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Every 20-Something Needs To Accept These 20 Things

Every 20-Something Needs To Accept These 20 Things
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Whether you call it “emerging adulthood” or nothing at all, the 20s are a time of growth and development. (Seriously though, your brain is still developing.) With all that’s being said about Generation Y, one thing is clear. The 20-somethings of today are vastly different from those of earlier generations. As a fellow 20-something (quickly pushing 30), here are some things that I think my fellow 20-somethings need to accept.

That as long as there are 20-somethings who take their time going through the milestones of “adulthood”, there will be 50-somethings worrying and complaining about it.

Unfortunately, it seems Generation Y is a popular target for criticism, often times voiced as concern and even curiosity these days. But if we think back to the children of the ‘60s and ‘70s, we should also think of how they were also criticized. The moral here? To quote Jay-Z, “Go and brush your shoulders off”.

1. You’re Not Old

Yes, you may be naturally inclined to wake up earlier on the weekends. Yes, most of the pop stars are younger than you (but only by like two years, calm down). And yes, people born in 2000 are teenagers now. Does that make you feel old? Definitely. But does it mean you’re actually old? Nope.

2. You Need To Budget

If you’ve already gotten this one figured out – congratulations. You’re a step ahead of a lot of others in our grand Generation Y (myself included). It can be pretty hard to start a budget. Especially if you’re just starting out on this grand adventure some like to call “adulthood”. Sticking to your budget can seem as tedious as waking up consistently at 6 am, but in the long run you’ll be very happy you did – on both aspects.

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3. Your Real Life Does Start Now

I mean, technically real life started the moment you were born. But I’m talking about building a strong foundation for future you. It’s not going to happen overnight on your 30th birthday, it’s something you’ve got to start doing in your 20s. Yes, this is a time to explore what you really want from life and travel, but this is also a time to start investing in your career.

4. You Will Not Always Be Comfortable

You may lose your job, you may lose a family member, or you may have to move back home. You may have to ask for help, but everyone needs help from time to time. Swallow your pride and ask. It may be even as small (hah) as getting a zit the size of Mount Everest. Accept who you are and what you have. Know that life isn’t always going to be perfect. Roll with the uncomfortable situations that life sends your way, because….

5. You Know It Can Always Be Worse

Do you have a roof over your head? Friends and family to comfort you in times of need and celebrate with you in times of joy? What about food to eat? Just remember, no matter how bad it seems it can always be worse. If you think it can’t get any worse, than it will eventually only get better. Accept the worst parts of life, whatever that may be for you, for what they are. Embrace them as much as you embrace the good. Just know, nothing in your life is permanent.

6. You Must Take Risks

Not taking a risk is just as risky as taking a one, so why not try? Risks are scary, especially if the outcome is uncertain. Some of the most successful people wouldn’t be where they are today if they hadn’t taken a chance on themselves or their ideas. It may take time and hard work, but wouldn’t you rather fail having tried then living your life thinking “what if”?

7. You Will Change and So Will Other People

Everyone changes. You’re not the same person you were two years ago and neither are your friends. Accept this and take it for what it is. You may drift apart from some friends, but that is all a part of growing and evolving and riding this crazy thing called life. People come in and out of your life for a reason, rather than dwelling on their leaving focus on what you’ve gained from the experience.

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8. You Don’t Have to Buy It

Seriously, debt is not fun. It affects almost all aspects of your life, from renting an apartment to buying a car. I mean, 46% of 20-somethings have student loan debt, 42% have credit card debt, and 30% have auto loans. So why add on to those statistics? If you want to build your credit with a credit card, you should only buy what you could pay for already. Do you really need the box set of that TV show? Chances are, not really.

9. You Live For You

Everyone is living their own lives at their own paces. Milestones are reached at different places in everyones life. So what if your parents had success at 26? The times were drastically different then. Your friend recently had a child and got married? Be happy for them, but don’t compare your milestones to theirs. Comparing yourself will get you nowhere. Hard work, dedication, and time will.

10. You Will Fail

You will fail and it will suck. It may be the first time you’ve ever failed at something and it may make you feel like you never want to try again. Don’t let it dishearten you. Take the failure in stride and turn it into motivation to succeed and get where you want to be.

11. You Must Eat Well

The habits we develop in our twenties will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Yes, pizza is heaven on earth. I could live off of it too, but I won’t. Start implementing positive diet changes in your life now and you’ll be grateful you did. It’s easier to prevent a health problem than it is to treat it.

12. You Must Sleep

It’s OK to go to sleep early and wake up early. It doesn’t make you ‘old’. We’re more productive in the early hours of the day, so why not take advantage of that with a full nights rest?

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13. You And Your Friends Will Have Less Time For Each Other

Whether it is because of traveling, starting a career, or starting a family, you and your friends will have less time for each other. Make time for each other, but don’t take it personally if they aren’t able to go to the bars every weekend.

14. You Need New Benchmarks

The benchmarks of adulthood used to be: finish school, leave home, get a job, get a spouse and start a family. More and more, these milestones are being reached in a different order or not at all. Take your parents concern in stride, but know that you are on par with your fellow Millenials no matter what stage of “adulthood” you’re at.

15. Your Family Does Matter

Harvard studied two groups of people, those that remained close to their siblings and those that did not. They found that those happiest later in life were ones that had remained close to their siblings.  I believe that this should be applied to the family we choose as well. Keep in contact with all of your loved ones, be it blood related or not, and see the benefits of unconditional love positively affect your life.

16. You Need Love

Love is scary and unsure and almost every other feeling I could possibly list. Don’t be afraid of all the bad that can happen when you fall in love. Take it as an opportunity to grow closer to someone than you’ve ever been before. It may end badly, it may not. Either way, you will grow and learn from experiences that you never would have had if you didn’t take a chance on love.

17. You Must Read Every Once In A While

Want to get into someone’s mind? Open a book. Reading helps as an escape, broadens your mind (and maybe even your vocabulary), and helps you gain a glimpse into another persons mind in a way you can get nowhere else.

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18. You Should Be Alone Sometimes

Find yourself. Embrace yourself. Be truly alone for a little while and realize that it is not the monster under your bed you once thought it was.

19. You Will Be Unappreciated and Disappointed

Often, when we come into adulthood — and out of our parents’ house, we expect the world to fix things the way they would have. Unfortunately, adulthood doesn’t come with gold stars and stickers for a job well done. Get used to this. You must reward yourself and appreciate a job well done on your own. Need a quick me up? Go buy some gold stickers!

20. Your Talent Is Overrated

This may seem harsh, but it is true. You could be the most talented person in your field, but you cannot get anywhere on talent alone. Accept this and work hard to harnessing your talent to get you to the place you would like to be.

Featured photo credit: Eunice / plaits 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)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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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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