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24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

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24 Life-Changing Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Everyone has those moments in life when you stop and evaluate where you’re at and where you’re heading. Most of the time those evaluations come because of a simple but powerful question. These types of questions can change our lives, turn us in another direction and open our minds to new experiences and people. Here are some life-changing questions that you might ask yourself one day:

1.Where will I be in 5 years if I keep heading in this direction?

Are you doing the things you want to be doing and becoming the person you want to become or are you heading in another direction?

2.What if today was my last day?

Would you waste your time playing games on your phone and commenting on your friends Facebook posts or would you actually call your friends and set up a lunch. Would you be more active or would you just relax. How would your day be different if it was your last one?

3. Do I volunteer enough?

Helping others is one the greatest things we can do. But do we set apart enough time for it? Do we donate to charities or volunteer at shelters, do we help strangers open the door when their arms are full? Service is good for all parties involved.

4.Do I want to have children?

Whether you decide to have children or not, both decisions will have a great impact on the rest of your life. Children are a big responsibility. Some people would prefer to adopt, others to not have children. There are many routes to take. The one you choose will depend on the goals and desires you have for your life.

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5. Should I finish my education or figure out what I want to do first?

Some people prefer to take time travelling or working before going to school. They focus on discovering who they are and what they have a passion for. Other people make the decision to finish their education and work towards finding a career. Yet others choose to forgo school and jump into a career. Each choice will help you learn about yourself, it just depends on the route that works best for you.

6. Do I see myself being married or would I be ok with a committed relationship?

Some people prefer to get married, others find that a committed relationship best suits them. It’s a choice that for some people is clear but for others it could depend on their situation in life or the person they are with.

7. Should I have plastic surgery?

Whether it’s health related or personal preference, this is a big decision for a lot people. Changing your physical appearance isn’t a little thing. Whatever your reasons for doing it, make sure you know it’s what you want.

8.Do I want t o settle down or have the freedom to move around?

Is buying a house the right move for you or do you want the freedom to travel and pick up and leave whenever you want? I’ve been in both situations in my life. Right now my husband and I are renting so that we can up and move if an opportunity presents itself. Other people prefer the security of a permanent home.

9.Am I who I want to be?

What kind of person have you always to be? Are that person? Or are you way off the path you thought you would be on? Do you still want to be that person or have things changed for you? All these questions can help you figure out who you are and who you want to become.

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10. Am I happy with my career choice?

Choosing a career can be hard for some people, for others it’s a no-brainer. Once you break into your desired field, you might find it’s not what you expected. Then you have to decide if you just push through it and hope for the best, if you change careers or if you should go back to school.

11. Should I ask my boss for a raise?

This can be really hard for some people, but what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss could say no. But it lets them know that you are serious about your job and that you’re working hard to move up.

12. Have I experienced enough of other cultures?

The world is full of people who have different traditions, cultures, languages, etc. You’ll find those differences all the way across the ocean and even down the street. Go out and learn about other people.

13. Am I dating/married to/committed to the right person?

Whatever type of relationship you are in, you need to make sure that the other person is the right one. Encourage open communication between the two of you and make sure you are both heading in the same direction.

14.Am I living with a positive outlook and passion for life?

Life should be exciting. You should be doing things that you are happy doing and that you have a passion for.

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15.Are the people in my social circle a positive influence on my life?

You are a reflection of the people you spend time with. Do they encourage you to be a better person or do they bring you down? This can be a hard change to make, but sometimes we all need to reevaluate the type of people we consider our friends.

16. Am I living a physically/mentally/spiritually healthy lifestyle?

Your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing are all your personal responsibility. Take care of your mind, body and spirit. Do things you enjoy doing that will help keep you healthy in all aspects of life.

17. Do I take time to stop and enjoy the simple things around me?

Small but important things happen to you every day. Take the time appreciate and acknowledge them.

18.What would I change if I saw the world through a child’s eyes?

Children see things through innocent eyes. They notice things adults tend to miss. Try to see what life is like through their simple eyes and maybe you’ll notice a few more things and be grateful for a lot more.

19. Have I set money aside for an emergency?

Money is something that you have to have but never seem to have enough of. Make sure that no matter what, you are budgeting so that you have money put away for a rainy a day. You never know when that day will come, but it always does.

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20. Am I financially prepared to retire?

So many people are focused on what they need now that they forget to prepare themselves for the future. One day you will want to retire, make sure you do everything you need to financially so that you can.

21. How much money do I waste a month on worthless or meaningless things?

My husband and I re-budgeted when he got a new job and found out that we were spending around $4000 a year on fast food. We were shocked. My husband was still in school so our finances were a little tight and yet we were wasting all that money on cheap burgers. We started spending the money on groceries instead of eating out and found out that we saved around $3000 a year. I understand that sometimes you just need a Dollar Menu. But, when you’re trying to save money and stick within a budget, you need to plan ahead and be ready so you can save money.

22.  Am I spending enough time with the people I value the most?

Life is short. Surround yourself with people you love and who love you. Make sure that no matter how busy you are with work, school or other activities that you make time for the people who really matter.

23. Have I accomplished the dreams and goals I’ve set for myself?

Whatever point you’re at in life, you should have been able to accomplish some or most of your goals. Achieved goals don’t just fall into your lap; you have to actively pursue the things you want. Work hard and make things happen for yourself.

24. How have I improved as a result of my experiences?

Every experience you have, whether good or bad, becomes a part of you. What you learn from those experiences is up to you. Take what you can from them and become a better person because of things you have gone through in your own life.

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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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