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10 Books That Will Change Your Life Forever

10 Books That Will Change Your Life Forever

Are you looking for books that will change your life?    Are you wanting to get leverage on yourself, and make real changes, but you’d love a guide to assist you?

These 10 books absolutely fit that criteria.  Read them, but more importantly, do what they tell you.  It is your acting not just your reading that will get you the best results.  These books however will give you the framework that you need to take action:

1. The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield

    The most important book I’ve ever read, and the book that has helped me most to build successful businesses, write a book and create an authentic and fulfilling career.  It has allowed me to break through my inner resistance and create my authentic life, and live my authentic self.  Critical if you are an entrepreneur, writer, artist, or any form of “creator”.

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    2. Turning Pro, by Steven Pressfield

      The follow up to the War of Art.  In the War of Art Pressfield identifies the enemy to living an authentic life – resistance.  In Turning Pro, Pressfield teaches you how to defeat it.

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      3. Flow: The Psychology Of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

        What are the optimal experiences in our life?  The vacations?  Laying on the beach?  No.  World renowned psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his landmark book proves that optimal experience is actually the moments in our life when we are giving our very best in pursuit of self-directed meaningful goals.  Through this book learn how to channel flow, and your life will forever change.

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        4. As a Man Thinketh, by James Allen

          Thoughts are things. We are what we repeatedly think about.  Learn to first create in your mind the life that you want, then manifest its reality through your hard work and actions.  A classic – short simple and powerful.

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          5. Mastery, by Robert Greene

            Mastery teaches you to take the long run, and seek a higher form of success, one that very few people every achieve – the level of mastery.  Learn from case studies of some of the worlds’s greatest masters and absorb practical advice on how you can apply it.

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            6. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

              An easy to read, highly descriptive, story that teaches a powerful metaphor – how to pursue your dreams.  Learn the obstacles that will arise, and learn how to channel your courage on the path of what you value most.

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              7. Awaken The Giant, by Tony Robbins

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                Don’t let the TV infomercials fool you – this book has high quality strategies that are immediately applicable to get control of your emotional self.  When you can control the inner, then the outer follows.  Get leverage on yourself by reading this book and applying the strategies you learn.

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                8. The Game, by Neil Strauss

                  A fascinating read – my advice – read it from a cultural psychology perspective.  You will see that there are certain patterns of behaviour and influence what work with people.  Learn how people think and what attracts them, and what repels them.  You will need to be a master of influence in order to achieve any dream that involves other people.

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                  9. The Way Of The Superior Man, by David Deida

                    This book is more applicable for men, but worth reading by anyone. Get leverage over yourself.  This book helps you to understand various emotional challenges that many men experience and how to gain mastery over one of the most difficult opponents: yourself.

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                    10. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey

                      A practical masterpiece with easy to follow instructions and guides.  Useful for both businesses and individuals.  Learn to “put first things first” and “begin with the end in mind”.  This book is a classic in management and leadership literature, and should be mandatory reading for anyone who is in a position of influence.

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                      More Inspiring Books That Will Change Your Life


                      Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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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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