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A Powerful Mindhack That You Can Use to Study or Work Less in Your Leisure

A Powerful Mindhack That You Can Use to Study or Work Less in Your Leisure

What if I told you that you could have more fun, learn quicker, and become perceived as smarter by your peers by doing one simple thing consistently?

– You’d probably say:

“Ludvig, stop trying to sell me on quick-fixes, because there are none!”

And you’d be right for the majority of the time. But in this case you’d actually be wrong, because what I’m about to tell you actually works, and it costs nothing on your part except a few seconds of discomfort.

So, what is this unconventional tip that I speak of?

It is to get buy-in from yourself as soon as possible in any given situation.

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What is Buy-in?

To buy-in is to become immersed in something as a result of having invested time, resources, or thoughts into it. The more you buy into something the more innately interested you’ll be in it.

I still don’t get it. Give me some more concrete examples!

Right, try these on for size.

You have buy-in when you:

  • Watch several episodes of a TV series and find yourself liking it, expecting the next episode to be just as cool as the previous ones were.
  • Start regularly checking a blog or website for updates that aren’t related to the things you really should be doing.
  • Implicitly trust what someone else says without being critical of it.

You have bought into a thing when you’ve crossed the threshold of no longer doubting its usefulness or truthfulness.

As a result of having bought into something you are much more receptive and attentive to the thing or activity because your brain has now identified it as something that you are interested in.

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How to Use it to Your Advantage

Now that you know what the concept of buy-in means, you’re probably wondering:

What the !!?#  am I going to use this for?

You’re going to use it to become interested in things you probably wouldn’t be interested in otherwise.

Getting personal buy-in is a very powerful mindhack that you can use anytime you want, and it is particularly useful in class or at work.

Here’s how you’d do it: in order to trick yourself into becoming interested during class or at work, you need to do one very important thing:

‒ You need to ask a question or speak up in public. Even if you don’t initially feel like it.

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Actually, it is especially important that you do this when you feel bored or disinterested in the topic at hand. That’s when you really need to use this mindhack.

Personally, I use this trick all the time to get buy-in from myself. Over the past year I’ve seen some pretty good results in school despite not spending much time studying in my leisure.

The reason for this was because I’ve been very active during class, and the reason why I was always active in class was because I forced myself to abide by this one rule:

‒ I  always ask a question or make an assertion in front of everyone else within 10 minutes of starting. No exceptions.

Why Does it Work?

Seeing as how you’re reading posts on LifeHack, I figure you’re a person who definitely wants to know why getting yourself to buy into a thing works as efficiently as it does.

There are at least three major reasons for why this mindhack works:

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  1. By speaking up in front of a group of other people, you raise your adrenaline levels, which in turn infuses glucose into your bloodstream and makes you feel alert.
  2. When you ask a question or make an assertion, you are committing to the interaction. This makes your brain think “well, I wouldn’t have asked asked unless I was interested, so I guess I’m interested…” and as a result you suddenly feel interested. It works like magic every time!
  3. When you ask a question or make an assertion in front of other people, you are making yourself accountable, and because you will want to make sure that you do not screw up and lose face in front of other people, you will pay more attention to reduce the risk of that happening.

If you still don’t believe this could work due to how simple it is, I strongly suggest you try it out tomorrow at work in a meeting or in school during your next class.

Tell yourself you will speak up as soon as possible upon arrival.

It doesn’t matter the least what you say, only that you say something.

It might feel scary to do at first, but I promise you: the payout is very high in relation to the price of temporary discomfort that you have to pay.

What is better?

Sitting through the meeting or class feeling comfortable, but utterly bored‒or going through a couple of seconds of discomfort to become really interested for the remainder of the time?

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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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