#37 Sing Karaoke

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#37

Sing Karaoke

After recommending that we try Stand Up Comedy as a way to improve your well-being, I’d be remiss to ignore the idea of singing publicly as another way to foster fun, laughter, friendship, and joy in your life. And, while I am quite sure that I may be the spectacle of fun were I to stand up and attempt to sing a popular song… it would make for great memories.

Evidence

Several years ago a Japanese research team published a study indicating that those people who participated in the practice of getting together with friends and singing, were less stressed, had better cardiovascular health and less susceptible to heart disease. I mean, clearly those are benefits of reduced stress all around so essentially, they’re saying Karaoke reduces stress – no matter if you can carry a tune.

Talent

The point of Karaoke isn’t necessarily showcasing vocal talent – although it does certainly serve that purpose. We are generally entertained when someone is able to carry a tune and has even a little depth in their vocal range. But even if you can barely make it through Happy Birthday, gathering a group of friends and joining in on a collective rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ is great fun.

Physical Benefits

Maybe one of the best physical benefits of singing is that it forces us to control our breath and breathe deeply. It works our memory which, is exercise for our brain. It strengthens throat and palate muscles which, may improve snoring and apnea. It supports good posture by forcing you to stand more upright, allowing for better breath control. And, it may be one of the most natural antidepressants. People who sang regularly in church were found to have higher dopamine levels than those who did not.

Social Connection

Karaoke is an ongoing opportunity to gather with friends whether it is in a public forum or someone’s living room. It gives you rhyme and reason to connect. If you are a ‘regular’ on open mic night, you may develop a following; fostering confidence and esteem with like minded people.

There doesn’t really seem to be a downside to this recommendation except for the fear you may have revolving around judgment, rejection, ridicule, or failure… all derogatory and ultimately unhelpful; totally worth staring down. A great way to face your fears while having a great time inside a supportive environment is to…

Sing karaoke.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#38 Try Stand Up Comedy

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#38

Try Stand Up Comedy

I can only imagine how many people read this suggestion as a way to improve your life and laugh out loud because it may be the farthest thing from something that sounds fun. I suspect there are only two basic perspectives here…  one being that “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up and try to be funny because I’m not” or even if you think you could be funny… “there’s no way in hell I’d stand up in front of strangers”. And still… I stand by the recommendation.

Finding Funny

Everyone has a funny side or at the very least, comedic memories; stories of times when the absurdity of life found you belly laughing. The longer you’ve lived, the more you have to relate with. But, you don’t have to be on the older side if you are a good observer. There’s a lot of funny in the world and your ability to see it and describe it to other people is what makes good comedic material. In many of the basic struggles that we experience as humans, there is a humorous perspective. Some of the most famous comedians have been able to elaborate on the light side of everyday conflicts; relationships, work, raising children, proposals, traffic, etc.

Writing Funny

Where many of us lose the momentum is between writing the ideas and crafting the ‘script’ of the story. The website CreativeStandup.com offers some great advice about “understanding the principles of comedy” versus “applying rules and techniques”.  In some cases, it’s better to record yourself telling the tales and then have the recording transcribed and begin working from that point. In that way you are breaking the creative process into two distinct pieces but allowing the ‘material’ to flow naturally. There are several highly rated transcription services (apps) that are relatively inexpensive.

Presenting Funny

Once you have a few ideas and a routine you’re comfortable with, try an Open Mic night at a local comedy club. It’s a great way to face any fear of public speaking because people are ‘supposed to be laughing at you’. It’s a great night out with friends if everyone is participating and an awesome way to work on confidence and esteem.

You’ve heard the phrase ‘everyone’s a comic!’ – although notably it may have been a sarcastic expression at the time but there’s a little bit of truth in most sarcasm. Use this as fuel to recall some of your most memorable personal experiences, tell the story with as much absurdity as it can support, and …

Try stand up comedy.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#39 Overcome Self Doubt

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#39

Overcome Self Doubt

Do you ever doubt yourself? Do you doubt you can do whatever it is you’ve set out to do? It’s perfectly normal. We all do it. Self-doubt is something anyone faces at some point in their life. And for some of us it can be a real struggle. When self-doubt – which is defined as the lack of confidence in oneself and one’s abilities – keeps us from doing that we want to do and from reaching our goals, it’s time to take action and work towards overcoming it.

