Thursday, April 07, 2005

Values & Fears

Do you sometimes get a sudden impression on something you already knew but didn't fully realize it until you saw it in a new light which makes you shout "Aha!" This was what happened to Archimedes who discovered the principle of displacement. He leapt from his bathtub in excitement shouting "Eureka" over and over, running naked in the streets of Syracuse!

It suddenly dawned on me recently, but no it didn't cause me to run naked, as I was discussing performance in the Toastmasters Club, that Values and Fears are two major factors that have a great effect on a person's performance. I have been active in the Toastmasters Club for the past 2 years to improve my public speaking skills. It is also a good opportunity to meet many new people from all walks of life. Everyone is trying to improve their public speaking skills through self help in a group and the idea is brilliant. Through voluntary role players, you can can make your prepared speech to a supportive audience and have an evaluator give you feedback. (See Toastmasters)

This is the observation I have made in those that improve dramatically from those who only make marginal improvements or none at all. Fear is the biggest factor to overcome in public speaking and many just never get over it. In the Toastmasters Club, very little is emphasized on how to overcome fear except that you just go up there and DO IT! Hopefully if you do it often enough, you will overcome fear. I think many end up never doing enough of speeches and excuse themselves for being busy or not having enough time when the real factor is the subconcious fear that exists. I have even seen individuals who were frozen cold during a meeting for fear of being called to do an impromtu speech and never came back for the next meeting. I think the fear factor is a strong subconcious deterrent that holds back many from their true potential. Most of us by default are afraid of failure or of making mistakes for the consequences are never pleasurable. So how can a constant reminder over regular evaluations of our faults help us reduce the fear so that we can perform better?

Next I have noticed that those who are more likely to overcome fear are those who seem to reflect stronger positive values in their character. Even if they were not eloquent in English, the ones who portrayed stronger values in their lives seem to be able to overcome their weaknesses better to give more impressive presentations and make greater improvements through time. Doesn't this apply to our lives in general in all the things we try to accomplish? If we truly value something, we try harder and we can even overcome ghostly fears through the passion of living our values.

In otherwords, the principle that I've observed is that having stronger Values defined as life-style priorities does drive performance and can even change our behaviour to overcome fear therefore increasing the probabilities of achieving our true potential in life. For the toastmaster attempting to improve his or her speech, I would advice him or her to increase his or her value of public speaking. eg A desire to change lives as opposed to speaking better to help me improve my job position. When you are out there to change lives, your body movement, eye contact, vocal variety etc will all fall into place as your mind is filled with the passion of your Values instead of the fear of making mistakes.

Values can be inculcated in us as what society does to us. Unknowingly, whether we like it or not, cultural values are sown or sewn into us from what is around us. However there is such a thing as choice and as we become more free and the information of various cultures become more free flowing, we can make shifts in our values as we become more exposed. Exposure or experience does reduce the fear of the unknown and further drives our performance to a new direction.

Take time to reflect on our experiences as this in itself is an exercise to formulate or strengthen our Values and reduce our fears at the same time. We become clearer as to what our true Values are instead of being side tracked by our mood swings. This inspires me to share my thoughts about the Body, Mind, Spirit connection which is indeed very deep and will have to be in my future postings. Meanwhile my Spiritual blog has already taken off and that will give me more basis later to talk about the connectivity of the three that some may reduce it to only two ie. The Heart and  Mind connection.

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