Friday, October 12, 2012

How to Conquer Stage Fright and Focus on the Positive

What determines how you feel are the things on which you choose to focus. Most of the time we don't bother to choose. We just let the mind's eye wander around. In this default setting, the brain will choose its focus primarily based on fear. Why? We are built to look for danger. Your brain is designed to keep you alive. For tens of thousands of years, the human brain has done a great job by looking for trouble.

We focus the mind's eye through the questions we ask. When you ask a question, the brain immediately sets out to answer it. But when facing an audience, most people ask questions that cause them to focus on their fear, rather than their objective. Think about a typical question you might ask yourself: "Will they ask me hard questions?" The brain, primed to lean toward the negative, searches for an answer. Brain says, "Yes!" You start to get nervous. You're panicky, starting to sweat. "Am I prepared enough?" Brain searching. . . answer is "no!"

Questions like "What's missing?" and "Will I know the answers?" may seem like intelligent questions to ask yourself. But they're actually sabotage questions. The answers can only produce a negative state.

So what's the answer? Ask a different question. The way you control the focus of the brain is by changing the internal questions that you ask. Ask a question with a presupposition, an implicit assumption about the world, as revealed in a statement whose truth is taken for granted.

For example, the question "What's great about this opportunity?" contains the presupposition that there is, in fact, something great in the opportunity that you haven't noticed yet. What you want are questions with this kind of powerful presupposition. This will drive the brain to produce a better answer and produce a feeling of exhilaration rather than terror.

Asking the right questions before you go on is a very powerful way to manage your state. You are programming your brain purposefully, so that it will come up with answers that pull you forward, rather than hold you back.

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