How To Not Be Intimidated By Really Attractive People

A person is a person is a person. 

Now, if a celebrity is a person who has publicly broadcasted their achievements on various mediums, and successfully leveraged this to make you believe their value is higher than yours (called "perceived value"), then this must mean everybody has access to this power.

Ahoy hoy, friends! I trust your May has been as cold as a frosted lipstick colour, as has mine.

This month's blog is especially dedicated to my friend who flits in and out of confidence around that gorgeous proverbial Fireman, the kind that saves cats from burning buildings and secretly stares in her direction when she's not looking. She is sooo beautiful, talented and crazily intelligent, yet she never feels "good enough" for the men she's attracted to. 

All this to say, perceived value is a sneaky trick of the mind. God's truth is that He loves you (John 15:9), deems you valuable and precious (1 Cor 6:19-20), created you for a purpose (John 15:16), has given you the power to choose the best kind of life (Romans 12:2), and wants to be in relationship with you for eternity (Philippians 3:20).

So here's how to stop thinking we're not worth life's bulbous blueberry tank of blessings...

1. Rock your own physical assets.

 Baby, you're gorgeous.

Baby, you're gorgeous.

Self-perception is an intriguing animal. God has created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27), meaning that we can be as smart, powerful, wealthy, successful, knowledgeable, loving... basically as beautiful (or ugly and insecure) as we want to be. The choice is up to us.

It's just not helped by it's ugly stepsister Comparison, fed by hours of scrolling through social media and wondering why your eyes are not as almond-shaped as theirs, or whatever.

You are beautiful. You will always be your own version of beautiful. If you don't have that girl's statuesque height or that guy's muscle definition, there are probably traits you have that are in demand. For example, my girlfriend who ritualises her fake-tanning sessions has an amazing Kim Kardashian-like figure, and my male friend who complains his six pack is slow to emerge has a very strong jaw line (and not to mention killer sense of humour).

So work out your colour palette, hit the morning walking trail, eat organic veggies and adorn yourself with a few tailored items of clothing that fit your body shape nicely. And rock your uniqueness like it's hawttt, where you'll realise that being "super attractive" is a factor that is easily within your control. It's just about effort.

2. Picture them in pajamas without make up or hair gel.

 Meh. This is us, stripped of anything impressive.

Meh. This is us, stripped of anything impressive.

Who are they at zero?

Someone once told me that we are nothing without our internal qualities, like our resilience, easily forgiving nature, knowledge about the intricacies of our loved ones and ability to bake a mean Shepherd's Pie. We are our true selves when we close the door to our bedrooms at the end of the day and devote our sleep to the Lord.

And let me bust their Really Attractive Person (RAP) bubble right now. A RAP is simply a person who got their colours done at Myer, attends a few gym sessions a week, and maintains a sufficiently healthy eating plan. Or, they've just hit a genetic lottery. So, what - it doesn't sound to me like that's very difficult, or that they've earned their "beauty".

Alas, without all those expensive clothes, and if you got to know them better, they will probably emerge as equally insecure and human as the rest of us. On a typical week night they will probably be in their mismatched fluffy socks, with bits of chip breakage on their trackies, knees hugging their chest with a blanket wrapped around their fragile, fragile souls...

3. Try EBAs on everybody.

 You are free to work the room. The only blockage is your own self-doubt.

You are free to work the room. The only blockage is your own self-doubt.

Matthew Hussey's theory of Effort Based Action (EBA) is brilliant. Applying this to your everyday life, the idea is to kickstart a new habit of creating. Enacting one millimetre shift per day changes will result in attracting the same sort of thing back to you. 

Let me explain:

Say at the next Church Gathering you decide to say "How's it going?" to 10 guys you don't know from a bar of soap, tap them on the shoulder, smile, and walk away. How many of the 10 might result in a conversation? And out of those conversations, how many might result in an exchange of phone numbers? Is not church a warm environment where people are used to making new acquaintances and friends?

To be honest with you, this is the strategy I used to meet my very amazing boyfriend who has helped me write and draft this blog post. (Yup, he put those words in. Just kidding...)

One of my Christian male friends told me that if a girl started a normal conversation with him, he would absolutely love that and be open to chatting with her. Is he single? Yes. Is he attractive? Yes. Is he mature, masculine and godly? Very. Is he looking for someone he can get to know seriously? Absolutely. The eligible men are out there, ladies! You just need to say hello to them!

