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15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do

15 Things Highly Authentic People Don’t Do
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What is authenticity?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines authenticity as the quality of being real or genuine. It’s difficult to describe what authenticity looks like in human beings, but you can instantly tell when someone is being authentic and when they are not. Maybe it is how someone speaks or carries themselves (or, rather how they DON’T speak and carry themselves) that lets you know in an instant that they are being real.

Whatever it is, authentic people do many things right that makes them extremely likable and pleasant to be around. I am sure you’d rather connect with people who are real than people who pretend around you. Here are some key things highly authentic people don’t do so that you can learn how to live a more authentic life yourself.

1. They don’t fake their feelings.

Highly authentic people don’t hide their feeling or pretend they are feeling something they are not. If they are upset, they show it. If they like someone, they let them know. They express their feelings honestly and openly without fear or prejudice. Showing your true feelings allows others to know who you are and what you stand for. Authentic people do this all the time and it frees them from the burden of bottled up emotions.

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2. They don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Highly authentic people strive to show compassion and understanding to everyone, but they don’t strive to live up to others’ expectation or bother to please everyone. They know you cannot please everyone and you shouldn’t even try. Just be confident about who you are and what you do. This way you attract the right people who value you for who you are.

3. They don’t compare their journey to everyone else’s.

We are all unique individuals. We have different gifts, aspirations and access to resources that are necessary for life success and happiness. As such, our paths in life are not always the same. Highly authentic people understand this fact and shun social comparisons to gauge their own progress. They don’t compare themselves to others. Instead, they do their best to remain true to their own dreams and aspirations in life. Do your best without comparing your progress with others. What works for others might not necessarily work for you.

4. They don’t seek or need other people’s validation.

Highly authentic people are comfortable in their own skin and know their own self-worth. They don’t need other people to tell them how special they are. When you are unapologetically yourself and comfortable in your perfect imperfection, you walk with your chin held high and your stride strong and assured. As Israelmore Ayivor says, “A single day in my own shoe that is comfortable for me is better than 365 days in someone else’s shoes that does not fit me at all.”

5. They don’t lie.

People who are not self-aware and self-assured tell lies so easily and readily that it becomes second nature to them. However, highly authentic people tell the truth always because they know lies destroy trust and relationships. Tell the truth even when it is difficult to do so and you will never have to look back on your life with regret for lies told. Being honest is one of the best ways to be at peace with yourself and other people.

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6. They don’t pretend to be someone they’re not.

Many people pretend they are someone they are not to fit in and be accepted. Highly authentic people don’t pretend they are famous, poor or even more talented than they actually are just so others like them. They are their true selves always. What they have they don’t hide; what they don’t have, they don’t pretend they have. Be yourself. It is a truly admirable, inspiring and deeply satisfying thing to live your life as yourself.

7. They don’t dwell on the past.

Highly authentic people live in the moment. They don’t let the past dictate their future. As long as you are worried, you will repeat past mistakes; you won’t be free to create new experiences and new relationships. Make the most of what is, learn from what was and have faith in what will come. That is how to make the journey of life meaningful.

8. They don’t let others make decisions for them.

There is only one YOU in this world and only you should make the important decisions in your life. Highly authentic people are always in the driving seat of their own lives. They make all the important life decisions for themselves. If you allow someone else to make all the decisions for you, then the only person who will fail in the end is you. Moreover, if you don’t have the courage to take responsibility from your own life, then you don’t have the courage to succeed at all.

9. They don’t blame others for their own mistakes.

Highly authentic people don’t shift blame for their own failings. They take responsibility for every decision and action they make in their own life, whether the outcome is positive or negative. When you are the first to admit you were wrong or that you made a mistake somewhere, you open doors for genuine help, support and guidance from others. Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. What really matters is how you get back up after you’ve made a mistake.

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10. They don’t get jealous over other people’s successes.

If anything, highly authentic people support and motivate others to keep moving forward and be the best they can be. They know that if others can do it, then it means that they too can do it. They are, therefore, happy when others succeed—not jealous. View other people’s success as proof that you too can succeed. Don’t try to bring anybody down or lessen their chances of success in any way.

11. They don’t apply given advice without first considering their own gut feeling.

Highly authentic people trust their gut feeling. They don’t rush to act before first understanding the situation at hand and considering how they feel about it. If you ponder over something, you improve the chances of covering all the bases and making the right decision for yourself and everyone else involved. Seek and listen to other people’s counsel, but understand that the buck stops with you. Only act on advice you will be comfortable living with for the rest of your life.

12. They don’t value material possessions over life experiences.

Highly authentic people see beauty in experiences and relationships. They know meaningful experiences and bonds make life worth living. Seek a better life and material goodies, but don’t undervalue the people, relationships and experiences you have in your life. In the end, it is not how much money you have accumulated that counts, but rather, the lives you have touched and the lessons you have learned along the way.

13. They don’t deny love and kindness to others.

Being authentic is being loving. Highly authentic people don’t hate, demoralize or bring others down. Instead, they show love, kindness and appreciation to others indiscriminately. They encourage all to be their true selves around them by shunning all forms of discrimination and judgmental attitudes. Treat everyone justly and kindly. Show love generously without expecting anything in return. This is a true expression of a well-led, pure and enriching existence.

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14. They don’t keep a closed mind.

Highly authentic people are always open to new ideas and life lessons. They know they don’t exist in a vacuum. When you keep a closed mind, chances are you will be rude, intolerant or completely abusive toward other people’s feelings and beliefs. Free yourself from rigidly fixed preconceptions by listening with an open mind to new ideas and arguments. You may not always agree on everything said, but you emerge out of it all a more balanced, knowledgeable and tolerant person.

15. They don’t hang with toxic people.

Highly authentic people know that you are the average of the people you keep around you. If the people you spend the most time with are notorious for jeering and bringing others down, then you most likely also do the same thing. Get rid of all critical and ill-mannered people around you. Find people to “hang” with who build you and others up. That is the easiest way to ensure you remain true to your natural tendencies for kindness and love for the world and everything in it.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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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)

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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