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8 Overrated Things You’ve Given Too Much Importance To In Life

8 Overrated Things You’ve Given Too Much Importance To In Life

In life, you often get caught up and too involved with a lot of overrated things. So much so that you forget the really priceless and valuable things that life has to offer: your loved ones, the time you spend bonding with the people who matter to you, gratitude, simple celebrations, a picnic in a park, a lazy run, and a warm hug from an equally warm person, amongst others.

Sadly, instead of focusing on what truly matters, you focus on these following eight overrated things that aren’t really worth all your time, energy and efforts. Take note of these eight things and stop giving them so much of your attention.

1. Growing up

You make such a big deal of growing up that you actually forget to hone your maturity level. Instead of developing your relationships with people and making more meaningful connections, you’re too involved in your teenage angst to pay attention to anyone else but yourself. As an example, when I had my 18th birthday party, I didn’t really bother with the invitations. I wanted a Japanese-themed party so I made sure to have all the stuff, all the things and all the food complete – without realizing that the guest list wasn’t done.

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2. Weddings

You’re more in love with the idea of getting married than the idea of spending forever with your significant other. Nowadays, it seems like weddings are competitions. Who gets married first? Who gets married in the most expensive location? Whose wedding gown was made by an international designer? Who should cater? How much should the budget for the flowers be? Because we’re too busy minding the superficial elements, we forget that marriage is supposed to be a celebration of love; not a competition of wealth.

At the end of the day, without all the frivolities, being married to your partner is supposed to last forever.

3. Vacations

You get caught up in where you are going for your trips, when in fact you should be more concerned about who you’re going with. Where to go for a trip is on our list of eight overrated things because essentially, when you really stop and think about it, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to great places if you’re all alone. It’s better to just do a staycation, and take a vacation in your local tourist spots as long as you’re with your family and friends.

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What good is an amazing view if you’re all by yourself?

4. Job-related concerns

Instead of staying up late at night to bond with the people who matter to you, you stay up late in order to finish a project before its deadline, impress your boss and hopefully get that promotion that you’ve been eyeing. “I’m only doing this for my family. I’m working hard so that they can have a better life,” you might say. True, you need to make a living for your daily expenses. But have you ever thought that your family may appreciate your presence more than the actual presents that you give them?

Sam Walton, with a net worth of $65 billion and founder of Walmart, said, “I blew it!” on his death bed. Remember: no one on their death bed wished that they had spent more time in their office. Instead, they wished that they had spent more time with their family and friends.

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5. College and the pressure of getting a degree

You’re all self-absorbed with complicated-sounding titles. We want the PhD, the MBA, the RN, the MAN and all of those fancy names. But, my friend, college isn’t about how long your title is, or how many years you studied. It’s all about self-development, progress and self-discovery. Getting a degree won’t ensure that your life is already set up for you. It’s to ensure that you’re well on your way to discovering who you are and what you’re passionate about.

6. Being right

The majority of the arguments all over the world stem from our desire to be right. Naturally, being right is acceptable when it’s dealing with public safety. However, the same logic doesn’t work when applied to minuscule things. Is arguing about “who wore it better,” or “who sang the better version,” or “which businessman is richer” really worth it?

Being right at the cost of a relationship is hardly worth it.

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7. Finishing first

This is applicable whenever we encounter contests. Why is it that we only reward those who finish first, instead of giving rewards to people who participated in the endeavor? Finishing first isn’t always important. As they say, “Even if you finished first in the rat race, remember, you’re still a rat.”

8. Luxury items

Expensive handbags and branded shoes are overrated items that aren’t worth your efforts! There are nonbranded items that also have really great quality. Don’t be defined by the bag you hold, the shoes you walk in and the clothes you wear. Instead, be defined by your friendly personality, positive outlook in life and kindness. Luxury items may run out of style, but being gracious and confident of yourself is a classic, timeless trait.

Featured photo credit: elbowsonbus.jpg/puravida via mrg.bz

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Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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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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