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8 Reasons You Have Nothing To Prove To Anyone

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8 Reasons You Have Nothing To Prove To Anyone

Today’s world is difficult enough to navigate while finding true happiness. When you add in another person’s or group’s ideals about how you should live your life or what defines success and happiness, it sometimes seems nearly impossible. The urge to measure oneself by what someone else is doing, like one’s favorite rap star, writer or football player, can be overwhelming. The problem is this is a false ideal that actually leads more often to misery than to happiness. There’s always that artificial, built-in need to prove oneself to one’s boss, spouse, family, and so on.

The good news is that you can break out of this cycle and define happiness and success according to what’s right for you. You may catch some grief for it and it may not always be a comfortable journey, but you can use these eight reasons you have nothing to prove to anyone as a sorting screen to choose how you want to live your life.

1. You should judge your success by your own standards.

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Failure and Success

    In modern society, we’ve come to a highly artificial view of what success looks like. Reality TV has only bolstered these ideals, celebrating public opinion more than who has the most technical skill or proficiency. Instead of judging your life by the mass media rubric, decide what really matters to you and go for it. Even if it doesn’t work out, you will be a success by the only standard that matters—your own.

    2. Your value is not judged by external validation.

    We’d all love to set a world record, make the New York Times bestseller list, be at the top of the Fortune 100, or become the next American (Australian, British, whatever) Idol. However, these kinds of validation are external and often flawed. The best kind of success is the kind you find on your own. If you count kindness, charity, wisdom, and justice higher than money and property in your personal value scheme and live up to those ideals as often and as best you can, then your internal value is the only one that makes a difference.

    3. You cannot expect to please everyone.

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    success2

      Abraham Lincoln once quipped, “You can please all of the people some of the time, and you can please some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all the people all the time.” We have a cultural horror and fear of letting anyone down, ever. As a result, we take on too many tasks and make too many commitments with the end result that some of these are going to have to go by the wayside. It is acceptable to say no on occasion, especially when you’re making time for the people who really matter the most to you at the end of the day.

      4. You are doing fine as long as you’re giving your personal best.

      We are afraid to fail. We hate the idea of coming in “second best” to an arbitrary standard. B students long for As, while baseball players who bat a .350 for the season wish they’d made a .400. It is natural to want to do better, but if you can look at a completed task or objective and honestly say you gave it everything you had, you’re living up to your own highest ideals. Be proud of that!

      5. You know what’s best for you.

      The people who care about us often batter us with well-meaning but unsolicited or incorrectly gauged advice. “You should take that job at _______, because it pays $10,000 more a year and you’ll be happier.” “You should get a bigger house in __________, because your family’s growing and you’ll be happier.” What these people really mean is, “I want to be happier for you, so you should take my advice and you will be happier for you as well.” This kind of sentiment creates an awkward position. We don’t want to be unkind, but we also want to stand our ground. Being able to say “I’m fine where I’m at” is a gentle way of saying you have nothing to prove to anyone, while still acknowledging the other party’s intentions and hopes for you.

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      6. You know better than anyone else what you are capable of.

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        People tend to judge others by statistics and files, not by individual ability. This can be frustrating when you’re trying to do more than “the norm” and hearing how it’s impossible. You are the only one who can judge your capabilities and potential effectively. After all, you know more about you than anyone else possibly can. Part of having nothing to prove is the willingness to prove it, even when the only person you’re proving it to is yourself.

        7. You have the right to define happiness on your own terms.

        Happiness means something different to everyone. I define happiness in terms of reader reviews and financial security. A plumber may define happiness in terms of how many sinks and toilets she or he unclogged today. Everyone views happiness differently, and it’s up to you to determine what happiness looks like to you. Knowing what makes you happy will in turn make you happier and better able to make others happy.

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        8. Do the things that satisfy you.

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          If you can’t make everyone happy, you should at least be able to be happy yourself. Albert Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is repeating the same action expecting a different outcome.” You should be able to look back at the end of each day, week, month, or year and say, “I did my absolute best with everything I attempted, and I can be content with that.” Of course, you should always seek to improve, but be modestly proud of your achievements and successes. Satisfaction is really just happiness when a task you take pride in is done and done well.

          Of course, none of this means you should not take into account the happiness of your spouse or the people around you. You should never be so self-absorbed in the pursuit of your personal happiness that you cause misery to others. Part of being a happy person is being able to spread the wealth. If you cannot do this, you cannot be a truly happy person.

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          So, how do you define happiness? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

          More by this author

          J.S. Wayne

          J.S. Wayne is a passionate writer who shares lifestyle inspirations and 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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