4. Aim to connect, over impress.

Congratulations to those who stopped reading this blog and threw caution to the wind by picking up the phone and calling Cutie. You know you who are!

Excuse the sales pitch, but my Three Month Coaching Program (see Shop) will delve into the array of thoughts that may be holding you back, and you will learn to take responsibility for finding the love of your life, partnering with God in this process. 

For instance, the reason why RAPs may not notice you is because you become overly conscious of how your hands are awkwardly swinging by your side. However, around non-RAPs (or guys you perceive as lower value in your eyes), they get you into fits of laughter from all their Guardians of the Galaxy impersonations. With such RAPs you care too much, but with non-RAPs you care very little. 

The key is to value each person equally, and make a judgment on their value after getting to know them for a consistent period of time. 

5. Put on their crocodile shoes.

 We are all mere shadow-casters that can try each other's lives on for size.

We are all mere shadow-casters that can try each other's lives on for size.

Lecrae once said that as a popular Christian hip hop/rap artist, his fans "expected more of him than he was physically capable of giving" (paraphrased). I am referring to celebrities in this post as they are also people the general public tends to idolise and elevate to God-like status, deifying their seasonally popular qualities. 

The truth is that they are human too, and while we're free to admire them, one day you too might become a famous Teacher/Software Developer/Author/Singer/Speaker/Musician. How will you cope with all the fame, the limited freedom, the removal of the right to pop over to the supermarket next door to pick up some milk in your Uggh Boots? 

There is a public persona and a private life, and the trouble is when we give someone too much credit for who we know them to be in only magazine publications and TV shows. They had a full Hair and Make-Up team here! They cheated!

Parallel this with our intimidation towards RAPs - while we're ogling them from afar, somebody somewhere, considers you a RAP, and is drooling over you, too.

Did you find this helpful? Please like and comment below. 

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The Love We Crave Series: Friends

The Love We Crave Series: Friends

I am coaxing you to prioritise: BIG group social settings where you sit there awkwardly, not knowing what to say.

5 Truths to Help You Annihilate Self-Doubt

5 Truths to Help You Annihilate Self-Doubt

Everyone’s blowing smoke behind a mirrored backdrop.

We’re all in the same boat, made of the same beans, with access to the same bag of tricks. 

Journey with me. Be set free from the soul-sucking parasite that is self-doubt...

7 Tips to Help You Kill It On Stage

If you’re not feeling it, no one else will. I don’t care how eloquent your words are.
— J A Santosa
 Picture: You. On stage. Killing it.   

Picture: You. On stage. Killing it.

 

LENGTH: 15 minute read.

 

People ask me all the time whether I still get nervous before a performance. The short answer is yes.

 

The long answer, however, is:

 

That some experts claim nervousness is fear of the opinions of others. Maybe. I would argue that pre-performance jitters are a good thing. Nerves mean you care enough about what you’re about to do. Nerves enact in our amygdala – the part of the brain that receives the emotion of fear (or survival instincts) - where we respond with one of the three F’s – flight, fight or freeze. (Take a moment to think about which F is most relevant to you.)

 

Performing is a confronting thing. You are exposing yourself creatively and emotionally. The only way it gets easier is by consistent repeated effort – that is, getting up there, doing it, and getting down again.

 

Me at 18 with braces, singing for an open mic. Not quite the story below, but you get the jist. P.s. Check out the makeshift mic stand!

 

Having started as a solo singer/songwriter as a highly insecure teenage girl, there were times when my voice would lose pitch and I would forget which chords to pick... in the middle of big open shopping malls with 100+ people feeling sorry for me. After that I hibernated for a week, covering my face with my sleeping bag, resolved to never get on stage ever again. But the week passed, I picked up my guitar, sang to the wall unit, and fell in love with performing all over again.

 

All that to say – you get over it, and you can’t let one bad gig determine the rest of your future.

 

Now as a Performance Poet, whether I’ve practiced a hundred times or one time, I siphon my anxiety by telling myself “well I can only do my best”. And that’s just it. Your best is all you can do. Your best is in your control. Your best is better than you probably think it is.

