Luck marches with those who give it their very best – – H. Jackson Brown Jr.
What is luck? We know it is good and some people are blessed with it but the big question is how do we get more of it?
First of all, let’s find out exactly what luck is.
According to the dictionary, luck is “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.”
While this is a good definition, there do seem to be people who are more prone to “lucky breaks” than others.
You have probably heard on occasion that you make your own luck. This is true and I can show you how to make more of it for yourself.
Luck can appear to be magical and there are some seemingly magic elements involved. However, if you really understand how life works, you can easily see how to make your life luckier.
First you have to understand what each of us as individuals are trying to do in life. We are trying to survive and to help others to survive better. We are connected as families, towns, countries, races and ultimately as the human race. What affects one of us affects the rest of us whether we know it or admit it or not.
When you look at luck, you cannot just look at luck for yourself but luck as it affects everyone involved in any given situation.
A thief who finds someone’s door unlocked may feel lucky, but the loss of property for the one being robbed and the subsequent self degradation of the thief makes us realize that his discovery of the open door was in fact, extremely unlucky.
When one commits harmful or criminal acts, he also creates his own bad luck. Call it Karma or give it another name. It doesn’t really matter, it is a fact of this universe.Advertising
This brings me to my first point that must be observed when making your own luck
1. Observe the Golden Rule.
You remember this one: “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”
In a nutshell, don’t do anything to someone else that you would not want someone else to do to you. This is a simple and effective rule of thumb in life. It is easy to remember and it is the first step on the road to luck.
The bottom line is that you allow yourself luck or deny yourself luck. If you have degraded yourself by being a person who is unworthy of trust, you wil not allow yourself luck. Take this one step in life and see how that affects your luck factor.
2. Be the Rising Tide.
This takes step 1 a bit farther.
Whenever I undertake an action that not only benefits me, but benefits others as well, I pull in TONS of luck! There is a saying that I live by and it is :”A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”.
And this is true. As a species, we inherently try to help each other. We realize that there is an interdependence, one upon another, that must be cherished and nurtured for us to be successful. Being the Rising Tide provides nourishment to our native spiritual desires.
3. Really decide what you want to do.
Nothing can get you to your goal if you have not clearly outlined that goal and made the decision that you are going to reach it NO MATTER WHAT. That “No Matter What” part is the most important thing. If you have that mindset, you will succeed.
Anyone can make a vague decision about something, but if you change course every time something throws you off, you will never be “lucky” enough to get what you want. Those who get what they want, never stop going after it.
4. Purge negative people from your life.
Speaking of being thrown off, nothing throws you off more than other peoples’ negativity. No matter what worthy goal you choose for yourself, there is guaranteed to be someone who disapproves, doesn’t like it, and thinks you should do something else or better yet, do nothing at all.
You cannot and should not have as a goal, “to make everyone happy”. There are people who use their unhappiness to manipulate others. Those who feel that they must make everyone happy are slaves to such people.Advertising
People who make their own luck have decided to be masters of their own souls. Ignore negative comments, better yet, severely limit your contact with such people. They are too much work to deal with and you have better things to do with your time than try to reason with nasty, negative, naysayers.
5. Outline the steps to take to achieve your goal.
Every goal you can ever think of has a series of exact steps that will get you there. The tricky part is finding out what these steps are. How do you know what are necessary steps, what are desirable steps, and what are time wasters?
Here is a tip: Find someone who is successful at what you want to do and find out what he/she did to get there. Then create your own set of steps that mirror theirs.
If you are doing something totally new, find someone who has done something close to what you want to do. Hang out with those who have successfully achieved their goals and learn from them.
6. Don’t shy away from education.
Every goal you make comes with some training requirement. Luck comes from being prepared when opportunity knocks. Hanging out with successful people in your field will give you an idea of what you need to study.
If you purchase a how-to course, buy it from someone who is wildly successful in doing what they are going to be teaching you and not from someone who is simply good at marketing a course.
7. Make the Devil look like a slacker
You have heard that phrase, “Work like the Devil”. Don’t work like the Devil! Work harder! Work Smarter! Get more done in a day than anyone you know and make your actions count!
