SURVIVAL & FEAR
I trust you are doing well and enjoying the change of season. Can you believe it's less than 3 months to go before Christmas? Where did the year go? Once again I have been living on planes and in airports, but have also had an incredible time meeting and chatting to so many new people. It appears to me that so often, one just 'clicks' with someone one meets and the discussion becomes deep and philosophical within minutes... or maybe it's just because we are all moving to a new level of consciousness? Nevertheless, a common topic that keeps coming up is the crazy events happening around the world at the moment, which in turn is causing a lot of worry and fear in many people.
Hence I though I would try and tackle this topic and share some insights on overcoming fear and becoming more optimistic.
But, before I do this, in my Quicktips videos this month, I share 5 tips on overcoming view. You can view them below, or click on the language link of your choice: English, German & Afrikaans. Also, I have just launched a DVD (in 3 languages) of the last 25 Quicktips - a great inspirational gift and good to show extracts around specific themes at conferences. Available from www.mindpowerpublications.com.
Now back to the topic...Firstly, here is a 'reality' that most people need to realise... Most people are a product of society, a materialistic, mind controlled 'sheeple' (sheep + people) that merely acts on learned impulses and habits, rather than insightful deductions of each unique situation.
Add to this technology and instant access to information that is making me more informed than ever before. Couple this with the corruption of governments, corporations and various other institutions that have a direct clash with our conditioned up-bringing, and people are starting to ask questions about the inequality in the world today and are becoming weary of the double standards and hypocrites. This is resulting in much frustration within daily life, even if it is only subconscious for many.
People just aren't excited about life anymore. Just sit on the London underground and look at everyone's faces. No one smiles. If you do smile at someone, odds are you will get arrested for being a public nuisance. It's the same in the traffic in any city in the mornings - just look at the faces of the people in the cars next to you - no one smiles! It's as if the majority of people today have lost the will to live and have fun in life.
Many years back, I actually met someone who was having fun. I was sitting in the peak hour morning traffic on the M25 around London, when the man in the car next to me suddenly held up a board which read, "Hi, great morning, isn't it?" In fact he had a whole conversation with everyone around him using these boards. He had found a way to make the traffic fun!
On top of that, there is just too little free time and life goes by too fast. I am constantly reminded of a saying by another unknown author: Life is like a roll of toilet paper... the closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes.
Isn't that so true? The older we get, the faster time seems to go by? Even the children of today are commenting that their days fly by. Surely then, if this is the case, why doesn't humanity make the most of every moment they have, seeing that it all goes by so fast? Why don't we all let go of fear and stop only focusing on survival, but rather on living life to the fullest?
Expectations are the root cause of all problems!
We live in a society of instant gratification and expectations. What do I mean? Think about it... no one does anything today without expecting something in return. I work, because I expect a salary. I make an appointment with a potential client, because I want/expect them to buy my product. I will pick up your children from school, because I expect you to do the same for me next week. I'll do the dishes for you tonight honey, because I expect some action in the bedroom later. Get the point? No one does anything anymore because they want to do it out of the kindness of the their heart. It's all about, "What's in it for me?"
Don't get me wrong, there are many people who don't follow the above example - but, those are the passionate ones! Those are the people that are enjoying their life and living every moment to the fullest. Unfortunately, they are very much in the minority!
Think about it, we have been brought up and conditioned in a society where 'expectation' is the norm. As a child you were conditioned to behave. If you behaved, you got things. In school we were taught to learn and pass our grades. In return we received our diploma. Then we had to study at university to get a degree, so that we could get a good job, etc. Expectations, expectations, expectations!
We have been intrinsically conditioned to expect. But, and it's a big BUT, in reality things do not always work out the way we expect! That's when disappointment takes over and we start losing the zest and passion for life, and start questioning the purpose of it all. If you really think about it logically, it's a system that is bound to fail!
Plus of course the media via big business and governments had conditioned us to fear. You need the newest car - it will protect you in an accident. You need life insurance in case you die!? You need a job and must earn money to support your family. These are all fear based mind control mechanisms to make you conform to what 'big brother' wants you to do. This results in people going in 'survival' mode based on the induced conditioned false fear reality out there!
