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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shakespeare Quotes

10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shakespeare Quotes

While William Shakespeare may be renowned as one of the world’s most successful and inspirational playwrights, his name is rarely associated with the world of business. This is primarily because there is a world of difference between cut-throat commercialism and artistic expression, as while the former demands instinct and ruthlessness the latter relies on creative talent and inherent ability.

These two worlds often collide, however, especially when artists strive to translate their creative talent into a profitable commercially viable entity. Given that William Shakespeare’s work transcended literature and enabled him to make a living from his craft, he therefore stands as a shining example to any creative entrepreneur in the modern age.

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    On a more fundamental level, it is also worth remembering that the words of William Shakespeare are his unique legacy to the contemporary world. Their enduring popularity persists due to an inspirational and emotive nature, which continues to draw various interpretations and trigger intense discussion. So although they may have been applied during an alternative point in history, they remain relevant to modern citizens on multiple levels. With this in mind, it is worth considering the most impactful Shakespeare quotes and the lessons that we can learn from them in 2014.

    1. “It is not in the Stars to hold our Destiny but in ourselves” – Julius Caesar in Julius Caesar

    Recently, the Guardian newspaper celebrated Shakespeare’s 450th birthday by asking readers to nominate their favourite quotes from the great Bard. This line from Julius Caesar was one of the most popular, while it also remains a source of timeless and insightful wisdom. It encourages people to maximise their own talents and skills in the pursuit of success, rather than believing that their destiny lies in an unknown and predetermined fate. It empowers you to take control of your destiny and plot the course that you want your life to take.

    2. “Go wisely and go slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.” – Romeo in Romeo and Juliet

    The pace of technological advancement has accelerated considerably in the last decade, with the result that modern life can be enjoyed at a breakneck speed. This often leads to injudicious decision making, however, as we rarely take the time to appraise our options or consider the consequences of individual actions. We should therefore remember these simple but immortal words from Romeo and Juliet, which encourage us to act with haste and make sensible decisions.

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    3. “Strong reasons make strong actions.”- Lewis in King John

    On a similar note, it is also important to take actions that are based on solid reasoning and purposeful rationalisation. As the Bard pointed out in his historic play King John, strong reasons make strong actions and this is something we should carry with us in both our personal and professional lives. Whenever you present an idea or concept, take the time to support it with carefully acquired data and testimonials. This will provide a strong foundation from which an individual concept can flourish.

    4. “How poor are they that do not have Patience?” – Iago in the Tragedy of Othello

    The Tragedy of Othello was written as long ago as 1603, but these words are arguably more relevant today than they have been at any other point in history. The speed of technological advancement has certainly created an increasingly impatient generation of citizens, and this characteristic can be extremely counter-productive in everyday life. Whether you are a business leader or a parent, patience enables you to offer informed direction to others and create an environment where individuals can flourish. It is an empathetic quality, and one that lends itself to nurturing others.

    5. “We know what we are but know not what we may be.”– Ophelia in Hamlet

    Hamlet is arguably Shakespeare’s most quoted play, and it may even stand as this distinguished playwright’s finest output. This introspective quote offers an insight into our ambition and potential for future growth, as we strive to understand our strengths and weaknesses and subsequently learn how we can embark on a journey of self-improvement. Such comprehension is crucial if you are to implement manageable development goals, while it also provides a foundation of self-belief that can be developed over time.

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    6. “Things won are done; joy’s soul lies in the doing.”– Cressida in Troilus and Cressida

    If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you will understand this quotation better than anyone. After all, while the goal of any commercial venture must ultimately be to generate some form of financial or social return, it is often the process of creating a business that teaches the most important and viable lessons. This is why so many entrepreneurs establish multiple ventures in their life time, as they are constantly seeking improvement and the satisfaction that ids delivered by tackling and overcoming challenges.

    7. “It is a tale; full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” – Macbeth in Macbeth

    This classic line of dialogue from Macbeth will probably resonate with most people, especially those of you who have ever encountered someone who talks endlessly without ever providing any substance or action to support their words. From the fast-tracked business managers who deal exclusively in jargon to the rogues who promise a change that never materialises, these individuals communicate confidently and are usually able to persuade others through word alone. Be wary of these people, however, and try to ensure that those around you make good on any promises that they make.

    8. “How far that little candle throws his beams.”– Portia in The Merchant of Venice

    The art of successful leadership requires a clearly defined vision, whether you are looking to drive a company forward or achieve personal goals. This can be hard to develop and maintain during the monotony of everyday life, where small and seemingly insignificant details often derail your plans and consume your valuable time. It is crucial that you remain as focused as possible on your long-term goals, however, and try to ensure that every individual action or decision helps to edge closer towards accomplishment.

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    9. “And often times excusing of a fault doth make the fault the worse by the excuse.” – from Pembroke in King John

    This quote reflects an ancient and longstanding wisdom, and one that encourages every individual to own and take accountability for their mistakes. Whether these impact on our personal relationships or the performance of a business, it is important to respect that our mistakes can be damaging and cause distress to innocent parties. They are also an inescapable and universal part of life, however, so you should have no shame in accepting blame, showcasing remorse and working hard to rectify your transgression. When you make weak and feeble excuses, you simply exacerbate the problem and damage your own integrity as an individual.

    10. “I have more flesh than another man and therefore more frailty.” – King Henry IV in Henry IV, Part One

    A strangely underused and unheralded Shakespeare quotation; this has genuine relevance in an age where Britain continues to combat both adult and childhood obesity. This quote reflects the ancient belief that mortality and frailty lay within the human form, while the spirit was strong and capable of developing throughout eternity. In today’s more informed society, this could easily be translated as a warning against the perils of ob

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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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