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34 Most Difficult Things You Have To Learn In Your 20s

34 Most Difficult Things You Have To Learn In Your 20s

When you’re a 20 something, you know you need to be mature because you’ve grown up. You’re seen as an adult, not a kid any more. It’s reality, and you really should face it. The faster you learn the most difficult life lessons, the sooner you can lead a great and successful life. Rich Tatum shared the most difficult things he wished he knew when he was 20 on quora:

  1. Love hurts, but not as much as not loving.
  2. The friendships you nurture will have a greater effect on your life than where you work or what you earn.
  3. You are not your job. You are not your bankroll. You are not the sum of your possessions.
  4. The company does not love you. It has no heart. You are replaceable. Keep your parachute handy.
  5. Few decisions will ever shape your future life more than who you choose to marry. To marry well, you must choose well.
  6. Love is a commitment.
  7. Believe it or not, passions grow out of your values. Make early, wise choices to value what (and who) is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.
  8. Integrity preserved is honor won.
  9. Rejoice in your health. It fades fast.
  10. Find a passion. Pick a hobby, own it: photography, juggling—whatever. Get your 10K hours of perfect practice in early and change your life.
  11. Don’t bother comparing yourself to others—this only leads to heartbreak, anger, and disappointment.
  12. Most disappointments grow from unmet expectations. Set realistic expectations for yourself, based on your strengths, then strive to exceed them.
  13. Don’t drive others to meet expectations they’ve committed to — lead, inspire, and help them do it.
  14. Don’t set expectations for others when they haven’t or cannot commit to them.
  15. Don’t complain. Either change your situation, learn to cope, or change your perspective.
  16. Don’t worry about making big bucks out of the gate, worry first about doing whatever you have to do excellently.
  17. Little stuff matters—even in lowly jobs. The boss notices and even if not, your peers and colleagues do.
  18. Ultimately, privacy is a myth: God sees everything. The cloud records everything. NSA files everything. So, live transparently and don’t waste useless energy hiding failures.
  19. Don’t look down on others because they don’t have what you didn’t earn—your intellect, your beauty, and your culture of birth are undeserved gifts…be humble.
  20. Failure is an opportunity: no great man or woman ever achieved significance without great failures to learn from.
  21. Never withhold an apology when it’s merited. Deliver it quickly, sincerely, and personally—before resentment festers.
  22. You don’t need to nurture old guilt when you’re forgiven. But remembering the shame can help you avoid repeats.
  23. Mere belief in anything signifies little more than assent. It’s trust and behavior that reveal where convictions lie.
  24. The main thing you need to do quickly is to stop doing things quickly. Trade hurry for calm, confidence, and precision.
  25. Everybody needs an editor. Everybody.
  26. Get your work done first so you can play without guilt. Even better, make work play and the fun never ends!
  27. If you want to develop your passion and gift, stop worrying about the things you do poorly. Go with your strengths!
  28. Avoid fights. Seriously. Avoid them like a plague: nobody wins in a fight, even if you walk away unscathed. But when a fight picks you, leave everything on the mat and give it your all. Hold nothing back.
  29. If you’re bored, you’re doing it wrong.
  30. The skills that will help your career most are the abilities to assimilate, communicate, and persuade. Keep learning.
  31. Nothing in this life—no pain, no agony, no failure—compares to the eternal joy of Heaven. Live in light of eternity.
  32. Protect your joy. Nothing is easier to lose by over-thinking, overanalyzing, and second-guessing. On the other hand, always consider the long-term consequences of your choices: stupid decisions made in the moment can rob you of years of joy and happiness.
  33. Your purpose in life determines how you frame events. You can maintain your joy in the most dire circumstances if you find meaning for your life. Dig deep.
  34. It truly matters what you think about. Think well by reading good books, building good, loving relationships, having good conversation, and imitating great people.

I’m still learning — in fact I haven’t fully appreciated most of the list I made, myself. And I’m still adding to it. But I’m getting better.

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Featured photo credit: Multiracial Young People Holding Hands in a Circle via shutterstock.com

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

It’s Okay To Be Envious As Long As You’re Not Jealous The Jeopardy of Taking Others’ Opinions Seriously life is pain Life Is Pain: Why a Life Without Pain Guarantees True Suffering Why the Conscientious Mind Is a Successful Mind What Is The Secret To Convincing Someone To Change Their Minds?

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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