If it is in the media, it must be the truth! This is what most people believe! This brings me to my 'all time' favourite saying:
It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand times than to believe the truth that one only hears once!
We have been so conditioned to accept everything around us as the norm, that we are too afraid to look within ourselves. We simply don't know any better. We forget that through inner reflection and honesty with yourself and who you really want to be, is in fact the start of finding a solution to leading a more fulfilled existence. Yet we have been conditioned to fear this! It's easier to follow the masses and be accepted, than to stand out!
You need to realise that the first step is... becoming aware of all the control mechanisms in society today and realising that they affect each and everyone of us. We also need to understand that we cannot change this overnight, but we can change it! In fact, it starts with just one person deciding to do something about it and make others around them aware.
People who wait for changes to occur on the outside before they commit to making changes on the inside will never make any changes at all.
Just knowing how we are controlled suddenly makes you think twice before buying a product, or becoming annoyed at a negative newspaper headline. This awareness in turn makes you react differently and suddenly you find yourself not following the 'sheeples' out there anymore, and hence you start changing from within.
'Two Eagles,' a native American Indian was asked by a white government official, "You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done." The Chief nodded in agreement. The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?" The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied. "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex."Then the chief leaned back and smiled. "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that!"
For one moment just think about what you think about during your day. Spend 10 minutes going over your day and your thoughts. You will be surprised at the amount of negative thoughts you had. Become aware of these and start eliminating them for your daily routine. This alone will make a huge difference. Remember that we are all energy and we create reality with our thoughts. This means that your inner thoughts control the energy vibration of your outward behaviour. Thus you need to focus on 'real' issues in your life, rather than all the negativity out there. Redirect your thoughts to the things that bring joy into your life - focus on living in the moment and appreciating the little things in life.
Start learning to do things from the heart. Stop doing 'what is expected' , but rather focus on doing 'what is pure and good' and makes you happy. Suddenly you realise that you are doing it without expectations - but from a purity of heart perspective. Now you can no longer be controlled and be disappointed - as there are no expectations. Instead, the law of the universe (the energy) will now reward you with unexpected blessings (as like energy attracts like energy) and your life becomes one purity and giving, rather than fear and survival.
If you really think about it, what does a human being really need to be happy? Health, food, family and friends, and a roof over their head. Look around you and objectively analyse what is making you unhappy, and you may well realise it's all the conditioned non-important fear based issues. When you start focusing on the 'real' simple stuff and truly live in the moment, your reality changes and your start living life as it should be.
Have a great October!
As a speaker and entertainer that has appeared on stages in over 128 countries, I have learnt to deal with stage fright. Here are 35 different tips and ideas which may help you feel more relaxed on stage. Not all of them may be for you, but I am positive that many of these tips will make a positive difference for you.
1. Set an end time for your fear.
If you have a presentation at 20h00 tonight, set yourself a goal to get over the fear by 16h00 so that you can focus on preparing for your speech. It sounds crazy, but by setting yourself an end time, you are actually giving yourself extra time for the fear to diffuse itself.
2. Talk to the audience as friends
If you had to do your speech for a close friend, would it sound as structured and formal as it does now? Most probably not! Look at the audience and make eye contact with one person at a time, talk to that person as if they were this friend. In other words, talk to one person at a time in the audience. This will relax you and make the whole pace of your speech more informal. As such you will be connecting on a deeper level with the audience and they will be able to relate to you more effectively. Plus of course this approach reduces your anxiety.
3. Take it easy/ Don't take it easy
There are two schools of thought here:
a.) On the day of your presentation, relax! Take it easy and don't be too busy. It will fluster you more and make you worry about preparing for the presentation. Rather schedule lots of free time on this day so you can get your mind around it.
b.) Other people find that the more they do on the day, the less they think about the stress of the presentation, and this helps them cope.
Only you know which personality type you are and what will suit you.
