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4 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be A Nerd

4 Reasons Why It’s Awesome To Be A Nerd

Personally, looking back to 20 years ago, I wasn’t the usual ‘nerdy’ type at school. However, I certainly had a few nerdy obsessions, namely drawing, reading and gardening. None of which were ever going score me points in the popularity stakes, but looking back I can honestly say, hand on heart, I am glad that being a nerd wasn’t seen as a good thing back then. Why? Because I’d have fit in, making me just like everyone else, and that was never going to make me into the person I am today!

Sadly, however, these days being unique isn’t embraced as it should be. Actually, for some reason, caring what matters in the world hasn’t the same importance as things like, for example, competing with others for grade A status, having the latest iPhone or acquiring the latest fashion item. BUT, imagine this, if as children we grew up differently, and not loving what we have or what we can buy, but instead learning to love what we already have and cherishing it. Then the world might just be better place for us all to live in.

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Being a nerd isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s something to be proud of and most definitely an awesome way to be!  With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few reasons why this is the case:

You know who you are

When you are a ‘nerd’ you know what you like, what you dislike and you’ll stand by it till the bitter end. You’ll be the kind of person who has an attitude that says ‘you either like it or lump it’ with no bending or shaping who you are to please others. Being a nerd means that you understand what goes on in the world and where your place is among it all. You’ll be true to yourself, even through difficult times and because of that you’ll encourage others to be the same.

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You know your loves and passions

This is what makes you most unique, because your loves and passions are what drive you in life. For many, these have mostly gone unchecked or hidden out of sight. Yet a nerd will embrace them wholeheartedly, shouting from the roof tops and willing to share with whomever will listen. Your dreams will come from such desires, and will no doubt push you towards them quicker than those who don’t have any. You’ll defend your loves and passions till the very end, travel far and wide to achieve them and — the best thing about being a nerd — you’ll never be afraid. You understand better than anyone that your loves and passions are what make you who you are, and make life so rewarding.

You’ll surround yourself with other nerds

It has been said that ‘you are the average of 5 people you surround yourself with,’ meaning that if you surround yourself with positive, uplifting, aspiring people you will be just like them or vice versa.

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When it comes to being a nerd, you are more likely to surround yourself with people that you feel are like you. Those kinds of people wouldn’t usually be the type to laugh at your funny ways, your intellect perhaps or who criticise your obsession with comic books. No, these people share your obsession, because they actually ‘get you’ and encourage you to be just as individual, as creative and as nerdy as they are! Being a nerd means that you’ll know yourself well enough to not put up with those who put you down, instead you’ll be happy in the knowledge that those you share yourself fully with are ‘kindred spirits’.

You aspire to be honest, compassionate and kind

For me, as a nerd, I felt real compassion for those who were bullied at school just because they were labelled ‘different’.  It seemed to me that those who were unique in some way, were always the good kids, the ones who worked hard and kept out of everyone’s way. Yet these kids were always made to be in the spotlight usually subjected to some kind of torment, when rather they’d have preferred to naturally shy away from it. They, including myself, weren’t the liars, the cheats, the bullies or the ones who clowned around in class. No, they were the ones who stood out because they stood for what they believed, always had time for their friends and were the kind of kids who’d even be kind to their enemies.

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Being a nerd means that you have an innate ability to see things differently, to be in-tune with what’s going on around you, rather than just going along for the ride like everyone else.  They are usually the deep, meaningful and compassionate people; they know how to be themselves with no pretence or trying to be one up on everyone else.

Personally I’d say that nerds are our future; if they aren’t then it’s safe to say we won’t have much of a future left if we carry on the way we are.

So ask yourself, are you a nerd deep down and are you willing to be as awesome as you were born to be?

Featured photo credit: theaftershock via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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