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Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 1)

Designing the Superior Man: 15 Powerful Qualities (Part 1)
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This is Part One (of Three) describing 15 qualities of the ideal man. Each part will discuss 5 key qualities to embrace in order to design the superior man.

As a father to a beautiful two-year-old girl and a husband to an amazing woman, I am constantly seeking out ways to improve myself. There are a number of books and articles describing how to be a better man, however, there is one book that stands above the rest as the guide to being the ideal man or a Randian Hero – this book is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

In this fantastic novel, Howard Roark is the hero. He is a brilliant and innovative architect who never compromises or deviates from his principles. Just as a man similar to Roark in today’s society, he is criticized and persecuted by people who are willing to compromise personal integrity. Where Roark does not attempt to influence people, his enemies practice the art of manipulation and use their ability to control the weak. These people represent the parasites of the world and they exist all around us.

In order to be a better man, we can use Roark as our example of what every man should strive to become. Using examples from The Fountainhead and similar books, we can identify key traits of superior men. Here are the first five qualities of the ideal man.

1. Squash the Parasite

“No man can give another the capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand

Superior men move the world forward. Nothing is given to them, they ferociously work for everything they have. Ayn Rand described two types of men: those who survive by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. Strong men do not need others, where a parasite needs others and feeds off them like a leech.

Parasites fear strong and powerful men. They will never confront you but will use manipulation tactics to attack you behind your back. I work with a large number of them and have been attacked by multiple. These parasites feel entitled and push their work off on others, yet, still attempt to take credit.

I am a leader under attack in my organization. Those parasites I work with are peers and others in superior rank. I am not afraid to confront them. When I do, they use tactics you would expect from a cockroach. Recently, I had a couple of them use these tactics in an attempt to remove me from my post.

2. Start Counting When it Hurts

“I only start counting when it starts hurting, when I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, cause that’s when it really counts.” – Muhammed Ali

This quote was in response to a question directed at Muhammed Ali when he was asked how many sit-ups he could do. He provided the perfect response!

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Superior men are black belts in the mind and body. They do not fear to attempt new things, even if those things leave them feeling awkward or embarrassed. These elite men are not afraid to enter the arena and do not start thinking about success until it hurts.

One of our greatest leaders once said, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – Theodore Roosevelt (excerpt from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown)

3. Stop Caring

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings, and emotions.” – Will Smith

You can interpret #3 in two ways: stop caring about anything and give up, or you can use the correct interpretation and stop caring so much about what other people think of you.

Superior men take control of their life. It is an amazing feeling when you simply stop caring about what other people think. Start eliminating things in your life that do not matter, that add no value. Focus only on the things and people that add value to your life. In fact, immediately stop communicating with people who add no value, purposely ignore these parasites who try to bring you down. Be candid with these people if you do have to acknowledge them. If they ask you a question or confront you (in person, on the phone, or electronically) either ignore them or provide a simple response, regardless of the intent of the conversation – “No” – this is the perfect response.

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4. Fight For and Defend Your Family

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club… The second rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.” – Chuck Palahniuk

Just to be clear, I am not advocating the reenactment of the movie Fight Club (as fun as that might be), however, you must know how to fight and defend yourself. You do not have to become the next Jean-Claude Van Damme or Bruce Lee, but you must know enough to protect those you love. A man who cannot physically defend his family is not a man. That comment may rub some of you the wrong way, but I don’t care (see #3 and #5).

If your wife or daughter were in danger, could you live with yourself if you failed to defend them? Even if you attempted to defend them, could you? If you answered “No” then you need to man up and start training.

Women desire a man who is confident and not afraid to kick the crap out of someone if needed. They want a man who will defend them and treat them with respect. The ultimate man will fight for his wife and family when needed, yet treat his wife with the chivalrous respect she deserves… rewards will come!

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Piss People Off

“The secret to success is to offend the greatest number of people.” – George Bernard Shaw

Strong and confident men have a profound impact on people. They project confidence through their appearance, the way they speak their mind, and through bold innovations. Confident people propel the world forward. These people are also not afraid to piss people off. These men are assertive, candid, and they take risks.

High performing men are not afraid to break the rules… after all, rules are put into place so we can work around them. By possessing an unlimited confidence and not caring about pleasing other people, these men live for their own success. They do not allow or wait for other people to determine their success – if that means pissing people off on their way up, then so be it.

Featured photo credit: IMDB via imdb.com

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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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