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Thinking It Is Too Late to Chase Your Dream? Then You Are the Killer

Thinking It Is Too Late to Chase Your Dream? Then You Are the Killer

We all have dreams, thoughts on things we want to do or have in life. Most of us reflect on them often, imagining and wishing they could become reality. More often than not, people sit in their cubicle or on their couch in their pajamas daydreaming and then formulating reasons to keep those dreams just that: dreams.

Here are some of the thoughts that have run through my head as I contemplated pursuing my dream:

  • People will think I’m crazy
  • My life will be screwed if it doesn’t work out
  • I’ll have to sacrifice too much to make it happen
  • I’m too young
  • I’m too old
  • I’m too busy
  • I don’t have enough money,
  • I’m not smart enough, knowledgeable enough, tough enough…
  • I’m not ready yet.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. I worked to relegate my dream to “someday”.

A lot of us put off our dreams, the things we want to achieve most until that fateful “someday…”

We tell ourselves the time isn’t right to change how I’m living and chase my dream. Five years go by; the voice in your head continues to rattle off the reasons not to start chasing dreams. Those reasons then grow into the belief that “it’s too late to pursue your dream” and then that dream dies. Left to be filed under “what if” buried in regret.

Here’s the thing: it’s never too late to start chasing dreams. You are never too much or too little of anything. Don’t put off starting to work toward your dream; don’t do that to yourself.

Don’t be a killer.

Here are 8 examples of regular people like you and me. These people didn’t let that voice in their heads steal their dream, they made their dreams reality.

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1. Pete and Dalene Heck

Pete and Dalene Heck chase dreams

    The Hecks are a Canadian couple who didn’t let personal tragedy get the better of their dreams. In fact, the tragedy they encountered in their lives gave birth to the extraordinary life they live and love today. In their words “they went from scraping the bottom of life’s deepest hole to blowing the roof clear off.”

    Once corporate ladder climbers living the quintessential Canadian dream; nice house, nice car, lots of nice stuff, promising careers. Pete and Dalene experienced a number of personal tragedies that caused them to re-evaluate life and realize their lives were short and they had to make the most of them.

    A lot of people could have used those personal challenges as reasons not to follow a dream. Not Pete and Dalene, they reduced their 2100 square foot home into combined luggage space of 200 liters and left Canada to travel the world.

    The Hecks have been joyously traveling the globe with little in the way of plans or possessions since 2009. They were awarded Travelers of the Year 2014 by National Geographic because of their blog that shares their inspiring, relateable story.

    2. Laura Dekker

    laura dekker chasing dream
      Photo via Wikimedia commons

      In 2009 a Dutch girl, Laura Dekker then 13, announced she planned to sail around the world on her own. Laura was born on a boat off the coast of New Zealand, living at sea until she was two. She and her family had a deep connection with boats and sailing.

      The Dutch government objected to Laura’s bid to single handedly circumnavigate the globe and blocked her from going. The whole world weighed in to debate how far parents should go to support kids seemingly impossible dreams.

      Faced with the prospect of storms at sea and dangerous pirates, Laura remained confident beyond her years saying “I’m not really afraid, everything is really prepared on my boat”. She fought the government and world opinion and ultimately prevailed beginning her 2 year 27000 mile journey at 14 years of age.

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      Despite her youth, Laura Dekker fought undaunted to achieve her dream and was successful. No possible threat at sea could shake her. She set sail on her dream adventure leaving behind things most girls of her age would find impossible to leave.

      3. Pat Flynn

      Pat flynn chase dreams

        Pat used to have a 9 to 5 job he really enjoyed. As life goes, bad things happened that were outside his control and he was laid off from his great job—an unexpected set back that ended up being the best thing that ever happened to him.

        Pat discovered his 9 to 5 was holding him back, went on to make more money, and create more freedom to be with the people he loved the most: his family. Driven by his dream to do his own thing, Pat builds businesses online and shares his tips and strategies for making money online on his blog: Smart Passive Income.

