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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
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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 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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