Advertising
Advertising

8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

Many of us dream of changing the world from a very young age. We want to make a difference. Here’s 8 ways that will help you to achieve your dreams.

As you get older, that need to make that change usually becomes greater. Maybe you want to be a musician, tour the world and use your influence to give back. Or perhaps your goal is to start a company that will transform the business world or a non-profit that will end poverty. You might just want to help make some kind of positive change, whatever that looks like.

Big ideas are never easy to make reality. Changing the world doesn’t happen by accident. But achieving your dream will give you the greatest satisfaction you’ve ever felt. So here’s some advice to get you started.

Advertising

It Will Be Harder Than You Ever Imagined, But Still Worth It

This is not meant to bring you down, but to prepare you. It’s going to be harder than you think, it will cost more than you think and will take more time than you think. Be ready for that and you’ll be less likely to fail when the going gets tough. Don’t give up when things don’t happen quickly. Try not to overestimate what is reasonably achievable in the short term, but look more to what can be achieved through a life time of hard work and motivation.

Be Willing to Admit You Don’t Know It All

An up and coming ‘world changer’ should be humble and hungry. Humble enough to know that they don’t have it all figured out, still needing to ask plenty of questions and likely more wrong than right. But be hungry enough to break some rules, be bold and throw out tradition in service of chasing creative impulses wherever they might lead.

Listen to the stories of those around you, who share common goals. Identify the brokenness of our world so that you can be transformed through the stories of restoration and healing. Respond to the injustices of our world by working with others.

Advertising

Jon Foreman, lead singer of Christian rock band Switchfoot said, “In the effort to improve the art or craft of your work, don’t become so focused that you lose sight of the bigger picture: the humanity, the humour, the beauty, the pain of those around you”

Remember The Small Things, They Matter

Start from exactly where you are. You can’t change the world in a day, but there are small things that you can change. And small things add up. You might start off just doing something you’ve always wanted to – like a skydive, but for charity. This could lead to you organizing charity events with many people involved. And then before you know it, you’ve founded your own charity, supporting a cause that you feel passionately about. Don’t discount what you can do locally, regionally or for just one person. One random act of kindness can change the world for that one person. Every day you change the world. Even a lack of involvement is a decision with lasting ramifications. No matter who you are, your actions and thoughts every moment of every day have powerful implications for not only your life but the lives of others.

Allow Yourself To Grow

If you are going to help others then it is necessary for you to care for your own soul. Don’t overestimate your importance and take adequate time off. You are no use to the world if you are overtired, over-stressed and overrun. Discover yourself. Spend time alone. Turn off your phone and computer. Get involved with the messy humanity that lurks within and around you.

Advertising

Don’t Take On Too Much

Debbie Sterling, founder and CEO of GoldieBlox said, “Something I would have done differently is that I would have asked for more help from the start. I also thought, in the beginning, that [GoldieBlox] had to make a range of products. I had this idea that as a start-up, we had to work around the clock all the time until we were just about ready to drop. It spread my team really thin and wasn’t realistic.”

Instead of focusing on changing the world, focus on inner renewal, day by day. Set realistic goals and keep progressing all the time.

Never Be Afraid to Speak Up

One of the biggest challenges you might face is convincing other people to believe in your ideas. Constantly remind yourself to make your voice heard. It starts by speaking up in meetings and ends with going way outside of your comfort zone and establishing relationships with people you normally wouldn’t. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You have to get out there, make your own luck. See your dreams become a reality. You’re destined to succeed, if you believe your mission is greater than the company and you work hard toward that end. Put yourself out there in a big way and you’ll never be disappointed. You will find people who believe in your cause, and these are the people you want to be surrounded by in the long run.

Advertising

Don’t Worry Too Much About the Opinions and Expectations of Others

Don’t spend too much time obsessing over what others think about you. It is a waste of your energy and your assumptions about other people’s opinions will usually be wrong or irrelevant. It’s best not to guess at others’ thoughts, opinions and motivations and simply operate in love with all you encounter. Figuring this out will save you a lot of time and a lot of stress.

Let the Problems Lead to Change

Start by looking at what’s wrong and then figure out how to make things right. In particular, what most offends your sense of justice or breaks your heart? Where do you feel the pain of the world most passionately and personally? Once you discover that, find the other people who feel the same passion and pain for the same causes as you and work with them to make a difference.

This is how every movement for justice begins, and changing the world for the better really is as simple as that.

Featured photo credit: Boqlang Llao via flickr.com

More by this author

8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work) A Letter To My Daughter As An Old Man

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 2 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake 3 7 Science-Backed Books About Spirituality That Will Change Your Life 4 20 Things Life Is Too Short to Worry About 5 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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]

Advertising

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

Read Next