Just One Step Forward

Stop and look in the mirror. 100% happy with everything you see?

I certainly am not. I’m still scrawnier than I’d like to be. Ideally, I want to gain another 30 pounds of muscle. My bank account? Well, that’s scrawnier than I’d like it to be as well. My career is moving along, but if I’m honest, I’ve not done as much as I thought I would when I was a senior in college and expected myself to change the world. Socially, I have a few good friends and I’ve made a lot of progress towards overcoming that natural shyness that I grew up with. But you know that guy that just walks into a room, commands instant respect, and electrifies the crowd? That’s still not me.

If I honestly assess where I am at as a person vs where I’d like to be, I see so much ground I need to cover. It’s a bit overwhelming – so much to do. I find myself either stressing out about how far from my ideal self I still am or trying to just accept where I am now as good enough.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

I could freak out and stress over how much work I still have to do or I could give up and just accept I’ll never reach my goals, but a third option exists. Just One Step Forward. All I need to do today is take one step forward towards my goals. Just one step. Slow, steady forward progress will eventually accomplish your largest, most incredible dreams.

What can you do today to take 1 simple step forward? Here’s a few ideas.

  • Take a jog to burn some calories and strengthen your heart.
  • Sign up for a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn.
  • Visit the store and buy one clothing item that fits well and gives you confidence.
  • Join an online dating site and practice chatting with someone.
  • Better yet, visit a coffee shop and make small talk with someone there.
  • Sign up for a gym and search Youtube for a few basic workouts.
  • Fill out a to-do list to get yourself organized.
  • Clean one room or even one part of a room.
  • Message a friend to reconnect.
  • Read the first chapter of a book you’ve always wanted to read.
  • Drop $10 into a savings account.
  • Take 5 minutes and just breathe. Repeat the word “peace” or “strength” or “love” in your mind. You just meditated.
  • Plan to help someone today. When the opportunity presents itself, go for it.

None of these ideas are dramatic or life-changing. But then again maybe they are. If the journey of a thousand miles really does begin with a single step, then these simple steps may change you in ways you can’t imagine. You don’t have to change the world today. You don’t even have to transform yourself. You need just take a single step towards a better you. And in doing so, you just might end up changing yourself and the world more than you ever realized.

If you really want to master something as quickly as possible and go from first step to goal even quicker, I highly recommend The First 20 Hours – How to Learn Anything Fast. Josh Kaufman helps self-directed learners like us expedite the learning process get to the stage of enjoying what we’ve learned as fast as possible. If you are serious about self-improvement, moving forward towards goals, and achieving skills faster, then consider this book a strong introduction to everything you need to know.

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Happy reading, happy improving, and may your small steps lead to giant leaps toward your dreams!

Confidence Tips: Advice from Snails, Books, and Benedict Cumberbatch on How to Be More Confident

I’ve had many people ask me, “How can I be more confident?” And if I am honest, I have asked it before as well. I think this question really has two parts. How can I look more confident? How can I feel more confident? We want both, right? We all want to feel confident in our skin while simultaneously looking confident to those who see us. Building confidence is a life-long mission, but there are a few quick hacks we can employ to give us a nice, easy boost of confidence.

So here are confidence-boosting ideas, thanks to the wisdom of Benedict Cumberbatch, snails, and books.

1) Become Your Favorite Actor/Actress.

Here’s what I do when I face a situation that demands me to take on a role that is challenging for me. I pretend I am an actor playing that role. It’s easy, fun, and incredibly effective. Just choose the actor that best fits the role you need to play. Need to seem cool and suave? Pretend you are Sean Connery’s James Bond. Need to be intellectual and perhaps a bit cold, channel Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes. By pretending you are simply acting a role, a significant portion of your social anxiety will melt away. Even if someone reacts negatively to you, they haven’t really reacted negatively to you; they have only disapproved of or Sherlock or James, not you. After a while, you will stop even thinking of your character and just naturally begin to feel at ease acting as they do.

Now it isn’t as a big a deal for me, but when I was younger I was very self-conscious. As in very conscious of myself during any social encounter and very worried that I would screw up, misspeak, or otherwise make a mistake that would out me as not smart enough, cool enough, whatever. Basically, that internal negative dialogue would play in my mind – something that many shy or introverted people can relate to.

Anyway, I’d read, “Just be confident”, or “Speak this way”, or “Do this.” But it all felt painfully fake and not me. Again the internal dialogue would shout, “Jamie, you are trying to sound cool and confident here, but everyone sees through it; they all know you are fake!”

So I spun my own insecurities around by embracing the thing I feared. I will be fake. I’ll play act the roles I’ve seen my favorite actors do. Obviously I didn’t overact; that would look ridiculous and have the opposite effect that I intended. I’d just steal phrases, body language, and their general demeanor. The funny thing is, by adopting that role, I didn’t feel nearly as self-conscious as before. It was kinda like wearing a mask – a mask that you felt safe and unnoticed behind, freeing me to act more like I truly wanted to.

Now this may sound like the path to becoming a fake person, but I argue it is the exact opposite. I actually wanted to be like those actors. I wasn’t being fake; instead I was actually learning how to express myself in the way I had always wanted to but had been too afraid to try before. So in that sense, when you meet me, I am now closer to who I want to be than I ever was before. In other words, I am now more Jamie Moyer than I have ever been.

At the end result of this, when you learn how to slip into this role or that, you become more confident in yourself. Because you become more comfortable in whatever social situation you face. Some people learn this easily and naturally. But for someone who faces social anxiety, this can be a powerful tool to liberate you from your fears and set you free.

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2) Slow Down Everything.

Walk slower, talk slower, react slower. Do everything a bit slower. You get two benefits from this. First, you’ll find that by slowing down, you’ll have more time to think through want you want to say or do. That leads you to speaking and moving more deliberately, which makes you look more confident. Think of a CEO, President, or other powerful, confident person. Do they run? They they jerkily move their arms around. Race to get all the words out of their mouth? Or do they walk, talk, and move deliberately? When it comes to being confident, be inspired by the snail, and take it slower.
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3) Watch Your Body Language.

Your body language leaks out a lot of info about you. If you are nervous your body language will betray you. The cool thing is body language not only shows how you are feeling, it also can influence how you are feeling. Choose some confident body language and you’ll feel yourself becoming more confident. If you need to improve your body language skills, absolutely get this book! Amy Cuddy’s Presence is the definitive book on gaining confidence through understanding your body language and yourself. You’ll learn how many mistakes you have been making in your body language and how to correct them easily. More than that, you’ll learn how to think in ways that free you to become a bolder, stronger self.

These 3 ideas together are powerful. They get your body, mind, and timing all synced up and ready to be at your best.

Good luck!

Jamie

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