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11 Life Lessons From Albert Einstein

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11 Life Lessons From Albert Einstein

Einstein may have been a genius and a great scientist, but he also knew one or two things about life. He understood the importance of imagination, the need to keep moving forward, and most importantly, to keep learning. The human brain isn’t designed to stay stagnant and its full capacity still isn’t known. Using your brain, your potential, and your life is your personal responsibility — to do otherwise is to cheat yourself!

1. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

In other words, be aware and don’t stick your head in the sand!

The world and economy is changing all the time. Whatever your profession, you need to look to the future and understand how changes may affect you. I qualified as a lawyer and the legal profession has changed more than I ever thought possible when I was at university.

Keep your finger on the pulse and maintain your networks of friends and colleagues. Don’t allow yourself to become stale or jaded as you will close yourself off to opportunities.

2. Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

Never stop developing yourself and your skills.

If you’re skilled in languages or playing an instrument, for example, keep practising and maintain those abilities. Those hobbies and skills could earn you money as a side business or give you other options if you lose your job.

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I developed my own sideline private tutoring business and have written books in order to maintain my own long-term versatility. I learned a long time ago that it was simply not enough to “just” be a lawyer.

3. “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

Have goals and dreams and never give up on what it is you want to achieve.

Write down those goals and take action on them! Seek all available avenues to achieve them and be as specific as you can. Don’t just say you want “a better life” or “more money.” Really drill down into what you want for your own future then visualize every single day in order to manifest those desires.

A mood board is great for this, even a virtual one on Pinterest. Having goals is like putting fuel in your tank, it means you’re progressing, developing, and moving forward. Factor in some small wins too, like a weekend break, lunch with a friend, or a long walk through the park.

4. “Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole strength and soul can be a true master. For this reason mastery demands all of a person.”

This sounds quite overwhelming, which very often means nothing gets done — which is the worst outcome of all!

When I do my tutoring, I often talk about working in “manageable chunks” and I apply that to my own business practices too. I set aside specific times to undertake certain tasks and make sure things are done well in advance.

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Making lists is great, there’s something very satisfying about writing it down on paper and striking something off as it’s completed. It reinforces the fact that you’re taking action and moving towards your end result.

5. “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

By using this quote, I mean we should stay current with technology trends but don’t let them take over your life!

So often we hide behind our phones, tablets, and laptops; the art of conversation is seemingly dying as we walk around swiping, texting, and surfing. Get the balance right and open up a world of opportunities.

Life is all about balance, so use technology to your advantage, not disadvantage.

6. “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”

But what time we do have should be used wisely!

We’re all guilty of saying we have “no time” and of course life does get in the way, but this shouldn’t be used as an excuse. If you’ve got a commute to work, listen to self improvement audiobooks or entrepreneurial podcasts instead of listening to the radio or just staring into space.

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Maintain a sleep routine and don’t get into the habit of sleeping your mornings away on the weekend. We all have the same 168 hours each week so we need to squeeze every last drop out of them.

7. “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new”

Taking risks is scary but so is living a life without trying.

Starting a new life or a new business will take you outside of your comfort zone. You have to put yourself out there and risk rejection. What is life without some element of risk? I’ve lost count of the number of rejection letters I got from literary agents after submitting my novel, but I didn’t let it stop me trying. Yes, it can’t always go your way, but sometimes it can and it will.

8. “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle”

In other words, you can choose how you view your environment and your life. Have an attitude of gratitude for the small things; there is always something to be appreciated. It can be the hot water in your bath at the end of a long day or a cup of tea someone else has made for you.

Happiness isn’t always found in the grand gestures. Use all of your senses: really taste the food you eat and really hear the birds singing in the morning. It’s amazing what happens when we just stop for a moment and are mindful.

9. “The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not what he is able to receive.”

Giving value to others should be our primary concern, not what we can get for ourselves.

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Money is important, that goes without saying, but too many of us worry about either the lack of it or the want of more of it. Money is only the byproduct of the value we give to others, so whatever it is you seek to do, ensure it is worthwhile for everyone. Much like the saying, “what goes around comes around,” the energy we put out there for other people comes back to us, so if we give value, we attract it right back to us.

10. “Imagination is everything; it is the preview to life’s coming attractions.”

Use your imagination to paint a mental picture of what you want your best life to be. Create a vision of your better self and better life and move towards that reality. Our world is the product of our thoughts: they create our environment. Use your thoughts to create what you want.

A vision board or Pinterest board is a fantastic way to help create that mental picture. Review it every day and let the power of your thoughts attract everything you wish to achieve.

Entrepreneurs do this all the time, so don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

11. “The only real valuable thing is intuition.”

Listening to your gut or trusting your sixth sense is something I believe in very strongly. Much like a mother’s instinct, there is an inexplicable reason why something feels wrong or a person you encounter doesn’t feel quite right.

Have an honest conversation with yourself. What do you feel passionate about and what gives you joy? Too many of us go through life doing what we are told is the “right thing” to do and suppressing what we really want.

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Listening to and trusting the messages your body gives you is like having an inbuilt compass giving you direction and focus. Ignore at your peril!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.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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