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5 Signs You Need to Further Boost Your Curiosity

5 Signs You Need to Further Boost Your Curiosity
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Imagine one day having to wake up with powers of absolute knowledge and what you could do with it. You can probably become a very powerful investor due to the knowledge you posses, or get that dream job immediately after acing the first round of interviews. With absolute knowledge, you will be able to help those in need during times of crisis and be looked up upon.

We know that absolute knowledge is impossible; however, high levels of curiosity can still help us get to where we want to be in life. Take a step back today and ask yourself whether you’re where you want to be as planned a year ago. If the answer is no, then maybe it is a sign that you need to be more curious in your life. Here are five signs you need to further boost your curiosity.

1. You don’t have good memory and learning is ineffective

Always forgetting where you put your car keys or to do the things your boss asks you to do? Studies have shown that people with bad memory may be lacking in dopamine, a chemical in the brain that strengthens people’s memories.

A research study done on college students by a neuroscientist from the University of California might shed light on how natural curiosity can improve our memory.

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Using an fMRI scanner, each of the student’s brains were monitored while being asked a bunch of trivia questions. They started with interesting questions that the students were highly curious about, and then a list of questions that were boring. The students were then asked to do memory tests on remembering the answers. In all, the students remembered 35 answers out of 50 when they were curious and 27 out of 50 when they were not.

2. You don’t have good health

A 2005 report published in the Health Psychology journal did a two-year study of more than 1,000 patients and found out that people with higher levels of curiosity also had a lesser likelihood of having hypertension or diabetes. Though it is not definite that it implies causation, its relationship however, suggests that being curious can bring about positive effects on our health.

In 1996, there was also another study to observe more than 1,000 older adults over a five-year period. Those who survived at the end of the five years were found to be more curious than the others who didn’t outlive the period of study. Another surprising finding was that among those who still lived, there were people who were smokers, who had cardiovascular diseases and cancer.

So if you think you’re not in the best of health physically, try regenerating mentally first by keeping an open mind and developing a habit for questioning things. One example could be questioning the mechanisms of everyday items that we come in contact with and how they work.

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3. You have difficulty in developing intimate relationships

Difficulty in developing intimate relationships can also be a sign of poor levels of curiosity as researchers have pointed out that the highly curious experiences more interpersonal outcomes compared to the less curious.

Researchers at the University of Buffalo (UB) carried out an experiment with 90 students at UB, before which, they were first put through a test to measure their levels of curiosity. The students were then put in two conversations settings with their partners: one casual and the other intimate.

Looking at the results, the researchers concluded that individuals with higher curiosity levels are more approachable, and they exhibit more pleasure-seeking behaviors which increases shared feelings of intimacy between strangers. For example, researchers realized that people with high curiosity tend to approach the questions with wit and humor to liven up conversations.

4. You easily feel unhappy

If you’re getting frustrated problems that seem like small issues to others, then it’s probably due to the fact that you are lacking the two important components of achieving happiness in life. Polls conducted by the Gallup organization realized that the two components are “being able to count on others for help” and “learning something yesterday” — all of which leads to how high a person’s curiosity level is.

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Another finding by researchers in Harvard University will surprise you. Researchers stated that we actually find less joy in anticipated events which we think will make us happy in the future because rather than stumbling on it — which will give us more joy — a planned pursuit of joy is less pleasurable. They then went on to add that cultivating curiosity helps us remain open to new experiences, which helps to increase our likelihood for stumbling upon satisfying activities.

5. You desperately want to find the meaning of life

Curiosity is the gateway to many foundations of our lives; hobbies, interests, and passions are all results of our curiosities being piqued. However, lacking curiosity later in our lives will have us desperately looking for new meaning for what we live for.

It could also be said that curiosity itself is a purpose of life and as long as we live, we’re motivated to find the answers to the big questions in life. And as long as you can muster curiosity levels and keep an open mind, the more you will uncover mysteries and hence, life will naturally become more meaningful.

Easy Ways to Cultivate Curiosity

Keep questioning

Look around you and you’ll realize that there are many things which you do not have the answers to. For example, how does one make designs in leather? How does an air conditioning unit work? Do we really know how much sleep we require?

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Keep your mind open

As adults, we have been molded to assume everything based on life experiences. But try the approach of an open mind, and you will be amazed at the many mysteries you will uncover.

Diversify your life experience

Try new things everyday and it doesn’t matter how difficult it is. As adults, we always assume things like learning a new language is hard because of what we listen from other people who have tried it. Brilliant people have diversified backgrounds because of their high levels of curiosity, and you should too.

Featured photo credit: people window via pexels.com

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Lim Kairen

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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