        An accidental entrepreneur, Pat Flynn didn’t let a bad turn of events keep him down. He could have found another job in his field, but instead he used losing his job as a means to realize his dream, living life on his terms.

        4. Colonel Harland Saunders

        Colonel Saunders chase dreams
          Photo via Flickr

          At 40 years of age, Colonel Harland Saunders started serving chicken and other meals in his roadside service station in 1930 a midst the Great Depression. He worked to perfect his chicken for 10 years finally creating his famous secret recipe and expanding to more locations.

          People loved his chicken but construction of the interstate robbed the Colonels restaurants of much needed road traffic and he was forced to fold up his businesses. Seeing the value in partnership, the Colonel set out to find a candidate to franchise his chicken. He drove around, camping in his car, being turned away time after time until successfully finding a partner.

          Colonel Sanders encountered many huge challenges trying to bring his dream to fruition. He never gave up; despite being rejected thousands of times he persevered and ultimately was successful.

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          5. Sean Ogle

          Sean-Boat (640x424)

            After graduating with a degree in finance in 2007, Sean Ogle was left with the feeling that school didn’t teach him tangible life skills to be successful after graduation. This lack of knowledge led him on a career path he quickly found wasn’t for him.

            In 2009 Sean started his website Location 180 as a means to hold himself accountable to do all the things he talked about doing in his life. Publishing his bucket list inspired the dream lifestyle he’s living today. The tagline for his website is “Build a Business, Live Anywhere, Achieve Freedom.” Sean’s life today is an example of just that.

            He didn’t let society’s opinion of success deter him from building his dream. He could have convinced himself to stick it out in the job he hated as many of us do, but instead, when he learned he was on the wrong track, he didn’t doubt himself; he began changing his life’s direction helping others achieve freedom to.

            6. Joanne Rowling

            J.K. Rowling chasing dream
              Photo via Wikimedia commons

              Jo (J.K.) Rowling once viewed herself as a failure. Her marriage had ended, and she was unemployed raising an infant daughter, but she recounts her failure as a sort of release allowing her to focus on her passion: writing.

              After completing the first Harry Potter manuscript while on government aid, she submitted her manually typed copies to 12 publishers, and it was rejected by all. Bloomsbury, a small publishing house in London, eventually gave it the green light and finally the world would get its first introduction to beloved Harry.

              Joanne Rowling never gave up on her dream despite rejection and poverty. She is the author of the best selling book series in history and rich beyond her wildest dreams because of that.

              7. Chris McCandless

              chris mccandless chasing dream
                Photo via Flickr

                Driven to chase his dream, Chris McCandless hiked across Alaska despite the naysayers that thought his minimalist lifestyle was crazy. He believed perceived security and materialism prevented people from pursuing their dreams and discovering their true selves.

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                Chris went on to live his dream, paying the ultimate price to do so, with his life. Incredibly, he explored remote corners of Alaska for 2 years with little more than a backpack and a few odds and ends. Ultimately giving up everything, he lived the life he thought he was destined to live.

                8. Neil Pasricha

                Neil Pasricha chasing dream
                  Photo via Wikimedia Commons

                  In 2008, the 1000 Awesome Things blog was launched. The creator, Neil Pasricha was inspired to share his purposeful positive views with the world because of the doom and gloom that dominated the paper and the evening news. No stranger to life struggles, divorced and grieving a friend’s suicide, Neil was bent on looking for the positive things in life.

                  He went on to win the Webby Award for 1000 Awesome Things and was subsequently commissioned to write a book filled with his awesome views. The Book of Awesome, published in 2010 became a bestseller in its first week on store shelves.

                  All of these amazing people achieved their dreams because they believed in themselves. Others definitely tried to influence them and dissuade them from pursuing their aspirations but they were successful because they kept the dream alive, they continued chasing dreams.

                  What are you capable of? Don’t doubt living the life you dream of is within your control. Start working toward your dream today, don’t be a killer.

                  Featured photo credit: WalkingGeek 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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