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These 10 Excuses You Make Are Really Fears In Disguise

These 10 Excuses You Make Are Really Fears In Disguise

When we’re scared to do something, we find ways to make sure we cannot do it. We beat around the bush, hide behind false sentiments and come up with reasons that it simply cannot be done.

In the real world, excuses only achieve one thing – nothing.

Your business wont grow, your relationships wont flourish and you’ll never get anything done. It’s time to face your excuses, confront the belief’s behind them – and take back your life.

Here’s 10 excuses and what to do about them:

1. “I don’t have time”

Making this excuse shows you’re scared to leave your comfort zone. It’s easy to hide behind the concept of time, because there is always something you can do with your time to look and feel busy.

The truth?

You do. You always have time. The time you spend watching TV, checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts could be spent doing something far more productive. My grandmother raised 6 children whilst working 4 jobs and never once missed making dinner – if she can do it, so can you.

The only way you’re ever going to achieve something is if you make time.

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2. “I’m not smart enough”

Making this excuse shows you’re scared you’re not good enough to do it. That, you’re going to fail. Or that you’ll get caught out because you don’t know enough.

Hiding behind your intelligence does more harm than good. It’s a sure-fire way to ruin your self confidence and self esteem.

In order to learn, you need to fail, make mistakes and screw it all up from time to time. It’s going to happen at some point, so you should embrace it as part of the process.

You’re good enough to do whatever you set your mind to.

3. “I’ll do it, but I really need to do this first”

If you’re making this excuse you’re scared to death of taking the first step. You’re aware it’s a priority but you don’t want to take the first plunge in to the unknown yet.

Inaction is the sure-fire way to mediocrity and unhappiness. You’ll never regret a first step you took, but you’ll always regret the ones you didn’t.

Don’t do this to yourself. Make a to-do list, put it at the top – and don’t give up until it’s done. Even if it means closing your eyes and taking a run at it.

4. “I’m just waiting for the right time”

Is your success so based in science, that it needs to be done at 11:22am on a Tuesday Morning in the middle of July? I doubt it.

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There is no such thing as a right time. It’s a myth, a legend and a bedtime story.

You were not born at the right time in your parents life, and your child will not be born at the most opportune moment in yours. But still, however many years later – you’re doing OK.

So, why should what you want be any different?

Don’t wait for the right time. The right time is now.

5. “There’s too much going on right now”

Has there ever been a time in your life where you haven’t had something going on? Where everything was chilled out, relaxed and you just coasted through the day? That hasn’t happened since you were in Elementary School.

This excuse shows you’re scared to prioritize your needs over the needs of others. That the expectations of others have become more important than your health, success and happiness.

You’ll find that in your day, there is a lot of time wasted on menial tasks and general busywork for other people, that could be spent doing what you need to do. Put yourself first for a moment, and take a hold of your life.

6.“But, I need to pay the bills”

You’re scared to be independent. To be in total control of your finances and completely self reliant.

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Your bills will still be paid if you take the plunge. When starting though, what may suffer, is the money you have to spend on luxuries and treating yourself. And for most people making this excuse that is what you don’t want to suffer.

The question you have to ask yourself is, “Do I wan’t to spend on myself, more than I want to be successful?”.

In the words of Nassim Taleb, “The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary”. Don’t get addicted.

7. “I would do it, but I don’t think my partner (or kids) will be okay with it”

This excuse is a clear fear of putting yourself first. That you’re compelled to put the needs of your family before your own, in case they look poorly upon your decisions.

Be aelfish. Your family are there to support you, as much as you are to support them. And if what you wan’t doesn’t come at a detriment to their well-being, be selfish and put yourself first. They’ll be more accepting of what you’re doing than you’d think.

8. “I haven’t had the right opportunity yet”

This excuse is akin to not having enough time. Opportunities are like buses – there’s one every twenty minutes.

If an opportunity comes your way, take it. It will never be perfect or come in a beacon of light, sealed by the gods. It’ll present itself in an awkward fashion and show up at the worst possible time.

And, when you can’t find any opportunities at all – make one. You can’t let your future lie purely on elements you have no control over.

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9. “I don’t know the right people.”

When people say, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’ – they’re usually scared of their abilities to get things done. Your network is a valuable resource that takes you to places far beyond your reach. But don’t use it as an excuse to not do anything.

Take the initiative to find the right people, and get to knew them. There are no shortage of networking books out there (Personal Recommendation: Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferazzi’) – so go out and find the right people.

Forge a network that will benefit you. Go out and talk to them, because they won’t come looking for you.

10. “I’m not ready yet”

You will never be ready. All the preparation and planning in the world goes out the window as soon as you put everything in motion.

Not being ready is an excuse shrouded in the fear of taking action.

The best way to defeat your fears? Take action.

Stop trying to be ready to do things, and start doing them anyway.

Featured photo credit: William Marlow via flickr.com

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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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