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5 Ways Millennials Can Start Building Their Future Today

5 Ways Millennials Can Start Building Their Future Today

There has been a lot written about the way millennials are approaching the world of work in a very different manor to previous generations. We tend to place a strong emphasis on making sure that we work simply to enjoy life to the fullest, rather than only working to live, and you will often hear many people talking about wanting to live only in the now.

These are positive ideals that I very much subscribe to, but aside from being millennials, we’re also known as Generation-Rent thanks to the way our carefree attitude to life and finances in general mean that many of us will never get to own our own home. This is as much to do with our generation being priced out of the market as it is a question of choice, but this one example doesn’t bode all that well for our long-term futures.

I have zero interest in being the killjoy who tells everybody to get serious and get to work, but I do think there are a number of little things that we could be doing now in order to better prepare ourselves for a slightly more prosperous future.

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1. Get a Roommate

If you’ve already got one, cool, but for many people the moment you move into your own flat is a seminal one that proves you’re now a fully-fledged adult with your own established place in the world. This is awesome, well done, but is it really all that important for you to be living alone right now? I am very guilty of having gone down this same route. I have paid a high price for it, and looking back I realise that I would have saved a lot of money if only I had continued to live with friends.

Even if you aren’t ready to ditch your independence completely, there has never been a better time than now for you to rent out a spare room via Airbnb in order to save some extra cash. This is never more true than when you go on holiday and your home is just left sitting there completely empty. Not only are you blowing all your cash on a good time in Ibiza, but you’re paying the rent too. Rent it out and pass that cost onto somebody else. Doing so should at least cover your drinks’ bill.

2. Turn Your Blog Into a Business

Our generation is able to benefit from technology in ways never previously accessible to our parents and grandparents. The internet may waste almost as much of our time as it does provide us with amazing opportunities, but this is something we really have to turn to our advantage. This is especially true for those people who run their own blogs.

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You might think of your blog as not much more than a hobby where you post your writing, art, photography, or any of the other things that resonate with you personally, but this passion could be something that you could turn into a little cash. Advertisers may be interested in buying space on your page if you’re attracting a lot of daily traffic.

And if you’ve got unique content on there that could be turned into merchandise, there might just be a market willing to buy from you. This could get a little complicated and involve a bit of training and some ecommerce CRM software to make this transition a reality, but the long-term rewards will be well worth the hassle.

3.  Be Money Smart

One of the big problems for many people is not that they don’t have any money. It is more often the case that they just don’t manage it well. When you live hand to mouth it is hard to think about saving, but it’s even harder to do this if you just bury your head in the sand and don’t think about it all.

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Aside from trying to work out little ways in which you could budget and save money each month, you should also review all of your financial arrangements. Banking is a business just like any other. You might be perfectly happy with your bank and credit card, but are they really giving you the best market deal? Chances are you probably have no idea.

You might not be able to pay off your credit card over night, but in a few clicks you could very well move all your debt over to a card where for the next year or more you will have 0% interest on the balance you moved.

4. Learn a Second Language

Budgeting and money saving where you can are great ways to build up a little nest egg but so too is education. If you can promote yourself as being bilingual on your CV, there is a good chance that this will make your odds of getting a new job significantly better. Langue learning via a school or an academy can be quite time consuming and expensive, but there are a number of cheaper ways to go about this.

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In many big cities there are often “intercambio” opportunities where you can find people who want to meet up over coffee and spend half the time speaking in their language and the other half in yours. This is great for those people who already have a base knowledge and want to push on. And for absolute beginners there are lots of free resources online which you can use to get started.

5. Buy a Bike

For city dwellers and those that commute from the outskirts each day, travel costs can take up a high percentage of your monthly outgoings. By investing in a decent second-hand bike, or even a cheap brand new one, you’ll not only save money in the long run, but you’ll be improving your health and saving the environment as you do it.

Many major cities understand how beneficial having a bustling bike culture is with extensive bike lanes and low-cost bike share services being a fixture of places like Barcelona, Paris, New York and London. Even if your own city doesn’t have these kinds of luxuries, there’s no reason why you can’t saddle up anyway in order to start saving some money.

Featured photo credit: http://getrefe.tumblr.com/ via 67.media.tumblr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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