4. Know your stuff
I have always believed that if you know what you are talking about, there is no reason to be nervous. Make a point of understanding what you intend talking about and do not learn it parrot fashion. When you understand and know the topic, you speak naturally and hence more confidently. Also, should a technical hitch occur, because you are confident on your subject, this shouldn't phase you.
If you are nervous, odds are your muscles will be tight and your body stiff. 10 Minutes before you go onto stage, do a few simple stretch exercises. This will loosen you up and relax your whole body.
6. Loose yourself in the material
When you become the material you are speaking about, you go into another zone and the focus moves away from you - this can make a big difference.
7. Practice in front of an audience
Even if you just gather your family, social circle or offer the talk for free to an old age home - an audience is vital! The more you practice with a live audience, the easier it gets and the less the fear becomes.
8. Be at the venue with enough time to spare
Obviously if you arrive late and have to run onto stage, you will be stressed. Give yourself ample time at the venue to acclimatize and get used to the auditorium. Remember, there could be a scheduling change on the day and you may have to go onto stage earlier than planned. This won't do the nerves any good if you are still in your car and get a frantic phone call from the organizer that you have to be on stage in 2 minutes! It's always better to be early.
9. Mental practice
If you drive past me when I am in my car, odds are you will either think I am mad, or I am talking on the hands free phone. I mentally practice my talk out loud and imagine myself standing in front of the audience. I even imagine, and answer people questing me from the audience. In fact, I enact the whole presentation out loudly. At home I will stand in a room on my own and pace act out the entire speech. My family already understands this and accept me as mad! Visualizing this two or three times really helps calm the nerves and cement the presentation in your mind.
10. Use your imagination
Some speakers actually imagine their audience in a funny manner when they walk onto stage - they believe this calms them down. It could work for you too! Imagine them all dressed in funny clothing, or without clothing! Whatever works for you and makes you smile!
11. When things go wrong
If you are on stage regularly, something will go wrong sooner or later. Accept this! If you know your stuff, odds are it won't phase you as much. If a microphone suddenly stops working, carry on in a louder voice, but don't let it distract you. The technical people are already stressing and trying to sort out the problem. You adding to the stress won't change anything. Think about the things that can go wrong and plan for them, thus when they happen you already have an action plan.
12. Double check everything
Do you have notes, or a laptop which you use? Check that you have them with you and that everything works. Before you leave home, have a check-list so that you don't forget anything. When you walk onto stage and suddenly realize that your notes are missing, or the projector doesn't work, it's too late! Of course your nerves will take over! In the same vein, know your speech so well that should this happen, you don't need to rely on notes or presentation slides. That alone will give you huge confidence.
13. Eat a banana!
No I am not kidding! Someone told me a long time ago that eating something nutritious, but not too filling, takes away the butterflies in your stomach. Fear and anxiety causes an empty nauseating feeling in your stomach. By eating a banana 20 to 30 minutes before you go on stage, that empty feeling disappears!
14. Do something different
Whether you listen to soothing music, phone your spouse or play a game on your mobile phone - just try doing something completely different before walking out on stage. It takes your mind away from the fear and relaxes you.
15. Be comfortable with who you are
If you are self conscious about your looks, clothes or anything about you - you will be distracted and nervous. The only solution here is to be honest with yourself and learn to be comfortable with who you are. Similarly, wear clothes which is comfortable and not distracting. New shoes give blisters, so don't wear new shoes on stage which could hurt and distract you. Wear them in first. Ladies, high heels can get stuck between floor boards! Leave them at home. If you are comfortable with yourself, it is easier to laugh at yourself, if something goes wrong.
16. Don’t rush it.
When you start your presentation - take it easy. Don't rush it. Make a point of starting slowly so that you can get into a comfortable space. Not only do you have to get used to the audience, they have to get used to you. Especially if you have an accent - they need time to understand your pronunciation clearly. I'll never forget seeing one speaker who walked onto stage, sat down on a chair, lit a cigarette and drank a cup of coffee. At the end he turned to the audience and said, "What's the matter, do you start immediately when you get to the office in the morning?" What a brilliant gag and opening! He had the time to check out the audience, plus turned it into a huge laugh which everyone could relate to. Immediately everyone was more relaxed.
