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10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

10 Things I Learned From The Amazing Patrick Stewart

Let’s face it, if you don’t like Patrick Stewart, you are vehemently anti-Star Trek, or you think we’re talking about Patrick Kaleta. Unlike the overtly aggressive NHL player, Sir Patrick Stewart has been winning hearts since premiering on stage in 1966. Despite a sprawling history with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Patrick Stewart’s best known roles include Star Trek: The Next Generation and the X-men films (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and Charles Xavier respectively). Determined to be among the world’s best humans, Patrick Stewart’s accomplishments span far beyond the world of acting. An avid humanitarian and activist, Sir Patrick works tirelessly for charity groups like Amnesty International, Refuge and Combat Stress, plus aids scholarships and UN organizations. Such a well rounded, selfless person certainly has something to teach us mere mortals, including these ten impressive life lessons.

Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Despite impressive accomplishments, high salaries, and  fans around the world, Patrick Stewart seems to never let it get to his head. The first to laugh at himself, Patrick isn’t afraid of his perceived shortcomings: “I am not the archetypal leading man. This is mainly for one reason: as you may have noticed, I have no hair.” 

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    Where most stars might want to nurture the idea that their wise roles are true to life, Patrick instead states: “Having played many roles of scientific intellect I do have an empathy for that world. It’s been hard on me because flying the Enterprise for seven years in Star Trek and sitting in Cerebro in X-men has led people to believe that I know what I’m talking about. But I’m still trying to work out how to operate the air conditioning unit on my car.”

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      Embrace New Things

      Where many older celebrities avoid social media, and sometimes the internet all together, Patrick Stewart is quick to embrace new technologies. Patrick Stewart has become an internet darling in part because of his antics on Twitter. Constantly sharing silly poses and selfies with friends, Sir Patrick Stewart has amassed well over a million followers on Twitter. Not bad for an English gentleman born in 1940. 

      “[Twitter] has really taken us [Stewart and his wife, Sunny Ozell] by surprise to what extent people have enjoyed it. I get a great deal of satisfaction from using it for societal issues and concerns that I am involved with, but there’s also been this element of playfulness, which has opened up a new avenue of communication, which I am enjoying very much indeed.”

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        Stay Humble

        Similar to his humorous take on himself, Patrick is quick to downplay his accomplishments. Where other stars might be tempted to blame their success on pure talent, Patrick Stewart keeps his cool. “I wasn’t campaigning for a role in a Hollywood television series,” he shares, “it was a fluke. So you’ve got to have a measure of good luck, you really have, being in the right place at the right time.”

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          Even when the topic is his role in sprawling franchises, Patrick sidesteps the attention: “The studio have always claimed that the ship is the star of [Star Trek], especially when they’re renegotiating contracts.” Patrick is also quick to joke about his acting skills: “I don’t do impersonations. I can do a wounded elephant! I can do a really good cow! And because of the amount of time I spent in North Yorkshire, I do a variety of sheep. All of which I will be happy to roll out for you!”. 

          Patrick Stewart is happy to discuss his talent in a modest way: “[ X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner] showed me the first comic book and there was this bald guy in a wheelchair. I could see why she might have been interested in me.”

          Seek New Experiences

          Sir Patrick Stewart extends to his love of new things to life decisions as well, and is willing to taking risks. Many entertainers from outside the US have negative views of Hollywood’s hyper perfect culture, but Patrick Stewart didn’t let prejudice play a part in his life, saying: “I think I came back from America a funnier and nicer person than I went.”

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            Patrick also encourages an open, excited attitude for others: “If someone says ‘Give me one word of advice,’ I say ‘be fearless.’ And knowing without any shadow of a doubt that what they have to give—who they are—is totally unique and not shared by anybody else. And to believe in that uniqueness. It took me decades before I developed courage as an actor.”

            Always Keep Learning

            One would think that an actor as accomplished as Sir Patrick Stewart has nothing to fear. Despite his impressive acting resume, Patrick continues to push himself in his craft.

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            “I really, really don’t want to hit one of those walls and I really don’t want to finish last. This makes me more nervous than anything I’ve ever done.” Inspiring words when you consider how hard Patrick has studied acting, in theater as well as film.

