Skills

It might sound like cheating – it’s not!

To start, let’s clarify that we at Carpe Juvenis are not condoning fraud to achieve your goals – that sort of behavior harms others and can have disastrous consequences from an ethical and legal standpoint. In contrast to that, acting a certain way in order to cultivate good habits, confidence, and success is far from unethical. All you’re doing is presenting a side of yourself that might normally need some coaxing to come out. Faking your way to success is more like a magician’s sleight of hand than smoke and mirrors. And honestly, who would fault you for wanting to improve yourself (albeit with a little misdirection)?

Here’s what we’re really suggesting: Act like the version of yourself that you want to become. Before you realize it, you’ll already have become the “you” that you wanted to be.

Amy Cuddy, researcher and professor at the Harvard School of Business, has studied the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels as it relates to power and emotion. Her 2012 TED talk, in which she discusses her landmark study on the role of body language and hormone levels, ranks as the second most-watched video in the organization’s history at over 28 million views. If you haven’t already seen it, take some time after reading this article to watch it via the link above.

At its core, Cuddy’s research points to this: social stimuli and hormone levels have a dialectical relationship. Thus, body language and feelings of power and confidence are engaged in a positive feedback loop. We all know that having high levels of the stress hormone cortisol will affect one’s outward behavior (feelings can dictate one’s behavior), but Cuddy’s talk tells us that the reverse can also be true (behavior can dictate one’s feelings). Acting powerless can lead to feeling powerless while acting confidently can lead to actually feeling more confident.

In her talk, Cuddy shares the story of one of her students, who, after not participating the entire semester, came to her and said that class participation was too difficult for her. The student was shy, unconfident, and admitted that she felt like she didn’t belong there. Cuddy responded by saying that she did belong there, and she should fake confidence until she actually became confident. Fake it, and see how far it gets you.

This story – of feeling out of place, intimidated, and thoroughly convinced that you are not of the proper caliber to succeed – is my story, your story, our story. We’ve all experienced moments of hesitation and self-doubt. When confronting those difficulties, we owe it to ourselves to use every reasonable tool at our disposal to break down the walls that block our way to success.

To achieve that success, keep two thoughts in mind.

First, accept that you are a conglomeration of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Leverage that variability, and do you. It’s trite, but true. Sometimes the most perfunctory thoughts can be the most profound. Let’s deconstruct the do you message real quick. It doesn’t mean you should live fast and die hard, abide by your emotional whims, and act selfishly. Rather, it means that you should be the best you can be in the face of adversity. When challenged, does doing you include selling yourself short and limiting yourself? No way. When challenged, doing you includes presenting the side of yourself that can most readily tackle the issue. Ignore the haters that say you’re one way when you’re actually another.

(As a side note, I would like to add that you should NOT flatly disregard what other people think about you. The whole reason that faking it to success is so important is because other people’s thoughts about you can affect your life in incredibly powerful ways. “Not caring what other people think” is cognitive dissonance at its most paradoxical. You shouldn’t care about others’ unjustified judgments, but should certainly care about their thoughts, opinions, and prejudices as it relates to you. Often we don’t realize that, because we’re privileged, it’s easy to just disregard others because we don’t think it will harm us. Ask anybody from the Black Lives Matter or feminist movements if they think others’ opinions can be weapons – sometimes unconsciously – and if we should care about those opinions.)

Second, destroy the notion of one’s “place.” Your “place” is the most insidious, reprehensible form of prejudice, and accepting your “place” without using every feasible tool at your disposal to achieve your goals is truly a shame. Show me the mandate that says variance in lifestyle isn’t freely allowed. Faking it until success means taking a stand against self-inflicted shortcomings and tacit acceptance of one’s “place.”

So fake it. Pretend you’re confident and push past the things that tell you otherwise. You owe it to yourself.

Image: Unsplash

HealthSkills

Wisdom works best when shared. Sometimes all we need are a few words of newfound perspective to navigate through life. Here are 10 pieces of advice that have provided encouragement and much needed clarity:

“Always assume you don’t have all the information.”

