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5 Ways To Boost Your Self-Growth

5 Ways To Boost Your Self-Growth

In today’s world, people seem to be too comfortable in their current environment — and there is no way growth can occur in that kind of environment.

Here are 5 simple ways that you can circumvent this problem and improve your self-growth instantly.

1. Your self-growth will improve when everyone around you is ahead of you.

If you are the smartest person in your group, then it’s time to find another group of people to hang out with. Remember, if you want to grow, you must not only be feeding people with the little knowledge you have, you also want to learn from people around you so that you don’t wear out. Even if you seem to be the least smart among your new group of friends, then that is an awesome challenge. If you give intimidation no room, you will be surprised at how rapidly your growth will take off.

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2. Your self-growth will improve when you are constantly being challenged.

A lot of us are comfortable with the situation or position that life is giving us, but I can tell you that if you are comfortable with the money in your bank account, then you will not feel the motivation to push for more. If a B+ grade is “fine” for you, then you are not willing to grow. Don’t get me wrong; be happy and grateful with what you have or have accomplished, but if you are always satisfied and not willing to take the extra steps required to do better, then you will always remain at that level.

3. Your self-growth will improve when you are out of your comfort zone.

Like we all say, “no pain, no gain.” Too many people are not willing to go an extra mile to achieve what they want in life. Too many people are not ready to feel the pain so that they can gain. We tend to stop at 70%, but the pain doesn’t really start until 90%. We are humans and we are all born naturally lazy.

When you stay up an extra hour or two, or even if you give up 3-4 hours of sleep to finish your assignment, then you are boosting your self-growth. If you are not willing to stay up while everyone else is sleeping, then you will be just like everyone else. You need to break out of that comfort zone so that you can stand out. You need to start doing things that need to get done, even if you don’t feel like doing them. Then, not only will you be different from your peers, but they will have a lot to learn from you.

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4. Your self-growth will improve when your focus is forward.

There is something I like to call “almost finished syndrome.” Most people start something but don’t have the self-discipline or courage to finish it. If you want to finish what you have started, your focus must always be forward. Even if people around you are withdrawing or giving up, you must know that you have a vision, and you must develop a passion that will keep you going until you reach the finish line. In the journey of success, there is a finish line, but we don’t see it until we get there because of all the obstacles and setbacks we have to overcome. We all need mentors or people around us that believe in our dreams and will always encourage us when we feel like giving up. If you don’t currently have a mentor, take some time to look to those you admire and find one.

5. Your self-growth will improve when failure becomes your best friend.

A wise man once said: “Failure is the price that we pay in order to achieve success.”

I strongly agree. We need to change our perspective on what failure is. We need start seeing it as a price that we can all afford to pay in order to achieve success. And like my Pastor (Yemi Ogunsanya) always says, “Perspective determines attitude, attitude determines altitude.”

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Your attitude towards failure will determine how far you will go on the journey to success. Former baseball star Sam Ewing once said that “nothing is as embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said could not be done.”

Just because something has never been done before doesn’t mean you cannot do it. Even if you fail trying, then you have discovered one way that it wouldn’t work. Try another way and be just like Thomas Edison, who tried about a thousand times before successfully making the first-ever electric light bulb.

A knock down is not a knock out. So, be the best you can be in life. Nothing on this planet is too hard to achieve, you just need to divide it into smaller parts and take things one step at a time.

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Featured photo credit: Savannah Freemantle via longevitylive.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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