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15 Life Lessons From This Famous Comedian – Russell Peters

15 Life Lessons From This Famous Comedian – Russell Peters

The other evening I was watching the Russell Peters’ show. A notorious live wire on stage, it is difficult not to get picked on by the naughty glint in his eyes. Having exploded in 2004 after some video clips from his performance went viral on the Internet, he amassed a large following of loyal fans soon after.

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to see the guy perform live until now, I enjoy him picking up the audiences from the TV here itself and smirk. I nonchalantly realized how the guy teaches us some simple lessons of life, the ones we know but forget due to the daily humdrum routine, the ones that are at play in our subconscious minds, the ones that we know but forget to remind ourselves.

The life lessons would make you emerge from the article not only a tad funnier but also sunnier and wiser.

1. Stereotypes are not so bad after all!

    You stand out by being you!

    Peters is notoriously known for utilizing the stereotypical traits of a certain origin and bashing it up humorously. In many of his shows he though clarifies that “I don’t make the stereotypes, I just see them”.

    A leaf to be taken out of this is to recognize the stereotypical trait that you possess as individuals or belong to a separate race and revel in it. Be it your accent as Indians, features  in case of  Chinese or Japanese or the way you speak Spanish being a Mexican. Smile as this stereotype of yours  sets you  apart from the crowd.

    2. Don’t get bullied.

      Say No to bullying.

       Peters was bullied in his school days in Canada and look at him now picking on everyone to get back. Well that was just for the laughs; Peters took up boxing lessons to actually combat the bullying that he faced! He says “Stand-up and boxing are very similar. You’re the only one out there, you’re going into a fight, and you’re going in with a game plan.”

      Similarly in life, don’t always give in to the pressure or stress induced by anything, be it people or situations.Of course it is going to be difficult and you will be hurt (“Somebody gonna get hurt a real bad”). Instead if life bullies you, give it back and be a bully to fight your problems. Always have a game plan ready to protect yourself.

      3. With confidence, you can be the undisputed king.

        Be Confident and meet life.

        Russell Peters oozes dollops of confidence when he is on stage. His body language speaks volumes of his confidence even when he is saying something objectionable. Such is the charm of the guy. But still he says “No matter where you are, the root of you is designed from a young age. So if my confidence was taken as a child, you can gain back a lot of the confidence, but that root of the cavity will still be there”.

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        Likewise in life get the confidence thing run in your veins. It’s OK to fall down at times and scathe your confidence as you will only emerge stronger ready to face the world again. They say even if you are wrong at times, say it unflinchingly, it would be turn out to be right somehow.

        4. Explore yourself before settling for something.

          Explore all the ways before choosing one.

          Peters in his “struggling” days had many roles before settling down as a stand-up comedian. He was a DJ and a hip hop junkie. He said “I’m a hip-hop junkie. I’ve been listening to the music for over 20 years”. “That’s very much shaped who I am and the way I think, how I look at things and how I dress, how I carry myself”. He also wrote a book and acted in few movies while having established himself to an extent.

          In life, sometimes we don’t know what we are passionate about. Or maybe we know the destination but can’t figure out which road to follow. At times like these, it’s OK to do what we feel is best at the moment. Travelling alone, choosing a different route to work or taking a break in a career are some of the ways to enrich your experience. Important thing is to love what we do and eventually we would find our own way.

          5. Having wanderlust makes you rich.

            Take back a little from every place you travel.

            “I am always amazed at how much people ‘get’ when I’m performing overseas”.

            Having said that wherever you go in life, take back a little from each place you have lived in. Exploring different places makes you richer. Give a little and get back even more.

             6. It’s OK to laugh at yourself.

              You can be funny, laugh it off!

              While not sparing anyone in the audience for their looks, race or accent, Peters doesn’t even mind making jokes about himself. He says “I’ve seen people laugh at every other group, but then clam up when it comes to their community. You can’t laugh at everyone else and then not laugh at yourself. You shouldn’t be at my show if you can’t laugh at yourself”.

              The best thing in life is to have a few laughs within. Remember and smile off those times, you have slipped accidentally and fell. The times that you made a fool of yourself by saying something stupid in public, the times when you dated somebody unworthy only to find that you are with an amazing person now. Smile and laugh at your past and even present faux paus and look ahead.

              7. Talking Dirty, Umm Really?

                Talking messy can be quite healthy.

                Peter’s tongue-in-the-cheek and use of some offensive lingo have had raised many raised eyebrows in the past. But the humor and the approach associated with the words and actions fades all the anticipated awkward moments. On using other people’s comedy ideas he says “It’s like wearing another man’s underwear. Why would you do that?”

                Although awkward, talking dirty is fun sometimes. Talking dirty or discussing something vulgar makes you connect with your friends and even can help your relationship grow stronger! Yes, this too has been scientifically proved. Your comfort level and rapport with the people around you too grows if you talk on topics such as sex or the lack of it. Simple it makes you comfortable in your own skin.

                8. Danger is everywhere, watch out!

                  Are you driving your work or is it driving you?