And since self-doubt by definition is caused by a lack of confidence, the solution is obvious. We need no to work on becoming more confident. But how do you go about boosting your self-confidence? Saying “You need to be more confident” is easy, actually doing it can be a little harder, but it can be done.

Fake It Until You Make It

I’m serious. As odd as it sounds this actually works. By acting confident, you can trick your mind into becoming a more confident person. Stand up tall, talk with conviction and take some action. Act like a confident person until you become just that.

Find A Cheerleader

If you’re the kind of person that thrives on praise and gets a big boost in confidence whenever they receive a compliment, go find yourself a cheerleader. Talk to a friend, find an accountability partner, or hire a coach or mentor. Let them know that you work well with praise and ask them to cheer you on as you work on your confidence.

Make a List of Accomplishments

There are probably dozens of things that you’ve accomplished over time. Make of list of all of the challenges that you’ve mastered, the goals you’ve reached, and the problems you’ve solved. This list will act as a reminder that you’ve been here and done that; that you have a track record of accomplishments.

Take On A Challenge

Setting and reaching a goal is another big confidence booster. Set yourself a challenge. It doesn’t matter what it is or what area of your life it applies to. Then tackle it and rise to the challenge. Reaching your goal – whatever it may be – will boost your confidence overall and help you in all areas of your life.

And don’t stop there… throughout your daily life pay attention to your confidence. It won’t take you long to get out of the habit of doubting yourself and becoming the confident and productive person you’ve always wanted to be when you use these tricks to …

Overcome self doubt.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#45 Make Eye Contact

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#45

Make Eye Contact

How did you feel the last time you talked with someone who didn’t make eye contact with you? Were you left wanting more? Suspicious? Disbelieving? It turns out that making eye contact during conversations is a type of communication in and of itself.

Positive characteristics

It’s a social skill. It’s good manners. It’s a sign of interest and attention. Indeed, according to the research, people who are able to make and sustain eye contact are perceived as more dominant, powerful, warm and personable, qualified, trustworthy, honest, confident and emotionally stable. Who wouldn’t want to be associated with those characteristics?

Positive Consequences

People who engage in direct eye contact make more sales, date more frequently, and report more satisfactory interpersonal interactions. Each one of these consequences can improve the quality of our lives. It’s postulated that our eyes are have evolved specifically to assist in our ability to communicate.

Communication

Indeed, they contribute individually and specifically to non-verbal communication. “I saw it in his eyes” or “Her eyes told the story”…. Statements that describe a ‘look’ we can all relate to. Our eyes convey attention. We are more apt to listen to people who are looking directly at us and we will feel more intimately connected when making eye contact with other people. Intimate connections convey trust and belonging.

Difficulties

People who find it hard to make direct eye contact with others may be challenged in a variety of areas. It’s very difficult to keep a gaze when we are being dishonest. Darting eyes can be an indication of a false story. People who are fearful of being judged may also find it hard to make eye contact. And, because our eyes communicate so much information, people who are masking emotion may not allow themselves to make eye contact for fear that their eyes will disclose too much information.

Work on It

If you find it difficult to make eye contact – ask yourself why. Perhaps it would be helpful to seek guidance for any insecurities or fear. If you realize that your effort to avert a gaze is simply a bad habit, make a conscious effort to work on it. Eye contact can be overdone, it’s not natural to stare constantly at someone so practice moving your eyes aside from time to time; side to side movement is the least disruptive to communication.

If you want to improve your connections, your communication, and ultimately your confidence…

Make eye contact.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#63 Use Your Voice

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year! My hope is that 2019 is everything you desire it to be!

