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6 Skills Your Parents Have That You Don’t

6 Skills Your Parents Have That You Don’t

Frustrating, isn’t it? When your parents tell you how to do things. I mean, you’re an adult, not a child. You don’t need them to tell you what to do, or how to do it.

After all, they’re a different generation and a lot has changed since they were in the prime of their lives. They didn’t grow up with the internet. Things moved at a different pace when they were young. What could they possibly know that you don’t?

Well, it turns out, there are a couple of things they’re better at than we are – Just because they’re from a different generation.

Here’s 6 skills your parents have that you don’t:

1. Patience.

Our parents required patience for many things, because the world moved more slowly. They had to wait for letters to bring news from loved ones, they had to wait to move up in the company they worked for, and they had to wait until they saved up to buy a car.

Fast food wasn’t as prevalent, so they didn’t have a fast food mentality. They knew that good things came to those who waited.

Consequently, patience is one of the skills your parents have learned during their lifetime.

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    2. Gratitude.

    Our parents did not expect to have the perfect home, or the perfect job, or the perfect lifestyle. At least, not in the beginning.

    They expected to work hard to achieve those things, and strove to make the best of what they had in the meantime.

    Rather than growing up in an environment of plenty, they grew up knowing they had to work hard for things. Knowing they had to make do.

    Consequently, they were grateful for the job they had, grateful for the home they lived in, and grateful for the life they lived.

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      3. Respect.

      Our parents grew up knowing they had to demonstrate respect for other people.

      They didn’t wait for the other person to earn that respect. They just knew everyone deserved to be treated well.

      Today, we have to work hard to earn the respect of others, and it can be an ongoing cycle. Each new manager, supervisor, or CEO requires us to prove ourselves all over again.

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      If we all just treated each other with respect automatically, we’d save a lot of time and effort trying to prove our worth.

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        4. Optimism.

        Let’s face it, our parents went through some pretty tough times. They experienced things we haven’t seen, and hopefully will never see.

        Things like the Civil Rights Movementrations, and Vietnam.

        These were times of incredible change and hardship, and yet our parents remained optimistic. They knew life would get better.

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          5. Social grace.

          Just as our parents grew up knowing to respect others, they also knew social grace.

          Social grace are the skills used to interact politely in society. They include fashion, deportment, etiquette and manners. They’re like life’s little instruction manual.

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          Men learned how to woo a woman, and women learned how to respond.

          Our parents knew they had to display manners, and behave appropriately. Social grace was valued by society, and the consequences of not displaying it would mean being cast out.

          So they practice and polished the skill of social grace.

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            6. Resourcefulness.

            Our parents had to learn to be resourceful. They had to learn how to make chocolate cake without eggs during wartime, and make do with what what available (there was far less choice, even a decade ago).

            This encouraged resourcefulness.

            If the toaster broke, they fixed it. If they needed a new outfit, they made one. If they were hungry, they cooked a meal – from scratch.

            If they didn’t know how, they asked someone who did, and they learned.

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            That’s being resourceful. And it’s a skill we’re losing because we don’t use it so much. But we should.

            If we were resourceful, we’d work out how to fix that difficult situation at work. If we were resourceful, we’d tell our kids unique stories, rather than putting them in front of the television. If we were resourceful we’d make up fabulous games, rather than relying on the latest app.

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              So there you have it, six skills your parents have that you don’t. You might not think they’re important, but they are.

              A society that is less optimistic, less respectful and less patient is less enjoyable for all of us. So make an effort to brush up on these skills.

              You’ll stand out from the crowd as someone with strong values.

              And you’ll be able to grow old gracefully, just as your parents are.

              Featured photo credit: StevePB via pixabay.com

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              Cate Scolnik

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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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