17. Never apologize for being nervous
Most, if not all people may not even realize that you are nervous - so why tell them? You may feel yourself shivering and shaking, but the audience may not be aware of anything. Never mention it - it will make the audience nervous on your behalf too, and they won't listen the way they should. Instead they will worry about whether you will cope.
18. Get through the first 5 minutes!
Get onto stage and just concentrate on staying calm for the first 5 minutes. Imagine your hour speech as only 5 minutes - this makes it less stressful. Simply focus on getting the first bit done. By then you will have calmed down and the rest is downhill.
19. Stop stressing about whether the audience will like you
This goes hand in hand with being comfortable with who you are. Yes! We all want to do a great presentation and have the audience like us. But, if that's your focus, you will be distracted and nervous. Focus on doing the best you can within your parameters. As long as you honestly know you did your best, it doesn't matter if someone didn't like you. Think about it this way... does everyone like the same foods? No! There will always be some people that don't like you. Accept this and do the best for those that do like you. Your whole approach then becomes more relaxed, and odds are you'll convert the negative ones too! Will the world end if you fluff a line? No! So don't worry about it.
20. Focus on them, and not you
You are a vessel through which a message is delivered. The presentation is not about you, or your slides - it's about imparting information and knowledge to the audience. When you turn your focus from yourself to the people out there, the fear subsides.
21. Don’t share your mistakes
You have rehearsed the presentation and feel good about it. Suddenly on stage you realize you forgot an important point, or mixed up the order of topics as you had prepared them. The audience doesn't know this! Only you know your talk. If you suddenly apologize for making a mistake, or leaving out a point - you are making the audience aware of a mistake they didn't even know existed! However, if you say nothing and bring it in later - no one will be the wiser, and you will feel far less awkward. Odds are it may even work out better that way!
22. Imagine a white light
I always imagine a bright white light around me before a walk onto stage. I see this light/energy engulfing the whole audience and endearing them towards me. This can calm you down immensely... and your audience too!
23. Do a run through at the venue
If time allows, do a full practice run on the stage at the venue. This will definitely familiarize you with everything and make you feel less nervous. Think about it logically... you will have gone through the process once before, this gives your mind time to process everything around you. Hence when you walk onto stage the second time, you are already familiar with the environment and thus more relaxed.
24. Visit the venue
If you know that you will be nervous and worried what the venue will look like, make a point of trying to visit the place a day or two beforehand. This will give you time to think about it in your mind and become more comfortable.
25. Keep fit
When you are fit and healthy, you handle yourself better. Go to the gym the morning before the presentation and work all the frustrations out of your system.
Nerves can cause short fast breaths and this will throw you off balance, and make you more nervous. 5 Minutes before you go on, sit down, relax and work on your breathing by taking slow deep breaths. Thus by the time you walk onto stage, you have paced your breathing to a more relaxed rhythm.
27. Walk among the crowd
Standing alone on a stage with the audience in darkness is nerve wracking for anyone. Ask the organizers to put up the houselights so that you can see the faces of the audience. Then make a point of walking into the audience and look at everyone around you one on one. Make eye contact and bond with individuals in the audience. It calms you down, plus makes you more approachable/friendly in the eyes of the delegates.
28. Focus on the importance of the event within reason
Yes! Some events are more important than others and hence your stress levels may vary. Either way, when you stand on that stage, remember that it's only that group of people that are watching you at that moment. There are another billion people on this earth that aren't watching you - so what's the big deal?
29. Love what you do
It makes a huge difference if you are passionate about the topic you are speaking on. You are thus automatically more comfortable with it and naturally relaxed. Anyone who has to speak on an unfamiliar topic will be nervous - that's a given. Hence if you have the choice, choose something you love to talk about - this will reduce any anxiety you may have had before dramatically.
Smile from within - force the corners of your mouth up. Make it a proper smile and not just a grin. Try it now - see how it changes your mood!
31. Fake Confidence
Imagine yourself absolutely blowing the audience away - a super star performance! Get onto stage and fake it! You'll be amazed at how quick you get into it and relax.