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#63

Use Your Voice

The phrase ‘use your voice’ is interpreted differently across gender, culture, and age but for the purpose of this writing, it is specifically referring to the effort of speaking the words that run through your mind and heart. You may wonder why that isn’t a universal automatic event because certainly, some people speak with very little consideration and yet, so many do not.

The Unspeakable

Perhaps as soon as we learn to speak we realize that there are things not to be spoken. It’s not polite to verbally address someone’s size or age; to ask about their income or sexual interests; or to openly condemn or criticize. We’ve learned how to be politically correct and how to keep the peace. All of this however, comes at the price of forgetting how to ‘use our voice’.

Shut up & Shut down

When we discover or realize that by speaking our mind or sharing our heart – we may experience negative consequences, we tend to adopt coping mechanisms to make communication easier. In many cases, it stimulates the reflex of shutting down and silencing those thoughts and feelings that might otherwise be shared. We may have grown up with a parent who wasn’t open to other opinions or lived with a spouse who lived within rigid parameters. We might live in a strict culture.

There may also be internal factors that keep us from vocalizing our thoughts; ‘will people still love me?’, ‘ will I sound stupid?’, ‘will anyone pay attention?’. Sometimes, it is the inner voice that controls our courage to vocalize.

Listen & learn

The first step in learning to use your voice is listening carefully to your thoughts and deciphering what you want to say. Clear out the clutter and get to the heart of the matter. Once you do that, make sure to deliver the message in a clear and constructive manner so that it can be heard. Learn how to avoid blaming language, use “I” statements, and offer solutions. Learn to have confidence in your thoughts, knowledge, and presence.

Delivery

Using your voice doesn’t mean that you automatically say everything that comes to your mind without thought and intention. Making sure to speak with clear intention is perhaps, the most important element. Choosing every word – especially when confronting a problem – on purpose is often the key to a successful outcome. And right behind that is the requirement to speak everything in kindness. Confrontation doesn’t have to be ugly to be effective.

If you find that this is an area of your life that could use more resolve, consider a New Year’s resolution to more effectively…

Use your voice.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#104 Ditch Gossip

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#104

Ditch Gossip

If you’re human, you’ve probably – at least once in your lifetime – participated in a round of gossip. By definition, gossip is the “idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others”. It is differentiated from asking a friend if they’ve ‘run into’ another… or asking about the welfare of a joint acquaintance. It’s speaking about someone’s life without explicit permission to do so.

Hurtful

By speaking about things that are considered private or deeply personal, we are likely to insult or hurt the targeted individual even if that wasn’t the intent. It may promote shame for that person and ignite feelings that lead to depression, helplessness, and sadly… even suicide. Gossip can injure esteem and confidence. It can lead to feelings of loneliness and cause people to isolate further. It often leads to embarrassment when someone’s private business becomes the focus of outsiders. The anxiety that results can paralyze.

Breach of Trust

When we gossip for the sake of having something to say, we breach the trust that others have in us for keeping their secrets. How many times have you questioned whether or not someone is talking about you the way they are talking about another? If they are willing to betray the interest of John Doe, what keeps them from doing the same to you? How do we build respect for someone that breaches trust? Without trust and respect, how is a relationship sustained?

Do Unto Others

Do you want your personal and private affairs to be the center of discussion between people not involved? If you think that may be bothersome, make the effort to change your energy into something more productive and compassionate. Make a conscious decision to …

Ditch Gossip.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#184 Carve Something

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#184

Carve something

This suggestion is entirely recommended for the creative side of you. It’s something that is probably off your radar and yet it’s fun, challenging, and possible for even the most basic beginner.

To start you need a small knife; preferably a handy-dandy pocket knife with a selection of blades but a small paring knife will also suffice in these early stages. The only other requirement is a bar of Ivory soap or a piece of Balsa wood; either choice is soft and easy to carve with little pressure.

This creative option is often taught to children in scouting programs which, may be the last time any of us made an effort to try this activity. Yet, today your dexterity is far more developed and with a little patience your imagination can transform the soap or wood into an entirely different shape and/or a functional item.