                  Peters is everywhere! You can’t possibly escape his omnipresence. One moment he is talking about his Dad and his funny encounters with him and the next moment, he picks up a Dad and his kid in the audience and takes a dig at them. Nothing ever escapes his observant eyes.

                  In short, life is like that. Be on your guard and stay vigilant while you are here. Danger in the form of an unproductive job, bad relationship, health problems, finances maybe lurking nearby and you would have dismissed them or busy making other plans. Only to be met with dire consequences at a later date! So watch out for the danger signs in your life.

                  9. Dare to be different.

                    Take up a job you love!

                    While choosing a career people are usually attracted to the conventional ones. Peters dared to be different and went where his heart took him. He says” I like the sound of laughter. I was the guy in the group of friends that would always make the friends laugh. And everyone was like, ‘You should do stand up,’ so I gave it a shot, and ta-da! They were right”.

                     It took him some time to reach where he is now. In midst of all the biggies of American comedian kings like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock, he carved a niche and has stood on his own.

                    10. It’s OK to make mistakes.

                      Learn from the tiny misgivings and forgive yourself.

                      Like any other person, Peters has made mistakes or should we say lessons? He himself refers to his rushed up marriage turned a quick divorce as one of them. I am not sure of the rest but surely he has emerged as stronger from his mistakes.

                      Everyone has done somethings in the past some of which we may not be so proud of or may have done those things back then in the heat of the moment. That’s perfectly ok and mistakes make you more human. Learning from them, bouncing back and putting them behind you is more vital.

                      11. Cross the cultural barrages.

                        Friend someone who does not share your first language.

                        “I’ve never had to change my act on my international shows; I just make sure that I’ve taken some time to get to know the people in those countries before I perform. That’s been really useful”.

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                         I don’t know how many feel the presence of a unity in diversity concept amid all the laugh riots and guffaws when Peters performs. Or the audience always consists of a mixed race of Americans, Indians, Chinese, Europeans, British, Spanish and of course Mexicans. What could be a better way to have all the people of different origins sit back and enjoy a show? Or things that one discovers about his Mexican friend or Chinese boss are hilarious as well as knowledgeable.

                        Don’t stay huddled up in your groups or comfort zones. Talk to somebody whose language you don’t know or make friends with someone from a different continent. The benefits are immense and fun.

                        12. Don’t forget your roots.

                          That beach by your home where you crawled.

                          “The fans in Canada have been there since day one. They’re the originals. When people say that’s your roots, that’s literally my roots. I’ve just cut this tree off and replanted it somewhere else and it started growing. But the roots are there”.

                          You may be a globe trotter but always remember your roots. Those might be the ones that have got you so far. It’s important you stay grounded and remember the place that you belong to and the values that you grew up with.

                          13. You may not always get your due.

                            You don’t always get what you deserve.

                            Peters is now by all means more than just a money making man. He is riding new success waves but has mentioned in many of his interviews that he still feels the need to be accepted. He says “I’m not a media darling. I’m forever the outsider, for whatever the reason is”. The fortune is there but he is still known as America’s unknown comedian. The reason here are his endorsements and his un-Hollywood connections. But look at where the guy has made without it.

                            Life’s complexities are the same way. You need back up, references and pre-introductions from almost everything in life nowadays. A job, a hook up and even to get something that you deserve completely you need to stoop sometimes and ask for it. Well that’s the shorter version. The harder and the tougher version as everybody knows is to avoid shortcuts and work painlessly to reach your goal. Get something easy and that won’t be that sweet.

                            14. Always remember people who care.

                              Acknowledge people who care for you.

                              “I have a phenomenal memory. I remember every single thing that anybody said to me, ever did to me, who was nice to me and who was not nice to me. In the business at least. And I see how these guys react to me. It’s all smiles and ‘I’m so glad to see ya! You’re doing really well!’ I’m like, ‘Wait, I remember you being a dick to me back in the day’.” Peters admits unabashedly that he never forgets who were not so good to him in the past. which is but natural isn’t?

                              Sometimes in life we ought to be the same way. While you may not be able to forget about who let you down also remember to acknowledge people who had been kind to you. This helps you to be thankful and to be reminded at times that although some people try to put you down but there are others who silently care.

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                              15. Every Peters has his own day!

                                Your day is not far away!

                                Peters started his career way back in 1989 and he had to wait a good 15 years to taste success in 2004. I doubt if some of us had reflected on this, did we? The guy whose crackpot jokes and impeccable digs would have left you with tears of joy didn’t see success soon. So walk a mile in his shoes, before you get judgmental.

                                Like Peters getting his shares of days, you are not too far off. A dream job, a world tour, the perfect match, the 4 bedroom apartment beside the lake and the perfect body, everything is there waiting for you. It may be a while but you will get there. How soon or fast depends upon your honest and untiring efforts. So keep on walking undaunted towards your moment of glory.

                                 

                                 

                                 

                                Featured photo credit: Russell Peters via i.ytimg.com

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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)

                                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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