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13 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Life Extraordinary

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13 Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Life Extraordinary

Have you ever noticed how some people seem to get ahead in life easily and effortlessly no matter what is going on around them? These people are amazing entrepreneurs, artists, innovators, leaders and even motivators. What is more interesting is that they are often not the most talented, hard working or smart people around. Yet, somehow, they achieve much more than the rest of us. What is it that makes their life so extraordinary? How can someone’s life even be extraordinary all the time?

Khalil Gibran says, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” The key to success isn’t complex. Rather, it is the cumulative effect of simple daily habits that bring success. If you are ready to live a truly extraordinary, you should follow the example of extraordinary people and do those simple things that perpetuate success and help make your own life extraordinary.

1. You must be more confident.

Do away with shyness. You are an extraordinary person and you should know that. Confident people have a marked assurance about them that just gives them an edge. Understand your own competences and the value you provide. Be at ease with who you are in full knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses. Act in ways that convey that understanding to others without being arrogant to display confidence. Also, work out, dress better and use power poses like standing with arms outstretched to boost your confidence and appreciate yourself more. These are signs of confidence.

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2. You need to watch who you allow into your life.

Pay attention to who you allow into your life. Your energy levels grow or diminish based on what you are doing, who you are doing it with and or who you are surrounded with. If the people you allow into your life or surround yourself with zap your energy, deplete it and leave you exhausted, remove them from your life. However, if the people you allow into your life energize you and make you feel fired up and ready to go, cherish them and tap into their positive vibe to achieve more and live happier.

3. You must tell the truth.

The truth can be scary and difficult. But, when you tell the truth you not only set yourself apart from the majority, but also set yourself free to live without worry of contradicting yourself. You don’t have to remember what you said to whom. You earn a reputation as an honest person and people pick up on that and follow your example. They become more truthful to you. Start telling the truth today and never stop. Tell the truth to yourself and to others. Tell the truth when it is easy to do so and when it is not. Tell the truth to underscore you are serious about living an honest, extraordinary life.

4. You should practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is about paying attention and staying aware of the world around you. In our fast-paced life, more people need to stop rushing through life, multi-tasking and start paying attention and noticing the world around us. Just slow down and appreciate your immediate surroundings. Focus on your responsibilities and experiences and respond to them with an objective, compassionate and non-judgmental attitude. You will find mindfulness helps you better respond to all of life’s experiences with calmness, sobriety and hope, even when those experiences are painful.

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5. You need to allow change.

Change is inevitable. From the day you are born to the day you die, you will encounter change severally. People marry, switch careers, re-locate to another city and even move overseas in the course of time. Give yourself permission to feel all of the emotions that come along with change. Deal with any signs of resistance that threaten to obstruct or hinder your progress, such as foot-dragging and inertia. Keep in mind the wise words of Anatole France, “…we must die to one life before we can enter another.”

6. You should smile and laugh more.

This is probably the simplest and easiest one to add into your life right now. Truly extraordinary people seem so happy because they chose to be. They are optimists. They focus on the brighter side of life instead of wallowing in the negatives of life. Recognize that a well-led life is full of humor and humor is the flipside of tragedy. Laugh and smile more in life. Laughter not only makes you look younger and more attractive, but also has numerous health benefits like lowering your stress levels. Besides, smiling and laughter is contagious. It infects others and makes their lives brighter too.

7. You must forgive and move forward.

We have all been hurt or offended at some point and will be hurt and offended in the future. Learn to forgive whenever you are hurt, otherwise the weight of unforgiveness will weigh you down. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting what happened. It also does not mean the other person will change her behavior. Rather, it means letting go of the anger and recognizing there is no point in allowing resentment to dominate your life. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Let go and move forward. Start from a clean slate and you will enjoy a truly happy and extraordinary life.

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8. You must love what you do.

“Do what you love; Love what you do.” That was the unofficial work mantra of Steve Jobs. He preached and advocated love for your job passionately, attributing it in part to his success. He is quoted saying, “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.” If you can’t find what you love, at least start loving what you do. Focus on the little good things about your job like your workmates and do your best every time. You just might leave a notable mark in this world.

9. You need to seek help and guidance.

Nobody knows everything, which means you can’t do everything completely on your own. The sooner you learn this, the better. You will need help, advice, support and guidance along the way. People who lead extraordinary lives understand this fact and are not afraid to seek help. They are keen on learning new things and know seeking help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of respect for other people’s skills and knowledge. Ask for help, advice or other information respectfully whenever you need it. Make sure you express your gratitude afterwards. You will be better off after it.

10. You need to sleep enough.

You don’t need to work extra hard to lead a happy, successful life. Instead, you can just work smarter. That includes sleeping enough to give your body and mind enough time to rest and recover so that both can function optimally. Get enough sleep each night—seven to eight hours, at least. You will wake up the next day refreshed, energized and ready for the day ahead. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re killing your productivity, killing brain cells and killing your chances of success without even knowing it.

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11. You need to show unexpected kindness.

A simple act of kindness (even to an animal) is a powerful force that can dramatically alter anyone’s perception and experience in life. Show kindness without expecting anything in return. Acts of kindness prove you care. When you care, people notice. And, when people notice, it is an opportunity to make a positive difference in this world that is mad-dogged with intolerance, impatience and aggression.

12. You should give genuine feedback and compliments.

Give genuine feedback and compliments to others, even those you only interact in passing. Express your sincere appreciation for what they do. This simple habit has a ripple effect that opens doors for you to receive similar feedback, which helps you know how you are doing in your own life and areas you can improve. People instantly like those who like them and genuinely want to help and support them. Words like “thank you” and “good job,” therefore, can pay you back tenfold.

13. You must have fun.

Just have fun, generally. Learn from Sir Richard Branson who believes that if you have fun and do good then success will come. We are only human. You need time off, fun and excitement in your life to blow off some steam and stir up your creative mind. Besides, success is not an overnight thing. You might as well enjoy your way to where you want to be.

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Featured photo credit: Adib Roy via flickr.com

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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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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