I can imagine a few of you wondering “why?” – thinking that I am stretching this ‘creativity’ piece a little far and yet I’ll reiterate that just ‘trying’ new things is good for your soul. It’s great for building your imagination, your confidence, and your curiosity. It’s a wonderful way to foster creativity and wonder.

Soap carvings make great gifts! Even if you carve small hearts and put them in a box with a little essential oil… what a nice gift for a guest bathroom! Carving little figurines, small toys, or an ink stamps from balsa wood can also make great gifts. This is also one of those little thought of talents that can come in really handy when you need something unique and custom – as in an ink stamp or a unique name.

Try a Google search of ‘beginner wood carver’. Hop on YouTube to watch a demo. Both will get you the basics and begin to satisfy, challenge, or develop a number of little personality characteristics that get stimulated with creative energy! Find an easy project and challenge yourself to …

Carve something.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#194 Get New Eye Glasses

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#194

Get New Eye Glasses

Eye glasses are expensive – or at least the lenses are and so they are one of those things that we don’t update as much as perhaps would be good for us. I’ve talked to a number of people through the years that only get ‘new’ glasses when their prescription changes and yet they’ll buy new shoes or new purses for the sole reason that they’ve grown tired of the ones they wear all the time. Eyeglasses are perhaps more important because they sit on your nose most of the time you are awake during each day.

Fashion

Some people use their glasses as a fashion statement. For those of you who remember Sally Jessy Raphael, you’ll remember her iconic red glass frames; they were her trademark. Drew Carey is another who is easily recognized because of his eyeglasses. Have you thought about making a statement with yours??

Update

If you’re old enough and been wearing glasses long enough, you’ve more than likely collected enough photographs to clearly see a transition of your own style through the years. What’s important to look for is whether or not you’ve been stuck in the same ‘style’. Perhaps it is time to try something new and or just bring your spec look into the 21st century.

Styling Rules

When choosing new glasses you can get daring or different and yet still follow the basic rules that go along with choosing frames. Consider the shape of your face. Someone with a heart shaped face will want a different style than someone with an oval. Also pay attention to skin tone. If you have olive skin you’ll want to pick very different colors than if you have a pasty white complexion.  Perhaps the most important consideration is your personality. What style combo best fits your persona? If you’ve always been conservative, maybe it’s time to pick something a bit more edgy. If you’ve always been edgy, try something classic.

The point is to switch it up a bit and …

Get new eyeglasses

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#246 Do Something Unexpected

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#246

Do something unexpected

Are you predictable?

Is there someone in your life that finishes your sentences? Do people make decisions for you based on historical data? Are you in a stagnant place; doing the same thing day in and day out? When life becomes too certain or too predictable, it can become boring. While we all need certainty to some extent, too much of it is not a good thing. Stability is a great thing but it needs to occasionally be sprinkled with variety with the understanding that tolerance for the unexpected is totally personal.

Take Control

For those of us who covet certainty, it’s a good idea to take some control of the variety we need and the best way to do this is to get up and do something unexpected. Make sure you’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to experiencing any change up in routine. I’m not suggesting any wild or crazy things necessarily although if you’ve always been skittish about heights and suddenly express an urge to go bungee jumping, that may make sense. However, leaving a job that sustains your livelihood without another way to meet your obligations probably won’t be in your best interest overall.

Take a Risk

In order to step out of your comfort zone and do the unexpected – you must assume some amount of risk. For this reason, it is suggested that you start small – especially if you are just now stepping out. The term ‘go big or go home’ is novel and sounds brave but could be financially or emotionally expensive and perhaps not a good way to get your feet wet with the experience of variety. Be responsible and take calculated risks or the whole ‘certainty’ issue becomes more cemented.

Benefits

Doing the unexpected builds confidence both in yourself and in you for those around you. It requires courage and bravery to step out into the unknown. Even if you are certain of the results, doing something that no one would anticipate can be a recipe for surprise and entertainment; both of which contribute significantly to feelings of happiness.

Do yourself a favor and keep life interesting by making a commitment to …

Do something unexpected.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.