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When Giving Money Isn’t Generous Enough: What Truly Generous People Give Instead

When Giving Money Isn’t Generous Enough: What Truly Generous People Give Instead

We all admire the celebrities who organize and donate to charities all round the globe. But it is not just money, is it? These stars are giving a lot more than dollars. They are dedicating their expertise, knowledge, time, space and energy. This is the true spirit of generosity because the ripples they create are making a better, kinder world. Let us look at 10 VIPs who will inspire us to give more of our own talents, time and energy, although we may not be as rich!

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Khalil Gibran

1. They give their skills and expertise.

In addition to the 30 charities he supports, Sir Richard Branson is dedicated to saving the planet. He is passionate about how clean fuel is the way to go. He has committed $3 billion from his travel business profits in the next decade to combat global warming. An excellent example of giving expertise, instead of writing a blank check. Watch the video, ‘My passion for the planet’ below to discover more about his commitment to saving Earth.

“If you are in a position to make a difference, you’ve got to spend every waking hour trying to make a difference.” – Richard Branson

 2. They listen to forgotten people

George Clooney is determined to end the genocide in the Sudan where half a million people risked genocide in 2012. He founded the United to End Genocide and traveled to the Nuba Mountains in the Sudan to hear the stories of people who were in extreme danger from air strikes. The memory of the Darfur tragedy was uppermost in his mind where 300,000 people perished. Not only did he listen, but he testified before a US Senate Committee. He was arrested a few days later for civil disobedience outside the Sudanese Embassy along with Martin Luther King III and his father Nick Clooney.

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3. They fight for human rights

There are many charities which are working to improve women’s rights and give them access to  free contraception which is a basic human right.  Melinda Gates (co- founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is leading a campaign to do just this in addition to the AIDS, hunger, peace, water, environment and homelessness charities they support.  Although Melinda is a practicing Catholic, this has not deterred her in trying to help women gain access to contraceptives in the fight against AIDS.

“From those who are given great resources, great things are expected.”-  Elaine French (Melinda’s mother, at their wedding ceremony)

4. They give in-kind

Tom Cruise is famous for dramatically saving people in his films. But, did you know that in real life he has given in-kind by intervening to save people in distress?  Once, when he was relaxing on his yacht, he saw another boat nearby in flames. He went to rescue them immediately. On another occasion, he was the witness of a hit and run accident. He not only stayed with the injured person but footed the $7,000 bill when he discovered the victim had no insurance.

5. They give time

The British comedian Russell Brand (Kate Perry’s ex husband) spends quite a bit of his spare time with the homeless and the down and outs. He is famous for inviting these guys to dinner and he is a great listener and gives up his time willingly to hear what they have to say. Quite a few of them claim to be Jesus, though!

6. They make themselves available

Roger Moore who is now 87, was famous for his James Bond role in the 007 films. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his charity work. He has made every effort to remind politicians and statesman of the importance of the UNICEF’s ‘Rights of the Child’.

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“You have to remind governments of that, and I make a nuisance myself in that respect.”- Roger Moore

He has espoused another cause in trying to ban the sale of  fois gras in the UK because of the force feeding of the ducks and geese.  He personally wrote to every Member of Parliament in the House of Commons to get their help. Instead of just writing a cheque, Roger Moore offered his time and effort for very worthy causes.

7. They give space

Whether it is online space, advertising space or office space, celebrities give willingly to help charities. It has been estimated that when a celebrity endorses a charity, people tend to give 1.4 percent more and that can add up to an extra $100,000 a year.

Talking of space, did you know that the passenger list for the Virgin Galactic space trip includes such prestigious names as Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber? The cost of the flight is a mere $250,000. Test flights have been successfully completed and the first actual flights will take place in 2014, according to Sir Richard Branson.

8. They take an interest in the needy

“People chase money and forget that time is our most precious resource.” – Andre Agassi

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Andre Agassi, the former tennis champion, is an excellent example of how he dedicated time and energy to founding a different type of school where at risk kids could reach their full potential.  The school is in southern Nevada. It is completely free and kids are selected by lottery. There is a lot of emphasis on character building and self-esteem. The school has already won an ‘exemplary ‘award from the Nevada Department of Education.

“Tennis was a stepping-stone for me. Changing a child’s life is what I always wanted to do”- Andre Agassi

9. They use life’s lessons as an inspiration for their generosity

When Mariah Carey discovered that her sister was HIV positive, she became more aware of the needs of sick and disadvantaged children. Her Fresh Air Fund was set up to give the kids from the toughest New York neighbourhoods a chance of a free holiday. Over 300 children benefit each year.

In the other children’s projects she has promoted, there is an emphasis on empowerment and career guidance.

“If you see me as just the princess then you misunderstand who I am and what I have been through.”- Mariah Carey.

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10. They are compassionate

Johnny Depp is involved in many charities connected with children too. He was particularly moved when he heard the story of Sophie Wilkinson who was in a coma after a car crash. As she was coming out of her coma, doctors recommended getting taped voices issuing commands which they drew up. All the better if it was a voice of someone she recognized and admired. As Sophie had been a great fan of Johnny’s, he stepped up to the plate and sent a load of recordings. He used the voice he had as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. This was the beginning of Sophie’s Gift which was set up with Johnny and other famous celebrities such as Richard Hammond and Sharon Osbourne to help other people in coma to wake up.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” – Johnny Depp

So, celebrities are doing a lot more than signing cheques and presiding at glamorous events. Help to publicize their generosity in doing good deeds by sharing this post on the social networks.

Featured photo credit: Johnny Depp/Andy Templeton via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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