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10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think

10 Reasons Why Growing Up Isn’t As Bad As You Think

For years I thought I was all grown up, I thought I knew it all and that my life was pretty much perfect. I had a great job, lots of money, lots of friends, and I lived the high life in London. I was pretty much at the peak of my career and I thought I was happy.

Looking back on those days, I see my life totally differently. Now I see it as totally and utterly miserable. I wasn’t free. I felt literally chained to my work and my social life, and I mixed with people who didn’t know the real me.

As you grow older and grow up for real, you begin to realize that the carefree lifestyle you think you are living isn’t what life is all about. In some respects it is – keeping that child-like quality to your life is so important – but what is even more worthwhile and totally liberating is growing up and grasping that growing older doesn’t mean something depressing or sad. In fact, it’s the opposite: it’s what life is really about!

Here are a few reasons why I think just that:

1. Your mind grows too, not just your body

It’s true, you’ll get grey hair, wrinkles and maybe put on a bit of extra weight around the waist, but what you’ll gain there is nothing compared to what you will gain within your mind.

When you are young your mind is new, like a blank canvas, but as you grow you get to stretch it and use it in ways you never thought possible. Growing up gives you the chance to expand your thinking, to delve into the weird and the wonderful, and it will encourage you to create your own beliefs, opinions and values.

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2. You start to see people for who they really are

We’ve all got friends, right? Some are the ones you have a laugh with, some are those you have deep conversations with, and the others are just mere acquaintances.

Yet, you’ll know the ones who are immature, the ones who refuse to grow up. They’ll be the ones who still muck about in restaurants, who think it’s funny to make fun of people in public and who still hang out late at night drinking and playing pranks.

It’s OK to have fun, I’m not saying that, but don’t you want to be the person who you were meant to be? By living a purposeful life, doing what you love and being surrounded by people who ‘get’ you?

The choice is yours, just know that you can either stay acting like a 16-year-old or you can enjoy life to its fullest and grow up.

3. You realize that it’s healthy to be on your own

I couldn’t wait until I moved out of my family home; I was 19 and found a room in a shared house. I just couldn’t wait to get out there and fend for myself. The thought was not only thrilling but I knew that it would mean that growing up would be that much quicker.

Yes, I’ll admit it was scary, but you know what? There is nothing better than knowing you can look after yourself and start to ‘bring home the bacon,’ as it were. It’s a great feeling knowing that you will no longer rely on your mother to have dinner ready for you when you get home from work, or that you have make sure you’ve got the rent for next month.

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It might be a struggle at times, but what appears to be a struggle is just a lesson in something, and if you can look at it that way you’ll go a long way towards growing up and loving every minute of it!

4. You don’t care what other people think

This is a big step up towards growing up. Remember at school you’d always want to look cool or hang out with the popular crowd? When you start to grow up, you’ll learn that other people’s opinions of you and what they think don’t really figure in your life anymore.

You’ll be so much happier going your own path in life, and once you start that journey you’ll not want to look back!

There is nothing more liberating than not caring what others think of you, because you’ll focus on your own wants and needs and live to please yourself. Just remember that’s not an excuse to be selfish or conceited – not at all! It’s more the fact that if you are happy within yourself and your own decisions, you’ll be a much nicer person to be around!

5. You’ll become much more open minded

Remember how you’ve always wanted to write a book or travel to some far-flung, mosquito-infested jungle somewhere? As you grow you’ll think of ways of creating those dreams and begin to give yourself permission to just go for it.

What you’ll realize is that the word ‘impossible’ is no longer in your vocabulary. You’ll start to see doors opening where they were once closed, providing you with new and thrilling adventures along the way. Growing older will give you the courage to open your mind much further than before and fill your life with miracles.

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6. You realize change is a good thing

Remember where you were in your life 10 years ago, who you were with, what you were doing and the clothes you wore. Yeah, they are probably pretty embarrassing memories, but what this shows you is that life changes and there’s not much you can do about it.

Now imagine what you will be doing in another 10 years from now, it’s exciting isn’t it? Change is something that should be embraced, not be feared, and it’s a great way to re-invent your life and make it more memorable as you get older. Plus it’s a wonderful way to learn from your mistakes, and improve yourself and your relationships.

7. You finally understand what really makes you happy

With growing up comes a better understanding of yourself and your needs. It’s here, knowing who you really are, that you can find out what truly makes you happy. It’s purely personal and could be anything from painting landscapes, to reading a good, juicy novel, or listening to great music.

It’ll also sort out the unhappy stuff too, which will guide you through the rest of your life so you keep doing stuff that makes you happy instead of unhappy. Making the decisions for your own life is all part of growing up and with this comes a knowing that life is pretty limitless.

8. You become grateful for what you already have

I see kids today always wanting something else, something new to distract themselves with and wanting what the other kids have. They never seem to be happy with what they already have, leaving many parents wringing their hands in frustration and debt!

As you grow up, learning to be grateful for what you already have is a wonderful approach to life. It makes your life so much easier, no longer focusing on what you don’t have and being happy with what you do have. Once you grasp this, which you will do as you grow, you’ll get more stuff to be grateful about!

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9. You realize taking care of your body is important

What you put into your body is important. Having never been a fast food person I personally don’t get the reason why we as a culture love it so much, but I do understand that it’s fast and it fills the hole!

It’s OK for when you are young because your metabolism is that much faster. You’ll probably do more exercise and, let’s face it, taking care of yourself isn’t that high on your agenda. However, as you get older you’ll understand that your body is a finely tuned instrument, working on your behalf to keep you going, to keep you alive and well.

What you put into your body is so important, not only for your own health but also because you’ll want to stick around long enough to have children, to meet your grandchildren or even long enough to outlive your dog! So taking the time out to eat well and exercise regularly seems a fair exchange don’t you think?

10. It’s just going to happen!

No matter how hard you try, how young you think you dress, or what color your dye your hair, you are going to get old and that’s a fact!

Choose today to stop trying to prevent it from happening and just let it be.

Grow up. Let life take you on its glorious ride and learn to love every minute of it. You’ll thank yourself for it in the end trust me!

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Featured photo credit: benleto via flickr.com

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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)

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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