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How To Automatically Read A Book Per Week Without Taking Any Additional Time Out Of Your Day

How To Automatically Read A Book Per Week Without Taking Any Additional Time Out Of Your Day
Book

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a whole stack of books sitting around that you’re really going to read some day. Yeah right!

Sure, it would be nice to get some more reading done, but let’s face it: there is usually something more urgent that needs to get done. And when you have to do all the urgent things, there isn’t much time left over for the non-urgent (but still important in the long run) activities like reading.

Did you know that the majority of people in the United States don’t ever read a single book after high school? In fact, if you take all the book sales in the U.S. it’s enough for about one book per person, and most of those don’t even get read. They’re sitting on some shelf like in my bedroom.

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Without continuing to read, how can you stay sharp in your industry and get a raise? How can you keep your brain alert and full of new ideas? How can you master new skills and improve your hobbies?

A book is incredibly powerful because it gives you leverage. The author could have spent years of his or her life studying a subject, reading everything that had already been written, learning from the best, summarizing different theories, and simplifying complex ideas. After ten years of research, thousands of hours and millions of pages can be condensed into a concise little 200 page novel, and little old you comes along to get it for $10.

You can now plug that information right into your brain, just like you’d insert a CD-ROM into a computer. Zap! A few hours later it has been copied, and you’ve just done an amazing thing: gotten the accumulation of the best ideas that the human race has produced for all time. If you had to do it on your own, it would have taken you the ten years and millions of pages that the author went through. But instead you took a short-cut.

I mean, other animals can’t do that. A monkey can merely learn from it’s parents or other members of it’s group. It can’t learn from a monkey that lives on the other side of the world, or even over the next hill, and it certainly can’t learn from monkey’s of the past who are long gone. If the monkey wants to discover a new way to peel bananas, he’s pretty much limited to what he can come up with on his own. With each generation of monkey’s that passes on, great amounts of information as lost because they can’t store and pass on ideas to future generations.

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We as humans have been given this amazing communication tool, and yet so few take advantage of it. It’s really a shame when you think about it.

So here is my long winded answer to getting more reading done that we should all take advantage of: audio books.

You see, every day you have to drive (or perhaps take the subway or public transportation). With a stack of books at home, you can always have something more important to do instead. But you aren’t going to wake up one day and say “I’m too busy to drive anywhere today”. Given the average commute to work alone, you’ll probably spend 45 minutes in the car.

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Life is quite simply too short to spend time listening to Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg, and advertisements for male enhancement on the radio, and as Brian Tracy says “if you aren’t listening to books on tape, you quite simply aren’t serious about being successful in life”.

Almost every high performance person I know listens to books on tape. Probably a number of people who you respect and admire do as well, but you just don’t know it yet! It’s not the kind of thing that comes up in everyday conversation, especially since feels a little bit dorky (to be perfectly honest). But they are still doing it.

Almost every major book you can think of that comes out today is available as an audio book. You can purchase them on websites like Audible.com (the Amazon of audio books) and even get them for free at your local library. Once you start to meet other people who listen to audio books, you’ll start to swap them and get them for free that way.

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Another benefit of audio books is that many people retain information better by listening than by reading. Were you the type of person in class who preferred to listen to the teacher or to read the text book on your own? Personally, I always found reading text books in school to be boring, but I have no problem listening to someone talk (especially if the topic is interesting) and tend to learn better that way. Everyone is different, but it was a big advantage for me.

With the amount of time the average person spends in the car, it’s not unreasonable to finish an additional book every week. Since you have to drive (or commute, or go to the gym, etc – there are plenty of other places besides driving), the chances of forgetting to read or not having enough time go right out the window.

How would your life be different if you read an additional 50 books per year? Do you think you might get some good ideas? Do you think you might learn a few tips that could help your life?

Get started right now by going out and purchasing an audio book.

Brian Armstrong became a financially independent business owner within one year or quitting his job. You can learn how to start your own home based business in 30 days with less than $100 at his website.

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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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