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Remember These 9 Things When Life Gets Rough

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Remember These 9 Things When Life Gets Rough

John Lennon once famously said “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” in his song “Beautiful Boy” And indeed, a lot of times, life doesn’t exactly turn the way we foresee it to. It seems like everything is going fine, and all of a sudden the panic button strikes. You find everything tumbling around you. Life and the idea of it being a beautiful journey, don’t click together. For many of us, life becomes a daunting task and with every breath, it appears we’re trying to evade the never-ending sequence of melancholies.

But is life really all about dealing with every new problem flung upon us? Can’t we escape the pain and suffering, popping in front of us, in different forms? The answer is no. You may have to face hurdles frequently in life. But it’s totally upon you to let those hurdles make your life rough or go on living life as a beautiful journey. How? Well, you have to remember the following nine things when life gets rough.

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1. If you believe and work for it, everything is possible.

You may think of it as a cliché, but if you keep the faith and work hard for your cause, you are destined to achieve. Your dreams may be pretty big and you may feel you’ll never make it. But what’s the point in always whining and fearing things won’t go well, before you’ve even started? If you work hard, you’ll surely move ahead. If things don’t seem to go well, remember what Christopher Reeve told us: “Once you choose hope, anything is possible”.

2. Life is very short.

Stevie Wonder said “Time is long and life is short”. This is exactly how life is. It is very short for us to achieve all the things we’d ever wanted to. Remembering this thing will help us in many ways in our life. Since life is short, you don’t have to achieve each and everything you look around. You may not be able to achieve a certain few things and that’s fine, you were not supposed to do everything. And, there’s no point in worrying too much about this short life, feeling miserable even when the slightest of problems appear. Constantly worrying about and over-analyzing things in this short life won’t help you much.

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3. Failures are the pillar of success.

Keep this thing in mind that Michael Jordan said: “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” You don’t have to succeed in whatever you pursue all at once. More often than not, you’re bound to fail in your first attempt. Don’t be heartbroken and quit. Although you didn’t succeed, you certainly learned a thing or few in the attempts you made towards getting the job done. So work hard and with more determination next time. You’ll surely get to the finish line.

4. When one door closes, another opens.

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” This is what Alexander Graham Bell said, and it portrays how most of us think when something has gone wrong. Remembering this thing will certainly help most of us if things aren’t working well. We’ll never achieve all the things we wanted in life and sometimes, something that has gone, is gone for once and forever. There’s no point in making own life miserable, remembering the same thing over and over. It’s better to have a keen look over what positives we can find in life and embrace the beauty of life with the newly opened door.

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5. There’s no short-cut to success.

One of the common things that makes our life rough is that we want to achieve so many things in a very limited time. But believe me, it won’t work out that way. You may have learned about or even read the books like “Learn to play guitar in a week” or “master Spanish in three days”. But, you may have already experienced it, such things will never work out. The fact that help us to attain some skills or provide some knowledge can’t be denied but what they sell you, claiming to make you an expert in such a limited time, just will not work out. Same is the thing with life. Your biggest dreams will take a long time to be fulfilled, sometimes even all your life. So forget about building Rome in a day.

6. Avoid constant comparison with others.

You may find your salary far less than others. Your friend always scores better grades than you. Your sister is more beautiful than you. We are always making such comparisons. Sometimes, we make the comparison with people at the top of the trade, like comparing our guitar skills with Eric Clapton. It’s one thing to be motivated by the success of others and set a mark for ourselves to reach. But always comparing with others and feeling worthless is not just good at all. What you need to remember is that everyone has got strengths and weaknesses, and you may not make it to the top or you’ll take a little more time. There’s lot of competition out there, so it’s better to take a realistic approach to life, improving gradually with every stride.

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7. Life is a journey, not a destination.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said “Life is a journey, not a destination.” And, it is a very important quote to remember if we want a happy and prosperous life for ourselves. A lot of times, we imagine ourselves at the end of the road, when we have achieved everything. But when we are trying to walk along the path, we don’t have much motivation for it. We are constantly thinking about the glory and the prize. But what you should remember is that honors are just what others offered to you, experience is what you really garnered for yourself. This way, we’ll enjoy life at every step and even the most arduous tasks seem easier to complete.

8. Don’t worry about what others think.

It’s a common problem for most of us that we are always conscious of what others think of us. This is a big hurdle for us, preventing us from fulfilling our dreams and enjoying the life. We want to do a new thing, but the thoughts occurs to us “What if I am not successful?”, “How shall others react when they know about it?” and “Will it really make them happy?” You don’t have to live your life pleasing others all the while. What others think about you just doesn’t matter. If you’re always held back by such things, you’ll never be able to get through a task and fulfill your dreams.

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9. Nothing lasts forever.

Life is full of ups and downs. It doesn’t always work out how you had planned. What to do when such cases arise? Remember “Nothing lasts forever.” Not even your worries and troubles. This may not exactly help you solve the problem, but it will most certainly help you move along in the darkest of times. If you just can’t get things happen how hard you try, what’s the point worrying? And if, you can do something about it, why to worry after all?

Featured photo credit: Thumbs up for 4 day weekends via flickr via flickr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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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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