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20 Things You Should Never Succumb To No Matter How Others Convince You

20 Things You Should Never Succumb To No Matter How Others Convince You
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Why we do even succumb to other people’s opinions? Is it that our insecurities prompt us to seek approval from others? Unfortunately, most of us fall victim to the opinions of other people.

Here are 20 things that you should never succumb to, no matter how others convince you.

1. Never succumb to the belief that you ‘need’ a college degree

Even in the 21st century, great emphasis has still been placed on getting a college degree. A lot of parents don’t give their kids a choice to opt out, however a college degree does not always equate to a successful career. In fact a lot of college graduates either continue or revert to living with their parents. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 30% of millennials are still living with their parents.

 2. Never succumb to the idea that It pays to be a loyal employee

Our parents have always told us to go to college to get your degree in order to get a great job for a Fortune 500 company and retire with a great retirement plan. That is only one of many paths in attaining financial security. It is not the only path! If you hate your job, then being a loyal employee would obviously be bad advice.

3. Never succumb to the belief of the ‘right’ religion

Many of us have been born under parents who are subscribers of a certain religion. As we get older, we have a right to be skeptical and question our religious beliefs for validity and personal comfort. Quite often we are told by our parents and clergymen that the other religions are wrong and only their religion is the right one. The people who make those remarks have a distorted view of the culture of other religions. Religion can be helpful for some people but it should never be forced on anybody.

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4. Never succumb to the notion that you’re obliged to share your parents’ political beliefs

Most of us have been born under parents of a certain political affiliation. As we get older, we have a right to question those fundamental beliefs and even change our own. While our parents may not agree with our decision, it is our job to form our beliefs about matters. Morality and fairness is subjective. Define what it means to you and vote based on those definitions.

5. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not cute enough

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. When someone tells you that you’re not cute enough, it is simply one person’s opinion.  For example, a lot of guys think Jennifer Aniston is cute. It is my belief that she isn’t cute enough – but more importantly, Jennifer Aniston doesn’t care about what I think of her.

6. Never succumb to the idea of apologizing for your dietary lifestyle

There are people who will belittle you based on your preferred choice of diet. People have certain diets for their own reasons, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or gluten free. It doesn’t matter what other people think of your diet. The most important thing is your reason for choosing that particular diet. If you’re happy with that diet, keep doing it.

7. Never succumb to people’s opinions about your sexual orientation

Some people will judge you based on your sexual orientation. The love that you share with someone in your own privacy is your business. It doesn’t matter if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual. Love is something that is shared between two people.

 8. Never succumb to the pessimism of others

Some people hate the person that is always optimistic. Misery loves company and the optimistic guy tends to be a cog in the machine.  The most successful people in our generation all share one thing in common: optimism. Are you surprised?

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9. Never succumb to the idea that you must be keeping up with the Joneses

There are people in your life like your parents or friends, who think it’s necessary for you to keep up appearances. They care too much about public perception and think you should too. Your happiness shouldn’t be sustained based on the length of time that you can keep up with the Joneses. Happiness is a choice. You don’t need materialistic things to help you make that choice.

10. Never succumb to the belief that you must have kids

Having kids is not for everybody. Parents often pressure their kids in doing so or spouses try to get the other to change their mind. Choose your spouse carefully! Being a parent is not for everybody. One of your most important decisions in life is deciding whether or not to have kids. It’s a big decision that will likely affect the next 18 years of your life, along with the lifetime of your hypothetical kid!

11. Never succumb to the notion that you must lose your accent

Depending on your native state, some people have grown up with an accent. Sometimes it will be frowned upon in the workplace or in different social circles. The truth is that some people are ignorant. They know nothing about your culture except the stereotypes that they extract from movies and magazines. Your accent is a part of you. Be proud of it!

12. Never succumb to playing the race card

Some people will influence others to blame their lack of success because of their race. People of all different sociological and demographical backgrounds will ascribe tendencies and features, benefits and struggles, negative and positive to those outside of their particular group. Discrimination is a real problem but it doesn’t mean that you should use it as an excuse for not being successful. I wonder why billionaires aren’t playing the race card? Maybe it’s because they’re too busy making money.

13. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not smart enough

When some people say that you’re stupid or not smart enough, it doesn’t mean that they are right. Intelligence is subjective. Have you ever seen the movie, Idiocracy? Everyone was calling Joe Bowers stupid, when in fact he was the genius!

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14. Never succumb to the notion that you’re not skinny enough

Sororities or guys may reject girls because they aren’t skinny enough. Some girls are not skinny but have a physique that classifies them as curvy. Many people happen to be fond of curvy women. Be happy in your own body. If you want to lose weight, do it for yourself. Don’t do it simply because you want to be accepted by your peers.

15. Never succumb to the belief that you’re not cool enough

Fraternities, sororities, and other social circles tend to have their code of coolness. Some people try to act and dress a certain way to be embraced by these groups. Be cool, according to your own terms. Define what it means to you and live up to it.

16. Never succumb to the idea that you talk too much

Talkativeness is subjective. You can be told by an anti-social person that you talk too much, even if you’re known to be the most quiet person among your family or friends. Some people have bubbly personalities and love to talk to people. It’s a personality that attracts a crowd of their own. If you continue to be authentic, you’ll attract people who appreciate your authenticity.

17. Never succumb to the belief that you’re anti-social

Quiet people tend to get a bad reputation. I am one of those quiet people. I’m not quiet because I don’t want to socialize with others. I’m just a thinker. Introverts don’t mind being social. We just prefer to do it on our own terms.

 18. Never succumb to the notion that you can’t be too honest

It is common in the workplace for colleagues to be teased for being too honest. Total honesty is an admirable trait. It says a lot about your character. Don’t feel the need to compromise yourself because others are doing it. Be true to yourself. You will build an irrevocable trust that supersedes the trust of others.

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 19. Never succumb to getting rid of your quirks

We all have our quirks. While some people may deem them as strange or weird, they are traits that make us unique. Don’t apologize for them. If they can’t accept you with your quirks, then they don’t deserve to be your friend.

20. Never succumb to having a new year’s resolution

There is a false notion that people embrace and encourage others to embrace by suggesting that they should put their goals on hold until the new year. Time is either invested or wasted. Wouldn’t it be better to invest your time in working on your goals now? After all, what would you achieve by waiting until the new year to begin?

Featured photo credit: young beautiful hipster woman bubble blower in the city via shutterstock.com

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Kallen Diggs

Bestselling Author / Magazine Editor / Syndicated Radio Show Host

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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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