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11 Quotes From Alan Watts That Will Change Your Life.

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11 Quotes From Alan Watts That Will Change Your Life.

Alan Watts is considered as the foremost interpreter of Eastern disciplines for the contemporary West. He had an astonishing and an indescribable way of writing the unwritable.

Among all the qualities of this great orator and writer, he had an unique gift of expressing complex thoughts in the form of simple and illustrated thoughts. The simple way he exemplified and expressed all his reflections made him and universal philosopher, someone that could be comprehended by the vast majority of the people. Let’s see some of Alan Watts’ magic and awakening quotes.

1. “Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” – Alan Watts.

It is no news that we humans take things too seriously. We over think to the point where we become anxious. We over analyze and overvalue things to the point of depression.

If there was something that Mr.Watts wanted us to do is to enjoy life and live it as a joyous dance. We are a tiny spot in an enormous, out-of-our-eyes universe, no need to take things too seriously! Go out and enjoy this beautiful experience!

2. “Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone.” – Alan Watts.

This quote makes reference to the reverse effort principle. What Mr.Watts simply wants to say is to don’t force things, don’t create tension. Sometimes things work out better if we let them flow and simply “happen”.

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Just as floating in the water, it is not about the effort we put into floating but about letting go! Flow as water!

3. “To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float.” – Alan Watts.

This quote does much reference to the former one. Trust, as some people wrongly conceive, is not about holding on to things or people, it is about letting go and having faith in the process.

In life, we can’t hold on to fears, over constructed thoughts, or plans. Any of this security searching habits and trust habits will only impede us from moving forward and really enjoying life. Let go and trust the waters!

4.“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.” – Alan Watts.

A common seen reflection in the Eastern philosophies is the thought that life’s essence is the impermanence we find in it, something which is certainly true. Life is all about the process between life and death, creation and destruction, change.

Everything changes every moment. Cells multiply, plants grow, universe expands. Everything which is alive will be in constant motion, and this is the beauty of life. It is always passionate to change and it always brings something new to us! We have to acknowledge this as our nature, for it is!

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5. “Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts.

Mr. Watts made a lot of emphasis on the inefficient word system we use. Words exist thanks to a contrast with other words. Right exists because there is wrong to contrast with.

Alan Watts saw this system of naming meaningless, for there is no bad or good, negative or positive. Ultimately everything is the same, just a different side of the same coin. To live life fully and with no restrictions, we have to acknowledge that any experience is just an experience and a learning process. If we constantly oppose to one side of the coin we will never see life as it really is, a color pallet with many different colors and shades.

6. “No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.” – Alan Watts.

Rigidity is just a synonym of boring, unnatural and narrow vision. In life it is essential to flow as water, this is why so many Eastern philosophers refer to water as a great teacher.

Life is wiggly and spontaneous, being rigid in life will only lead us to a boring, narrow path in life. We won’t enjoy fully and at the end of the curse we will notice that we have wasted all of our time. Be like water!

7. “We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree.” – Alan Watts.

One of the greatest problems of society that Alan Watts pointed out is the intense separation between man and nature. Human beings tend to see themselves as aliens that came to Earth.

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We have a constant will to change, destroy and manipulate nature. We, forgetting that we are also nature, are subjects to all the consequences of our acts. Global warming, total destruction of our resources, water pollution… There will arrive the moment were all of us notice that we are connected to this world and universe, just as the roots of a tree are connected to earth. We can’t keep going like this! Earth dies, we die!

8. “Without birth and death, and without the perpetual transmutation of all the forms of life, the world would be static, rhythm-less, undancing, mummified.” – Alan Watts.

Doubtlessly, what makes this world a beautiful experience is, the impermanence and mutability of all things. This world will always have a mysterious and unpredictable way of flow.

Everything is changing and it is necessary that we acknowledge that and live with it. We are organic to this world, an so, we are submit to change too. We cant oppose to our nature, we have to admit and flow with this beautiful dance.

9. “Only words and conventions can isolate us from the entirely undefinable something which is everything.” – Alan Watts.

Alan Watts held a firm point of view were he saw all life as something undefinable and with a sole purpose of experiencing it. He always said that this universe cant be defined by worlds and that the harder we try to do this the more we separate from the real experience.

To live this experience we have to see the object that we point at with our finger, not our finger. In other words, we have to live each experience and not try to define it!

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10. “…tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.” – Alan Watts.

Alan Watts was clearly a follower of an Eastern philosophy type of view. Something that any Eastern philosophy pushed on was the fact of living in the present.

It is more than true that only by living in the present we really enjoy all the pleasures of live, and more so, we eliminate any fear of the future, anxiety or depression. Making plans for the future is only useful for those who know how to enjoy this future when it arrives. It is useless to live for a future when we don’t live it when it arrives. Learn to enjoy the now and you will be able to enjoy everything else that comes at you!

11. “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way” – Alan Watts.

All problems have a solution, problems are soluble in solutions, and solutions are inexhaustible. We have powerful minds which work by creativity and logic, we certainly have the power to create solutions.

Alan Watts, with his positive mindset, had a great ability to pose problems and find their solutions. We all can do this, it takes breathing, calming down and concentrating! Sometimes it is all about how we approach the problem!

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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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