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13 Signs You’re Wasting Life But You Can’t Admit It

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13 Signs You’re Wasting Life But You Can’t Admit It

When you were a kid, did you want to grow up to be an astronaut, a singer or an engineer? If so, how’s that working out for you? Hopefully, it’s going great and you are living the life of your dreams. But for the rest of you who are not, here are 13 signs that you might be wasting your life… but you don’t want to admit it:

1. You spend too much time doing things you shouldn’t be doing.

Video games. Reality TV. Surfing the ‘net. Stuffing your face with too much food. Drinking too much. And the list goes on. Take a serious look at your life. Where are you spending the majority of your time? And does it serve you well? Is it leading to a better life? Is it laying the foundation for a bright future? If not, then you need to reevaluate your routine activities and make changes.

2. You find yourself complaining a lot.

I know people who are constantly overwhelmed with life, and they never cease to tell me. Are you one of those people? Do you complain about your job, your boss, your salary, your neighbors or your spouse? If you do, then you are doing nothing but exuding negative energy. Negativity doesn’t change things. It keeps you stuck. So change your thoughts and talk about what you appreciate about your life, not what you don’t like.

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3. You don’t feed your mind.

If you’re not continually growing and learning as a person, then you are stagnant – just like a still pond that doesn’t move and grows green gunk on it. That’s what your mind does if you don’t keep it active and learn new things. Positive challenges in your life will expand your mind, not send it backwards.

4. You have a lot of negative self-talk.

Self-talk can make or break your life. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t… either way, you’re right.” If you tell yourself that you’re not smart enough to get that promotion or start a business, then you’re right. If you tell yourself you’re too exhausted to put effort into changing your life, then you’re right. Whatever you tell yourself becomes your reality. So closely monitor what you say to yourself, because you will find that your life matches your thoughts.

5. You feel uninspired.

Do you have a passion for anything? I know a lot of people who think they don’t have a passion. But that’s never the case. There has to be something that you enjoy doing. So you need to rediscover what excites you, and then do more of it.

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6. You don’t plan for your future.

While it’s always great to live in the “now” and “be in the moment,” sometimes you need to look ahead to see where you want to go. If you don’t have a goal or a plan, then you are like a boat that is wandering aimlessly in the ocean hoping to end up somewhere good. But you can’t do that. You have to make a step-by-step guide to get where you want to go. Just like a GPS gets you to a destination, you need your own inner GPS to guide you.

7. You spend too much time with people who don’t contribute to your growth.

It’s easy to get stuck hanging out with people who are not making you feel like a better person. But if you keep doing that, then you will stay stagnant or get pulled down with them. I like to call them “Energy Vampires.” They suck the life out of you and give you nothing positive in return. Instead, go find growth-oriented people to be around.

8. You’re addicted to your phone.

Sure, cell phones are super cool gadgets that can leave us entranced when we use them. While that’s fun, think about all the time you are wasting with your phone. Even worse, think about all the relationships that might be affected. Maybe you’re texting or searching the internet while you’re having dinner with your spouse or kids. If you are, you’re missing out on meaningful time you can spend with your loved ones – or time you could devote to making a plan for your future.

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9. You spend money on things that don’t matter.

There is a difference between a “need” and a “want.” I’m sure we all learned that in kindergarten. However, in today’s society, we have blurred the lines quite a bit (see #8… the cell phone). In fact, I know people who can’t pay their mortgage, but still have the fanciest gadgets on the planet. If you stop to think about it, there is very little that we actually need. Food, water, shelter and love are some of those things. All the rest are just bonuses. So look at what you’re spending your money on and see if you can make adjustments. Maybe you can use the money you save to invest in your future.

10. You don’t get enough sleep.

I’m not a medical doctor, but I have read enough books to know how vitally important sleep is. I could write 20 pages on it. But I obviously don’t have enough room in this short article. Sleep is crucial for good health. If you’re too busy to get enough sleep or if you simply have a bad habit of staying up until the wee hours of the morning, you should re-evaluate your habits.

11. You’re not taking care of your body.

Not only is sleep essential to your health, so is food and exercise. I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But eating a balanced, healthy diet and moving your body around truly does have more positive effects other than weight loss. It affects your mental attitude and overall well-being. So take a look at your diet and level of activity. You might find that making a few small changes will greatly improve your life.

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12. You don’t leave your comfort zone.

I know how easy it is to live in a comfort zone. In fact, when I go to a familiar restaurant, I always order the same thing. Not because I’m afraid to try something new, but because I like the food I normally order. But that’s not the kind of comfort zone I’m talking about. I’m talking about taking a risk that will improve your life. And keep in mind, there is a difference between a “risk” and a “calculated risk.” Any risk has the possibility to be deadly, but a calculated risk is one in which you’ve weighed all options and thus come up with a good, sensible plan of action.

13. You’re living a life you don’t like.

The way I measure success is by someone’s level of happiness. Are you happy? If not, then you should change something! Even a feeling of contentment or satisfaction doesn’t tell you that you’re living life to the fullest. Life should be exciting! So if you’re not enjoying life, take a look at some of the changes you can make to get you to a better place.

If any of these 13 points sounded like you, don’t despair. You can make changes. But the first change you need to make is getting rid of the idea that you can’t do it. Many times, your biggest obstacle is your own thought process. So start there. Change your thinking – then change your life!

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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 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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