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6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

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6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

Happiness seems unachievable to some; it’s easier to scowl so everyone knows you’re real and have been through some pain than it is to smile through the rain. The secrets of happiness are achievable by anyone, though. If you don’t want to spend your last moments on earth reflecting on all the woulda, coulda, and shouldas, than you should take the advice of the happiest people on earth. Here’s what six experts have to say about their secrets of happiness:

Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he envisioned a nation where people could be free to do whatever it is they want to do. The United States of America was founded upon those ideals, and those ideals are still very much the foundation of a modern democracy. Each of these pillars – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – is vital to support the other three. As a free human being, you have not only the right, but the responsibility, to pursue your own self-fulfillment and happiness.

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    Dalai Lama

    Happiness is not something ready-made; It comes from your own actions.

    The Dalai Lama is essentially the Pope of Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas Catholics believe in God, however, Buddhists believe each of us is our own God. Both are perspectives on the whole of humanity, which is a hivemind. In order to understand how a hivemind works, one must simply study Anonymous (or, you could look at the Internet itself on a high level).

    The direction of the hive is determined by the sum of the whole. In order to make the world happy, you, yourself, must be happy first. If you want to be happy, however, it takes work. Even if sitting around doing nothing is your life goal, you’ll have to put forth the effort. To be happy, you must BE happy.

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    Oscar Wilde

    Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 

    Keeping the hivemind in mind (pun intended, but balked at the last minute), Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde divides the world into two factions: those who please with their presence, and those who please with their absence. If you don’t inspire, motivate, and entertain the people around you, it’s not like they just never do anything entertaining. People don’t pause until you return; their timeline progresses, and if you’re not making them smile, they’re smiling when you leave.

     

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      Albert Einstein

      A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit, and a violin – what else does a man need to be happy?

      Albert Einstein defines German engineering: innovative, dependable, and practical. It’s thinking like Einstein’s that defined physics for the human race. His innovations led to the computer, space travel, and so many pioneering achievements. His brilliance wasn’t just in his ability to apply the scientific method, however; it was in his ability to sit and enjoy his own life. After all, what’s the point of being the richest, smartest, or strongest man in the world if you can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life?

      Mahatma Gandhi

      Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  

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      While Hitler ravaged the world with war, Mohandas Gandhi proved the power of peace. Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance is a milestone in human history, and he did it while happily living a life of poverty. He understood that if you’re constantly day-dreaming, or over-sell what you do or have, then you’re not happy.

      Let’s take your New Year’s resolution for example; odds are that you likely have already broken your resolution. In fact, there’s a real good chance you broke it on Jan 1. By the time you’re reading this, however, you may not have told people you cheated. You’re likely still living the lie you tell everyone (which includes “I don’t make resolutions,” because we know you secretly do) that you are still on track with your resolution. By March, everyone forgets resolutions, and you have 9 months before people realize you haven’t lost weight and still smoke. You’re afraid of happiness–now stop agreeing with me and change something.

      Helen Keller

      Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence. And I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” 

      I promise your problems aren’t as bad as Helen Keller’s were. The girl lived in darkness, and nobody, save for a handful of people like Anne Sullivan, knew or cared how to communicate with her. Somehow this woman found happiness and became more successful than you, with your excuses about being born broke, having to work too hard in a thankless world, people lying and cheating, and blah, blah, blah.

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      Helen Keller grew up in this same world, broke, alone, and all that, and by the time she died at 87, she was a world traveler, author, activist, and respected by the world community at large. If she can smile through all that, you can do it too.

      The above examples are just a small sample of happy people. You can find them everywhere in history, and there may even be some in your own community.  Rather than mocking them and assuming you’re too “real” and “street” for anyone happy to ever possibly understand, and rather than assuming all happy people are squares, and they’re delusional or ineffective, or that their smile somehow makes them dumber than you, maybe, just maybe, take a few words of advice from the happy people–and experience happiness for yourself.

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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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