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Behavior can be a physical thing such as a morning routine and it can be non-physical such as replaying negative thoughts all day long.   A few behaviors are instinctive and built in while the rest are learned through meeting needs.  What this means is that our behaviors are motivated by our needs and wants. Therefore we can adjust our behavior to have our needs met.

Yet when we have negative behaviors and we want to change them, we find it isn’t always so easy because these are complex learned behaviors that we exhibit.

There are two types of motivation – the motivation-to-approach something and the motivation-to-avoid something.  When we desire something, we are motivated to approach it therefore receiving positive reinforcement or feedback.  When we avoid something, we are motivated to move away from it or we will receive negative reinforcement or feedback. 

Let’s look at those things we approach or avoid. The things maybe triggered the behavior but didn’t create it. We are the one who need to be in charge of our behavior.  Some people desire the adrenaline rush of jumping out of an airplane. The exhilarating effect motivates them to do it.  On the other hand, some people avoid airplanes, and aren’t even visiting relatives who live abroad because they fear flying on an airplane. Each of us reacts differently to different experiences.

Same is with speaking, some people love to speak and all excited about it, and some avoid it and stay away from that.

So how do you change your behaviors and your thoughts about certain experience? 

Let’s say you want to become a public speaker but you are afraid of speaking in front of people.  Until now you might avoid public speaking but you want to overcome it. How can you overcome this fear and build confidence instead?  You have to change your behavior and to gain a motivation-to-approach public speaking joyfully. 

  1. Practice it until you master it. Anything you try for the first time might be awkward and difficult. Practice your speech until it is so embedded in you and it flows as if you are telling a story to your friend. You are building your confidence by practicing it, speaking to a small group until you are ready to speak to a large audience. 
  2. Learn from feedback and improve it. Practice your speech and ask your audience (also friends and mentor) for feedback. Correct your methodology and delivery accordingly, and naturally you give a better presentation and performance. 
  3. Outline the different components and put them together. Very good and effective speeches are made up of components within the speech to get the end result you desire your speech gives. Build a frame and piece the components together so there is a natural flow and it captivates the audience. Like a good comedian who gets up on stage and tells little stories or jokes, he also practiced it, learned from feedback and improved it, and chained them all together to a captivating perform.

By using these techniques, you can change an old behavior with a new one that brings you better results.  Whatever you want to change, practice your new desired behavior, learn from feedback to improve it, outline the components, put them together, and you are now mastering successfully  new behavior that brings you better performance and results.