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7 Ways to Create Your Life Purpose

7 Ways to Create Your Life Purpose

For anyone who is seeking to improve themselves, achieve better results in life or engage in meaningful personal development, there is one fundamental question to ask yourself: what is my life purpose? The answer is, in fact, of incredible importance, as it becomes the foundation for all other activities you will undertake in your life. The answer will become your compass. It will guide your activities, provide meaning to your life and cure boredom and dissatisfaction.

Successful business leaders know that to achieve incredible results in that business, they had better understand the purpose of that business. If you’re looking to realize incredible results from your life, shouldn’t you have a purpose, too?

Where does my life purpose come from?

No one is waiting to hand you your life purpose. You choose it. This is hugely empowering and an awesome revelation. Your life purpose will serve as the basis for how you lead your life. Your goals and actions will all be aligned with your life purpose. Your behaviors, values, choices and joy will all also work in concert with your life purpose. So choose wisely.

Despite the incredible impact of having a tremendous life purpose, there is not a sure-fire way to develop the best possible life purpose statement for everyone. As well, life purposes can and should change over time. Therefore, this is an individual exercise, allowing you to be creative and choose one that works for you. The method that works for you now may not be best for your friends. It may also not be best for a future version of you. For this reason, this article offers 7 ways to create your life purpose.

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Get ready to make some lists. Target each list to have somewhere between 50 and 101 entries.

1. Make a list of activities that make you happy

“True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller

The more you live your life working toward larger meaning and purpose, the happier you will be. Accordingly, what makes you happy is therefore a clue to what your particular purpose in life is. Write out a list of what makes you truly happy and blissful. By partaking in this exercise and regularly reviewing the list, your life purpose may jump out at you.

Success follows happiness.

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“Thanks to this cutting-edge science, we now know that happiness is the precursor to success, not merely the result.” – Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage

2. Make a list of what has made you feel excited to get out of bed

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Here’s another list to make. Think back through your life, back to when you were a child. Find those times in your life when you stayed up late passionately involved with something, only to wake up bright-eyed and excited to start again. Write down as long of a list as possible and review it regularly. As with number 1, expect to find commonality and get closer to your life’s purpose.

3. Ask why you’re unique

If your life purpose is chosen by you, specifically for you, and can and should be different than everyone else’s, you had better play to your strengths. What are you very good at relative to other people? Don’t worry if they’re silly items or less valuable in the eyes of others. This is you.

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4. Define your perfect existence

Assuming no limitations, what would your perfect life look like? Write out your dream story. If everything was perfect, what would your life look like in 10 years? Who is in your life? Where are you living? How do you contribute to society?

5. Plug into the rest of the world

True happiness does not come from being self-centered. Your life purpose needs to include meaningful contribution to those around you. Who do you want to help? How do you want to help them? Teaching? Charity of time? Charity of money? How can your unique strengths benefit others?

“Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” – Stephen R. Covey

6. Watch Yale Alumn and Entertainment Media Partners CEO Adam Leipzig tell you how to bring this all together and determine your life purpose in 5 minutes

7. Narrow down the lists

”Success demands singleness of purpose.” – Vince Lombardi

If you’ve followed these steps, you’ve built an impressive list of clues that will help you find your life purpose. Now, assign a task to your subconscious. Ask it to sift through all of this date and pull out the common thread. Don’t rush this. Allow your brain to do its work and return a tremendous answer to you.

Conclusion

This article has provided you with a set of tools to help you as you embark on the journey of learning your life’s purpose. With your life purpose in hand, you’ll re-invigorate your life. You’ll have focus, excitement, and happiness. I believe you can expect physical benefits as well.

“The physical gains of reaching this deeper self are real. They are lower blood pressure, a decrease in heart rate, a lower rate of respiration, reduced levels of cortisol and a boost to the immune system.” – Robert Lomas, PhD

Enjoy your journey!

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Featured photo credit: Andrew Becraft via flickr.com

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Justin Gesso

Bestselling Author, Business Leadership, Real Estate

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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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