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10 Reasons Why People Who Don’t Need Others’ Approval Are More Likely to Be Successful

10 Reasons Why People Who Don’t Need Others’ Approval Are More Likely to Be Successful
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“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”  – Lao Tzu

People who succeed in life generally have one thing in common. They have the uncanny ability to tune out the noise of the Could’s, Would’s and Should’s of external opinion; focusing instead on steering the wheel of their own lives. Listening to other people tell you how to live your life might feel reassuring at the time, but rest assured it is a road to nowhere. They don’t know what it really feels like to be you. They don’t know your emotional make-up, what makes you tick, your hopes or your fears. So why place any type of life decision into the hands of anyone else but you?

Here are 10 reasons why people who march to the beat of their own drum are more likely to court success:

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1. They understand that advice is good, but not everything.

One important thing that successful people seem to intuitively understand is that any advice proffered should be taken with a pinch of salt. A sound piece of astute business advice can be a wonderful thing, especially when received in the midst of launching a newly burgeoning business. The power of someone else’s experience should never be underestimated and might just save you from making an expensive mistake.

But those that climb to the pinnacles of their career also understand that it’s important to put any advice received into context. They listen to their gut, if the advice resonates with them they tend to go for it. If not, they say thanks but no thanks.

2. They know the importance of tuning out the noise

Those that succeed have learnt to turn down the volume of other people’s opinions and tune into their inner dialogue instead. Whilst friends or family might be coming from a good place with their concern for the risks you are choosing to take, listening to any echoes of doubt is just not helpful. The importance of tuning into your own inner voice should never be underestimated.

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Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best when he said; “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

3. They also know the importance of turning within

At the end of the day, only you know what really works for you. Everyone else might have an opinion, that doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. Listen to yourself instead. You are the only one that possesses an intimate knowledge of what works for you, how much risk you feel comfortable with, how far you like to push yourself. Tuning within ensures you climb the rungs of your own ladder of success, not someone else’s.

4. They understand the difference between being respected and being liked

People who succeed in life pointedly distinguish between approval and respect. They understand that being liked by each and every one is not only impossible but completely futile; therefore their resolve to be treated with dignity and respect is uncompromising. As they navigate their career path, they are simply not interested in winning any popularity contests. Their goal is to be emphatic and self-assured, but not aggressive, and the byproduct of this type of behavior is that people respect them for it.

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5. They know that chasing approval is a waste of energy

Here’s the thing about being liked by everyone; much like a dog chasing its own tail, it’s a complete waste of time and energy. There are some people in life who, no matter what you do, will simply not like you. It’s a sad reality but in accepting that chasing approval leads you nowhere, it can also set you free. At the end of the day, the only acceptance we should be chasing is self-acceptance.

6. They appreciate the fact that you can’t control someone else’s opinion

Let’s face it, everyone has an opinion. But those that succeed know that they have a choice as to whether they choose to listen or not. They understand that people hold steadfastly onto their opinions and sometimes there is nothing you can do to change their mind. As a result they don’t waste their time trying and instead focus on the one opinion that matters the most, their own.

7. They are aware that the need for approval kills freedom

People who succeed in life have a deep understanding that in seeking someone else’s approval, they are effectively becoming their prisoner. In choosing not to mold themselves into a shape of someone else’s making, they are effectively removing any barriers to accomplishing their goals. When the motivation behind any decision or action doesn’t come from a need to please but from an individual desire, the need for constant reassurance falls away.

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8. They have a sound sense of self-acceptance

Choosing not to listen to other people is no easy endeavor yet successful people appreciate that in order to bypass the court of public opinion one attribute is required. Self-acceptance. Carving out an individualistic path in the world is not easy, but if there is a foundation of self-acceptance, it can make the journey more meaningful. In accepting themselves for who they are, warts and all, the self-destructive patterns fall away.

9. They trust their ability to make decisions

With self-acceptance comes self-trust and this leads successful people to be able to firm in their decisive capacity and trust in the outcome. One of the main attributes to running a successful business or successful life is the ability to comprehend any risks involved in a certain matter and then make a calculated decision. Those that succeed appreciate that self-doubt can be incredibly destructive and lead to second-guessing. In reaching a place where they feel comfortable listening to their gut reaction and acting accordingly, this removes one of the main barriers to success, indecisiveness.

10. They don’t let small minds convince them their dreams are too big

Here’s the thing about small minds, they all come from the same place: fear. And so in choosing not to listen to a small minded person verbally dismantle your dreams you are choosing not to associate yourself with fear based thoughts. Whilst friends and family might have your best interests at heart, if they are coming from a place of fear, whatever they say will leave a residual seed of doubt. People who achieve success in life understand this and surround themselves with people that inspire them to be the best they can be.

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Featured photo credit: pretty sad hipster girl. black and white photo via shutterstock.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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