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How to Create Your Unique Personal Momentum

How to Create Your Unique Personal Momentum

personal momentum

    When momentum’s on your side, you feel invincible. You feel unstoppable. It’s referred to in all facets of life. For example, as you watch a sports game, it’s only a matter of time before one of the announcers brings up momentum; which side has it, and whether they can hold on to it until the game’s end to clinch the victory.

    Have you ever taken a closer look at what momentum is all about? If it’s that great, how can we reproduce it in everything that we do?

    In physics 101, momentum is simply (or not so simply) defined as:

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    How gaining personal momentum behaves
      Gaining Personal Momentum is quite like its physical equivalent

      The more mass and velocity an object in motion has, the greater the momentum or:

      Velocity x Mass = Momentum

      Much like in physics, our goals and objectives have their own kind of momentum. Momentum, whether relating to physic or our own tasks and goals, operate under certain parameters and constraints. I argue that the same elements that work against gaining momentum in physics work against your projects and goals as well. For example, the larger the mass, the harder it is the get moving and gain momentum.

      Let’s take a closer look:

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      1# Mass

      Mass in physical terms is weight that’s usually measured in pounds or kilograms. In our framework, mass is the amount of work you need to do. For example, in most cases a project has a bigger mass than a task; a 3 year goal may have a bigger mass than a project. It all boils down to the amount of work you’ll need to invest.

      I suggest that when dealing with “mass”, it’s all about planning: if you can’t break down the mass into movable pieces, you’ll never get the velocity you need to achieve momentum. If we plan properly, we can get our massive project going by moving all the smaller massed actions. Remember the other end of the equation as well: make sure you plan your entire project so that when your project gains momentum, you want to keep feeding it, e.g., have actions lined up to execute when the time it right.

      2# Velocity

      Velocity is all about the “force” you need to invest in a task taking into consideration the forces that may be working against you.

      When there’s a lot of mass, there’s a lot of potential velocity laying in wait. However, to achieve immediate velocity on the entire mass, you’ll have to invest a considerable amount of force that you probably don’t possess. That’s why it’s better to start from little “mass elements” or actions.

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      Here’s a quick example: finishing your post-doctorate thesis may seem like an overwhelming mountain to move. You may not have the energy to get this project going, and it may seem so overwhelming that you simply can’t get it started. However, the force you need to handle the first action—initial brainstorming with a professor—is quite feasible. The force you need for the first action is significantly less than finishing your thesis. Remember, it’s all related: less force to move smaller actions. Many actions moving will increase the overall mass and help you gain momentum.

      It sounds simple, but there are items you need to be aware of that can work against you!

      Direction

      You need to apply the force in the correct direction. Imagine trying to get a car across a finish line that is 100 yards directly in front of you. The obvious answer is to always apply the force in the same direction, and the same applies for your projects: make sure that all of your actions are getting you to the same end result.

      Failing to plan, doing the wrong things at the wrong times, and forgetting actions entirely are all forces that will work against you, ultimately lessening your momentum.

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      Friction

      Resistance is a killer. Imagine moving the car across a flat road versus an uphill road. There’s a big difference, right? Be watchful of the friction causing elements in your life: Are you tired? Are you eating right? Are you exercising? Are you organized? Do you have an application that will help you manage your actions and projects? All these and more, if not handled correctly, will have a negative impact on you. They are elements that are working against you and preventing you from gaining personal momentum.

      I won’t delve into greater detail, expanding about things like escape velocity, the difference between kinetic friction and static and even diving into inertial mass (measured by the amount of resistance of an object to acceleration): those could be the subjects of other posts.

      Now that you know what momentum is all about, use it to your advantage.
      Until next time.

      More by this author

      Haim Pekel

      Haim Pekel is an entrepreneur and shares tips on productivity and entrepreneurship at Lifehack.

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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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