 

So how do you kill it on stage? You maximize your effort in these three sections:

Before Getting On Stage

While You’re On Stage

After Being On Stage

(yep – there’s an after!)

 

Regardless of what you do, (and this might seem super obvious) the whole goal is to connect to a whole room of people through your performance.

BEFORE GETTING ON STAGE

1.) You must possess killer conviction on what you're about to say or do.

 

Plainly speaking - if you’re not feeling it, no one else will.

I don't care how pretty or eloquent you think it sounds. People are better bullcrap detectors than we think. When I performed my 6 minute long piece “Privilege” at Bankstown Poetry Slam, it came from months of wanting to spotlight what we had as an Australian society, and whether we were yielding our silver spoons responsibly. But in the first part of the poem I directed the whole line of attack to myself before pointing the finger at anyone else. Do I think I’m a super privileged white Asian Australian? Yes. Do I think I’m using my position responsibly? Sometimes. It was this core belief that I mulled over and meditated on while writing the piece, practicing the piece and thus performing the piece that formed the bedrock of a strong performance.

 

In other words, I had to successfully convince myself before I could take anyone else on this paradigm-exploring bandwagon.

 

2.) Over-prepare.

You want to allow your mind the freedom to engage with the audience, and not be preoccupied with trying to remember lines.

Lack of preparation is both apathy and anxiety inducing, and doesn’t do justice to your talent and hard work. So show them what they paid for; then give ‘em a little more! No reading from a paper or your phone, unless it's new s*** you're desperate to share in your feature set. 

You can wing it if you’re a tried-and-tested theatre-sports improv-extraordinaire, but for most of us, winging it is for overconfident amateurs on an Open Mic night.

...’winging it’ is for overconfident amateurs on an Open Mic night.”


Whether you’re delivering a talk or a spoken word piece, having your content lodged into neat sections inside your mind will prepare you for curve balls. The mic stand may be difficult to adjust, the audience might be listless and fidgety, the guy before you might have been absolutely phenomenal and now you’re feeling intimidated… whatever – control the controllable; that is, your own lines!


Preparation is crucial. Write your poems and speech content, get feedback from an expert (send it to me at Contact Jess if you can’t think of anyone else) and, using your killer conviction about what truth you want to share as a guide – edit brutally.


Open Mic nights are fantastic for practicing new material. Road testing on a small and safe crowd is a great way of gauging which lines will and won’t work. I have a few select friends I practice new pieces on, but as of late, I have learned to gauge for myself whether my pieces are filled with inside jokes for a party of everyone or for a party of one.

 

Practice consistently. Capitalise on any voluntary energy you have to practice, force yourself to go for just 5 min when you don't feel that ounce of motivation (which is 90% of the time for people studying or working day jobs). Remember, be kind to yourself if you stumble over your words – it’s the consistent repeated practice that will perfect your performance. Natural talent is nice, but if it doesn’t marry with discipline, it just remains a stagnant, diminishing-in-attractiveness, useless, loser.

 

Know your lines back to front, to the point that when you walk down the street your lips operate in default muscle memory, spitting your lines like butter. To give another example – as you don’t have to concentrate on each foot fluttering down step-by-step on a staircase, speaking out memorized lines should be effortless.

WHILE YOU’RE ON STAGE

3.) Serve and connect with your audience.
 A very engaged Three Poets Speak audience in November 2014. Nancy Louka was performing. Like always, the room was totally mesmerised.   

A very engaged Three Poets Speak audience in November 2014. Nancy Louka was performing. Like always, the room was totally mesmerised.

 

This is why over-preparation is crucial. When my legs kick up those stage steps my mind resolves to one surefire never-fail strategy – serving my audience.

I look into a stranger’s face; I see their expectation. Suddenly I want to make them laugh, smile, to wow them with my stolen TEDx talk facts; I want them to renew their minds about their own self-worth, to start thinking they are beautiful or stronger than they gave themselves credit for. I want the 30 minutes of their undivided attention to be worth the devotion. And then I forget I was ever nervous to begin with.

To sound like an over-used cliché, I realize it was never about me – that the better my performance is, the clearer the message will be and the more my audience will benefit from what I have told them through the story I’m telling.

Don’t squander the privilege of getting their attention for 5, 30 or 60 minutes. I’ve done that in the past many times - indulged on stage, and suffered from an ego hangover afterwards.

