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5 Terrible Excuses For Why People Let Their Dreams Go

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5 Terrible Excuses For Why People Let Their Dreams Go

Everyone has dreams and aspirations, and yet most of us in life will never see them through. Perhaps it’s due to being afraid of failure, unprecedented circumstances, or even death. And the ones who do achieve their dreams? Most are often left unfulfilled, wandering aimlessly and confused — why?

Because dreams are meant to be dreams, they’re supposed to be unattainable. That’s why they’re dreams, right?

Wrong.

Here are 5 terrible excuses for letting your dreams go.

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1. You think you’re not good enough.

Yes, everyone has that little voice in their head screaming that they’re pathetic, a failure, and worthless. Sometimes, you believe you’ve created the best thing that’s ever been on earth, and the next day you are wondering how in the world you managed to create such a piece of dirt.

Well, there are many things that science has told us about that little voice. For one, it was originally used as a means of comfort and security. Yes, I know, that voice that calls you ugly and worthless was intended to be helpful, not harmful. And it’s not like you can tie it up, put some tape on its mouth, and throw it in the corner. But let’s face it, that voice is one of the best things we can have. It will tell us over and over when something isn’t good enough, and that’s us.

We know our limits, and so do our minds. So, the next time you hear that little old brain of yours telling you that your piece of art/literature/acting/athletics is terrible, think of it as a way of your brain saying this: I can do better, I know I can. I can succeed in my dreams.

2. You say you “don’t have enough time.”

I’m going to say this once: dreams are meant to be taken and worked on. And if you don’t have enough time for something you’re passionate about, then you truly never were that passionate about it.

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Successful people make time, and if you’re one of those people who are constantly on Facebook, Instagram, or Tumblr, grab a stopwatch and start counting the minutes. When you decide that you’re going to sit down and watch TV, start counting the minutes. A recent study from The Telegraph shows us that the average person spends an hour and forty minutes on social media each day — and you still say you have no time?

If you truly have no time, no time in the world to do what you love, drop what you don’t like and start doing what you love. Yes, you might make a little less money, you might not be able to go to the gym, you might not be able to do certain things you like, but you will be able to do the thing you love and pursue your dream. You have one life, so what do you have to lose to go after a dream? Nothing.

3. Your peers think otherwise.

Hey, Jenny, heard you want to be a writer. Good luck with that — you can’t write, and becoming a successful author is, like, super hard, so come party instead.”

Everyone has that one person who will stop at nothing to put down their dreams, their aspirations. These people believe that in life, you have to be a realist. Being an artist doesn’t pay bills, neither does being a writer. What pays bills is working a 9-to-5 job that you might hate, and for what? A nice car, a nice house, a nice job, some status? But what about that dream? What about that dream to be a writer, to publish work?

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You know, I can tell you something, something that’s a fact. If you worked a 9-to-5 job and died tomorrow, what would happen? Someone would come and take your place, people would mourn, and that would be it. Your life as a blip in the earth’s existence. Forgotten. However, if you go out there in that big world and attempt to make something of your dream, you will be more successful than any other millenial who worked all day in a job they despised. Whether it’s being a dancer, being an athlete, being a writer — you have the chance of never being forgotten. The chance of your name to be written on a great piece of work, in a record book, in an amazing play. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So go for it.

To quote Alan watts: What would you do, if money was no object?

Do it.

4. You say, “I’m not quite ready yet.”

It takes a lot of courage to chase a dream. That becomes more evident when you sacrifice family time, your lifestyle, your hobbies, your finances, and even risk losing everything. Now, I’m not saying go out and quit your job, burn your bridges, destroy your foundations. What I am saying is to rediscover that passion, that eternal flame that is within all of us to chase our dreams, because you only have one life.

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With every day that passes, you are the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again. Time will run from you, and I hear a lot of, “I’m not quite ready yet” or “I’m too young, I don’t have enough experience.” That is bologna. I will say this time and time again: you don’t wait for opportunity, you create your opportunity. You build your bridges, and I’ll be damned if there is a path that leads to success that is covered in debris, fallen down and broken — you’d better get ready to clear it. Because you are ready. You will make yourself ready.

5. You lie to yourself.

Being honest to yourself is one of the hardest things to do in life. People do not like disappointments, and when you are striving to be successful, you always hear the words, “I’m doing my best,” “I work my butt off,” and “I’m always busy.”

People like to proclaim self-greatness. But it’s always good to understand you aren’t the best — yet. I’ll give you an example. My dream is to become a writer, and when I was younger, I used to claim that I didn’t read books because I thought all the stories were pointless and I didn’t like the way other writers wrote. Well, I was lying to myself, and had convinced myself of this lie. The reality was that I believed I wrote the best and had the talent to be the greatest — I still do, but in a much humbler way. I stepped back and told myself that I am nothing but dirt right now. That in order for me to grow, I must learn from the best. I picked up many novels by Stephen King. I don’t like his novels greatly — some I love, most I like. But he is argueably the most popular and well-known writer there is. I stopped seeing myself as someone who can contribute to the world of literature, and starting seeing myself in my true form: as an apprentice, learning on his own through self-education.

So, stop with the excuses and go out there and change the world.

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Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.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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