32. Stop being over critical on yourself
This is a huge cause for butterflies and nerves. Just realize that no audience is sitting there waiting to criticize you. The majority of them are too petrified to stand on that stage. They are just too grateful it's you. So relax and enjoy it! In the same vein don't be too critical on yourself. As a speaker I have often walked off stage thinking the audience were a bit quiet and that it didn't go down so well. In the meantime they were so into what I was doing, they forgot to respond and clap, simply because they were so taken aback. Sometimes our expectations are too high. Calm down and enjoy the moment. Often you get a far better response than you expected. Also remember that if your expectations are too high and the audience doesn't respond accordingly, you may wrongly hold back and not give as good a presentation as you should have.
33. Add laughter
Yes, we are not all comedians, and jokes take practice and timing. However, it is in your interest to find a joke or funny anecdote that you know will work - we call it a stock gag - where at least 80% of the audience will laugh. Open with this, it will relax you and the crowd!
34. Practice in front of your fear
Imagine your fear is watching you and you have to do the presentation. It's a rehearsal on your own in front of your fear. Doing this two or three times makes you confront your fear and get over it.
35. We all make mistakes
Focusing on that perfect presentation will lead to a boring speech and you will lose all spontaneity. The only way we learn is through our mistakes! It is naive to believe that you won't make any - but in the eyes of the audience it also makes you human and endears them towards you. Just don't make the same mistake twice! Through practice and learning from your mistakes you will become more proficient. This doesn't mean that an older speaker is better than you - it all depends who learnt the most from their mistakes. As the golfer Gary Player always said, "The more I practice, the luckier I get."
Wow, what happened to August? I feel as if I wrote my last 'useletter' last week! I trust you had a productive August and thanks for all the emails I have been receiving.
Last month I received a mail from a subscriber seeking advice on how to cope with people that are nasty, or negative towards you. It does happen that you get friends, family or colleagues that put you down when you suggest something, or make snotty comments when you say something. Often the person on the receiving end broods over this for the rest of the day and feels really hurt.
Has it ever happened to you that someone has said something that really bothered you? You smile and act as if it's all a joke, but when alone your thoughts a bitter and hurtful and you constantly go over the conversation trying to figure out what you did wrong?
You can check out 5 Quick Video Tips on this months Inspiring The World videos, click on the language of choice to view; English, German & Afrikaans.
Someone once told me that you can always tell who the pioneers are because they have arrows in their back and are lying face down in the dirt. It is they that change the world. It is only when people criticise you that you are doing something right and taking others out of their comfort zone!
Clever sayings aside, all I can say is that it is a normal reaction to get cranky when someone makes snotty comments. I have put a lot of videos on You Tube - a few people I don't know make such vulgar and rude comments and initially this really upset me - even all the good comments never made up for it. When I had my TV series I had tons of good reviews, but the one or two that were facetious would be the ones I remembered. So personally, I can really relate to what many people go through.
I would like to share 12 tips with you on how to cope with this. Even if you can only use one tip - at least it's a step in the right direction.
A friend of mine shared a well known saying with me, "Some people grin and bear it. Others smile and change it." The power of a smile... now that's something! When these people approach you, are you smiling or do you have a long face? I firmly believe that the odds are way more in your favour of receiving good comments back when you are smiling. In fact a genuine smile is difficult to criticise. Even if you are in the wrong and deserve a sarcastic remark, it will be way more toned down if your were smiling. Think about it! I have learnt in life that everyone you meet deserves to be greeted with a smile... it makes their day, and mine too!
2.) Be happy within yourself
let's be realistic... way more people have good things to say than bad things - so I take it I am on a winning streak - that means I should remain positive. How things look on the outside of us depends on how things are on the inside of us. If I am content with who I am and know that most people don't have an issue with me, why should I let the few negative ones depress me?
3.) Be tolerant
Be tolerant of the human race. Your whole family belongs to it - and some of your spouse's family does too! 99% Of the time the people saying the bad things have their own issues to sort out, and are themselves the problem. So why should I waste my time thinking about them and their negativity? The reality of the situation is that you cannot kindle a fire in any other heart until it is burning in your own. If there is a fire in your heart, you will only radiate positive energy and it is highly unlikely then that you will attract the negative people to you.
4.) Don't Criticise
Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticise them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes. We constantly like to criticise others who don't agree with us. But we must never forget that they could be the one in the right, and you could be the one in the wrong. Also, learn to look at their circumstances, is their negativity coming from problems and issues in their life. if you made an effort to find out what the problem is and helped them solve it, you would turn everything around to a win win situation.
5.) Understand that people do get jealous
Jealousy plays a HUGE role - if you are doing something right or good, for some or other reason the 'negative' people out there hate you for it and will always try and bring you down. If you have tried to help and find out what is causing the negativity and found no answers, then learn to ignore them. If anything, you should feel sorry for that person! There are certain things in life you cannot change and unfortunately some people fall into this category. Remember that opportunities are found by those who look for them. The bee has a sting, but honey too... so look at every negative and make a positive out of it.
6.) Chose to be the better person
If you cannot help worrying, remember that worrying cannot help you. Everything in life is a choice - I choose not to associate myself with nasty, negative people. In fact I don't listen to the news or read the first few pages of a newspaper - because it's all about corrupt politicians, sensationalism and negativity. By avoiding this I find it easier to remain positive.
7.) See the lighter side of life
If I am forced, i.e. in a work situation, to be in contact with a negative person, an cannot get out of having contact with them, I purposely wind them up when they start with me. In fact I agree with them on all the negative things they say. Kinda takes them off their guard and they stop. They are looking for a fight and argument - so if you just take it in your stride with humour - you throw them off balance. Thus they have no reason for carrying on with you.
8.) Stand up for yourself
You have to learn to stand up for yourself and confront them. Not in an aggressive way though! Simply be firm and inform them that you will not have any dealings with them until they change their attitude towards you. Sometimes people need a reality check. If you think you are too small to be effective, think of the last time you were in the dark with a mosquito! Catch my drift?
9.) Be honest with yourself
In the same vein you also need to be honest with yourself. If you have screwed up or are wrong - then you must also be man/woman enough to admit and accept it. Remember, we need to take responsibility of our own lives. It reminds me of a great saying, "When arguing with an idiot, make sure you are not the idiot!" Then again, it may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others!
Also, are you happy with yourself and who you are? I have learnt to be comfortable with myself and accept criticism. At the end of the day, no matter what anybody says, are you happy with the actions and decisions you made in your day? If you are, then there is no reason to let others annoy you over this. Unfortunately today more and more people bow down to peer pressure and doing what is 'popular'. Hello! You will never find inner happiness if your behaviour reflects the current 'flavour' of the month. Learn to be you and be happy in accepting who you are. Guess what, then other people will also be happy to accept you for who you are.
A healthy attitude is contagious, but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier. Always strive to be part of the cure, and not remain part of the problem. Also, ALWAYS keep your words soft and sweet, then they won't be as hard to swallow if you have to eat them! Think of someone that has said hurtful things to you. If you stood up for yourself and put that person in their place - would their words be hard to swallow for them? Most probably - that's also why these types try not accept that they are in the wrong - it's too difficult to swallow their own words. Bottom line, brush it off.
Time invested in improving ourselves cuts down on time wasted in disapproving of others. I rather use my time on more positive things and improving myself. Never forget, most people get ahead during the time that others waste. The most precious asset you have is TIME. None of us know how long we are going to live. By giving your thoughts to those that irritate you, you are giving them the most precious thing you have, your life's time - are they really worth it? A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the full value of time and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain.
12.) Watch your thoughts
Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny. If you constantly brood over all the negative things people say, your body will manifest that negativity outwardly and you will draw it towards you from others! It is imperative that you learn to stop brooding and redirect your thought to positive things - then you will draw the positive people towards you.
And finally, if you ever find yourself in the situation where you have something negative to say, think of the foolish man who simply tells a woman to stop talking, whereas a wise man tells her that her mouth is extremely beautiful when her lips are closed.
Have a wonderful month!
All previous 'Useletters' can be viewed on my Blog page, or click here.