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11 Ted Talks To Inspire You To Change The World

11 Ted Talks To Inspire You To Change The World

Each one of us can do something to change the world. But we all need to find our passion, a motivation inside of us to take us through the journey of making small but continuous changes. After watching these TED talks, you will feel inspired and ready to start thinking about how you can change the world.

1. Muhammad Yunus: A History of Microfinance

Takeaway: All human beings are entrepreneurs and work together to change our lives.

Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi civil society leader who has created a bank that does the opposite of conventional banks: Going to poor women, living in villages, dismissing guarantors, and being the only lawyer-free bank in the world. And it works.

This video is extremely insightful, giving ideas of how things can be done differently with social business. If you don’t have time to watch it all, just jump to 2:37 and watch up to 10:30 for great inspiration.

2. Sam Berns: My Philosophy for a Happy Life

Takeaway: Don’t let anything stop you from chasing your dreams.

Sam Berns is a highly inspirational 17-year-old guy whose disease (Progeria) hasn’t deterred him from chasing his dreams. He has a philosophy based on three simple and straight-forward beliefs. Watching this video will change the way you look at the world and will inspire you to follow his philosophy of life.

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If you don’t have time to watch the the whole thing, don’t miss it from minute 8 until the end.

3.  Artika Renee Tyner: Education for Social Change

Takeaway: What is in your hands to change the world?

Dr. Artika Renee Tyner is a passionate educator and advocate for justice. In her talk, she invites you to reimagine education focusing on leadership development and social justice advocacy. She shares her experience of transforming the classroom into a learning laboratory where students experiment by applying their technical training to address the social justice challenges of our time.

4. Leana Wen: What your doctor won’t disclose

Takeaway: Being totally transparent is scary, but that vulnerability can be an extraordinary benefit to the practice of medicine.

Doctor Leana Wen has found throughout her career uncountable situations where patients have been affected by their doctor’s conflict of interest. She decided to change the paradigms of medicine by making it more personal and transparent. In her talk, she tells her own inspirational story and how it has influenced her professional beliefs, helping her to change the way patients interact with their doctors and removing the fear and mistrust they had before.

5. Manu Prakash: A 50-cent microscope that folds like origami

Takeaway: Revolutionise healthcare in developing countries and turn almost anything into a fun, hands-on science experiment.

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Manu Prakash and his team have created a 50 cent microscope made of paper and extremely easy to fold and use. He wants to spread it out to all developing countries and talks about the connexion between hands-on science education and global health.

6. Jorge Soto: The future of early cancer detection?

Takeaway: The way we see cancer will radically change. We will be able to detect any type of cancer in its early stages.

Jorge Soto and a team of scientists have created a platform to try to tackle one of humanity’s toughest challenges. They believe that early cancer detention should be entirely possible.

“This is a single, non-invasive, accurate, and affordable test that has the potential to dramatically change how cancer’s procedures and their diagnostics have been done”. “You only need one milliliter of blood and a relatively simple array of tools.”

7. Anne Milgram: Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime

Takeaway: Data-driven decisions can make the public safer by improving the criminal justice system.

Anne Milgram passionately explains how she came up with an idea for a tool that would improve the criminal justice system in the US. She couldn’t find out some simple information: who was being arrested, who was being charged, and who was being put in jail. Her tool not only used data to work these things out, but also helps to forecast who will commit crime again.

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8. John Paul Flintoff: How to change the world

Takeaway: Making small changes in your own life will change the world.

John Paul Flintoff explains how making small but meaningful changes in our own lives will have an impact on other people’s lives and turn into a human butterfly effect. His talk will encourage you to stop thinking about the end result of the things you do and start thinking about the process. This way, you liberate yourself from the pressure and enjoy every step.  And small steps give you courage to move on to the next small step.

He also gives some inspirational examples of people he has interviewed and his own small steps towards changing the world to show how it doesn’t need to be something difficult.

9. JR: Use art to turn the world inside out

Takeaway: Art is not supposed to change the world, but it can change perceptions.

Do not miss this inspirational visual talk by street artist JR who has travelled the world spreading his passion for art and photography. He presents different projects in developing countries where he gets the communities involved and makes people’s stories travel with him.

10. Lee Mun Wah: The secret to changing the world

Takeaway: We are going to have to walk through our fears to see another world.

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Lee Mun Wah transmits calmness and security though his speech while driving you though his understanding of cross-cultural communication and awareness. The Chinese American filmmaker, educator, and therapist explains how the secret to changing the world is that “each and every one of us has to take the time to walk each other home.”

11. Willemijn Verloop: Changing the world through social entrepreneurship

Takeaway: You can contribute to changing the world if you dare to be a bit more unreasonable.

After watching this inspirational talk, you will understand how you can contribute to making a social change. You don’t need to start your own social enterprise, but you can commit to different causes as a customer, as an investor, or by helping to find new solutions. Stop being reasonable and start seeing opportunities instead of intangible problems.

Featured photo credit: World In Your Hands via stokpic.com

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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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