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Pain Is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever: No Matter How Hard It Gets, Do It Till It’s Done

Pain Is Temporary, Quitting Lasts Forever: No Matter How Hard It Gets, Do It Till It’s Done

We all know the value of achieving a goal, especially when it comes round to this time of year.

But all too often we begin that big project we love to do, decide this time we really are dedicated, put up pictures of slim models on the fridge and put the running trainers out ready by the door.

And then what happens? Ten days in and the resolve we had for New Year is as damp as the socks left on our radiators.

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The problem with completing goals is that we meet one or two setbacks and something in us snaps. We think we can’t do it. Maybe we aren’t the fit person we imagined ourselves to be after all. Maybe that resolve was just a lofty other self that never could really exist.

Well, I’m here to reassure you, that fit person is real. You are capable of much more than you think right now. – It’s just the way you are going about getting your goal complete that is holding you back.

So here is some advice for how to keep that goal at the forefront of your mind, even when difficulties set in.

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Breaking through your perceived threshold

As explained in the SEAL book[1], we all have a perceived threshold. But often we can push past this and achieve things we never believed were possible.

When asked how many push-ups Jesse Itzler, who spent time living with a navy SEAL could complete, he managed around eight. The navy SEAL told him that he believed he could do 100. He didn’t believe him, but after some encouragement Itzer began, doing them one by one, until he completed the 100 push-ups, something he never thought he could achieve.

I’m not saying all of us should be navy seals or even have to do 100 push-ups. It’s the principle, that we can make this year the best year of our lives if we just push our boundaries a little further, and accomplish more than we ever have before.

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Achieving more than we ever dreamed and pushing through until a task is done can be a huge confidence boost. Most people, however, don’t realize their true potential. Or, they don’t find the focus to continue, and so miss out to doing things that in twenty years time, they will never remember doing. 

Just begin

Start by simply asking yourself: ‘what is the smallest possible way I can contribute to my goal right now?’ It could be as simple as standing up. As getting dressed. Once done, you can go from there. Whenever we complete a task, even the smallest one, we feel good. True happiness comes from doing something and doing it well. From your life’s work. And from achieving what you set out to achieve.

Know why you want it

Anyone who knows anything about motivation knows that we are fickle creatures who can be easily swayed by emotions and change. We know that. The list of failed New Years resolutions (ours and others!) tells us that. So you need something that will push you to feel positive about your new habit. This is particularly important because you need to be dedicated to something, even when pain and/or boredom inevitably sets in.

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Know that pain is a part of the process

If you fail, or you hate doing it, don’t worry about it, and keep going. This is all a natural part of the process of working towards something. Even if you love something, there will always be hard days. These can be the most rewarding – they show how much you really care.

Focus

Most people these days find it hard to resist the temptations of life. This is a similar idea to the marshmallow test[2]. Never before have we been so distracted; never before has it been so easy to do a million things all at once. The problem with this is that the quality of work goes down. And as this happens, it’s easy to fall into mediocrity. Those really doing well these days know how to shut their browser down, make a shake, and get to work. So try to shut off any distractions whilst you’re working towards your goal.

Don’t be realistic, dream big!

You don’t have to be realistic about your goals, but be realistic about the steps you take to get there. Most of us think small with dreams, but in order to get totally psyched about a dream of yours, it has to be something that inspires you.

Whatever it is you feel inspired to do, whether it be becoming an acrobatic at the Cirque du Soleil or learning three new languages this year. Go at 2017 with all the foolish optimism you can throw at it. Because the freer we are to believe in our dreams, the more wonderful a place the world will become, don’t you agree?

Featured photo credit: Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

Reference

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Daniel Owen van Dommelen

Coder, Director, Writer, Human

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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