            Use Your Adversity

            Patrick Stewart is pretty open about his background, including his difficult childhood. While growing up, Patrick Stewart witnessed constant domestic abuse. At the hands of his father, Patrick’s mother was frequently beaten and battered. Once saying “I never had teenage years. I guess because I was seen to be more adult than anybody around me”, his childhood was filled with heartache and difficulty. 

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              “I was brought up in a very poor and very violent household. I spent much of my childhood being afraid”, he also shared. Despite the troubles, and despite overcoming severely difficult circumstances to achieve stardom, Patrick doesn’t let his past control him. Quite the opposite, Patrick works constantly with Refuge, a UK organization focused on providing safety for victims of domestic abuse. He’s also quick to speak up for others, and offer support. 

              Work For A Cause

              Magnifying his involvement with charitable organizations, Patrick actively encourages each of us to also speak up for those who can’t. “It is what you do from now on that will either move our civilization forward a few tiny steps, or else… begin to march us steadily backward”, he has said.

              Even when the topic is Star Trek-esque space travel, Patrick jumps to encourage social growth: “I would like to see us get this place right first before we have the arrogance to put significantly flawed civilizations out onto other planets, even though they may be utterly uninhabited.”

              Preferring to use his celebrity for those who need a voice, Patrick once shared “[I’ve] been given a voice that I didn’t know was available to me, and it was to speak seriously and with a proper level of involvement on issues of inequality and unfairness.” 

              Never content to sit idly by, Patrick Stewart is a true champion of social causes. “I’ve always believed that it is not possible to be in the world and not be political.”

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                Nurture Friendships

                Patrick Stewart is also well known for his famous friendships. In an industry where back biting and harmful feuds pop up daily, it’s completely refreshing to see a celebrity treat people with respect. Patrick has been friends with Ian McKellen since they met in the 60’s, performing with The Royal Shakespeare Company. Additionally, Patrick and Helen Mirren worked together on the 1981 Excalibur film, and remain friends to this day.

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                    “I’ve met actors where you think, if only you could just clean up your act and get it together, people would want to work with you. Some people are so difficult, it’s just not worth working with them.”

                    Consider Others Perspectives

                    Patrick’s difficult childhood would be enough to make anyone hate their father. Confounding human nature once again, Patrick sees his father’s flawed life with empathy. When Patrick participated in a recent documentary program for the BBC, he learned that his father suffered severe PTSD from WWII. At the time, even more misunderstood than it is now, PTSD had absolutely no treatment in the 40’s and 50’s. After learning of his fathers struggles, Patrick immediately began working with an organization in the UK for veterans, called Combat Stress. Again, quick to understand and slow to judge, Patrick Stewart is helping to eliminate violence and health problems on all fronts.

                    “Now I can do something for women and their children who [deal with domestic abuse]. One of the most gratifying things in my life is that, I would say daily, someone stops me in the street or at the stage door and will mention the work that I’ve done there.”

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                    Never Stop Laughing

                    If his incredible accomplishments, humble attitude and sprawling list of awards aren’t enough to make you love Sir Patrick Stewart, hopefully his humor does. In his mid 70’s, Patrick shows no sign of slowing down. Starring in a theatre production with Sir Ian Mckellan in 2013, Patrick continues to inspire us and make us laugh.

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                      Proof that there’s no reason to stop spreading joy, Patrick Stewarts silly pictures and quick wit will undoubtedly keep us smiling (and learning) for years to come.

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                        And finally, great respect on how Sir Patrick Stewart took ALS Ice Bucket Challenge…

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                        Featured photo credit: Gage Skidmore via en.wikipedia.org

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                        Last Updated on December 2, 2018

                        7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

                        7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

                        When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

                        You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

                        1. Connecting them with each other

                        Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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                        It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

                        2. Connect with their emotions

                        Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

                        For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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                        3. Keep going back to the beginning

                        Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

                        On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

                        4. Link to your audience’s motivation

                        After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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                        Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

                        5. Entertain them

                        While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

                        Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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                        6. Appeal to loyalty

                        Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

                        In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

                        7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

                        Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

                        Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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