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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up So Easily

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7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Give Up So Easily

We all hit points when it seems like going on is next to impossible. When you’re already overwhelmed, it’s easy to talk yourself into giving up. But giving up too soon could cause you to miss out on success. You never know how soon you might start seeing progress if you hang in there and give it a little more time. Here are eight good reasons you should keep at it just a little longer.

1. It takes many iterations for one success.

“If birds can glide for long periods of time, then… why can’t I?” -Orville Wright

You’ve heard of that thing called an airplane, right? It took Orville and Wilbur Wright many iterations of gliders, and years of testing and trying, to get to a powered “flying machine.”

They didn’t call each iteration a failure. They called it a way to improve, because each test, each trial, gave them new information which influenced and improved the next model.

Not getting it right the first time, or the 100th time, is not a sign that you should quit. It’s simply a way for you to keep learning how to do it better next time.

2. Instant success is a myth.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

We’ve all heard stories of the overnight rise to fame. But the truth is that what looks like an instant or overnight success is always preceded by years of struggle and work.

There’s a long, hard road to success, but when success hits we only focus on the last mile or so. It looks so easy, and makes for such a great story, that we ignore the miles and miles of obscurity, difficulty, and perseverance required to get to that hill top of glory.

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Those stories make us feel that if we haven’t achieved a high level of success in a matter of days or months, we must be doing something wrong. And we are: we’re listening to make-believe stories as if they were guidelines to how life actually works.

3. Your success might matter more than you think it does.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” -Abraham Lincoln

And if you give up now, you don’t know what you could have accomplished and what the world might be missing because of you.

It was after Abraham Lincoln lost two runs for a senatorial seat that he ran for president of the United States…and won. That election put Lincoln at the helm during the War Between the States, and Lincoln is the one who issued the Emancipation Proclamation three years after his election.

What if he had decided, after two losses in politics, that it was time to give it up and retire to the country?

What if you decide that your success doesn’t matter? Your losses are too great, and it’s time to pull back to something average, give up, and settle down. Average is good enough.

Except that average never changed the world.

4. The most worthwhile things are not easy.

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” -Pablo Picasso

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We like easy, comfortable, familiar things. That’s because we tend to be lazy, and we don’t want to put forth the effort required to do difficult things. Because we shirk from the effort, we go to great lengths to convince ourselves that we don’t need that goal… whatever it is. We pretend that we’re satisfied with the easy things, but we know the truth.

The best things, the things that matter most, are the most difficult.

A great relationship, a career you can be proud of, a family, serving, innovating, helping others? All of those require deep thought, self-control, self-sacrifice, and a willingness to put in a lot of effort over a long amount of time.

But what could be better than the results you get from such an effort?

5. You might not have tried the right thing yet.

“If I have done the public any service, it is due to my patient thought.” -Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton failed miserably at being a farmer before he found his way to a career in science.

He wasn’t good at farming, but he was a genius at what he did after he failed at farming.

If you’re trying and failing, perhaps you just haven’t tried the right thing yet. Don’t judge yourself and quit on life and on your goals because you’ve failed in one area, or even several. Every time you try and fail, you learn something about yourself, about life, and you gain experience that can help you to do better next time.

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So press on. Try something different, and don’t let past failure keep you from future success.

6. Tenacity matters more than talent.

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.” -Mark Twain

If you feel like you aren’t good enough, or talented enough, remember this: there are plenty of supremely talented people out there working at dead-end jobs, not using their talents.

Talent is great, but without tenacity, talent won’t get you very far.

I know, I know: the overnight success stories. Right. But there’s a backstory to those, remember? And the backstory is the tenacity that kept that talented person pushing forward, long before success “hit.” Success doesn’t hit, or happen. Success is something you reach by hard work and determination.

So hang in there, and stay tenacious.

7. Your past does not determine your future.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” -Bill Cosby

Many great successes were once known as big, sad, sorry failures.

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Every famous writer was once a wanna be writer.

Every amazing entrepreneur was once a shaky little start-up.

And 99.9 percent of the time, their first attempts were not their best. But they didn’t quit. They pushed through one bad draft after another, one business flop after another, until they learned enough and tried enough that they succeeded.

Each failure teaches you. Each attempt can give you valuable insight into how to do better next time.

You’re not doomed to repeat the past. You’re given an invaluable gift: the ability to think about and learn from your past. That past may be the very thing that give you the future you want.

Don’t quit. Success is ahead.

Featured photo credit: Aleksander Markin via flickr.com

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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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