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10 Ways to Think Like A Wise Person

10 Ways to Think Like A Wise Person

You don’t have to be Gandhi or Mother Theresa to think wisely. We can all tap in to that place within ourselves if we try. Being wise can save us a lot of heartache and negativity in our lives. And who wouldn’t want that? Here are 10 ways you can think like a wise person:

1. Think before you speak.

Like you haven’t heard that one before! I’m sure most of our parents told us that when we were children. It’s something you probably know you should do, but may find difficult. One of the principles of communication is that “Once you say it, you can’t take it back.” Sure, you can try. But whether the other person will believe you is another story. So before you open your mouth to say something, make sure it’s something you would be proud to post everywhere on social media. If it’s something you might regret later, then maybe it’s better if you kept it to yourself.

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2. Realize there is never a ‘right time.’

“When I get a better job,” or, “When I graduate,” or, “When the kids are grown.” These are all common statements that are probably uttered by millions of people every day. But you will always be able to rationalize why it’s not the ‘right time.’ There is no time like the present. So, the best time to do anything is now. Take that first step toward your goal. Waiting will only make you older, not wiser.

3. Balance self-interest with the collective good.

In relationships, there should be a balance between “self” and “other.” I view it as a continuum. At one end of the spectrum you have the very selfish people. At the other end you have the selfless people. And most of us are somewhere in between. Yes, you should care about your own needs. But you should also care about other people’s needs too. It’s a balancing act that can be achieved if you try hard enough.

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4. Put things in perspective before you jump to conclusions.

Emotions always run high when people are upset. While it’s natural to do that, problems can occur when you engage in conflict with another person before you calm down. As I said in point 1, you need to think before you speak. But if you’re too caught up in your anger, you’re not going to think clearly. So take some time to calm down, put everything into perspective, and then review the facts not assumptions when you can think more logically.

5. Don’t blindly accept the status quo.

Just because everyone does something doesn’t mean you have to. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the “bandwagon” effect. It’s the phenomenon that occurs when people act like lemmings and blindly follow the crowd. Instead, if you want to think like a wise person, step back from the crowd and observe. Ask why they are doing this. And ask yourself if you truly want to do it – or even if it’s advisable to do so. Many times it’s not. Bottom line: think for yourself.

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6. Keep your power – don’t let other people’s negativity upset you.

Wise people realize that they are always in control of their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Most people let others’ behavior affect them negatively. As a result, they let that negativity permeate their lives and make them miserable. Instead, let their bad behavior roll off your shoulders. If you get angry, then they have won. Own your power and keep your happiness by not allowing them to change you for the worse.

7. Don’t act impulsively – have a purpose and a goal.

Being spontaneous can be fun … if you’re going on vacation or playing hooky from work one day. (Not that I’m suggesting you do that!) But in life, acting on impulse can lead to regrets. If you don’t take the time to think things through, you might create problems. Wise people use a combination of their logic and intuition to come up with the best decisions possible.

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8. Accept other people for who they are.

Let’s face it, most people try to change others. Why do we do that? It’s really pointless. I admit there was a time in my life when I tried to change others, too. But it doesn’t work! People are who they are. If you don’t like them, then you have the choice to leave the relationship, spend less time with them, or change your attitude. Accept who they are. You want to be accepted for who you are, right? Well, then live by the Golden Rule and give others the same respect.

9. The cover may be pretty, but the book might not be.

What I mean by this is that the “outer person” may not be the same as the “inner person.” Wise people don’t get blinded by charm, personality, or looks right away. Conversely, they are also not turned off by anyone who is not beautiful or charming on first impression, either. In other words, they take the time to get to know people and judge them on their inner self, not who they appear to be. Trust me, there can be a huge difference!

10. Don’t judge others – try to understand them instead.

Above all else, truly wise people don’t judge. They practice empathy. Empathy is truly putting yourself in another person’s shoes and trying to see the situation from their point of view. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them. But it does mean that you need to recognize the fact that “perception is reality.” Thinking like a wise person might seem difficult. However, all you need to do is train your mind and control your emotions. Easier said than done for many people, but it is possible to think wisely with practice. The more wise we all become, the happier the world will be!

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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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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