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30 Things You Must Do When You’re Still Young

30 Things You Must Do When You’re Still Young

Life is short. There are very few people in this world who won’t wish for more time when they are lying on their deathbeds. The biggest regrets people have revolve around experiences, relationships, and happiness.

At 80, we will wish for the ability to travel and move more like we could at 60. At 60, we will wish to be spry and energetic like we were at 40. And at 40, we will want to relive our glory days like when we were 25. But why do we wish for these things? It’s because very few of us will ever fully experience what life has to offer: a life full of abundance, beauty, and unlimited experiences.

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Age is a state of mind; being young is relative. There are 70-year-olds who look and feel like they are 50. And there are 40-year-olds who look and feel like they are 60. Your mental, emotional, and physical health will determine how well you age and how ‘old’ you feel. Young can mean age 22 or young can mean age 52, it’s all about how you feel about yourself.

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With that said, there are many life experiences that are best done early in life. The reason is that the more time you can spend doing these things, the more you will appreciate and enjoy your life.

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30 Things You Must Do When You’re Still Young:

  1. Make yourself a priority. If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody else will. You have to be number one. All things in your life stem from your happiness. Be someone who makes you happy!
  2. Enjoy the small things. Take walks more often. Stop and look at a babbling brook. Sit in an oversized chair at Barnes & Noble and read a great book. Observe an elderly couple holding hands. Life is made up of these small and seemingly insignificant things. They aren’t insignificant. Be sure to take the time to appreciate them.
  3. Get outside. Being outdoors is good for you. Soak in the sunlight, get those endorphins kicking, and enjoy the beauty that nature offers.
  4. Be confident in who you are. Every person is unique and special in their own way. Understanding this early in life is critical. Be proud of who you are and don’t be afraid to let the world know it.
  5. Take calculated risks. Life is a series of risks and rewards. Be smart with your risks and understand the consequences.
  6. Focus on the present. Worrying to a certain degree about your future is normal, but don’t overlook the power of being in the present moment. You can’t change the past, but you can control what you do right now.
  7. Stop caring about what people think of you. Fear of criticism is one of the most destructive fears known to humanity. It can debilitate you to the point paralysis. Learn early in life that it doesn’t matter what people think of you. It really doesn’t. And besides, people are too worried about what you think about them to care about you!
  8. Remember that people are good at heart. Being a lifelong cynic can and will make your life an uphill climb. Recognize that people are inherently good and you will embrace relationships in a far greater capacity.
  9. Be a positive person. Make being positive a habit early in life. Your success in life will come from your thoughts and your thoughts can be either negative or positive. Only you can control which you choose.
  10. Let go of negative influences. Avoid bad situations, unhealthy relationships, and people who make your life worse. Letting go of a good friend who is going to drag you down is a difficult yet intelligent decision. Failure to do so can negatively affect where you end up in life.
  11. Surround yourself with positive people. Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” And it’s completely true. If you want to be a success, hang around with successful people. If someone has what you want, you can do what they do, and get what they’ve got.
  12. Worry less. Worrying about that big test is normal, as is worrying about that possible job promotion, but when you begin to worry excessively, it can become a real problem. Worrying can lead to stress and anxiety, which can become disorders and negatively affect all areas of your life.
  13. Learn from your past but don’t dwell on it. Being caught up in your past can lead to stagnation and the inability to progress in your life. Understand that life is just a series of events and move on. You can change the future but you cannot alter your past decisions.
  14. Travel. Most of you want to travel the world, see new things, and meet new people. But statistics show that the average mother in the U.S. will start a family at age 25, meaning that your travel options will become quite limited for a number of years after you start having children. And even if you do tell yourself that you’re going to travel, most of you won’t. Don’t put it off. Get out there and see the places you desire most.
  15. Learn a new language. In this day and age, knowing a second (or third) language is no longer just a hobby, it can help you in your career. Being able to communicate with people from multiple cultures not only makes good business sense, but expands your personal growth.
  16. Overcome some of your biggest fears. Your fears will haunt you for your entire life if they aren’t dealt with. Do you really want to go through life being deathly afraid of flying? Do you want the fear of public speaking to control you? Of course not. Take these challenges head on and early on and overcome them.
  17. Experiment. Life is chock full of experiences. Try new things. Get out there and fail often. Learn from your mistakes. You only get one chance at this life. Get as much in as you can.
  18. Appreciate your parents. As children, we adore our parents. As teens, we ignore our parents. And in adulthood, we take them for granted. Knowing that they did the best possible job they could raising you will help you appreciate them. Make a phone call right now to tell them so.
  19. Stay close with the important people in your life. Most of you will lose contact with childhood friends, college buddies, and past coworkers. But chances are that you’ve made some great friends along the way. If you’ve found that you’ve lost touch with someone who was important to you, reach out to them and try to reconnect. People who you consider important are few and far between, so do your best to keep them in your life.
  20. Remember that you do not know it all. It’s a given that teenagers believe they know it all, but as an adult it’s important to recognize how little you know. Make learning something new part of your daily routine. Started at an early age, you will be amazed at how much you can learn in a lifetime.
  21. Listen to your parents. As crazy as it may seem, they have much more life experience than you and do know what they are talking about. Take the time to listen to their stories. They have more wisdom than you believe.
  22. Face the bully. Most of you have had a bully in one shape or another in your lifetime. Do not let your fear control you. The best way to handle any bully is to confront them. Most are cowards hiding behind their size and/or power. Confronting them will get their attention, and in many cases, their respect.
  23. Give unconditionally. Understanding the sheer power of giving unconditionally can shape the course of your life. Learn this early.
  24. Working too much. Working yourself half to death throughout your 20s and 30s may seem like a great idea for rising up the corporate ladder, but remember that those are your golden years. Make time for the things you are most passionate about while you are healthy enough to do so.
  25. Develop good habits. The outcome of your life will be based on the decisions you make. Making good decisions comes from having good habits. Educate yourself on how to start adopting positive ones and removing the negative ones.
  26. Find what you excel at and begin to master it. Spending years languishing in uncertainty is the fastest way to living an average life. Find where your strengths meet your passions and become great at them. Don’t be a jack of all trades. Be the master of a few.
  27. Spend as much time with your children as possible. If you lose your time with your children, you will never get it back. Embrace this time with all your heart. Being a parent is the single most important job on the planet. And do not mistake time for quality time, there is a huge difference.
  28. Learn to be grateful. This is easier said than done, but being appreciative of what you have can make the difference between a life of wanting and a life of contentment.
  29. Start a business. Don’t spend your life only knowing what it’s like to be an employee. Start your own venture, whether it be mowing lawns or running Internet security, try your hand in business. Lessons in entrepreneurship cannot be learned in a classroom. Real world experience will prove invaluable.
  30. Be crazy. Well, not literally. Do something wild and adventurous. As you grow older, you will begin a career, and/or settle down and start a family and will be less inclined to let it all hang out. Be bold and daring. And have fun with it!

While it’s never too late to work on your personal growth, getting these things done early in your life can truly make the difference between a life lived on your terms or a life lived on someone else’s.

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Make it yours!

Featured photo credit: Bahman Farzad via flickr.com

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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)

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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