“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
There are a multitude of things you can spend money on nowadays. You live in a society that is obsessed with consumption. Houses, cars, technology, etc. are all items you are pressured into purchasing. You can’t go anywhere, including on your personal laptops, without encountering advertisements for the latest fad or technological advancement.
Why do companies and corporations push their wares on you, the consumer? What is the purpose? How do they bait their hooks so well, reel you in, and catch your attention and willingness to purchase their products?
They offer you happiness when you consume their products. While buying a new house, car, iPhone, or hamburger and soft drink from a fast food restaurant might satisfy you momentarily, it will not last. Experiences on the other hand, live on forever. If you spend money on experiences, as opposed to material or quantifiable items, you are going to experience much more joy and contentment in your life.
1. Experiences can’t be quantified.
I already delved into this but the importance of this point can’t be overstated. Experiences are priceless while material items always have an expiration date. The house and car you buy are wonderful purchases but over time the satisfaction you receive from them is most likely going to diminish. The initial buyer’s high you get is not going to last forever.Advertising
Contrastingly, experiences will never lose their luster. Sure you spent $100 on the Mumford and Sons concert tickets, but that is an experience you will never forget. You can always go back to that moment and conjure up pleasant feelings. Perhaps you will never forget a night out you had with friends-dinner, movies, and dancing. You will never forget when you went to the Super Bowl or backpacked through Europe or Southeast Asia. These are life experiences that will never be replaced no matter how many cars or gadgets you buy.
Continue to purchase the things you need in life. You need a place to live and a car to drive. You need certain amounts of technology. Before you acquire your next material item ask yourself if there is an experience you could be spending your money on instead.
2. Experiences help define your purpose and passions.
Failure to spend money on experiences means failure to discover your purpose and passions. Your purpose and your passions should serve as your compass through life. They should guide you and influence your daily activities.
Your experiences don’t need to be expensive or grandiose, and neither do your purposes and passions. However, you should align experiences in your life that are in tune with them. If you enjoy sports, for example, and perhaps you believe your purpose in life is sports-centric, then it makes sense for you to spend money on attending sporting events. Learn as much you can about the sports industry if you are certain it is your calling. This goes for any other passion you have in life.
Don’t miss out on opportunities to pursue your purpose and passion. These are the experiences that matter to you, and ultimately they will help shape your life. Take advantage of them because they are always great investments!Advertising
3. Experiences introduce you to different worldly perspectives.
Perhaps there is no better way to learn about worldly perspectives than traveling. Traveling is undeniably one of the greatest ways to experience various cultures and social norms. It is an education that you will never experience in a classroom no matter how many places you study. And you don’t have to travel halfway around the world to witness the benefits of travel. Simply taking a road trip for a weekend offers you a new and fresh experience.
You don’t have to travel to appreciate a new worldly outlook. Spending time in nature can be extremely meditative and healing. Some of my fondest experiential memories are those times I was in nature, absorbing all its beauty and wonder. Experiences like this won’t cost you a dime, but they have the opportunity of being life-changing.
4. Experiences teach you life lessons.
Experiences are worth investing in because they teach you life lessons that you won’t acquire anywhere else. Traveling to new places teaches patience, acceptance, understanding, as well as organizational skills. Purchase tickets to the symphony, theater, opera, or musicals to expose your senses to the performing arts. Spend time at museums and exhibitions to uncover information from past historical time periods. Observe the sacrifice and commitment it takes to be an athlete by attending sporting events.
You are a member of a species that thirsts for experiences that are meaningful and significant. Experiences do more than just merely endow you with facts and figures. They transform your life. They teach you how to be humble, virtuous, and compassionate. These lessons might be subtle at first, but they are a big reason why you spend your money on experiences.
5. Experiences help you express gratitude.
Experiences, which you find worthwhile and meaningful, are prime opportunities for you to express gratitude. If you fill up your life with experiences imagine how grateful you are going to be for your existence. Practicing gratitude for major life-altering experiences allows you to feel grateful for the seemingly minute and mundane ones. Perhaps you will experience a paradigm shift, where all experiences are ones to cherish.Advertising
Living gratefully is the best way for you to live happily. Inundate your life with grateful experiences, and notice how better you feel about life. It is not a coincidence. There is a reason you feel euphoric and alive when you attend concerts or go to the movies. You are grateful for these experiences because they are worth the price of admission.
6. Experiences are unforgettable and joyful memories.
For many people the optimal reason for investing in experiences is that they unforgettable and joyous occasions. These memories can be especially useful if you are going through a rough time. It is never ideal to disassociate yourself completely from the present, but having pleasant and fond memories to reminisce on can be quite therapeutic. Perhaps they will serve as a reminder that things aren’t as terrible as they seem.
Happiness is correlated with your ability to relish your moment to moment experiences. Why not make these experiences ones that are beyond minute and mundane? Invest in experiences that you will treasure, not only in the present moment, but for the rest of your life.
7. Experiences are exciting and challenging.
Your experiences will inspire you, and at times, call you to take action. If they didn’t then you probably wouldn’t invest too much time or energy into them. Climbing Mount Everest is an experience you probably would never forget because of the daunting task you are forced to overcome. The mental and physical challenge of ascending the slope is both inspiring to yourself and others, and challenging at the same time. Accepting the challenge of learning a new instrument or language offers a mental challenge that is gratifying for anyone who sticks with it.
Being inspired and overcoming adverse situations are keys to your genuine contentment with life. Whether or not you believe it you need to be motivated to an appropriate degree in order to reach your full potential.Advertising
Experiences offer you this platform to reach your maximum limits.
8. Experiences are meaningful for you or you wouldn’t be spending money on them.
In today’s economic climate you probably are looking for ways to cutback spending, rather than increase it. With that being said, you aren’t going to waste money on new experiences that aren’t meaningful to you.
This makes it utterly necessary to get the most bank for your buck from these experiences. Don’t aimlessly throw money away at any opportunity that comes your way; rather, research and decide what experiences are right for you. What experiences are important to your well-being? In most cases you will know immediately, and the money you invest in them will be money well spent.
Go ahead and fill your life up with experiences. Many of them will cost you nothing. Some of them will be reasonably priced, and maybe some will be expensive from a financial standpoint, but rich with rewarding memories and life lessons. Always link these experiences with your passions and purpose if you desire complete satisfaction. You can always spend your money on more “stuff” with a limited authenticity of happiness or you can invest in purposeful experiences that will contribute to a substantive feeling of joy.
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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