Positive people don’t have a magical power that you don’t possess. Instead of letting stress control them, positive people take control of their life by managing stress and striving to improve every day. Check out these things that positive people don’t do. By knowing how to be positive, you too can be happy and successful.
1. They Don’t Assume the Worst.
It’s amazing how many problems wouldn’t exist if we didn’t invent them. Positive people know that leaping to conclusions is usually a bad idea. Instead of freaking out about an unanswered text (“What if they don’t like me?”), they go on with their day (“hmm, they must be busy!”). Before they decide another person is untrustworthy, they make an honest effort to find out more about them.
2. They Don’t Resist the Truth.
It’s easy to live in a lie because lies can grow so strong that it can eventually make people forget about the truth. Positive people know that they need to face the truth and live with it because making excuses will never get a solution for what have gone wrong.
3. They Don’t Hold On To Resentment.
Positive people understand that resentment only causes pain in life over and over again, so they let go of it. They choose to accept and forgive things happened in the past to move on with what they have learned from the incidents.
4. They Don’t Forget the Little Things.
Is it easy to forget the little things? Certainly. But positive people don’t make a habit of it. Instead, they express gratitude for every blessing, no matter how big or small. They know it’s silly to think more stuff will make them feel better if they can’t be happy about what they have.
5. They Don’t Pass the Buck.
Positive people realize they are the CEO of their life and thus take full responsibility for how things are. They didn’t get “stuck in traffic” — they were late. They didn’t “have something come up” — they forgot. Positive people don’t claim “they can’t help it,” because they can do anything they set their mind to.
6. They Don’t See Problems as “Problems”.
The word “problems” is seen as “challenges” for positive people. They believe that every obstacle comes as an opportunity that is yet to be discovered. Positive people take the chance to challenge themselves and improve their life.
7. They Don’t Resign Themselves to “Reality.”
This “reality” most people speak of sounds like a dreadful place where dreams go to die. Positive people know that anything is possible with consistency and hustle, so they choose to write their own reality.
8. They Don’t Expect Something for Nothing.
Positive people don’t fall for “lose weight fast” or “get rich quick” scams. They know that anything worth having requires hard work (often, lots of it). Positive people are comfortable with the fact that achieving success might take a bit longer than they would like (but will be so worth it).
9. They Don’t Get Bored.
Boredom is a place where creativity, inspiration, and productivity die. Positive people are fascinated by everything around them. They explore the world with enthusiasm and curiosity, asking as many questions as they can. On a similar note, fun fact: did you know you have atoms in your body that were created in a star 13 billion years ago? True story (so you don’t get to be bored).
10. They Don’t Let Negative Thoughts Hijack Their Brain.
Positive people don’t subject themselves to a chorus of self-defeating negative thoughts. When a negative thought passes through their head, they remind themselves: if I wouldn’t say it about another person, I shouldn’t think it about myself.
11. They Don’t Make Comparison With Others.
Positive people understand that everyone is different and has his own progress, so they don’t compare themselves to other people. They are confident about what they have and what they do. Instead of focusing on how others are doing, they pay attention on how to improve their own life.
12. They Don’t Agonize Over Every Little Mistake.
Positive people don’t look at failure as a terrible thing to avoid at all costs. They know that failure is a possibility when it comes to trying anything new. Seeing failure for what it is (a learning opportunity and nothing more) helps positive people achieve massive success as they learn and grow.
13. They Don’t Think Life Is Perfect.
Positive people forget about perfection, because it’s just not possible. When is the last time you thought, “Wow, this is the perfect day to get in shape,” or “You know what? This is the day I quit my job, move to Santa Fe, and pursue my real passion?” Oh, that’s right: you didn’t, because there isn’t a “perfect time” to do anything. Positive people take action in the here and now, perfection be damned.
14. They Don’t Hang Out with Toxic People.
Positive people don’t let negative, toxic people drag them down. Instead, they surround themselves with other positive people who are fun and inspiring to be with. Why should a positive person spend their time with a person who complains about everything and gossips about everybody? Positive people know there is no good answer to that question.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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: