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5 Practical Reasons Why You Should Film Yourself

5 Practical Reasons Why You Should Film Yourself

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

Concentrate, damnit

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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.

Summary

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?

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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