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20 Inspirational Documentaries On Netflix To Guide Your Life

20 Inspirational Documentaries On Netflix To Guide Your Life

Ah Netflix… the one thing that’s always been there for me. We turn to it in good times and bad and though the act of binge watching has somehow been elevated to the idea of an athletic endeavor we can still use Netflix to better ourselves. Here are 20 inspirational documentaries that are well worth your time.

1. Particle Fever

If you have ever questioned the intelligence of mankind this documentary will show you how brilliant we really are as the researches from CERN look to uncover the building blocks of our universe. It will leave you awestruck at the advancements in technology and science that go behind understanding our universe.

2. Fed Up

As a personal trainer and nutritionist I find it important to share documentaries like this one. Fed Up shares the information regarding the damaging effects of sugar and how important it is to reduce or eliminate it for the overall betterment of your health. It will inspire you to look closer into what goes into the foods you eat and make positive changes to your health.

3. The Queen Of Versailles

This documentary is about one of the richest families in America that were attempting to build one of the largest houses on earth as a display of their enormous wealth. When the financial crisis hit it impacted them too and everything had to be put on hold. What seems to be a story about greed and wealth surprised me as the the sensitivity and desire to help less fortunate people by the so called “Queen of Versailles”

4. Four Days In October

I can’t remember a more inspirational recent sports story than the 2004 Boston Red Sox and their incredible World Series run. There are so many inspiring and motivational sports stories out there but this one is so gripping as they look to erase the curse of the Great Bambino.

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5. Jiro Dreams Of Sushi

Part documentary for foodies but also the look into the incredible passion that goes into your true calling. Jiro Ono is an 85 year old master sushi chef that even after all this time still sees himself as a work in progress. Perfection in his mind can never be achieved despite his restaurant being regarded as one of the finest on earth. Seeing the dedication and passion the man devotes to his craft is more than inspiring for your own pursuits and passions.

6. K2: Siren of The Himalayas

The story of a climbing team in 2009 trying to scale one of the largest mountains on earth. The guts, focus and determination that it takes to attack a challenge like this demands respect in those who watch it. Mountain climbers are a rare breed that never cease to inspire that nothing is impossible.

7. 30 for 30: You Don’t Know Bo

Bo Jackson is one of the greatest athletes of not only our time but possibly ever. The ability to play both professional baseball and football is remarkable let alone being a standout in both. Though brought up from humble beginnings and always faced with difficulties and adversity Bo Jackson went on to be an inspiration to millions with sporting ability that many thought was not possible.

8. Food Inc

To me this is more essential viewing if you want to take control of your health and wellness. Food Inc sheds light into the damaging effects of the food industry not only to our health but the environment as well. Sometimes inspiration has to come in the form of outrage to enable change and encourage people to take a stand against corporations who cause such damage.

9. Hungry For Change

I want to keep the nutrition/health theme going as this might be the most inspirational health documentary on Netflix. Hungry For Change shows the damage that comes from following a modern and processed diet and the amazing changes that come when you introduce in real, whole foods.

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10. Happy People: A Year In The Taiga

A documentary from noted director Werner Herzog, the Taiga are a people who live in a remote, cold and merciless part of the world. The mindset and amazing vision they have to life will truly inspire you.

11. Planet Earth

The classic series that opens your eyes to the beauty of our world. Nature has its own way it inspires us whether it’s motivation to keep our world pristine or it may just encourage you to venture out and see as much of it as you can

12. Spinning Plates

Once again when it comes to passion high level chefs really take the cake (ignore that bad pun) and their dedication to their art is second to none. Spinning Plates follows three unique restaurants and the directions they have taken. This is not so much about food but a heart warming and motivational story that you just need to see for yourself.

13. Man On Wire

There’s a good chance you’ve already seen this or are at least familiar with the story of Philippe Petit’s high wire walk between the top of the World Trade Center. This is the story of someone with a goal that he will not let anyone get in the way of.

14. Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey

This is one of my favorites. It’s the story of a young singer found in rundown night clubs in Manila who was given the chance to be the front man for Journey on their world tour. Not so much a rags to riches story as it is a tale of seeing someone’s dreams come true right before their eyes. It really gives you the feeling that everyone’s gifts will soon be discovered.

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15. B.B King: The Life Of Riley

One of the most inspirational musicians of all time the story of B.B King is about more than just the music but once again about how you can’t ignore your passions.

16. Happy

This documentary takes a look at what really makes people happy. From people who live in slums to the swamps of Louisiana you will learn how what we think is actual happiness is actually pretty incorrect.

17. Hawking

Stephen Hawking is one of the most brilliant minds of our time there is not many people more inspirational than him. From suffering from a horrific condition it never prevented him from following his calling in life. It is determination and perseverance at its finest.

18. Storm Surfers

Storm Surfers once again shows you the amazing physical potential that all humans have in them. This follows a few surfers with the goal of riding the largest waves on earth. Their motivation in their surfing pursuits will inspire you in tackling your own challenges whether they be of a physical nature or personal goals.

19. Maidentrip

Any type of solo endeavor should be respected and admired no matter how small. Sailing around the world might be the most intense and dangerous of any solo pursuits. How about doing it as a 14 year old girl? Watch the amazing story of Laura Dekker as she goes on her two year voyage.

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20. 30 for 30: Into The Wind

If you’re Canadian you are already very familiar with Terry Fox. In case you’re not aware Terry Fox was a man who had suffered from cancer causing him to lose one of his legs. To raise awareness he would attempt to run; right across Canada on one leg. After watching the story of Terry Fox it gives us no excuse to follow through on anything be it big or small.

So there you have it–20 Netflix documentaries that will motivate and inspire you in all the various aspects of your life. You may find inspiration in many thing but these documentaries all provide some unique perspectives that you can learn from and apply to you own life. If you have your own favorite please feel free to share in the comments!

Featured photo credit: Leo Hidalgo via flickr.com

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Jamie Logie

Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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