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10 Mistakes Smart People Never Make Twice

10 Mistakes Smart People Never Make Twice

Everyone will make mistakes during their lives, and this is not a bad thing. Mistakes can teach you lessons and help you to grow as a person, but if you don’t learn from your mistakes may continue to make them without realizing.

Check out 10 mistakes smart people never make twice.

1. Ignoring advice you asked for

Asking for advice from someone who is wise and knows you well can be very useful, as they can give you personalized, knowledgeable advice. Many people repeatedly ask friends and loved ones for advice on how to improve their lives, but they never follow the advice because they believe they know best.

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Smart people understand that in some situations, another perspective can be invaluable – especially if you asked for it.

2. Believing in someone that is too good to be true

Most people will meet someone who is too good to be true at least once in their lifes. These people are charming and charismatic, and they like to talk about how successful they have been and how they can help you. However, if it sounds like it is too good to be true they could be using you for their own personal gain.

Successful, smart people understand that it is rare you get something for nothing, and that you should think about the person before getting involved and trusting them.

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3. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result

Albert Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Intelligent people understand that is a method doesn’t work the next step is to find a new method that might. Repeatedly doing the same thing will frustrate and annoy you – but it won’t move you forward.

4. Expecting instant gratification

Smart people understand that hard work comes before the reward in most situations. Instead of becoming frustrated that they don’t get what they want immediately, they motivate themselves to keep going because they know they will eventually get the reward.

5. Not doing your work and blagging a good result

Most people take a few short cuts during life; for instance, many people have taken an exam without revising and still received a good result. Successful, smart people understand that this is luck and using this method will actually hold them back from achieving their full potential.

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6. Blaming problems on everything other than yourself

It can be difficult to accept responsibility when things go wrong, and many people have blamed it on something or someone else at least once. Smart people may make this mistake once but the experience teaches them that they hold the power, and accepting this means they have the ability to change their lives for the better.

7. Trying to change someone else

Many people with good intentions have tried to change someone. However, the only way someone will change is if they actually want to. You cannot make someone want to change, and smart people realize this and instead choose to work on changing themselves for the better, instead of others.

8. Forcibly asserting yourself as a leader

Lots of people would like to lead their company, family or group of friends – even if the others don’t want them to lead. Smart people understand that trying to make all of the decisions can be offensive to others, as it implies they always know better. Instead, they make suggestions that everyone can benefit from.

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9. Trying to impress everyone

Most people have tried to impress everyone at least once during school, college or work, but this normally turns out badly. Trying to be who others want you to be often means you come across as phony, but some people never seem to realize this. Smart people make the connection as soon as someone thinks they seem fake, and instead focus on making others like them be being genuine and honest.

10. Trying to be a people pleaser

Most people try to be a people pleaser with good intentions; they want to get along with their co-workers or friends and they like to make others happy. However, it is impossible to please everyone and some people will try to take advantage of this kindness. Smart people realize that doing this will leave them with no time left for themselves, and so they instead they focus on making themselves happy – and everyone else once they have done their own work.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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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