 

Watching you perform is giving the gift of an experience to an audience member. So make it a good one. Don’t squander the privilege of getting their attention for 5, 30 or 60 minutes. I’ve done that in the past many times, indulged on stage, and suffered from an ego hangover afterwards. I’m not having a dig at people who perform their broken relationship stories, but this is what separates the pros from the amateurs – the revelation-turned-attitude to serve others with your talent.

If you believe your reflections about a breakup will comfort someone else, then go for it, but the audience are not your therapists. Where are you leading them? Where are your stories taking their minds? Will it add value to their lives? Will it inspire them to become better people? I understand the niches that exist in the Slam Poetry scene, but it will be extremely difficult to engage with an audience when your primary motive is self-glorification.

 

4.) Leverage your natural personality and strengths
 2015 Australian Poetry Slam Champion Philip Wilcox is really good at using his hands to emphasise certain lines. It's very  him . And it enhances his performance  every  time.

2015 Australian Poetry Slam Champion Philip Wilcox is really good at using his hands to emphasise certain lines. It's very him. And it enhances his performance every time.

 

I advocate for personal development - especially in Poets, Writers and Artists because your work is more influential than you think. So know thyself. Don't try on someone else's persona. If it's not you, it won't work. Alas, if you’re on a journey to discovering your stage persona, and don’t mind embarrassing yourself, then by all means go for it! Poetry Slam audiences are usually very kind.

 

According to the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator I am an ENFP; highly driven by growth and contribution, obsessed with clarity and everyone reaching their potential. I’m also Australian-born with Chinese Indonesian parents. These hard-wired facts drive and comprise my personhood. They will doubtlessly emerge through my work. Extroverted? Crack jokes, run polls, target an audience member with short conversation.

Introverted? Speak honestly and from the heart, speak with conviction. Be deep. If you feel connected to the audience through your genuineness, maybe push yourself to crack a joke?

Whatever you do – just be you, be true.

 

5.) Spoiler Alert: You’ll make a mistake.

Another spoiler alert: No one will actually care. Only you will!

The majority of stage time should be spent connecting with your audience. If you’ve done this successfully, one little slip up is not going to hurt. On the same token, a perfectly memorized piece doesn’t guarantee a performance that connects. When I performed at BPS, I stumbled on 2 lines that were pretty important. No one noticed, no one cared, and watching the video back I realized 90% of the power behind the connection was in my delivery, confidence and body language. On the forefront of your on-stage mind should be, “yay! Let’s connect and have a great time together!”. You would have completed all the hard work in the Before.

 

AFTER BEING ON STAGE

6.) As long as you’re still at the event, everyone’s eyes are on you.

You have been asked to speak because you’re considered a thought-leader, more or less.

Give props to the organisers, thank them for the opportunity. Nobody likes an ungrateful diva. It’s not just your performance people are watching, but your example as someone who has asked to feature/guest speak. This means young aspiring artists or speakers are watching your body language, conduct, swagger and confidence. The honour of being asked to speak is the equivalent to teaching without a degree or being told “hey, you’re awesome, and this opportunity is proof that everyone else thinks you’re awesome and skilled too.”

So bask in it. It’s an honour to be affirmed for your skill, talent and to be considered an authority.

 

7.) And finally, keep connecting. You're there to build community.

A few years ago I made a YouTube video called “Dealing with Post-Gig Praise”, because a Poet asked me what she should do when people bee-line up to her and heap praise on her gifts and talents. A naturally humble and gentle person, she disclosed the awkwardness that followed after the endless compliments: “Where do I go from there?”

Forgive the blocked nose, I was pretty sick at the time. Tip: start from about 3:00 :)

If/when you receive post-performance praise, give a gracious thank you, and direct the conversation back to them. Ask them a question; keep it simple: "So do you come here often?"

Similar to point 3, your goal as a thought-leader is to nurture and connect. So view this as an extension of your performance, where you have just talked and shared your bit, and now a select few audience members want to respond. 

But these select few audience members might be aspiring performers, writers and speakers... and I'm all about that legacy-leaving life. Hope you are too.

Are you a Spoken Word Poet, Musician, Keynote Speaker or other type of Performer? What extra tips would you give to help people kill it on stage?

Share in your comments below!

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