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How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting)

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How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting)

Humans are creatures of habit. We love to establish a routine and stick with it. Then we often put ourselves on auto-pilot.

Routines can be incredibly useful in helping you get things done. However, too much of a routine can also make you incredibly boring.

Nevertheless, many people live lives that are boringly predictable, or live a life where everything is outlined or planned.

Well guess what? Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it. You must be able to go with the flow regardless of whether you have a plan or not. My life is not even close to what I thought it would be like a year ago. How could I have known what was going to happen? How can you?

So, how not to be boring and start to be more interesting?

Face your fear of uncertainties and start to be more spontaneous. And in this article, I will show you how.

1. Create an Environment That Fosters Spontaneity

It’s scary to let go of your plans because then, you are inviting all kinds of uncertainty into your life. In fact, fear is the root of most spontaneity problems. By conquering those fears, you can become less dependent on your plans and live a far more interesting life.

Ask Your Friends If You Are Too Predictable

Ask your friends if you are too predictable. It might be awkward to ask, but listen to them closely for the answer.

The people who know you well are in a better position to give you this information, and they might see some areas where you can improve that you might not consider yourself.

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Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

During your life, you have picked up beliefs that may hold you back. If you think it is “weird” to talk to a stranger, or that you’ll mess up if you try to do something differently, you have a limiting belief.

Find these beliefs and then remove them. These guides will help:

Look at the World Through a Child’s Eyes

Children are endlessly curious, and you should be too. You may have much more in the way of experience than a 5-year-old child, but there is still a lot of stuff that you don’t know too.

The only way to develop new insights is by trying new things regularly, much like a child who thrusts himself into the unknown.

Reduce Time-Wasters

Things like TV and mindless Internet surfing eat up huge chunks of your time. They give you an excuse to be lazy instead of spontaneous.

When you don’t rely on these crutches, it becomes much easier to act more carefree.

Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time

Stop waiting for the perfect time for spontaneity to take hold. If there is something that you want to do, the best time to do it is now.

For example, if it’s raining and you want to dance, don’t let the presence of other people stop you. The rain may have stopped by then!

2. Start Acting Spontaneously Now

Becoming a spontaneous person is not easy, especially if you’ve been conditioned to be a boring person for many years. But you can change if that’s your wish.

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This section contains a progressive set of exercises to gradually turn you into a more spontaneous individual. If you can follow through on these steps consistently, you can add more joy and interest to your life.

Get up and Dance, Right Now!

I know it’s silly, but get up and dance. In fact, do it right now.

As it takes some practice to become more spontaneous, now is a good time to begin. So, play some tunes and get up and boogie down! What’s the worst that can happen?

Add a “Twist” to Normal Activities

Normally, I do my writing while sitting on my couch. But, every once in a while, I like to spice things up and go to a local cafe.

Maybe you go for a morning jog along the same route every day. Tomorrow, try taking a detour instead of continuing straight ahead. You may be surprised by what happens.

Go Explore a New Location

You probably don’t have to go too far from where you live currently to find a street you’ve never walked, a town you haven’t explored, or a trail you haven’t hiked.

Check out a new place and see what you have been missing.

Use Randomness

When I find myself in a situation where I can’t make up my mind, I randomly decide.

For instance, I used to sit and debate with myself about which of three movies I wanted to watch. Now I just use a random number generator and arrive at a satisfactory answer within seconds.

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Flipping a coin or using a random number generator is very easy. It gets you in the habit of coming to a decision much more quickly.

Try a New Hobby, Activity or Class etc.

Choose an activity that has always interested you but you haven’t tried, and another pursuit that has never interested you. Locate classes that are being offered on each of your two choices and sign up for them.

Enjoying activities that you like as well as pursuing hobbies you wouldn’t expect to like makes life just that much more exciting.

Say “Yes” More Often

If your friend invites you to a party that you normally wouldn’t attend, make yourself go.

Start taking advantage of the social possibilities that are placed before you. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll also become more spontaneous.

Do Something Without Thinking

If you get a random (non-destructive) impulse, act on it fast. Don’t think about it too long. Otherwise, you’ll second guess yourself.

Commit yourself to the activity even if you are hesitating. Got an urge to break out into song? After you reflexively, dismiss the urge, commit to singing the lyrics and follow through on it.

Talk to Strangers

Does somebody look interesting to you? Go up to them and start a conversation. I know this can be extremely difficult. Nevertheless, go ahead and take a step in their direction.

It’s not as “scary” as introducing yourself or initiating a conversation, but it does help build the momentum. In fact, I often start talking to someone who interests me once I take that first step.

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If you need a little help, here it is: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Do Things That Scare You

Being spontaneous involves regularly stepping out of your comfort zone. So, act and move ahead in spite of your fears. I used to be afraid of heights, but one of my friends and I decided to buy a Groupon to go skydiving. Guess what? I faced my fear and it melted away after I made that leap.

A Little Spontaneity Makes You Less Boring!

Becoming more spontaneous doesn’t mean putting an end to long-term thinking or planning.

Ideally, you should be able to create a plan, execute it, and then deviate from it whenever you wish. Planning is not the enemy. Instead, the culprit is fear.

Begin living a life where fear does not hold you back. You’ll soon get into the habit of becoming more interesting and less boring.

Don’t miss the following articles if you want to live your best life:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Michael Davidson

Michael teaches English in Israel while blogging about how to live a happier and healthier life.

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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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