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12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s

12 No Regrets Mistakes Everyone Should Make in Their 20s
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Regardless of what society would have you believe, your 20s are the best years to make mistakes. You should have no regrets making mistakes now, because every mistake can be a learning experience. With fewer responsibilities in your 20s, you are also in a unique position to more easily start over. Failures and missteps are often crucial in finding what works for you, so don’t fret, especially if you’re in the middle of the following 12 key learning experiences.

1. Get too drunk

Feel no regrets if you have too many one night; your twenties are when you should learn your limits. Sure, you might act a little foolish, but wouldn’t you rather figure out where your line is with friends now, rather than with business associates later? That being said, absolutely make sure you have a safe way home, or a sober friend along with you for the night. Safety is a crucial quality in keeping a fun night fun. Additionally, our bodies recover better from all types of wear and tear when we’re young, so you’ll feel less destroyed than you will if you party later in life.

2. Sleep with the wrong people

As dead end as it sounds, sleeping with the wrong people should give you no regrets. There’s nothing wrong with a few bad one-night stands, especially when you’re figuring out the world in your twenties. First off, you have a clearer picture of what to look for when you’re with someone who just doesn’t fit. Plus, you’ll start to figure out what type of person you are in bed, and what will make you satisfied. While a strong emotional bond is absolutely key in relationships, complimentary qualities in your sex life are crucial too. It’s completely normal to learn things by trial and error in other areas in life, so have no regrets if your sex life is the same.

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3. Trust the wrong person

Similar to learning what you don’t need in bed, it’s okay to find out who you don’t need as friends too. Trusting the wrong person will undoubtedly hurt, but you will be more alert to red flags when making friends in the future. It’s particularly useful to find out how to spot a snake in the grass now, since you’ll likely have a lot more at stake, personally and professionally, in your 30s and 40s.

4. Let go with no regrets

It is okay to feel heartbroken over letting someone, or something, go in your twenties. Invariably, you will grow in different directions than those around you in life. Learning how to let things go with grace now will be an invaluable tool for adult life. Whether the loss is sudden or expected, it’s important to know how to move on.

5. Cut off friendships

In a world of ever-increasing connectivity, it can be tempting to keep up with every acquaintance you’ve ever met. However, if other people are taking too much time away from your life, there’s no need to feel bad about trimming your social circle. It’s natural to grow in different directions from your friends, especially those you knew when you were much younger. Streamlining your social life can do a lot for making you more productive and focused, and shouldn’t be seen as self-centered. Your life is yours, and it’s important to have people around you that contribute to your goals, not take time away from them.

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6. Pursue the wrong long-term relationship

Just as important as learning how to let things go is learning how to let people in. Even if your first few long-term relationships don’t lead to a lifetime together, loving and committing to someone else can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you can learn to love and trust other people now, you’ll be more confident, and selfless, in your relationship when you find the one. 

7. Spend money on experiences

We all know we should save every penny, but don’t underestimate the value of splurging on experiences while you’re young. Certainly balance your spending with responsible money management, but spending on a once in a lifetime experience now is irreplaceable. Even if your goals include higher income in the future, you never know what responsibilities will come with it. Traveling and seeking new experiences will teach you valuable lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life, even if others are critical of your spending.

8. Experience failure

In your twenties, you have less responsibility than you’re likely to have in the rest of your life. Among many other reasons, that makes your twenties the ideal time to experiment. Follow ideas or pursuits that might fail, even if you’re scared. In failure, we learn innumerable important lessons. Plus you never feel quite as vulnerable afterwards. By failing now, you’ll lose less than if you crash and burn later in life. If you’re struggling with failure now, try to be excited: you are setting yourself up to be more skilled, and more able to manage risk in the future.

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9. Pursue a passion in place of work

Everyone should have the experience of doing what they love. You never know what the future holds, so seize the day now. Regardless of whether it’s a hobby or professional venture, following your passion can lead to incredible places. You might not have the freedom to pursue anything you choose later, so have no regrets following what you love now. Even if friends and colleagues are immediately pursuing professional options, there is no rule for when you must begin your career. Following a passion over financial gain should give you no regrets.

10. Sleep too much

Again, you never know what the future holds. Whether it’s a demanding career, kids, or multiple jobs, you have the rest of your life to lose sleep over responsibilities. Let yourself feel no regret over days when you sleep a lot in your 20s. Sleep is essential in performing well, plus you’re likely to have more demands on your time during your 30s and 40s. Enjoy the reprieve now–there’s no shame in taking time to relax.

11. Take a horrible job

Much like dating the wrong person will better inform you on who you’re looking for, taking the wrong job will give you a better view on what you want to do. Working the wrong job should give you no regrets, especially if you’re someone who isn’t sure what career to pursue. Being unhappy with your work will give you motivation to look elsewhere. It may also help reveal what you do like. Instead of regretting your decision to take the job, use the time to consider exactly what makes it so horrible so you know what to look for next time.

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12. Follow someone else’s dream

Following the wrong dream can reveal a lot about yourself. Not only will following the wrong dream better show you what you want, you are better able to cut and run in your twenties. If you don’t learn what the wrong dream looks like now, you might fall into the wrong life plan when you’re older–and in less of a position to start over. Have no regrets over taking a wrong turn now, as you’ll be more able to find the right road, and be content later.

Featured photo credit: university student group/www.audio-luci-store.it via flickr.com

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Alicia Prince

A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

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

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