I see this as a way to not take anything too personally. When people act or react in ways that are unwarranted we are quick to judge. However, it’s nearly impossible to fill in the blanks without knowing more information. This is particularly valid during fights and disagreements. Instead of pushing your view and knowledge of the situation, question what you don’t know and instead, assume that they are seeing something that you are not seeing.

“Never pass up a chance to learn something for free.”

Our capacities to learn are endless. There are free E-courses online spanning anything from finances to interior design. Maybe a friend invites you to a free yoga session or you’re curious about slam poetry – take the first step in learning more about it and experience it for yourself. The best part about this kind of education is that it can be found everywhere, plus there’s no tuition.

“Create and maintain a morning ritual that you love.”

Starting your day with a ritual can energize you and help you be more productive throughout the day. Whether it’s brewing a cup of coffee or making tea, spending a few minutes meditating before heading out the door, or going on a morning run, take that time to activate your senses and set a happy tone for the rest of your day.

“Sometimes you need a little crisis to get your adrenaline flowing and help you realize your potential.”

One guarantee in life is that it’s unpredictable. Sometimes it seems as though the universe conspires to overlap as many dilemmas and challenges for us to face all at once. When crises happen, it’s helpful to remember these two things: 1) You are not alone. We all have our fair share of catastrophes. 2) Consider it your chance to challenge yourself for the better.

“Never lie in bed at night asking yourself questions you can’t answer.” Charles M. Schulz

What is it about the moment when your head hits the pillow that ignites a flood of worries and second-guessing? Sleep is essential and we all need to allow ourselves to relax when we can. So silence the motor in your mind as you hit the hay, it’s one of the only times that thinking less should be a priority.

“What are you going to do about it?”

Advice in the form of a question, gotta love it. Whenever I hear this it’s a reminder of the fact that although I cannot choose what happens to me, I choose what happens next. We are in control of our own decisions and sometimes what we really need is to ask how we can help ourselves.

“Measure twice, cut once.”

My best friend is an expert in calculated risks. He seems spontaneous and fun-loving but is actually extremely careful and a ferocious planner. Through him I’ve learned the value in being able to safely execute decisions. Approaching important situations with thorough research and credibility will allow for life’s big moments to go a lot more smoothly.

“Never offer advice just to appear concerned.” Jack Gardner

We all need to hear this. Although we always want to say the right things and help people when they’re down, be mindful of what it is you’re saying to them and why. If your advice is mere conversation filler, it’s better left unsaid. People have a tendency to project their own versions of help from their personal histories that often don’t reflect the person in need at all. So be wary of “saving the day,” sometimes the best way to help people is to just listen.

“Being in a relationship doesn’t entitle you to anything. You don’t get what you expect, you get what you create.” Steve Maraboli

Having a relationship is having an on-going learning experience. One of the biggest things to learn is to never mistake having a relationship with possessing a relationship. It is not an opportunity for an individual to control another with their expectations but rather, an invitation to grow with someone and share the same effort towards happiness.

“Go in the direction of where your peace is coming from.” C. Joybell C.

This one is from my all-time favorite poet and kindred spirit. Life’s pushes and pulls lead us to places and decisions that don’t always work out. The only thing we can really try to be consistent with is finding our purpose. Whatever it is that provides you with that feeling of peace and wholeness, follow it and rest assured you’re doing life right.

Image: Picography

Health

We all have those friends that seem like they have their lives all figured out. They go through each day with their heads held high, exuding a confidence that we can’t seem to perfect ourselves. And somehow they make it look so easy.

Sometimes we can’t help but envy them. We know that growing up is all about finding ourselves and becoming the person we want to be for the rest of our lives. Yet there are still so many things we’re not sure about and sometimes we wake up feeling like we’ll never be like our self-assured friends.

It took some time for me to realize this, but my friends – the ones I thought were perfect –  are also struggling with their insecurities. They sometimes look in the mirror and see things that they don’t like about themselves. They have doubts about what the future holds and sometimes they’re not as confident as they may come off.

