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14 Harsh But Obvious Truths Most People Choose to Forget

14 Harsh But Obvious Truths Most People Choose to Forget
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Similar to success, the interpretation of happiness is unique to each individual’s heart and mind. Despite the wealth of studies conducted to investigate the concept of happiness and the individual factors that influence it, there is no single, accurate metric for which it can be effectively measured.

That being said, there are a number of harsh truths that people often overlook during the pursuit of happiness. This may be a conscious act of ignorance, since these austere facts of life challenge those who are indecisive or lacking in mental toughness. Recognizing these truths will actively empower you to achieve happiness, both in your professional and personal pursuits.

meaning of Life

    What are these truths and what benefits can you enjoy by recognizing and accepting them as fundamental aspects of life? Consider the following:

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    1. Life is Short and There’s More to be Embraced

    While there is evidence to suggest that the average life expectancy is continuing to rise even in developing economies, it’s a fundamental truth that the typical human existence is relatively short. Although this is not a positive thought, you should consider it as a reminder to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and live your life to the fullest.

    2. Failure is a Fundamental and Necessary Part of Life

    While none of us like to fail, this is unfortunately an inescapable and omni-present fact of life that must be accepted unequivocally. Even though you may fear failure, you cannot refuse to accept new challenges simply in an attempt to avoid feelings of disappointment. When you consider that failure is a necessary foundation on which success is often built, it is something that can be embraced and given positive associations.

    3. You Have a Lot to Learn Regardless of Your Age

    Whether you are a teenager, in the prime of life or approaching your retirement, you cannot deny that learning is a constant process that continues from birth until the day that you die. If you fail to absorb new information or methods of working as you continue to age, you will ultimately cease to evolve or advance in line with social progression.

    4. There are Always Factors That You Cannot Control

    The course of your life is influenced by a series of factors, from the people you meet, to your health, or the decision others make. Many of these factors will remain outside of your direct control, and it is important that you do not waste your time, talent and emotional energy attempting to influence them. Instead, you should focus solely on influencing the factors that you can control, such as prioritizing your goals and surrounding yourself with positive people throughout your lifetime.

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    5. Information Should Never be Confused with Knowledge

    While it is possible to spend the majority of your life absorbing data and acquiring information, this should never be confused with gaining knowledge. At best, attempting to read information and discussing theoretical ideals merely gives you a philosophical understanding of a particular subject. Experience and practical endeavors provide you with a satisfactory level of knowledge that can equip you to succeed in life.

    6. A Busy Life is Not Necessarily a Productive One

    If you ever hear people discussing the concept of a ‘busy fool,’ they are referring to individuals who invest vast amounts of time and energy into projects without achieving anything noteworthy. It is a sad truth that many of us mistake business for productivity, in the same way that some confuse an excess of physical endeavor with inspiration. Productivity relies on a more structured approach and the ability to schedule time in a sensible manner.

    7. You Cannot Achieve Success in Life Without Providing Value

    We have already discussed how the interpretation of success varies from person to person, but this does not mean that there are not fundamental rules that can help you to achieve your goals. It is important not to become preoccupied with a generic understanding of success, or simply aspire to become wealthy and famous without understanding how you intend to achieve these ambitions. You cannot be successful without first providing value, and this requires you to develop in-demand skills and apply them over a period of time.

    8. Understand the Clear Distinction Between Thinking and Doing

    Theory is a crucial aspect of social, scientific and technological advancement, and it has underpinned some of the most important developments since the dawn of the 21st century. The cultivation of such wisdom would mean little without the efforts of pragmatists, who are happy to stand on the shoulders of giants and use intellectual theory to create a practical application. This perfectly epitomizes the difference between thinking and doing, which is important to understand if you are to strike a productive balance in your own life.

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    9. The Past Can Never be Changed, Only Learned From

    Like failure, our past experiences are the building blocks that help structure our lives and determine all future successes. This should help you to cope with the fact that you will never be able to change your past or the impact that it has had on your life, regardless of your age or the outlook that you have on life. Instead, what you can do is control how you react to past events and learn from them in a constructive and positive manner.

    10. You Must Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness

    While we all dream of finding love and settling down with a life-partner, there is always a risk that a romantic relationship can end acrimoniously and in heartbreak. This ending can occur because you have an unhealthy view of relationships, and place your heart and happiness in the hands of a loved one. This is extremely counter-productive, as you must assume responsibility for your own happiness and develop a sense of self-worth that enables you to approach relationships from a position of emotional security.

    11. There Will Always be People Who Do Not Like You

    On a similar note, this inflated sense of security can help you to deal with the fact that there will always be people who do not like you. If you pursue a path in life that encourages you to focus on being a people-pleaser who wishes to avoid conflict at all costs, you will ultimately become discontented and detached from your own goals. Instead, accept that you will never be everything to everyone and focus on being true to yourself in the pursuit of happiness.

    12. You Will Get Out of Life What You Put Into It

    Life is an exercise in establishing goals, pursuing them and generating some form of return for your efforts. A general rule is that you will get out of life what you are prepared to put into it, whether this relates to love, friendship or professional success. If you remain willing to invest time and effort into delivering value, you will surely secure success over a prolonged period of time.

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    13. Repeating the Same Activities Every Day Hinders Self-improvement

    While there may be staple features of your daily routine, the failure to embrace new lifestyle actions and broaden your range of activities will ultimately hinder self-improvement and personal development. Growth occurs as a result of change or evolution, while such an outlook also exposes you to new and exciting experiences. So although change for changes sake should be avoided, it should be considered as a viable option when necessary.

    14. Accept That Change is Intimidating and Will Likely Prompt Feelings of Fear

    Before you implement changes into your life, you may experience feelings of fear and genuine trepidation. This is because you are effectively embracing the unknown, which can trigger more significant changes in your life over a longer period of time. You will never be 100% prepared for change or new chapters in your life, which means that you must maintain a willingness to be bold and operate outside of your comfort zone during the pursuit of success.

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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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