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10 Reasons Why People Who Read A Lot Are More Likely To Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Read A Lot Are More Likely To Be Successful

We’re taught from a very young age that reading as much as possible is the pathway to success and fulfillment. Picture the smartest, hardest-working person you know, and chances are you picture them in a library poring over a variety of texts for hours on end. While simply being an avid reader does not ensure success, successful people are assuredly avid readers. And all of them have the following traits in common.

1. They have increased focus

Successful people are able to focus on one task for an elongated period of time. Anyone who’s read Atlas Shrugged can tell you reading isn’t a quick process. It’s also not a singular process. Readers take breaks, naturally, but the most avid reader simply cannot put a book down for longer than a day after they’ve dove into it. Successful people feel the same way about any task they set out to do.

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2. They set goals

Along with focus, readers set goals for themselves whenever they sit down with a good book. Whether setting out to read a specific amount of pages before moving on to another activity, or deciding to read until a certain concept is solidified in their mind, readers actively try to accomplish something whenever they open a text. Successful people set goals for just about every moment of their life, and continue working toward the goal until they surpass it.

3.They spend time wisely

They might only have 20 minutes before they have to be somewhere, but instead of seeing “only 20 minutes” as not enough time to get anything done, they see it as 20 minutes that can be spent reading. Successful people view their time as incredibly valuable, and seize every opportunity they have to learn something new, or accomplish a goal. Readers realize that 5 wasted minutes every day over the course of a year is more than an entire 24 hours wasted that could have been spent reading.

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4. They have perspective

Successful people are able to see all angles of an issue, because they have read a variety of literature from various perspectives. Two of Bill Clinton’s favorite novels are Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. The insight gained from reading these novels undoubtedly shaped his perspective in dealing with race relations as a politician. Being an avid reader allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, if only for a moment; but once that moment’s over, you remember the experience for the rest of your life.

5. They are reflective

In addition to gaining perspective, readers are reflective about what they have read. While gaining perspective allows a person to see from the other side of the fence, being reflective allows them the opportunity to understand how they can be productive with their new-found perspective. Successful people see reading not as the simple act of staring at words on a page. They understand the profound effect that consuming a text can have on the mind, and how books can change a person’s life.

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6. They have incredible writing and speaking skills

It’s no surprise that the greatest orators in human history have all been enthusiastic about reading. Successful people draw inspiration from their role models, and utilize this inspiration to further their cause. From Demosthenes, to Lincoln, to Nelson Mandela, people who remain cemented in history became such passionate and well-spoken lecturers by studying the great minds before them.

7. They have increased memory

Readers understand just how powerful the brain really is. It can hold almost an unlimited capacity of information. The more you read and learn, the easier it becomes to retain information. Successful people don’t prescribe to Homer Simpson’s belief that learning something new pushes something old out. They simply continue to learn, and commit an incredible expanse of knowledge to memory, sometimes without even realising it.

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8. They stay fresh

Great readers also see the brain as a muscle that needs to be worked. Just like going to the gym every day keeps your arms and legs in shape, reading keeps your mind sharp and able to easily retain knowledge. Successful people exercise their mind on a daily basis through reading and other methods such as crossword puzzles and brain teasers. Successful people habitually create challenges to overcome, which in turn improves their minds’ capability to solve increasingly larger problems every day.

9. They are educated and informed

Successful people rise to the top because they have spent their time on earth learning. When they pick up a book, they don’t do so just to finish it, but to take something away from it. Reading textbooks was never just a school assignment to be completed, but was a chance to expand their knowledge even further. Even while reading fictional novels, successful people take with them life lessons that they carry with them forever.

10. They read to relax

Even the most successful people need to tune out the world every once in a while. But this doesn’t mean they turn their minds off completely. There is nothing wrong with reading a “trashy magazine” or graphic novel to unwind. Reading just about anything is more beneficial than watching television or wasting a Friday night at a bar. Again, successful people value every minute of their time, and even in their most idle moments they still strive to improve. And there’s no better way to chill out while keeping yourself fresh than with a good book.

Featured photo credit: Girl with books via shutterstock.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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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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