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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

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 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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