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Confront These 10 Inconvenient Truths Today for a Better Life

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Confront These 10 Inconvenient Truths Today for a Better Life

Improving your body and life isn’t a quick, easy or magical process. There is no pill, strategy or tactic that can replace hard work. If you want success, you need to confront these ten inconvenient truths today.

1. Education does not begin or end in a textbook or classroom.

If you’re not willing to wrap your head around that simple fact, the Real World will eat you alive.

2. Agonizing over the past accomplishes nothing.

If you are already in a situation that cannot be undone, then what is the point in stressing out about it? Your time would be better spent hustling forward in the direction of a better future. Look at every new day as a fresh opportunity to improve yourself.

3. People pleasing is an exercise in futility.

I hate to break it to you, but there are certain people who won’t care about you, no matter what you do. And besides, if a person likes you for a phony version of yourself that bears no resemblance to the authentic person you are, why bother? As Amanda McRae said, “It is less important to have lots of friends and more important to have real ones.”

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4. Affirmations are helpful…

I love affirmations. They are a great way to keep your goals fresh on your memory and remind yourself of what is most important to you. Just in case you’re curious, here’s one of my favorite affirmations of late (you’re welcome to borrow it if you want to):

“I am loving, mindful, deliberate, and strong.”

I aspire to behave in a way that reflects those four traits every single day, whether it is in the form of writing an article like this or coaching a personal training client. When I feel overburdened with stress, or lose sight of my purpose, I repeat this affirmation until I get back on track.

I would recommend coming up with your own affirmation that expresses what kind of person you would like to be, or how you hope to add value to the world. You could write it down in a place you’ll see it regularly, and say your affirmation out-loud a few times as soon as you wake up to get your head in the right place at the top of every morning.

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5. …but affirmations are pointless if they aren’t accompanied with consistent hustle.

All of that said, it is delusional to think you can “affirm your way” to the future you desire. If you want success, your positive thoughts must be accompanied with positive action.

6. You might be a sheep.

The temptation to conform is no doubt heavy, but remember that everybody you admire thought outside of the box (and probably broke a lot of the norms prevalent in their society while they were at it). Martin Luther King Jr., the Wright brothers, Gandhi, and even Jesus Christ would have accomplished nothing if they resigned themselves to the self-defeating belief of, “Oh well, I guess that’s just the way things are.”

We don’t need more spineless conformists in this world; we need more brave, creative original thinkers who aren’t afraid to be authentic and swim against the current, no matter what “society” has to say about it. Dare to be different, because the world needs the unique gift only you can offer.

7. Effort trumps “luck” every time.

My mom is a walking, talking example of “effort” because she illustrates how important it is for success. Below is a single sentence summary of how effort works:

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If you want to be successful, you must put forth a high level of effort for a long period of time (if this isn’t true, then you’re probably not thinking big enough).

What does this have to do with my mom? She is ALWAYS winning free tickets to concerts, football games, Nascar races, wrestling matches, and so on (if it’s a sport, she likes it). A lot of people call her lucky, but they’re totally missing the point. It’s not luck, it’s effort. She loves to listen to a local classic rock radio station that does contests and giveaways very frequently. They usually go something like, “If you’re caller #9, you win tickets to see this super fun thing!” Instead of saying, “I’d never win,” as 90% of people do, she picks up the phone and dials in… every. single. time.

Does she lose a lot? Well, yeah. But since she’s putting forth a higher level of effort than other people, she just so happens to be wiping the floor with them. Even if you drop the ball or fall on your face while you’re pursuing your goal, it’s nothing to freak out about. The more shots you take, the better your odds of winning. Are you going to take your shot today?

8. If you wouldn’t say it about another person, then you shouldn’t think it about yourself.

Would you ever tell a person you love that they are a stupid, fat, ugly loser who can’t do anything right? Of course you wouldn’t, because it would be an inconsiderate and nasty thing to do. Despite how mean it would be to say things like this to another person, I bet you subject yourself to self-defeating beliefs just like this every single day. Personal growth and transformation cannot happen from a place of self-hate; success happens when you can love and accept yourself as you are, even the flawed or messy parts (hint: believe it or not, these could be the very same things that make you special).

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9. Success is reserved for action-takers only.

The best self-help book or article in the world cannot help you if you’re not willing to implement the material in your life; otherwise, you are only wasting your time.

10. It’s not all about you.

Wanna know my biggest pet-peeve? People who assume everything is about them.

Just because a person doesn’t want to hang out with you, doesn’t mean they don’t like you; it probably just means they are exhausted from dealing with people all day and need some time to re-charge.

Just because a person doesn’t answer a text, doesn’t mean they are ignoring you; maybe they’re busy with their kids, at work, a creative project or one of the 1,000,000 things that are more important than answering texts as they come in.

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Just because a person doesn’t go on a date with you, doesn’t mean you are unattractive, unappealing or doomed to be alone; you’re just not a good match, and you’re fortunate the other person was honest enough to not lead you on.

I know truth hurts sometimes, but somebody had to say it.

I hope applying these ten inconvenient truths helps you achieve success in business, fitness, relationships or whatever your goal might be. If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to your friends on Facebook or Twitter, and then tell us how you’re going to take action in the comments.

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at 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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