I love those talent shows on TV. They try to make you think that these humble people one day woke up and decided to sing opera. They stumble into the auditorium, try out for this competition and blow everyone away.
This is not how it works. Talent is not a God given gift, it is a hard won skill. Talent is nothing more than the burning desire to do something until it is perfect and to never give up.
While it is true that some of the most amazing artists and businessmen believe that they are nothing special, they have developed a work ethic that makes the Devil look like a gold bricking, good-for-nothing, goof-off.
It is work to achieve a goal. Lots and lots of work.Advertising
8. Do what you love.
How can you force yourself to work if you hate your job? You cannot do it for any sustained period. You may be able to force interest for awhile but ultimately you will quit in disgust.
On the other hand, if you are doing something that you love, something that you would do whether or not you were paid for it, you will succeed.
Lucky people who manage to work hard are generally doing something that they feel is worthwhile. They have a burning desire and nothing can stop them.
what you love and find out how to turn it into a career.
9. Stop the negative thoughts.
We all have them. We pour our hearts and souls into an activity and then some set back occurs. We stop for a moment and start to think that we should have listened to Uncle Joe when he told us we were completely insane to have started out on this ridiculous path.
Well, Uncle Joe is still full of it. Just because you had a set back does not mean he was right, ever!
Everyone has set backs. When those negative, naggy thoughts pop up, tell them to take a hike and figure out how to correct the set back. Then move forward again on your path.
10. Create positive thoughts.
Positive thoughts do not just happen. They need to be created and created often and with great clarity.
Let’s use the example of a new car. If you want a new car you usually can picture that car in your mind. It has to be a certain make and model, a certain color and have all the features you want. You even know what it will smell like.You have a very clear picture of exactly what you are looking for.
Create a positive a picture of your goal and the steps it takes to get you there.
Vagueness breeds confusion via uncertainty. Get certain about what you want and how you are going to get it.Advertising
11. Repeat after me “I get EVERYTHING I want!”
Repeat this often and believe it. I have taken this on as my mantra and it works! There is no reason you shouldn’t get everything you want.
12. Stop believing that there is something wrong or evil about having everything.
Life is a game and the things in life that make us happy are the rewards of playing well. I have no clue why some people think and say that people who are successful are evil, greedy thieves who have made their riches off the backs of someone else. Aside from some politicians, I don’t know anyone who is successful that hasn’t worked his or her butt off to get there.
If you get educated, work for the good of mankind, and work hard, you deserve everything in life.
Also know that you having everything does not stop anyone else from having everything. Life is not a zero sum game. Everything in it has to be created but there is no limit to the amount of creation. And you deserve the fruits of your creations.
13. Focus on what is important in life.
I think many of us have reached a point in our culture and education, where we see that money is not the ultimate reward of the game of life. Money is simply a symbol for the amount of work someone has done. Each dollar bill stands for a certain amount of work of some kind. That is all it is.
Money is not love, family, community, help or any of the things that make life worth while. If you think that it is, take a dollar bill out of your pocket and let it make you happy. I guess you could make a paper airplane out of it but after that, the bill is pretty much a spent force as far as entertainment and quality of life are concerned.
Now go find a friend or loved family member, or your dog. Which one makes you happier?
14. Count your blessings
And when I say “blessings” I mean the rewards in life that you have made come true. Sometimes we focus so much on the future goal that we forget what we have accomplished.
Every so often, go back and look at all you have done for yourself, your family, your community and mankind. You will be surprised how much you have gotten done.
15. Give yourself the love that you would reserve for the person you most love in your life.
Then crank it up a notch. Love is what makes your life worthwhile. Your idea of your own self worth is what makes you lucky. The amount of love you have for yourself is the amount of love you can give others. Our love for each other is what drives us in life. Look in the mirror and find some things to like about yourself. Do this A LOT!
Then start finding things you like about others as a daily exercise. Your luck will improve.Advertising
Last Updated on July 20, 2021
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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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:
- How to Give a Presentation Like a Pro
- 10 Tips for More Effective PowerPoint Presentations
- Tricks to Deliver an Impressive Presentation Every Time
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