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10 Life Lessons You Can Learn From Shakespeare Quotes

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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 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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