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4 Big Reasons Why People Feel Lost In Life

4 Big Reasons Why People Feel Lost In Life
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Why is it that some people seem to have their life in order; seem to know who they are; seem sure of where they are going, while so many others feel lost and alone in this world? Maybe you are one of those people who feels lost. Maybe you question whether there is any meaning or purpose in life, or just aren’t exactly sure what you are doing with your life.

It’s easy to think others have it all figured because of their glossy outer appearance, until you walk a mile in their shoes. Just about everyone feels lost at some point in their lives. It’s inevitable. It does not matter how wealthy or poor you are, life can seem pretty humdrum and pointless sometimes. That’s because nobody is born with an instruction manual for life. We’re all trying to make sense of life as we go along.

And just because everyone feels lost sometimes, doesn’t necessarily make it a pleasant experience. The sad thing, though, is that there’s no quick and easy way to figure out your life and fix the feeling of being lost. However, as with many things in life, a little extra understanding and compassion can help you navigate through these negative feelings as if unfazed.

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Here are some BIG reasons why people feel lost in life (and what you can do about it).

1. They have a distorted sense of self

People who feel lost in life don’t like themselves very much. They tend to have a distorted sense of self that hinders them from appreciating their own beauty, intelligence and worth. They often don’t accept one simple truth—that who they are is enough. All they seem to see is how inferior, unworthy or insignificant they are, and how nothing they do is good enough.

When you see yourself as inferior and feel less than worthy, you’ll be depressed, sad and unhappy. You’ll feel lost. That’s why you need to see yourself in your true perspective. You are special – a valued member of the human family. Just because you are different or unique in some way, doesn’t make you any less valued. Your capacity for love, happiness and success is equal to any other person’s.

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Spend more time with yourself to figure out who you really are inside, and what makes you happy. Then pursue those things that make you truly excited. You owe it to yourself to be happy. Believe in yourself and your own potential because if you don’t believe in yourself no one else will.

Any feeling of insignificance, disconnection, loneliness are simply illusions because you are nothing but significant, connected, loved and could not be alone if you tried. Be happy for who you are. All your strengths, quirks and imperfections, that’s what makes you special and lovable.

2. They try to measure up to other people’s expectations

People who feel lost in life live their lives based on what other people think to be true for them. They live their lives in accordance to what other people say is right for them. And so they craft their lives following the ideals, thoughts and beliefs handed down to them by their parents, teachers, friends and even the ever opportunistic media. When they find themselves trying to measure up to the fantasies and other hyped standards like beauty, power, and masculinity and, of course, fall far short, it’s depressing. They feel lost and wonder: “If that’s what ‘success’ looks like, then what am I?”

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It’s silly trying to live up to other people’s standards. You will never get there. You will strive and strive and still fall short. Why put yourself under such unnecessary pressure to conform? You don’t have to conform to get on in this life. You can live true to yourself and be truly happy and contented in life. You are your own person. Live up to your own expectations. Only you know yourself better, which means only you can set realistic expectations of yourself.

Stop comparing yourself to others—just stop. Only look to others for inspiration and not for self-fulfilment – and shut off anyone who tries to impose their own values on you. You are an adult. Decide for yourself what matters to you and stop being afraid of not living up to other people’s expectations. Let go of the myths of perfection. Be free to live your life as you want to live it. It is your life after all, isn’t it?

3. They hold on to ingrained fears and biases from old programming

People who feel lost and disconnected in life hold on (often unconsciously) to ingrained fears and negative biases based on old programming. They think, and this holds them back: “The world is doomed”, “It’s not safe”, “Nothing works for me”, “I always fail”, “My future or my family’s isn’t guaranteed.” Of course, it isn’t guaranteed! Nobody’s future is guaranteed. And we all fail. Nobody gets it right 100 percent of the times. If you have never failed, it means you have never tried.

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These and many other self defeating things people tell themselves are based on fear, not reality. You need to shift your perspective and attitude. Realize failure is only a discovery of one way that does not work. It’s an opportunity to try again more intelligently. So don’t be afraid to fail. It doesn’t matter what happened when you were growing up or how many times you “failed” in the past, get up and try again. The past doesn’t have to hinder your future.

Thomas A. Edison tried and “failed” over 10,000 times before he got his breakthrough and invented the light bulb. Start doing your best and let bygones be bygones. Live in the present, learn from the past and chart the way forward for the life you desire – the life you deserve. It’s not going to be easy to create the life you want, but it’s going to be worth it in the end.

4. They live within their comfort zones

People who feel lost in life live within their comfort zones. For example, millions of people in this world who suffer sickening boredom at work may be doing it to themselves. They are bored, frustrated and feel trapped in their jobs because that’s what their choices have caused them to be. They’re stuck in ruts they’ve dug for themselves, while trying to avoid taking risks and making mistakes.

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Like the tiny, soft bodied creatures that build coral reefs, some habits start off small and flexible, and end up becoming massive barriers of rock all around your life. Inside the reefs, the water feels warm, quiet and friendly. Outside you think it’s going to be rough and violent. There may be sharks. But if you’re to grow and develop in any direction from where you are today, you have to go outside that reef of habits that mark the boundaries of your comfort zone. There’s no other way.

Get out there and do things your friends wouldn’t guess you would do. Push yourself to learn new, demanding skills and experience new palaces. Living outside your comfort zone is exciting and great fun. It brings back the taste, zest and satisfaction for life. As Sadhguru said, “The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking [or even protecting] it.”

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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