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Be Tenacious! 8 Super Useful Mental Models You Need in Order to Thrive

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Be Tenacious! 8 Super Useful Mental Models You Need in Order to Thrive

Exuding a calm, deliberate confidence is the secret sauce to thriving in life, don’t you agree?

But in order to achieve that, we need to solve a problem. Your inner critic. The sower of doubt, fueled by faulty conditioning. Like an annoying pop-up, it keeps harassing you with messages that distract you. That nagging little voice. “I can’t do it because of [fill in irrelevant fact]”.

It convinces you to falter…to stop…

You avoid taking action to achieve your goals, your dreams or just to get stuff done in general. Your inner critic convinces you that your cozy comfort zone is way too comfy to leave.

Why is it so difficult to act without doubt and anxiety? Your brain is running some faulty mental models. Over our lifetimes, we all adopt limiting beliefs that are acquired through media, upbringing or unrepresentative experiences.These mental models keep us grounded instead of free and confident.

In order to thrive, we need to replace faulty scripts with the right ones. Because whatever you might tell yourself, you are not too old/nerdy/fat/dumb or whatever to improve your life. You are awesomely you and you can have a thriving life!

Here are eight examples of mental models you need to adopt in order to thrive in this life.

1. Accept the world as it is

First off, you must develop utter acceptance of the world you live in.

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There are a lot of uncomfortable facts in life that we try to hide from. Uncomfortable facts, harsh realities. The world may seem unfair, but it’s not. The world just is. There is no inherent goodness or badness about it. It is just a collection of things in being.

So stop putting your head in the sand–take a breath and see it for what it is. Confront yourself with reality. Don’t sugar coat it, but also don’t get pulled into exaggerated thoughts of doom.

As you accept how things are, you can take steps to effectively improve them.

2. Take responsibility for your life

You are the primary stakeholder in your life and, ultimately, the only one that will always care. You are also the one with the most direct influence on your life. That means you are responsible for where you end up.

You might have been dealt a bad hand, but there is no reshuffling the deck. You can only play the cards you have. It’s up to you to do well.

If you don’t like something in your life, change your attitude towards it or change the situation. Develop active coping strategies. Don’t blame other people, God or the universe. You have free will; you are in charge. Take the constructive view to look towards yourself for progress.

3. No self pity

Self pity is a devastating emotion. It’s so unproductive to feel sorry for yourself. No matter how justifiable, it is toxic.

Nothing is gained by engaging in this rotting state of mind. You are dirt poor? You are plain ugly? You are 30 and still living in your mom’s basement? Your life may truly suck, but you can’t live in self pity because then things will never change!

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Suck it up. Accept your situation and plan to improve on it. Feeling sorry for yourself only makes the situation worse. Lose the victim mentality. Learn you can change yourself and the situation.

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    No more pity parties for you!

    4. Redefine failure in a learning experience

    Failure has a big stigma in western culture. Once you fail, you are a loser. Too many people believe that somehow you should be able to win instantly. Well, that is not going to happen. So why not give yourself permission to suck and fail in life.

    Learn from your mistakes. You are not a loser because you have failed! The real losers are those that don’t even try, or who give up too quickly. The one who fails and gets back up is ultimately the winner.

    Try not to see a specific goal as the definition of your success. Instead, view making progress as success. It is not going to be a straight line to perfection, but making the effort to move forward, through failure and learning is truly success!

    5. Fear is your guide

    As you move through life you will sometimes halt, paralyzed by fear. Feel the fear and take action anyway. Unless you are about to win a Darwin award, you were probably on the right track.

    Fear shows you where you want to go, but you have to take a leap. Let fear indicate something you need to do. Push through. Let fear be your ominous guide to prosperity.

    fear as a guiding emotion
      Let fear lead the way

      6. Think about your death

      Good new everyone! We are all going to die.

      Okay, so maybe that isn’t such great news, but it’s true. Use this as a reminder that your time is finite. One day you will be gone. It might be tomorrow; it might be in 80 years. All of your small pettiness, fears and jealousies should pale in comparison to the large unknown nothingness that awaits you. So why not make the most of this wonderful life of yours?

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      Take the time to confront yourself with this impending doom, and rejoice that you are still alive!

      Time to enjoy life even more by taking risks and making progress toward even the simplest of goals.

      7. Don’t take life too serious

      What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of your life?

      If you go down that rabbit hole, you will end up with this answer: The meaning of life is to live.

      It’s not very grave, but it’s very significant.

      Culture and upbringing might argue otherwise, but the importance of arbitrary events, parameters and people is mostly exaggerated. There is no significant higher goal to attain, no higher purpose except the one you give yourself through living.

      So take it easy.

      There is not a checkpoint you have to pass to achieve a fulfilling life.

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      It’s just not that serious! It is to be enjoyed whenever possible. You choose how you want to live, so why not take it easy–despite what people try to tell you.

      too soon too serious
        There is always time for singing

        8. Live in the now

        Last but not least, to truly thrive, you must live in the now. Learn to let go of your mind. Stop chasing lost moments and anticipating potential futures.

        Your predictions are mostly off, and your memories are remixes of unalterable events. Instead, learn to truly experience what is right in front of you, no denying but embracing the now. Whether it’s through sports, nature, or meditation, embrace the present.

        Adapting these mental models won’t be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight. But if you remind yourself of them and make small steps towards your goals, you will see over time that your programming will be changed and it will have an amazing impact on your life.

        Good luck on thriving!

        Liked this? How about you adapt these 5 habits to becoming confident as well!

        Photo Credits: Joshua Earl – Jumping Person in Forest, Mr Crabs Violin, Scary Movie PianoLooking on the bright side

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        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earl via unsplash.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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