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5 Steps To Overcome Your Fear And Achieve Greatness

5 Steps To Overcome Your Fear And Achieve Greatness

What’s stopping you from achieving your dreams? Who has been dragging you away from the steps you need to take to achieve your goals?

You may argue that the answer is circumstances. You may point your finger to other people. You may even blame it on your luck. It is so much easier to put the responsibilities of your circumstances and situations elsewhere. But you should understand that, in order to achieve greatness, you need to take responsibility for your situation. By taking charge of what is going on in your life, you get to be in control.

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Stop getting in your own way

We have all heard motivational speeches, read self-help books, encountered endless amounts of motivational posts on the internet. Most of us understand the messages and wisdom we read and hear, but yet, we are still not at where we want to be in life. What is it that is actually missing?

The problem

News flash — your fear is what’s stopping you. You don’t see it, or refuse to see it subconsciously, because it makes you vulnerable. You are afraid of having to deal with the setbacks from your own failures. You think you are afraid of how others might react to your failure, but the truth is that you are afraid of how you will deal with your own failure.

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How can you overcome your fear?

  1. Acknowledge your fear — By acknowledging that you are human and that it is okay to be afraid, you are opening up yourself to accepting the unknown by taking chances. That is the first step in facing your fear.
  2. Identify your fear — By identifying your fear, you are one step closer to overcoming. With that noted, you can then start looking at the true source of your fear.
  3. Write down the consequences of giving in to your fear — What happens when you surrender to your fear? How does it feel? What will you lose? Is giving in to your fear worth giving up on your dreams?
  4. Write down what you will gain from overcoming your fear — How would it feel like to just go right ahead and pursue your goals and dreams? What will you gain from accomplishing your goals and achieving your dreams? What if mistakes and setbacks are the essential steps to get you to your destination?
  5. Use your past success experience as your reference  Remember a time that you succeeded. What did you do to achieve your goal? What approaches did you use? Who might have helped you along the way? How did it feel when you achieved your goal?

Take baby steps

Have you ever observed a baby who was learning to walk? Did the baby ever worry about falling when he or she attempted to walk?

Babies are not afraid to walk, even though they have never done it before. They will fall, but they get back up and try again. They simply continue doing so until they master walking. It just never crosses their minds that falling is something they should be afraid of. That is why you never see a baby who refuses to walk after a few falls.

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Today’s society and our environment has made us slaves to our own egos. We refuse to accept failure because we are afraid of being judged. We weren’t born this way. We can choose to focus our minds and bodies to experience diversity and grow into stronger, tougher individuals.

Take a baby step at a time. As long as you are not quitting, you are still proceeding. And as long as you are still proceeding, you will eventually get to where you want to go. Things won’t always go smoothly, but those challenges will take you to your ultimate destination. Don’t pull back and give in to your fear. Remember that the sky will be clear again after the heavy rain.

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Conquer your fear with courage

The only way to conquer your fear is by having the courage to continue pursuing. Stay in action endlessly until your fear subsides. Fear vanishes when you no longer worry about it, and the only way to not worry about it is to push through.

Reflect to yourself when fear is crippling

You can come out with a million reasons and excuses for why something didn’t work out in your life. There’s always a convenient excuse. But if you give in to your fear, what will you gain at the end of the day? Are you achieving what you wanted in your life? Or are you just going to be the victim of your circumstances because you refuse to take charge?

If you must choose to fear, know that the only thing you really should be afraid of is fear itself.

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Crystie Lim

Life Coach

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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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