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How Much Are You Worth?

How Much Are You Worth?

If someone had to put a dollar value on you, how much would you be worth? What factors need to be taken into consideration when evaluating a person’s worth? Annual salary? Contribution to society? Aesthetic appeal? Below is a rubric for evaluating a person’s value:

1. Quality of Interpersonal Interactions

We are defined by how we treat other people. Each interaction with another individual reflects a personal belief system and code of morality. How do you treat strangers? How do you treat the people closest to you? These observations give great insight on a person’s character. A high-quality person treats all people with respect, no matter the relationship. A stranger deserves an equal amount of respect as a longtime friend. Even if a person has wronged a high-value individual, the wrongdoer is still treated with respect. High-value people understand that disrespecting others is the equivalent of disrespecting the self.

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2. Quality of Relationship to the Self

Think about your interactions with yourself; the voice in your head. How reassuring is it? How positive? How cruel? A high-value person has an honest and fair relationship with himself. He is realistic about his flaws, but confident in his ability to learn, grow, and change for the better. A high-value person talks to himself as a friend and as a coach; the relationship is solid and aimed at progression.

3. Consistent Demonstration of Courage

A high-value person is brave. Bravery does not mean that he feels no fear; instead, he is attuned to the feeling of fear, yet proceeds in the right direction anyway. A high-quality person is courageous enough to express his personal gifts and opinions. He does not act with the purpose of gaining popularity: he acts because he is very in touch with his core belief system. Actions are deliberate and aligned with his values, and courage is the refusal to be defined by convention at the cost of authenticity.

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4. Strength of Will and Moral Fiber

A high-value person is willful, powerful, and moral. There is a clear difference between right and wrong in his book, and these values are non-negotiable. What this type of individual sees as worth pursuing is given full attention and priority. Human willpower is capable of accomplishing astounding feats. Strength of will is defined as a committed persistence to excellence.

5. Contribution

A high-value person realizes that he was created to give, and understands that personal wealth is reflected in contribution. His contributions are not made with an ostentatious purpose. Contribution does not have to be at a large scale: giving is an act of joy in itself. By giving to others, the high-value individual feels full inside. This person strategically gives his unique gifts often, but not so that he neglects himself.

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6. Ability to Empathize and Forgive

A high-value individual understands the susceptibility of humans to frequent error, understanding himself as a flawed but still valuable being. A high-quality person is capable of relating to those that have wronged him. He is capable of forgiving both outsiders, and himself. Kindness and benefit of doubt go a long way, and holding resentment and bitterness does not allow one to live to his fully capacity. Forgiveness is emancipation from  chains of resentment that keep one fettered to the past.

7. Effective Prioritizing

This world is complicated. We are pulled in multiple directions every day, willingly, or not. Smart people have a strict list of priorities, with interpersonal relationships at the top. There is a difference between having a priority list and living one’s life according to the list. High-value people are excellent time, emotion, and energy managers who carefully allot their personal resources according to their priority list. If a time-consuming objective of low value arises, it is eliminated. The majority of time, emotional, and energy resources are given to nurture and sustain important relationships. The high-value person understands that quality relationships with people are all uniquely temporary and thus invaluable.

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8. Flexibility and Openness to Change

A high-value person understands that we are under the illusion that we are completely in control of our lives. As much as we would like to predict the future, it is impossible. A high-value individual practices the art of letting go when control cannot be maintained. He realizes that flexibility is counterintuitive to the human’s need to seek comfort, but fearlessly leaves parts of his life open to outside forces. He does not get angry when things don’t go his way, or when uncontrollable events occur. Traffic, weather, and other people are not controllable. However, emotional mastery is.

 

So, how much are you worth?

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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