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10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member

10 Reasons The Youngest Child Is Always The Most Creative Member
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Have you ever heard of middle-child syndrome?

This is categorised as a largely negative psychological condition which typically impacts children who are born second in a sequence of three siblings. These individuals often bemoan their fate and the fact that that are largely ignored, while they may even grow to become resentful of parental attention afforded to the first-born child and youngest sibling.

While this is a well-known phenomenon, the psychological impact of being the youngest child is given far less consideration. In general terms, the youngest or last-born sibling tends to be viewed as less disadvantaged than the middle child, as they are relieved from some burdens of responsibility and are more likely to pursue non-conformist, creative goals. Successful creatives and unconventional individuals such as Charlie Chaplin, Johnny Depp, and Jim Carrey are all youngest siblings, and this reinforces the evidence behind the birth order theory.

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So why are the youngest siblings most likely to pursue unconventional and creative career paths? Let’s consider the following factors:

1. They Are Free From The Burden Of Responsibility

According to a recent report in the Metro, just 31% of all younger siblings consider themselves to be the most responsible child in their family. This contrasts with 54% of older children and suggests that the last born children are free from the considerable burden that responsibility brings at all stages of life. This enables them to pursue their passions into adulthood, rather than being required to assume responsible and well-paid careers, affording them the opportunity to indulge their creative bent.

2. They Have A Healthy Disregard For The Rules

The Metro survey also revealed that last born children tend to be more relaxed and easy-going than their older siblings, with 47% considering themselves to be flexible in the face of change. This supports the notion that they are free from the burden of responsibility, while it also suggests that they are spared the restrictive and scrutinised upbringing afforded to their brothers and sisters. The result of this is a demographic that considers rules and regulations to be flexible and has a healthy disregard for order, which encourages creativity in many of its positive, unstructured and fluid forms.

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3. They Are Actively Encouraged To Indulge Their Creative Passions

The Metro report also concluded that 17% of last born children feel favoured by their parents, in contrast with just 10% of older siblings. This suggests that younger siblings benefit from more confident and lenient parenting, as mothers and fathers become more comfortable in their roles and adopt a hands-off approach. This creates a nurturing and encouraging environment for last born children in which they are afforded the tools to follow their creative dreams rather than being moulded to assume more responsible and practical roles.

4. They Benefit From The Nurturing Presence Of Older Siblings

On a similar note, last born children can also benefit from the nurturing and protective presence of older siblings. This contributes to a close-knit support network for young infants that provides the ideal platform from which they can confidently pursue creative hobbies of their choosing. The relationship between older and younger individuals can also extend into adulthood and beyond sibling relationships, as responsible and more authoritative people help to channel raw creativity into practical innovation.

5. They Want To Change The World That First Born Children Rule

According to author Michael Grose, who penned the insightful Why Firstborns Rule the World and Last Borns Want to Change Itthe youngest member of a typical family is the least likely to earn a six figure salary. While some may consider this to be a negative point, this is simply due to their primary focus as individuals rather than a lack of motivation. In fact, last born children tend to be both ambitious and revolutionary in their nature, as they look to effect positive change and leave their mark on the world through non-authoritarian methods such as art or rebellion. This empowers them to be creative in the pursuit of their goals rather than formulaic.

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6. They Are Less Fashion-Conscious And Develop Their Own Trends

The concept of sharing ‘hand me down’ clothing and toys between siblings is woven into the fabric of society, especially in an age when the thrift market remains enduringly popular. This has the potential to save families huge amounts of money, although it usually means that the youngest siblings rarely receive garments and accessories that are purchased new. The result of this is that they lose touch with the prevailing fashion trends over time and instead look to develop their own sense of style. This creates an independent and creative mindset that is not bound by popular conceptions or style restrictions.

7. They Are More In Touch With Modern Technology And Creative Platforms

The youngest and last born children are more likely to grow up surrounded by the latest technological trends and platforms. Even allowing for the pace of innovation in the modern age, this affords younger children a greater opportunity to pursue and showcase their creative skills. If you look at the latest trends in television and advertising, for example, you will see that online video streaming grew at a rate of 60% at the end of 2014 and continues to outstrip traditional mediums. Given this and the fact that the video on demand (VOD) format offers greater flexibility and less regulatory barriers in terms of output, younger siblings are well placed to indulge their creativity and share this with the world.

8. They Seek Attention Through Non-confrontational Methods

According to a BBC survey from nine years ago, just over 50% of last born siblings found it easy to be humorous and make others laugh. Experts believe that this is a skill that develops organically throughout childhood, as younger siblings tend to be slightly more extroverted and motivated to compete for their parents’ attention. They look to do this through non-confrontational methods, however, with creative output an excellent way of expressing themselves and drawing the attention of those around them. This is a trend that continues into adulthood, with creative comedy writers such as Dawn French and Ricky Gervais all born as younger siblings.

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9. They Are The Least Likely To Unlearn Creativity

According to renowned teacher Jonathan Halls, every single individual is born with a creative streak. While this can be developed and honed in the right environment, it can also be partially prevented in children who are subjected to negative thinking or an overly strict upbringing. We also lose touch with our creativity as we grow older, as the pressures of adulthood, work, and relationships demand a more practical mindset. Last born siblings are the most likely to retain their creative bent, however, thanks to a less pressurised upbringing and the more manageable expectations of parents.

10. They Have More Time To Pursue Creative Hobbies During Their Teens

Although last born siblings compete for attention during childhood, this behaviour tends to subside as their older brothers and sisters leave home. This may create a period of time during their teens when they are the sole focus of their parents’ attention, creating a more reflective and thoughtful epoch of their lives. It will also help them to channel their creative instinct, since they spend more time by themselves and benefit from the opportunity to take on a wider range of artistic and design-influenced projects.

Featured photo credit: eyeImage via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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