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16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time

16 Questions Every 20-Something Should Ask Themselves From Time To Time
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As a 20-something you are faced with many challenges and struggles. Whether those challenges are focusing on your career path, your relationships, your body image, or even your life’s purpose; no one can give you the answers to the questions you should be asking yourself. Asking yourself questions when faced with life’s complications can inspire you to re-think, re-analyze and re-configure the way you have been living life.

1. Am I Living Up To My Full Potential?

As a 20-something it’s easy to reach certain milestones in life, and slowly begin to plateau. The personal growth incurred by challenging your capabilities, can help you reach the best version of yourself that you have ever experienced.

2. Do I Compare Myself To Others Too Often?

It’s easy to get caught up in what your peers are accomplishing while living in their twenties. Comparing yourself to someone that isn’t you, may only bring discouragement. You may feel as if you are falling behind, when in fact you are the leader of your own life journey.

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3. Do I Live In The Present?

As a 20-something you begin to explore who you really are. In order to define your present, you need to keep the past behind you and the future in the horizon. Try living in the moments before they pass. Your past is the foundation to the present, and the present will shape the future.

4. What Are My Life Goals?

Building life goals strengthens the purpose to life. While living in the present is essential to happiness, having a bucket list can give you something to look forward. Achieving goals does not happen over night, so taking small steps that can be applied to your everyday life, can help build towards your future accomplishments.

5. What Triggers My Stress?

It’s important to understand your stress triggers, so you can recognize them when they are present in your life. Once you can recognize your triggers, managing how you react to stress becomes a lot easier, and you can deal with stress on a mature and manageable level.

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6. Do I Recognize My Weaknesses?

It can be easy at times to point out the faults and weakness of others, but have you ever analyzed your own weaknesses? Recognizing your weaknesses may open many doors for self-improvement and personal growth.

7. Do I Recognize My Growth Throughout The Years?

Life sure feels like a scramble as a 20-something, but stopping to absorb all of the incredible things that you have accomplished so far can really encourage and motivate you to aim higher with everything else that you do.

8. Do My Friends Reflect Who I Really Am?

As a 20-something you might hang on to friends from high school, from college, from university, from past work facilities, and so on. Not to say you should say good-bye to all past friendships and only focus on the new, but you should make sure that you are surrounding yourself with people who also reflect who you are and who you want to be.

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9. Do I Make My Decisions Based On The Needs Of Others?

Whether it’s the need for acceptance or recognition, sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what others want from you, for you. Making decisions based on the needs of others is a short-term fix to keep the people around you content so you can bypass endless questions. However, it’s you who ultimately has to live with your decisions.

10. Am I Spending Money On The Wrong Things?

Saving money can feel impossible once all monthly living expenses are covered. Making a practical budget and breaking down what you actually need and use can really help you see what you have been disposing your money on. Try looking at your wants verses your needs. You may want 2GB of data for your fancy new smart phone, but why not cut the cost of your data plan if you’re actually only using 500MB each month? Do this practice for your cable bill, your grocery list, or even your personal products.

11. Am I Ready To Begin Investing In My Future?

Knowing the lifestyle you want to live can determine how you should invest in your future. A part of investing in your future is deciding a career path. The rest of it is buying property and planning for retirement, which in your twenties may seem obscure.

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12. Do I Feel Like An Equal Contributor In My Workplace?

As a 20-something it’s easy to get looked at as the “rookie” in any job position. If you are putting in hard, honest work ethic and not receiving credit for the work you are doing, it can feel daunting. If you find yourself in a workplace where you are not seen as an equal maybe it’s time to find your voice and speak up.

13. What Do I Need From A Romantic Relationship?

You might have experienced a romantic relationship at some point during your twenties, and it may not have worked out, that’s okay. With each relationship had, you are constantly learning about yourself, as well as others, and what you need out of a life partner. Try taking all of your past relationships and picking out the qualities that you appreciated most, and all of the qualities that held no room for compromise. This will show you the characteristics that are most attractive and important to you.

14. Am I Too Dependent On My Parents?

Sometimes being a 20-something is doing things on your own without parental guidance. As a child, parents were usually there to help you as best as they could in all aspects. As an adult, your parents may be there to mentally support you, but they are no longer held responsible to pay your bills, drive you around, or book your appointments.

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15. Do I Love Myself?

Self-love can be hard to wrap your head around when you’re a 20-something, but when you find it, you have a whole new appreciation for yourself. Self-love is about being understanding towards your own needs, as well as having the courage to stand up for yourself even when you’re standing alone. Self-love is knowing how to forgive yourself, and having the ability to live life worry-free from the thoughts others may have of you.

16. Am I Happy?

A question that trumps all; knowing your weaknesses, knowing your strengths, and ultimately understanding yourself as best as possible, will help you find your happiness.

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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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