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10 Things We Can Learn From Wes Anderson’s Movies

10 Things We Can Learn From Wes Anderson’s Movies

Wes Anderson is one of the greatest directors making movies right now and he has become renowned for his style and artistic interpretation throughout his career, but what are some of the greatest things we can learn from Wes Anderson and his movies?

1. It’s okay to take time to figure things out (Moonrise Kingdom)
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    Look, let’s face it, you’re probably a much more intelligent person than I am. In fact, I guarantee it. But even smart kids stick their finger in electrical sockets sometimes. It takes time to figure things out. It’s been proven by history. All mankind makes mistakes. It’s our job to try to protect you from making the dangerous ones, if we can.

    Sometimes we can’t plan how things are going to work out and we may feel completely lost without any sense of direction. Make some mistakes, learn from them and let it all figure itself out over time.

    2. Stick together with those who are closest to you (The Royal Tenenbaums)

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      All memory of the brilliance of the young Tenenbaums had been erased by two decades of betrayal, failure and disaster.

      Yes, the Tenebauns are a dysfunctional family and this tarnished their ‘legacy’. Everyone has their problems, but by sticking together with your family and friends things will get better. It’s important to respect those close to you and be there for them like you hope they’d be there for you too. The Royal Tenenbaums showed that whilst family can be the source of some problems, it can also be the solution.

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      3. Be proactive (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

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        Honey, I am seven fox years old. My father died at seven and a half. I don’t want to live in a hole anymore, and I’m going to do something about it.

        Life is short (even if you’re not a fox) so make the most out of it and be in charge of your own destiny. If there’s something you don’t like, be proactive and change it.

        4. Be true to yourself (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou)

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          Well, I was a little upset at first. I mean, obviously people are going to think I’m a showboat, and a little bit of a prick. But then I thought… that’s me. I said those things, I did those things. I can live with that.

          At the end of the day, people are going to think what they want to think. As long as you are able to stay true to yourself, and what you believe in then what everybody else thinks should soon enough become irrelevant to you.

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          5. Honesty is the best policy (Bottle Rocket)

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            One morning, over at Elizabeth’s beach house, she asked me if I’d rather go water-skiing or lay out. And I realized that not only did I not want to answer THAT question, but I never wanted to answer another water-sports question, or see any of these people again for the rest of my life.

            Truth hurts, but sometimes being honest with yourself and to those around you means you can move on with your life and life the life you want to live. Plus, you won’t have to answer another water-sports question again.

            6. Money can’t buy everything (Rushmore)

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              You guys have it real easy. I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country: Rushmore. Now, for some of you it doesn’t matter. You were born rich and you’re going to stay rich. But here’s my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can’t buy backbone. Don’t let them forget it. Thank you.

              Having money is not the be-all and end-all of everything. Whilst you might be able to buy expensive, luxurious things with money you can’t buy life experience and you definitely can’t buy ‘backbone’. Earn your right to be rich in life experience and ambition.

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              7. Never miss out an opportunity to show love (The Darjeeling Limited)

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                You’re the two most important people in the world to me. I’ve never said that before, but it’s true, and I want you both to know it. I love you, Peter.

                If you like someone, make it clear and tell them just how much they mean to you. You never know when the day might come that you won’t get the chance to tell them this again, and it’s always a nice feeling when someone realizes how much they’re appreciated.

                8. Show affection (Moonrise Kingdom)

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                  Wait. Just in case this is a suicide or they capture us and we never see each other again anymore, I just want to say: Thank you for marrying me. I’m glad I got to know you, Suzy.

                  Sam’s old-fashioned way of showing his affection for Suzy is a lesson we can all learn from. By complimenting and taking an interest in Suzy, we see that true love can conquer all.

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                  9. Being rude is a way of expressing fear (The Grand Budapest Hotel)

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                    Rudeness is merely an expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.

                    It’s fair to say that anyone with a rude or mean attitude is just openly expressing their fear or anger at not getting what they want. By showing respect and being respectful, you can not only set a good example but also make sure you don’t let it slip that you’re scared.

                    10. It’s alright to feel good about yourself (Fantastic Mr. Fox)

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                      I think I have this thing where everybody has to think I’m the greatest, the quote unquote ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’, and if they aren’t completely knocked out and dazzled and slightly intimidated by me, I don’t feel good about myself.

                      We all have our own goals we want to achieve and an idea of what perceptions we want people to have of us. It’s not a bad thing to want to exceed what people already think of you and to aim high. It’s also totally fine to be able to feel good and believe in yourself. Knowing you can do something, as opposed to doubting yourself, might be the difference between being able to get it done or not.

                      Featured photo credit: Lucius Kwok via flickr.com

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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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