I don’t think anyone is one hundred percent sure of themselves. We are human, not robots. No one, and I mean no one, is perfect. So don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as confident as everyone around you appears to be. It’s okay to have insecurities. It’s okay to have bad days. Growing up is about finding yourself, but you don’t have to have everything figured out today or tomorrow or even in a year from now.

You do have to know one thing. And it is one of the most important things you will ever need to know. If someone hasn’t told you this already, I’m here to tell you that you are enough. You might have insecurities and doubts and you might not have everything figured out just yet but who you are right now, in this very moment, is enough. You don’t have to be anything more than what you already are. You don’t have to change anything about yourself, and you most certainly don’t have to be like who you think your friends are.

Everyone has their own struggles. Some just carry them a little better than others but, nonetheless, we all have a weight on our shoulders. If you just remember that you are enough, then that weight will get a little less heavy. Don’t worry about the things that you can’t change or even the things you have no control over. Having insecurities is not something to be ashamed of and being confident is not a quality that people are born with. You can feel like crap if you want to on some days. Just as long as you remember that those super confident friends that you have sometimes feel like crap too; just as long as you do this one thing for yourself:

On the days that you feel like you’re at your lowest, tell yourself that you are enough. Tell yourself that you don’t have to be anyone, other than who you are. It might not free you of all of the insecurities that you have, but it will make going through each day a little easier.

Image: Unsplash

Health

Sometimes we all need a few words of wisdom. Whether they come from someone famous or anonymous, these quotes are sure to inspire you to seize the day and Seize Your Youth!

“The higher your mountains are, the deeper your valleys will seem.”

Unknown

Sometimes we have a pitfall or two in life and we feel like it’s the end of the world. I love this quote because it reminds me that when I feel as though I’m at my lowest point, it only seems so low because I have so many high points in my life. It reminds me that the good comes with the bad, and that if the bad seems horrible it;s because I have a really great life.

“There are two days in every week which we have no control over: yesterday and tomorrow. Today is the only day we can change.”

– Unknown

Sometimes we all need a daily reminder to live in the present. Stressing over the past and future keeps us from living right now. It’s helpful to be reminded that it’s never too late to seize the day!

“Don’t allow your wounds to transform you into someone you’re not.”

– Paulo Coelho

Our past is just that: our past. Sometimes it’s hard to put it behind us, but in order to stay positive and take every opportunity that comes our way, it’s important to remember that the past doesn’t define who you are today.

“The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”

Buddha

I’ve read few words wiser than these. Sometimes we need to be reminded to stop thinking so much and just live and remain positive.

“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

Bertrand Russell

In such a busy world, we tend to always be going and going and going. When we take the time to do the things we enjoy and pursue our hobbies and passions, we often feel guilty for “wasting” time. Never feel guilty for doing the things that make you, you.

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

C.S. Lewis

In simpler terms: what’s on the inside is what matters most. Don’t forget to let who you are shine through!

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

Melchor Lim

The best is yet to come. All of your hard work will pay off in the end!

“If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.”

Jonathan Winters

This quote reminds me that you can’t just follow your dreams, you have to chase them.

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” 

– Seneca

When good things happen in life, remember that it’s in large part due to your own hard work and efforts.

“It’s okay to be a glow-stick: sometimes we need to break before we shine.”

– Unknown

Our struggles and mistakes have value shape us into who we are.

“Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle.”

–Imgur

Never allow your potential to be trumped by other people’s jealousy. Shine as bright as you want to!

“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.”

Lemony Snicket

Most importantly, never forget to seize the day and seize your youth! There’s no better time to start than now.

Image: Picography

Health

“Kid … if you need booze or drugs to enjoy your life to the fullest, then you’re doing it wrong.”

– Robin Williams

Based on my experience from the first couple of weeks at college, I get the sense that a majority of freshmen seem to be overly excited about their new-found freedom, and are rampantly scouring campus to find a frat party, or some sort of shindig so that they can “turn up.” Our culture makes this seem like normal college behavior; we work hard all week long and on the weekends we just want to rest, have a little fun, and let loose. To be honest, I am also one of those people. However I’ve been thinking a lot lately about whether being drunk and/or getting high is a healthy solution to de-stressing?

