk the walk.

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11. They Know That Education is a Constant Process.

Do you believe that you should stop learning when you finish school or college? If the answer is yes, then it’s crucial to change that belief before it’s too late. Education shouldn’t stop at school or college; you should learn new things every single day. It isn’t a coincidence that the most successful people are those who have read countless books and have spent a lifetime acquiring new skills.

12. They Help Other People

Success isn’t about caring for your selfish needs. It’s about caring for the needs of others. EVERY successful person accomplished his goals because what he did really helped others in some way. Mark Zuckerberg gave the world a tool that made it easy to connect with their friends. Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave world a system (Google) that made it easy to find unlimited information in milliseconds. Famous singers and actors help people by fulfilling their emotional needs. If you want to succeed in life, you shouldn’t focus on yourself, you should focus on how you can improve other people’s lives!

13. They Have The Courage to Say NO

This is actually a quality that really separates the winners from the losers.When you are not afraid to say no, you have already avoided the need to please everyone. Trying to please everybody is impossible and can only lead to disappointment. When you don’t want to do something, just say no without apologizing for your decision.

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14. Successful People Take Ownership Of Their Actions

Most people make the mistake of pointing fingers to others for their faults. They never accept responsibility for their actions and always believe that someone else is responsible for their misery. Targeting others for your frustrations won’t help you achieve your goals, it can only hurt other people’s feelings or even create enemies. In fact, your actions or your inertia is what actually determines the quality of your life. Blaming others is just an excuse to avoid the hard work needed to change your life. Stop blaming others and take care of your future, because it depends only upon YOUR ACTIONS.

Featured photo credit: TechCrunch via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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