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10 Chances Unhappy People Refuse To Take

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10 Chances Unhappy People Refuse To Take

Happiness isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. And to succeed in this journey, you have to be brave enough to take some chances. Are you sick and tired of feeling down-in-the-dumps? If so, watch out for these 10 chances unhappy people refuse to take.

Take a chance on making a difference.

“I’m just one person! What could I possibly do to make a difference?” This defeatist question will halt your progress in its tracks. Yes, you are just one person, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of leaving a mark. You know who else was “just one person?” Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Alexander the Great to name a few. The history books are full of individuals who dared to take a chance. Be bold in your aspirations and unwavering in your efforts.

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Take a chance on helping people.

“I have so many problems. How could I help another person when I don’t have all of my ducks in a row?” I know it’s tempting to look at your problems and assume you’re in no position to help another person, but it’s just not the case. There is something “wrong” with everyone (and anyone who says otherwise is a pathological liar, or possibly a robot). Can I tell you a dirty secret? The articles I write here at LifeHack (like the one you’re reading right now)? I tend to write things that I need to hear myself. Does this make me a fraud? I don’t think so. I like to think it makes me human because it allows me to put my thoughts into words that you, the reader, will be able to relate with. In other words, never assume we self-help writers have it figured out; most of us are figuring this stuff out the hard way. And if I can help people despite my flaws, so can you. You’re not perfect, you never will be, and you know what? That’s totally okay because you are perfectly human just like the rest of us.

Take a chance on an imperfect idea.

How many projects have you given up on because it wasn’t “good enough?” Listen: there is no such thing as “good enough.” You invented this silly little non-existent benchmark in your head, so get over it and deal with the fact that nothing can be (or ever will be) perfect. Does this mean quality doesn’t matter? Of course not. The easiest thing to market is a useful product or service that helps people solve a specific problem. The more useful it is, the easier it will be to sell. Simple equation, right? But forget about this whole “perfection” thing because it’s nothing but a pipe-dream. Make it as good as you can (and make it better as time goes on).

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Take a chance on being yourself.

Why are you trying so hard to fit in? Conformity isn’t something to strive for–it is something to avoid. Forget any pre-conceived notions you have of how you should think, feel, or behave. Phonies can be detected from miles away, so the only person you are kidding is yourself. As Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

Take a chance on patience.

You know what’s really discouraging? Spending all of your time pursuing a huge goal that requires so much time and effort that victory appears to be light-years away. Yes, aim high in your aspirations, but make sure you pave the road to Victory with as many tiny victories as you can. Forget about losing 50 lbs (just lose the first 5). Instead of aiming to write a book, just write the first chapter. You don’t have to impress that cute waitress with witty banter yet: just tell her hi! Obsessing with the end destination will leave you sick-and-tired-of-every-thing before you can say “burn-out.” Knocking out a bunch of small victories on your way to success will offer you the motivation to keep moving forward.

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“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin

Take a chance on changing your surroundings.

Who says you have to live in the same place for the rest of your life? I know moving is one of the most terrible, inconvenient things ever. But would you rather live through temporary inconvenience or a life-time of regret? Take an honest look at your community calendar, take a drive through your downtown area, consider the people you’re connected to, and ask yourself, “Is there anything here for me?” If you have no good answer to that question, it’s time to move on. Just because it’s scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.

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Take a chance on meeting new people.

If you could make new friends in elementary school, you can make new friends now. Look for clubs, groups, or meet-ups with people just like you. A life without friendship and socialization can make for lonely days (as someone who became a hermit for about half-a-year when he decided to pursue self-employment, I feel qualified to say this). You have nothing to be afraid of. People have a desire for human companionship just like you do, so I have no doubt there are people in this world who would be thrilled to have a healthy dose of you in their life.

Take a chance on forgiving the past.

As much as you might wish you could change the past, it’s just not going to happen. Regret is one of the nastier emotions you’ll ever experience, so please understand, I know this isn’t as simple as “just getting over it.” But whatever you did, no matter how wrong it might have been, cannot be undone. Stressing out over something you can’t fix is the opposite of productive. Just because you messed up doesn’t make you stupid, worthless, or a “bad person.” It just makes you human. Everyone messes up sometimes and life’s greatest successes are not exempt from this rule. The difference between long-lasting success and dismal failure is simple-in-theory but complex-in-practice: how do you react to a mistake? Do you learn from it, move on, and grow? Or do you beat yourself up, learn nothing, and repeat history over and over again? Forget the past and live in the present, because that’s where progress happens.

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Take a chance on trusting your intuition.

Did you ever have a teacher tell you something like, “Never change your answers on a multiple-choice test!” They told you that because our first instinct tends to be right. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If a person or place gives you a bad feeling, be weary. Just because intuition doesn’t always make sense doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust it.

Take a second chance as much as necessary.

Never become discouraged, even when things aren’t going your way. You can have as many chances as you need to find fulfillment and success in your life. Isn’t it wonderful that every new day is like a clean slate, yet another opportunity to better yourself? I think so! Tell me what you think in the comments. Also, if you have any words that might be useful for unhappy people reading this, please share them below.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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