Do you think that filming yourself is a weird thing that only a vain narcissist desperate for public attention would do?
If that is the case, then I’m here to ask you to reconsider.
Before I get into why you should film yourself and how you will benefit from it, keep the following in mind:
- Steps 1-3 are for everyone, while steps 4-5 are more specific and challenging. It helps to define a specific purpose so that you are clear regarding why you are filming yourself. You always get more out of a thing if you are deliberate in your practice and decide in advance what you will focus on.
1. To Boost Learning
I believe that learning how to learn new things – to form a framework for learning – is one of the most valuable things that a person can do since everything else in life stems from the quality of one’s thoughts and one’s ability to adapt to new situations. Therefore I am always looking to find new ways to boost my learning – and one of the best ways that I’ve found to boost my learning is by doing daily video logs where I speak about a topic I have been thinking about or writing about during that particular day.
When it comes to learning new things, and memorization in particular, it’s all about doing a lot of repetitions of the information that you have acquired. Most people know that. Some people know that it is very beneficial to do repetitions on multiple levels: reading, writing, and speaking. Few people go beyond the first level.
Use video logs to get an extra repetition. There’s a saying, I think it was Einstein who said it, that if you can explain a thing you have learned in a simple enough manner for a novice to understand, then you probably know the subject well. When you practice doing your video logs, it helps to imagine that you are explaining a thing to someone who doesn’t know. By doing this you will improve your ability to explain things and you will get an extra repetition on the level of speaking.
A final thing when it comes to learning is that, as rule of thumb, the more energy and effort you spend in learning something the better you will remember it. By shooting at least one daily video log, you will teach your brain to become more resourceful; you are forcing your brain to exert more energy and that is a great thing in itself in terms of discipline and building character.
2. To Become More Expressive
Face it: most of us living in the Western world need to become more expressive, not only in terms of expressing what’s on our mind or how we feel, but also in terms of body language and vocal tonality. If you don’t know what I mean by expressive body language, take a look at these videos:
Most of us have to give presentations or speeches in school or at work, and it is very useful to film yourself when you prepare for the speech or the presentation.
By filming yourself speaking about something, you will get good feedback on what you need to improve in order to become more expressive. It will be tough on the ego for many people, as they hate seeing or hearing themselves on film. But it’s a really good thing in the long-term. The sooner you fix a problem the more you stand to benefit from it.
3. Emotional Catharsis
“I’d be a savage beast if I ain’t had this outlet to salvage me”
– Eminem –
How many people do you know that walk around as if they had the world weighing on their shoulders?
Probably a few I’d guess.
If you do not have some means of expressing yourself regularly you will feel clogged up. You will often dwell on (negative) things for longer than necessary.
However, if you are expressing yourself through some medium or hobby, you tend to reach a flow state, become concentrated and bring back order to your mind. By doing that, you can more quickly go back onto focusing on that which matters to you and be more productive. In short, you clear your system out and make room for new things.
I call this process express it and get it over with.
For me, to express something and get it over with speeds up the learning process because it means that I can more quickly resolve the current questions I have in my head about a thing I’m trying to learn and then move onto a new thing.
4. To Become More Unreactive
I’ve always been extremely bothered by my inability to express myself, whether that be in writing or speaking, public or private, alone or to a crowd. That’s probably why I’m motivated to write this as of right now. I’ve never been introverted or had social issues, but I’ve always wanted to improve in any way possible.
I’ve always been striving to become a bit more unreactive to the things that, in my opinion, should not matter to me, but somehow still do, such as the opinions that other people may have about me in any given moment. I really don’t want my ability to taking action to be stifled because I am trying to please accommodate someone else. I want to place no one above myself.
One of my current goals is to be able to consistently shoot informative videos in a public setting without getting distracted by other people.
There are a bunch of things that one can do in order to become unreactive. For the most part these things are embarrassing, scary, or painful. These things will be tough in the short-term, but they will make you that much stronger in the long-term. Shooting video logs in public is one of those things.
By shooting daily video logs speaking about specific topics in public environments, I have become much more unreactive. I started out being rather shaky and not quite able to express what I was trying to say because I was so self-conscious and bothered by what other people who passed by thought about it. The neurological explanation for this phenomenon is that my amygdala overrode my neocortex and I couldn’t think much because I got scared.
When animals get scared they tend to resort to instinctive and automatic behavior and humans are no different. This is when you can truly tell how much you say filler words such as: like, so, I mean, it’s like, whatever, stuff, uhhm, yeah so, you know what I mean. You can also very clearly see how your body language changes and gets defensive, trying to cover up, scratching your head, and so on.
And you’re getting it all on film.
It’s pretty brutal. It is painful to watch, but it is a good pain, a pain that comes from growing.
5. Practice Your Imagination and Concentration
There is no audience to give you feedback
When you first film yourself for purposes of practice, it will probably be hard for you to speak to the camera because you are getting no audience feedback. There is no one with whom to make eye contact. There is no one to indicate whether what you are saying, and how you are saying it, is interesting or not.
You are virtually carrying on a monologue by speaking your train of thoughts about a topic, and for most people that is more challenging than you think it is because you must imagine that the camera lens is a real person or you will come off as inauthentic. Everyone can carry on monologues in their heads, but try doing it on camera. It requires imagination.
When you film yourself in public, you will probably feel very stifled in your communication. You will speak with a lot of fluctuation in tonality due to your state of uncertainty. You will have a lot of trouble concentrating on the things you are supposed to say, regardless of how much you have prepared. This is the amygdala at work again.
But the only way to overcome it is by practice.
These are the 5 practical reasons why you should film yourself:
1. To Boost Learning: Force yourself to spend more energy every day. Get that extra repetition by speaking about something you learned during the day.
2. To Become more Expressive: Film yourself with the specific intent of watching your body language or vocal tonality and seeing how you can become more expressive.
3. Emotional Catharsis: People need to vent their minds and emotions more often in order to leave mental space to focus on that which truly matters.
4. To Become More Unreactive: Film yourself speaking about things outside in public places if you are brave enough.
5. To Practice Your Imagination: Picture the intended audience as you speak into the camera.
When you start doing this you will be confronted by your own ignorance and incompetence. I sure know I am every day, but it serves as useful motivation to improve. It is like Muhammad Ali kept telling himself when he was running:
Suffer now, and be a champ later.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d be very interested to know.
Do you ever record yourself?