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7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

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7 Life Lessons I’ve Learned From How I Met Your Mother

I absolutely love How I Met Your Mother. Not only does it make you laugh and cry, it teaches you some great life lessons in each episode. We can learn many things from How I Met Your Mother, from what it takes to get your dream job, to finding love in our current modern world.

Spoiler alert: This article contains elements from all seasons, including the ending. Do not read on if you do not want to know!

1. It’s not about who wins; it’s about compromise.

“I guess sometimes you just have to set your ego aside…” Marshall

“… And remember that the love that you have for that other person is way more important than winning.” Lily

In season four of How I Met Your Mother, Lily and Marshall have a falling out over dirty dishes. Barney has managed to convince Marshall that he shouldn’t have to put his dirty dishes in the sink (which we know is bad advice). Several arguments later and my favorite HIMYM couple come to realize their errors (as they always do). They agree that it isn’t about who wins; it’s all about compromise.

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I have come to find that this statement is very true. For a relationship to work, you should learn to compromise. As Lily and Marshall said, the love you have for that person is way more important than winning. You have to learn to come to an agreement with your partner by meeting them halfway.

2. You won’t find love by constantly looking for it.

“You can’t force destiny. If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen.” Ted

Ted has taught us a lot about finding love. The biggest lesson we can ever learn from Ted is, you won’t find love by looking for it. No matter how hard Ted tried, he struggled to find love and his happy ending. Yet in the end, he found love when he wasn’t looking. When he met his future wife, he did not do a typical “Ted” and go chasing after her, declaring his undeviating love for her. Instead, he decided to let it happen and, as we all know, it did.

Ted spent years of his life searching for love, instead of enjoying himself without the worry that he wouldn’t find it. I believe that there is someone out there for everyone, so don’t spend time looking for them. They will find you when the time is right.

3. Long distance relationships rarely work.

“Long distance is a lie teenagers tell each other to get laid the summer before college.” Ted

In season one of How I Met Your Mother, Ted fell in love with Victoria, who unexpectedly moved away to Germany. After debating whether to end their relationship or not, they decide that they wanted to try a long distance relationship. We come to find in the very next episode that this was a mistake. Ted finds that their phone conversations have become boring as they have nothing to talk about. He even finds himself falling asleep on the phone to Victoria! Their relationship finally comes to a abrupt end when Victoria discovers Ted is trying to sleep with Robin.

Although some long distance relationships can work, in my experience, I have learned they don’t. Even Lily and Marshall admitted when they tried long distance briefly, it nearly “killed” them. The problem is simple: you can’t fully develop a relationship without seeing each other. Yes, you can talk and text all you want, but being with someone in person gives you more intimacy (and I’m not just talking about sex).

4. Nothing good happens after 2 a.m.

“Kids, your grandma always used to say to me, ‘Nothing good happens after 2:00 a.m.,’ and she was right. When 2:00 a.m. rolls around, just go home and go to sleep.” Ted

The concept is simple, nothing good happens after 2 a.m. We come across this is the same episode where Ted breaks up with Victoria in Season one. Ted’s long distance relationship with Victoria has become stale, when Robin, the love of Ted’s life, wants Ted to come over to her place. Ted ends up lying to Robin, saying that he has broken up with Victoria and wants to be with Robin. When Victoria calls and speaks to Robin, she realizes Ted has lied to her.

We can learn from this that 2 a.m. is never a good time to make decisions. It is too late (or too early) to think clearly, so instead you should rest up and save your energy.

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6. You won’t get your dream job overnight.

This is a great lesson you can learn from Robin. Throughout the series, we watch Robin as she struggles to get her dream job as a TV Anchor. She spends years taking on horrid jobs, including doing the “fluff” pieces on the news to the dreaded 2 a.m. slot. We see Robin grow agitated as she worries she will never get her dream job. In the season finale, we see that Robin is finally a famous TV Anchor. Ted comments to Robin on this, saying that her face is everywhere, just before a bus passes with Robin’s face on it.

This lesson is very simple. You won’t get your dream job overnight; it requires hard work. If you want to be a writer, you can’t expect that writing one article will turn you into an overnight success. It takes time and practice to get your dream job. If you put that time and attention into your work, you will succeed.

7. Friendships come and go.

“And that’s how it goes kids. The friends, neighbors, drinking buddies and partners in crime you love so much when you’re young, as the years go by, you just lose touch.” Ted

In series nine of How I Met Your Mother, we find that eventually people move on and we lose contact with friends. The gang learn this when they are all debating on whether Gary Blauman should be at Robin and Barney’s wedding. When their arguing causes Gary to leave, our favorite gang come to realize that they might never see Gary again. This is when they come to realize that if you want that person in your live, you have to do something about it. As Ted puts it, “You will be shocked when you discover how easy it is in life to part ways with people forever. That’s why when you find someone you want to keep around, you do something about it.”

Over time, people change and with it friendships fizzle out. We learn this as years later on, the How I Met Your Mother gang no longer spend long nights down the bar. Robin, having not settled down and focusing on a career, loses contact with the gang and continues on with her own life. The biggest lesson we learn from this is that time changes people, and we must make the most of the time we have with friends.

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8. There is someone out there for everyone.

“You can ask the universe for signs all you want but ultimately we’ll only see what we want to see…when we’re ready to see it.” Ted

How I Met Your Mother has come to an end, but we can learn one big lesson from the finale. In the last double episode special, we finally get the opportunity to meet the mother. After years of searching, we see Ted find the love of his life. Unfortunately this reaches a unhappy ending when the mother becomes terminally ill and dies. Yet Ted is not left alone because he can, at last, be with Robin.

We learn that no matter what age you are, how many years you spend looking for love, there’s always someone out there for everyone. Barney teaches us this too when his baby daughter, Ellie, is born. He expresses clearly “You are the love of my life.”

So there we have it, my all-time favorite How I Met Your Mother Life Lessons, but what are your favorites?

If you liked this, why don’t you try:

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http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/17-lessons-love-has-taught.html[/seealse]

Featured photo credit: Alastair2003 via farm3.staticflickr.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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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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