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11 Warning Signs That You’re Settling For Less In Life

11 Warning Signs That You’re Settling For Less In Life

Studies show that two-thirds of Americans are unhappy. That’s ridiculous. Whether you want to get out of a bad relationship, move across the country, start a business, dye your hair green or go to the moon, check this list for warning sings than you’re settling for less than you deserve.

1. You are always tired

If you get eight hours of sleep and are otherwise healthy, you shouldn’t be tired at one o’clock in the afternoon. Excitement about life gives you energy. If you get tired early in the day or have trouble getting out of bed, your life isn’t giving you the excitement and energy you need to make it through the day. You’re bored. Do something.

2. You keep saying “after”

You delay going after your dream until after this happens or after that happens because you are afraid you’re going to fail. You believe that if you don’t start, you can’t fail. That’s a great way to avoid failure, but a terrible way to live a satisfying life. The time is never going to be perfect. In fact, the timing probably will never even be good. Waiting for a time that is never going to arrive will keep you settling for less. Act now.

3. You blame other people

People do mean, harmful and illegal stuff all the time. But that’s not the reason you haven’t achieved what you want. Every successful person got dirt kicked in their face at some point — probably several times. They were successful anyway. Whether it’s someone who maliciously harmed you, the government, the economy or any other force, blaming them gives your power to them. Don’t do that. It’s like giving your opponent brass knuckles in a fight.

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4. You don’t think you can

Nobody who did anything ever said it was easy. It’s always hard and always worth it. Don’t mistake hard for impossible. When you catch yourself saying, “I can’t do that,” punch yourself in the face. Then ask yourself if you actually can’t do it or are just saying that because it’s hard. Do hard things.

5. You think a lot, but do little

You think a lot about what you want to achieve, but you take little or no action. You dream about it, but don’t do it. If you consistently think about something, you really need to do it. It’s stuck in your head for a reason. Nobody on their death bed ever said, “I’m really glad I thought about that thing my whole life but never did it.” Think less and do more.

6. You keep saying, “someday”

“Someday” is worse that “after.” You keep saying that you’ll pursue your dream someday. It really means “when some unknown thing happens, I’ll do that thing I really want to do. You’re punting life. Kick the ball as hard as you can.

7. You rip on successful people

You hate other people only because they have achieved something — their lifestyle, their money, their relationships. You think people who have succeeded are greedy, lucky or dishonest. This keep you settling for less, and puts up an artificial barrier to success. You are training your mind to believe the lie that success is for greedy, lucky and dishonest people. Since you are probably none of those things, your subconscious mind is learning that success is not for you. Celebrate other peoples success.

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8. You are playing small and you think it’s OK

You tell yourself that settling for less is OK. You make up silly excuses for why it’s OK to keep playing small. You believe that playing small is safer and more practical.

“So many of us choose our paths in life out of fear disguised as practicality”

Jim Carey

At the end of your life, do you want to reflect on how safely you played the game? Play the game to win. You might lose. Losing is part of winning.

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9. You read stuff like this

If you read about Kim Kardashian’s latest drama or other worthless celebrity gossip, you are settling for less. You only have 24 hours in each day and limited time on this earth. You might argue that you enjoy celebrity news or gossip, but is that what you most want to do? If there is nothing else you’d rather be doing, continue reading that stuff. If not, use that time to take steps toward your goal.

10. You are jealous

Everyone else seems to have a better life. They are happier, wealthier, have better relationships and are generally better off than you. You’re a little (maybe a lot) pissed about it. Take note of even the most subtle anger or negativity toward successful people. If you are pursuing life with everything you’ve got, you’ll be excited to celebrate the success of others.

11. Food, alcohol, or TV are the highlight of your day

You know what I’m talking about. All day long you’re thinking about that beer, glass of wine, burger, or the latest episode of Breaking Bad. There’s nothing wrong with any of those things unless they are consistently the highlight of your day. Unless a cheeseburger, beer and the latest episode of American Idol is all you want out of life, you are settling for less than you deserve. Go after something you really want.

Each of these is a result of fear. You believe that if you fail, your dream will die. Yet that dream is what keeps you going every day. You don’t have to accept failure as an option. You can keep going after your goal no matter what.

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“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
― Babe Ruth

The alternative is settling for less for the rest of your life. You deserve better. Take one step today.

Featured photo credit: photo credit: FatMandy via photopin via media.lifehack.org

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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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