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8 Reasons Why Asking Yourself ‘Why’ Is Important To Life

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8 Reasons Why Asking Yourself ‘Why’ Is Important To Life

As a child you are encouraged to ask questions, to be curious about life, and to find out what you love and do that. However, as you grow into an adult your curiosity diminishes, you stop asking questions, stop challenging, and become more concerned with fitting in than questioning certain things in life. As you grow and develop, your fears, doubts and worries grow too, the questions stop, and your childhood individuality and uniqueness disappears.

Life is a journey—an experience like no other—and with that change and growth will happen, but only if you embrace it. Asking yourself ‘why’ is part of that journey, as it helps you to understand yourself, those around you, and society’s expectations. It’s time to step forward, challenge and question. Here are a few reasons why asking why is so important to your life.

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1. It is essential to your happiness

Have you asked yourself recently if you are doing the things you love in your life? Have you stopped for a moment and checked that where you are is where you want to be? If not, then you are probably going through the same routine every day. You’ve been doing stuff on automatic pilot, not even stopping to wonder whether it even makes you happy. It’s so important to check in with yourself regularly, to check if you are on the same page with your loved ones and ensure you are going in the right direction. It might be a good time to make some changes, take a new direction, or talk to someone who matters to you just to see if they are happy too. What’s most important is that you are following your own bliss. So ask yourself regularly, “Am I happy with this?” and then see where it takes you.

2. It is important for your growth

Growth is important, it’s that part of you that is ever-changing, it’s mindful of your actions and it teaches you about yourself, your motivations and purpose in life. When you question things, asking why regularly, it can move you in a new direction and get you thinking about your core values and beliefs. It can make you reassess what you’ve been taught since childhood, get you to think for yourself and help you work out what is important to you. Asking questions of others can also spark interesting conversations and help others to grow too. It’s perfect for opening new doors to opportunities and provides a new and conscious existence to your life, making it even more beautiful than before.

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3. It’s required for a healthy mind

If you’re not asking yourself why on a regular basis, then you’re merely existing instead of living. Imagine if you habitually drank a lot of alcohol or overate and you asked yourself why you did those things, what do you think the answer would be? Sometimes, the question why is avoided at all costs because you already know the answer. Perhaps you have some damaging habits because of your past, or some kind of fear or pain that you hold deep within. When you ask why, you are looking at your life, your habits and learning about yourself. To question yourself will provide you with a better outlook because you will know why you do these things and it’s down to you to carry on or change. Your mind is essential for your well-being, so learn to ask why more and challenge yourself daily; your mental health will thank you later on in life.

4. It inspires others to ask why

Fear stops a lot of people from asking why, mainly because they don’t want to know the answer, are too afraid of the answer, or feel guilty if they know the answer and they don’t do anything about it. If you ask why more and openly challenge things, it will inspire others to do the same. If they see that you are growing and progressing through life because of your curiosity and fearlessness, they will want to have the same kind of life. Remember, you are a teacher, as I am a teacher to you, so be the inspiration for others to get what they want out of life too.

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5. It encourages good, honest relationships

Communication is important to any relationship, especially personal ones; however, fear can stop you asking vital questions, which can hinder rather than develop relationships. Asking why of your partner will open up conversation and steer you to the truth of any problem or situation that occurs. It’s good to be honest, and asking why will bring up any doubts or worries. It is then up to you to decide what can be done once the information has been shared. If you want an honest relationship, learn to ask questions rather than jumping to conclusions.

6. It will keep you young

Asking questions, especially why, will keep the mind active as you grow older. Being aware of what’s going on around you, around the world and so on, will keep you in tune with younger members of society, which can keep you feeling just as young as them. It shows that you are interested and interesting to be around, plus as you grow older you tend to think you know it all, so to keep that childlike quality ask why more and you’ll learn something new every day.

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7. It will make other people happy

When you show genuine interest in another human being you make them feel important and worth something. Asking why will encourage good intellectual conversation and will lift the other person. Knowing that someone else is interested in what you have to say is a wonderful feeling; it breeds enthusiasm and motivation. Plus if you are the one asking why, you’ll get to find out a lot more about someone else and feel good about it in the process.

8. It could make a difference to the world

If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. When something changes, in this instance by asking the question why, it can make all the difference to someone else and in turn a difference in the world. When you ask why, you are asking because it matters and the answer will shape what you do next. Asking why about important topics such as famine, war, poverty, animal cruelty, human suffering and environmental issues will highlight them more, bringing awareness and change.

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The question why so important because life can change in an instant. Are you willing to step up, be courageous and ask why?

Featured photo credit: Flickr/ Paul McRae (Delta Niner) via flickr.com

More by this author

Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips 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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