Like Robin Williams said, if you need some sort of narcotic substance to always let loose, are you really living your life to its fullest potential? I would suggest probably not. That is why I think college parties are overrated — the same events occur at every single party. People have a couple drinks, do things they normally wouldn’t because of the influence of alcohol or drugs, and potentially regret their actions the next day.

From what I’ve seen so far, the type of “letting loose” students do at these parties is typically very aggressive and actually creates more problems and drama than originally intended. With the involvement of substances, inhibitions in the brain are lowered and people partake in activities they otherwise would choose not to. These actions could lead to relationship conflicts as well, as one person in the scenario attempts to avoid another. This eventually creates small emotional rifts and tears that lead to larger, possibly irreparable damage.

What about in your own experience? Have you also see this emotional harm occurring? Do you think it’s healthy for you or for others?

We should also talk about the substance abuse issue: How much alcohol is too much? It depends on your body type, weight, tolerance, the type of alcohol, and the mix of different kinds. If you do not already know your limit, are you taking the right precautions to be safe?

Consider the legal aspect: If you are under 21 and drinking, you have broken the law. You risk being caught when police could possibly come and crash the party. You risk being suspended. Let me ask you, is it really worth it? Is it also really worth it to possess illegal substances on campus, and risk being expelled? These are the things you should think about before you take drugs or get blacked out on alcohol. Are you ready to jeopardize your college education due to reckless irresponsibility?

You’ve got four years of your undergraduate education ahead of you. You need to decide what is wrong and what is right, because you will never get this time in your life back. You could be out traveling, exploring, and meeting amazing role models. There’s so much more to life than alcohol, drugs, and regrettable actions.

Image: Flickr

EducationSkills

Let’s face it: interviews are stressful! There’s no denying that interviews lead to increased anxiety, rushes of adrenaline, and panic over not knowing what to say. Use these tricks below to help you shine and prove why you are the best candidate for the job.

Basics:

1)   Maintain eye contact.

2)   Give a firm handshake.

3)   Remember to smile.

4)   Arrive ten minutes early.

5)   Dress appropriately.

When in doubt, dress nicer than you think you need to. Looking sloppy is the easiest and quickest way to start off on the wrong foot.

6)   Bring an extra copy of your résumé*.

*Don’t necessarily keep this in front of you, but have a fresh copy stowed away in a bag or briefcase. Use your own judgment to assess whether or not to offer a copy to the interviewer.

7) Keep a notebook and pen in front of you.

Not-So-Basics:

8) Ignore that little voice in your head.

There is a common saying that we are all our own worst critics. That little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t prepared enough, that you aren’t qualified for the position, that you aren’t ready, IGNORE it! Switch off the emotional voice and focus in on the pragmatic one. Don’t stand in your own way! You can do this!

9) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Carpe likes to prepare in two simple ways: personal and professional.

For the personal preparation, update your résumé. Make sure it is up-to-date with the most relevant information (i.e. if you are now a sophomore in high school consider removing random activities from before freshman year; if you are now a sophomore in college consider removing anything from high school that does not highlight an important personal asset). Take a look at Purdue University’s Online Resource for how to create a great résumé.

Secondly, prepare professionally by doing thorough research on the company you are interviewing for and the people you are interviewing with. Two good places to start are on Linkedin and through the website of the company or group you are interviewing with.

10) Have information in front of you.

Create “cheat sheets” for yourself. Print out a copy of your own résumé and highlight the three main parts that stand out. This will provide you with a quick reference for your personal agenda (see below). Warning: don’t look down at paper for more than a quick glance to guide your thoughts. You want to keep the conversation flowing.

11) Set a personal agenda.

Before the interview begins, decide on a couple standout points that you want to work into the conversation. It could be as simple as a fun fact about yourself to help the interviewers remember you, or something more specific like the latest project you worked on and how it challenged you. Depending on how long the interview lasts, try to work in 1-3 important points that you believe will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

12) Send a reminder e-mail.

