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20 Things 20-Somethings Need To Stop Doing Now

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20 Things 20-Somethings Need To Stop Doing Now

Having reached the end of my twenties, I realized that looking back, there were a lot of things I did that made me lose focus and not make the most of my youth and energy.

Many 20-somethings make the same mistakes and don’t tend to realize it until the very end, upon reflection of how they spent their last 10 years.

Here are 20 things 20-somethings need to stop doing now in order to kickstart their lives and make rapid progress.

1) Putting off tasks that are boring.

You never seem to realize until much later that the things that are worthwhile in life are often very boring. The things that improve you as a person tend to be difficult and boring to do. Embrace the boredom and do it anyway. It’s a brilliant way to build character and perseverance.

2) Putting off your career in favour of traveling.

While traveling is a brilliant way to build your worldliness, many youngsters use it as an excuse to put off the fact that they need to establish themselves. Being young and energetic is great, but it doesn’t last. Use the time to do something that’s of a higher purpose, while you still have the energy.

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3) Ignoring parental advice.

Your parents might not make sense to you and seem against you right now, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about. Its always advised to follow their advice even if it doesn’t make sense at the time‒you will thank them when you’re older.

4) Putting off going to the gym in favor of drinking and partying with friends.

As with point #1, going to the gym can be grueling and painful. It is very rarely fun to do the same things over and over again. It may feel like a waste versus going out with friends on a bender. But you will thank yourself 10 years from now when you see your friends overweight while you’re still youthful and in great shape.

5) Complaining that life is too difficult.

Life is difficult for a reason. It is designed so that we work hard for it and appreciate the things we eventually get. Getting things for free is hardly ever worthwhile and rarely ever valued. The harder you work, the more grounded you become as a person. You might as well embrace it.

6) Comparing yourself to your friends and peers.

While it’s good to have role models and ideals, it’s never healthy to frequently compare yourself with other people. Everyone has their own path to follow with different goals and ambitions. In the end, the only person you’re really in competition with is yourself.

7) Not keeping a healthy diet.

Your diet becomes increasingly important as you age as your metabolism starts to slow down. What you can typically get away with eating when young isn’t necessarily the same as you get older, since what you eat makes a longer term impact. Start getting used to eating more healthily and investing time in educating yourself on healthy nutrition.

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8) Excessive sleeping.

Too much sleep is just as unhealthy as too little of it. It also makes the days far shorter, which could otherwise be spent doing more productive things. Develop a healthy sleeping schedule and try to stick to it on a daily basis.

9) Practicing poor time management.

Time is the most valuable thing we have. Once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. It’s therefore imperative to know how to manage your time effectively and to not waste it doing things that won’t benefit you moving forwards.

10) Putting off your passions.

If you’re currently lacking motivation to do anything, it is precisely because of putting off your passion. Maybe its because you just don’t know what it is yet. You should use your 20s to discover what you really enjoy. Once you’ve found it, spend time developing it. It will be of great value for you in the future.

11) Looking for quick fixes and shortcuts.

The media tends to convince us that there are easy fixes to difficult problems. But you don’t tend to realize the truth until you see that it was all designed to get you to ‘buy their products.’ The real solution is often a bitter pill to swallow‒it’s hard work and effort that will provide you with long term solutions.

12) Looking at life in black and white.

When you’re young, you think you have life all figured out, only to end up seeing something that tarnishes that belief a few months later. This happens throughout your entire life, and you eventually realize that there really is no set belief or construct that governs the world.

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Everything is open to interpretation. What’s important is how you personally define it for yourself.

13) Managing your money badly.

When you get your first taste of money with your first paycheck, it’s very easy to splash it out on things you once were not able to afford. This is a big mistake and will build bad habits toward your relationship with money.

Instead, learn the difference between assets and liabilities and focus on investing your money in places where you’re likely to make even more. The sooner you learn to do this, the sooner you’ll experience financial security. And another thing‒lay off the credit cards!

14) Watching too much television.

Television is perhaps the biggest influencer of all the media. It instills beliefs and values without you even being aware of it. While some TV is good, limit it as much as you can in your daily activities and replace it with things that are designed to mentally stimulate you.

15) Being influenced by friends.

Your friends will seem like your backbone in your 20s. They’ll appear to have your back during tough times. As a result, you won’t want to let them down and will do anything to conform to their ways. The truth is this: they will all move on and start their own families. You will see less and less of them as you get older.

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You will come to realize that no one else really has your back besides you and your own family. Learn to count on yourself and be the one to judge your current state in life.

16) Not focusing on the big picture.

Whatever it is you do when you’re young will make a dramatic impact on your life later on. In general, life gets harder as you age. People will no longer go easy on you because you’re young and inexperienced and will begin to expect more from you.

The sooner you focus on the outcome of your future, the better equipped you’ll be at preparing yourself and becoming focused.

17) Doing things with no thought of where it will lead you.

As with point #16, it’s important to know where your actions will take you prior to doing them. It might seem fun in the beginning, but it’s always wise to weigh things up before taking the plunge.

18) Worrying about what other people think of you.

When all is said and done. No one really cares whether you succeed or fail. All that matters is what you think of yourself‒are you happy with what you’re doing? If you are, stay on track. In the end, that’s all that’s really going to matter.

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19) Not focusing on your talents.

Spend time discovering what you’re really good at and nurturing it as much as possible. By the time you reach your 30s, you will have acquired 10 years of expertise and have developed a skill you can market and sell moving forward.

20) Not giving it your all in the things that matter.

Whatever you do, DON’T dabble. If you decide to do something in your life. Give it your best shot and become ambitious. You will feel a lot better about yourself and move your life towards a more prosperous direction.

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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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