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Why Being Kind Will Make You A Successful Person

Why Being Kind Will Make You A Successful Person

Being successful is no longer equated to the power-suited, serious and determined, “don’t get in my way” kind of individuals that it used to. Instead you’ll find the most success people in life are the exact opposite. All you have to do is take a look at the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling and Richard Branson. Each of these very successful people are the kind of individuals who you wouldn’t feel out of place asking to your grandmother’s 80th birthday party! Plus they’re the kind of people most others aspire to be like, personally and professionally.

So why is that? What is so different about these people? Well, I’ve come up with a few points on why these people are successful based on the fact that being kind is a big part of that success and how you can do the same.

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1. Let go of the need to compete with others.

Competition breeds selfishness and a feeling of lack, which isn’t the most positive place to start when trying to be successful. To be successful we don’t need to all be successful at the same things, and if we can all be successful at different things, isn’t that a better thing than no success at all? If you compete there is no room for being kind to your fellow human being, as it will all be about wanting and having more with little or no thought for others. Competition might be seen as a motivator, but it can also be an obstacle to success. Try to focus less on what others are doing and you’ll see a dramatic change in your circumstances.

2. Have balance in all areas of your life.

If you think you are successful in life because you are making a lot of money and have a dream home, yet your family never see you because you work most of the time, then you’d be wrong. Successful people are mindful of the fact that having balance in all areas of their lives includes everything from the mind, body, heart (including family) and spirit. When they are in tune with that balance they are paying attention to what matters, and being kind, giving and compassionate are all a big part of that.

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3. They spend time with good, kind and honest people.

Successful people hang around with those who are like-minded, who aspire to create the same things and who reflect a part of them that they would like to be. It has been said that you are the sum total of the five people you spend the most time with, so if you want to be successful you must seek out those you want to be like personally as well as professionally. You’ll know if you are hanging around with the right people or not by checking how you feel after you’ve been with them.

4. Be kind to yourself even when mistakes are made.

A big part of success is how you deal with failure because no matter how successful you are you will have had some failures to get to where you are. Being kind to yourself whilst failing is vitally important because it’s at the point of failure that blame, self-doubt and negativity can consume you. Instead of going down that road, look to the reason why you failed and what you can learn from it. It’s when you look on the positive side of things you can begin to see failure as a gift rather than something to feel bad about.

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5. Give some of your time away unconditionally.

Whether you are in business for yourself or you want to be a success in your personal life, giving time to others unconditionally is a sure-fire way to be successful in life. It’s by giving to others without expecting something in return that you really begin to see the benefit of being a good and kind person. Seeing the joy in someone’s face, the gratitude in their eyes and hearing a thank you from their lips is all that is required to live a happy, successful life. So, give away as much as you can and you’ll reap the benefits in ways you can only imagine.

6. Help other people get what they need to succeed.

It’s a massively good thing to help others achieve success. Firstly, it will not only make you feel happy and content with your efforts, but also it goes a long way towards helping you get the success you want. Look at it this way: if you help someone to succeed, then nine times out of ten they’ll feel grateful enough to help you in the future. The thing here is not to do ‘favors’ in order to get something in return. Do it because you love being kind and you love to help people succeed, which is success in itself!

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7. Always be grateful for what you have.

This is probably the most important quality of a successful person because it is the kindest and most loving quality anyone can possess. It’s when you are grateful for what you have right now, even though struggle and hardship, that you create more things to be grateful about. When you moan or complain about what you don’t have, it only creates more stuff to moan or complain about! So shift your focus by being kind, being grateful and by focusing on what you do have.

Do you want success in life? Start by being a more generous and being a kinder person and see what a difference it will make.

Featured photo credit: Clay Larsen via flickr.com

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Paula Lawes

Paula loves people and connecting. She writes about communication and relationships tips on Lifehack.

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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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