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11 Things You Are Doing That Will Always Make You Fail

11 Things You Are Doing That Will Always Make You Fail

Success. What does that word mean to you? Does it mean a high-powered career, tons of money in your bank account, traveling the world, and a huge home? Unfortunately, that’s how many people in the world measure it. However, I prefer to define success as ‘happiness.’ But in order to be successful (in my case, happy), you need to examine your habits so you can uncover and remove the ones that might be sabotaging your journey toward success. Here are 11 things that will always make you fail:

1. You don’t value yourself.

Many people have a low sense of self-worth. They think they are ‘less than’ other people. Well, that is hogwash! Everyone is valuable and perfect in their own way. We all have unique gifts to offer the world. If you don’t value yourself and your talents, then you won’t be able to offer them to the world. Love yourself. You’re awesome. Don’t ever forget it.

2. You don’t have self-discipline.

Hey, it’s great if you have a dream. Fantastic. Congratulations! But wait. You’re watching reality TV? You’re on social media for most the day? You’re texting and surfing the internet constantly? Well, that won’t make your dream a reality. You need to take consistent action in the same direction in order to achieve your goals. And that requires self-discipline. If human beings want something badly enough, they will find a way. If they don’t, then they will find excuses.

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3. You chase perfection.

There is no such thing as perfection. It’s a myth. It’s subjective. What’s ‘perfect’ to me is not perfect to you. And neither one of us is wrong. We’re both right. So stop chasing this idea of perfection. Instead, start chasing the idea of being happy. If you are chasing something unattainable like perfection, then in your mind, you will never be happy or successful.

4. You have negative self-talk.

This one is probably the worst one of all. Your outer world starts with your inner world. And your inner world is mainly your self-talk. If you hear yourself saying things like: “I can’t do that,” “That could never happen,” “I’ll never make that much money,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m not a lucky person” – and the list goes on – then monitor your self-talk. Change the negative talk into positive talk.

5. You blame other people for your circumstances.

Personal responsibility seems to be a lost art these days. If you are the kind of person who is always blaming other people for your lack of success, then you need to stop doing that. Instead, look in the mirror. That person looking back at you is the only one who can make you succeed or fail. You have the power to change your life – even if it’s just your attitude. Granted, I know many, many people in the world live in dire circumstances. But if you point the finger at other people and blame them for your problems, then you are doing yourself no good. So take personal responsibility. Actually, it’s the only thing you can do. No one can change your life but you.

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6. You need the approval of other people.

Sure, we all want others to like us and approve of what we are doing. But as long as you aren’t killing anyone, committing another major crime, or hurting people, it’s really no one else’s business what you do with your life. Do what feels right to you. Listen to your own inner voice. Don’t let the opinions of other people drown out your intuition. Follow your gut. It’s never wrong.

7. You don’t take risks because you are afraid of making mistakes.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No guts, no glory. I am sure you’ve heard those statements before. But does the thought of taking a risk or making a mistake leave you so paralyzed that you end up doing nothing? Remember, if you haven’t tried, then you have already failed.

8. You stay in relationships that obviously aren’t healthy.

We teach other people how to treat us. And if you value yourself (see point 1), then you won’t tolerate bad behavior from other people. Sometimes people stay in toxic relationships because they are afraid of being alone – or for endless other reasons. But remember, you are who you surround yourself with. Birds of a feather flock together. If you’re not surrounding yourself with emotionally healthy people, then how can you be emotionally healthy yourself?

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9. You spend money foolishly.

One of the problems many people have is impulse buying. Or not saving money. Or not budgeting their money. I could list many, many more. But if you are blowing your money on things you don’t need (remember there is a difference between a need and a want), then you are throwing away your future. You’re burning your nest egg. Or your retirement. Or the money you could use to follow your dreams. Think about that the next time you want to buy something that you know you shouldn’t.

10. You waste time instead of educating yourself.

As I said in point 2 (self-discipline), if you are wasting your time doing things that you might think are fun but really contribute nothing positive to your life or your future, then you are setting yourself up to fail. Instead, read books. Figure out the best way to make a move towards a better future. Without this, you might as well kiss your dreams goodbye.

11. You want to follow your dreams, but you don’t make a plan.

If you want to go to Europe on vacation but you don’t buy an airline ticket or book a hotel, then you’re not going to get very far! Making your dreams come true is no different. That’s great that you have a passion for something, but if you don’t have step-by-step plan for how to get there, then don’t even bother starting. Because if you did start, you would probably just wander aimlessly and never get where you want to go.

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You can’t change what you don’t recognize. But here’s the good news: you can change what you do recognize. Success starts with self-awareness and action. So if you saw yourself in any of these eleven things, then make some changes today.

Cheers! To your success!

Featured photo credit: Pic Jumbo via picjumbo.com

More by this author

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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