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8 Ways To Change The World (That Really Work)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Featured photo credit: Boqlang Llao via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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

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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