Sending a brief and polite e-mail the day before an interview can be a good way to make sure the interviewer is still available to meet. Let them know what you will be wearing and reiterate that you are excited to speak with them in person. Sending this short email will help sooth your nerves the night before.

13) Send a follow-up email.

Always send a follow-up email or card to thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. I would recommend sending this follow-up a few hours after the interview or early the next morning.

14) Offer to pay.

If you are meeting for coffee or a small meal, offer to pay. It is appropriate to spend about 5 to 15 dollars.

15) Be able to confidently answer, “Why do you want to work here?”

You need to know why you want the job. If you can’t think of a reason right away, reconsider if you are aiming high enough or following a true passion. At Carpe we pivot all the time to follow what inspires us, and you should do the same.

16) Don’t be afraid to ask, “Why should I work here?”

You matter. You are valuable. You are going to be contributing to a team and working hard, so ask the tough questions and don’t be afraid to demand what you deserve.

No matter how informal or formal an interview is, these steps will help guide you in the right direction.

How do you prepare for an interview? Let us know!

Skills

Being a leader – at school, work, or in your own life – involves varying degrees of risk. If you are making a huge life decision, debating whether to put yourself out there to run for student government, or deciding to transfer schools, certain choices you make require risk-taking. Risk-taking is often much easier said than done and it might not come naturally to you. That’s okay. It takes time to become a risk-taker. 

Risk is the possibility that something unpleasant will occur. When you take risks, there is the chance that the outcome you want might not happen, but there is also the chance that it could happen and be everything you wanted and more. 

***

If uncertainty frightens or challenges you, keep these 12 tips in mind if you want to be a better risk-taker…

1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Taking risks means doing something that could make you uncomfortable, scared, and stressed. However, know that this is completely normal when you are about to do something that you might not normally do or if you have important things you are giving up to take this risk. Stepping outside of the bounds that you are naturally comfortable with will give you the courage to try new things.

2. Have faith in yourself. Trust yourself. You want to take a backpacking trip across Europe? Go for it! You are thinking about organizing a trash pick-up group over the weekend? You can do it! You have the ability to do anything, especially when you have faith in yourself.

3. Determine why you want to take a risk. What is driving or compelling you to do this thing you really want to do? What are you passionate about? Why now? Figure out why exactly you want to take a risk so that you can use it as fuel to get you started and to keep you moving.

4. Baby steps. Nothing happens overnight. Deciding to take a risk is the leap you make, but take baby steps to build your dreams and achieve your goals.

5. Be comfortable making decisions. Don’t think that making one decision will be “right” or “wrong.” This is not a test. Make a decision based on facts, your gut, and experience, and then deal with the consequences from there – good or bad. You won’t know until you make the first move.

6. Have confidence. You know why you want to take the leap and do something awesome and potentially off the beaten path. Tell others with confidence and let your dreams come to life through your words and actions.

7. Take strategic risks. Don’t just do something to do something. Think through what you want to do and how you plan to accomplish it. If you take a risk without thinking about the consequences or your safety, perhaps you are taking a risk that may in fact be too risky and just plain ol’ dangerous.

8. Identify your fears. What scares you and why? When you can pinpoint what makes you scared, you can then start to overcome those fears.

9. Build a support system. Your friends and family can be a fantastic support system, and on days when you question your abilities, talk to your support system to give you the boost you need to keep going.

10. It’s OK to ‘fail.’ It might be helpful to figure out your definition of failure. Many failures can actually be great when you learn from your mistakes to make you stronger.

11. Stay positive. There will be days you doubt yourself. Totally normal. Maintain a positive attitude so that when you slip out of your funk, you won’t have abandoned your goals due to a low moment that everyone has periodically. Think about what compelled you to take a risk in the first place and use that as positive energy.

12. Stop making excuses. Just stop! It’s too easy and it will prevent you from ever doing what you want to do. Leap, make baby steps, and take it from there. Less talking, more action.

What risks have you taken or want to take?