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If Being Truly Happy is Your Goal, You Should Forgo These 12 Things in Life

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If Being Truly Happy is Your Goal, You Should Forgo These 12 Things in Life

To be truly happy is what most of us are trying to achieve, but along the way, things get in the way. What we need to do and where we need to go often get compromised by restrictive ideas that consume our way of thinking. Comparing ourselves too much to what everyone else has done clouds our personal standards and expectations. At some point, everyone needs to consider what it is that makes them happy, completely independent of what has already been dictated to them. Here are seven things you should forgo to reinvigorate your perception of happiness.

1. Jealousy and Envy

It’s easy to watch your friends, colleagues, and even your siblings achieve success and wonder why you haven’t achieved any success on your own. When others do reach new achievements, a pitfall that is often stumbled into is envy. You want the glory that they have. You want the jobs or the fiscal freedom that comes with whatever they’ve got. This consuming emotion doesn’t lead to success. If anything, it will bring regression. You’ll start to reconsider if what you’re doing is enough: Why them and not me?

There is an answer to that question: It’s just not your time yet. But it will come. And it is important to remain focused on your own goals as opposed to the goals of others. Live your life, not the life of your peers.

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2. Working Too Hard

A common phrase that gets swung around is that “you have to work hard to get the things you want”. While hard work is a definite must, there still needs to be a balance in how much hard work you’re putting in. Your mind and body can only put out so much energy in a day. Over-exhaustion can lead to stress-induced injuries and malnourishment. Make an effort to work efficiently. For instance, single-tasking can help you stay keen on your goals. Mitigating your work hours with frequent breaks allows the brain to breathe.

3. Fear of Setting Goals

Are you good enough? Well, that depends. Are you willing to take the steps needed to be good enough? If so, then yes, you are good enough, even if you aren’t there yet. Sitting around wondering if you can do what you want to do has never brought success to anyone. Committing to a list of goals―often illustrated in realistic baby steps―and crossing off each step as you go along will set your barometer.

4. Procrastination

Getting started is arguably the hardest part. We’re often constricted by our fear of not being ready. The reality is that no one is ever entirely ready for their endeavors. But starting along the path allows an opportunity to learn what your strengths and flaws are. Sitting in the chair staring idly at your goal list isn’t going to get you anywhere.

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5. Thinking of Yesterday

We often revise our history in our minds and pretend that we didn’t make the mistakes in the past. In our imaginations, today would be perfect and all of our goals would be achieved and there would be nothing to worry. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are chances to discover something new about ourselves. Overcoming adversity begins with tackling the present day, not dwelling on woulda, coulda, shoulda.

6. Thinking of Tomorrow

The idea of tomorrow can be frightening. Will I be able to finance my goals? My life? Will I have the support system behind me in case I fail at this? All of these concerns are legitimate and should be considered, but not so intensely. Not knowing what’s up ahead can be unnerving, and while it shouldn’t be taken too lightly, there isn’t much you can do. If you commit to your goals, pivot and make compromises as you go along, and remind yourself of why you’re doing what you do in the first place, then everything will be just fine.

Today is the most important day, every day.

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7. Expecting Perfection

Being happy is not synonymous with perfection. Perfection indicates the end of growth. Nothing else can be done, and nothing else can be achieved. Yes, you achieved your goals. Great job! But now what? You’ve done so much to become a goal-oriented person in your pursuit of happiness, you hit those marks, and now that there’s perfection, there’s nothing left to do. A goal-oriented person with nothing to do is not a happy person.

8. Expecting A Perfect Relationship

Love isn’t perfect, either. Relationships―even friendships―require maintenance, work, and balance. There is no such thing as the perfect partner, even though it often seems that way in the “honeymoon phase”. Accept the love that you have, try not to occupy on a person’s flaws, and see them for who they are, what they stand for, and how they are trying to grow. A good partner or friend will do the same for you, too.

9. Expecting A Perfect Body

How often are we forced to buy into ideas of how we’re supposed to look? Where we’re supposed to buy our clothes? What size we should be? These high standards are dangerous sources for stress. It’s hard to ignore them, but it isn’t impossible. Determine your own opinion of yourself, and continue to work towards whatever goals and standards you’ve set for you. Everyone is different.

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10. Not Accepting The Word “No”

One word that has two letters can carry such power. It can defeat you, over and over again. But guess what? You’re going to hear no more often than yes in your pursuit for happiness. And that’s okay. Each no is a forward step towards the yes you’ve been looking for. Don’t take all the no’s personally.

11. Making Excuses

Coming up with lies, blame, and other stories to take the weight off your shoulders isn’t healthy. It leads to delusion. Soon, you’ll start to believe all the excuses you make. Ultimately, you’ll fail to see your own flaws clearly, which stunts your personal growth.

12. Expectations

What are your expectations? Who set them for you? Did you or were these standards set by someone else, like your parents or a series of articles you read in a publication? If they aren’t your own expectations, get rid of them. You won’t be happy if you’re trying to live someone else’s life. Let their expectations be theirs and choose your own.

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Being truly happy can happen for you if you learn how to listen to yourself. Distractions, expectations, and double standards are often oversaturating the human mind. These things prevent us from finding peace within ourselves. Our own voices become smaller and more distant. Find your voice, forgo these things, and you’ll be taking huge leaps towards being happy.

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Kyle Hiller

Author, Writer

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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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