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Embrace the Unknown to Transform Your Life

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“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

As we continue in the second year of the pandemic, many of us wonder how we made it these past two years and what life was even like before.

The funny thing about life is that you can plan every step, but it doesn’t always work out as planned. The world we live in is constantly changing, and new things are always happening. As the clock ticks, we grow older and wiser. And the truth is we will never know what life may throw at us tomorrow, a year from today or even in the next few moments.

There’s no doubt that education is a critical component to each person’s success. But one thing I’ve realized is that our system does a terrible job of teaching us one crucial lesson: how to embrace the unknown. Society has wired us to be planners. From a young age, we should have an answer to the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? At 18, we should already have our career path planned out and the steps we’ll take to accomplish our goals. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, the choices you make at 18 can affect you for the rest of your life. 

I don’t know about you, but at 18, I had no idea what I wanted from life and what life was like in the real world. I chose whatever career path people talked about and then began planning for it. I had no idea what that path would look like until after I graduated. Then I faced the harsh reality that many millennials face today of realizing that their career goals were not what they expected. But when you’ve already invested so much into something, the last thing anyone wants to do is jump ship. 

This is a topic that society doesn’t talk about enough. So the question I want to ask is, what do you do in a situation like this? Do you stick with it because of the time and resources you’ve invested and the people you’ve told and have supported you? Or do you leave and find something else that could potentially make you happy? 

The last thing that education does is teach us to take risks and embrace uncertainty. Society has ingrained in our brains to play things safe and go with what we know. Because human nature shows that what we know provides the most comfort. But unfortunately, that’s also why 40 million American adults are unhappy and have struggled with depression at least once.

We’ve heard stories about people taking risks and coming out in a much better place with more opportunities. I don’t want to be one of those people you hear about. But I think it’s important to tell this story now and at this moment as I continue to take risks, fail and succeed. 

The first significant risk I took was in 2014 when I moved to the Middle East. From then, embracing change and the unknown has been a regular part of my life and has led to significant personal and professional development. Each moment I realized something wasn’t right for me, I decided to let it go, not knowing what would be waiting on the other side. But, embracing the unknown has led me to greater heights personally and professionally. And I want to share the lessons I’ve learned about embracing change along the way. 

It’s normal to fear the unknown, and not having a plan is a terrifying thing indeed. But if the pandemic has taught a common understanding, I feel that it’s 1. we can’t plan everything in life, and 2. life is short.

Here are six reasons why embracing the unknown will be the most significant thing you do for yourself: 

1. Within the unknown, you will find yourself  

We’ve all thought bout traveling to another country at least once in our lives — the idea of leaving behind the things that weigh you down and finding yourself. A different country brings adventure through new experiences and excitement. But what if I told you that you don’t have to travel to another country to find that? How about leaving behind the things that aren’t good for you here and discovering yourself in a new setting, whether in your career, relationship, personal life or wherever? 

Of course, some people do want to travel. But if you find that your reason for leaving is to escape from your current reality, stepping out of your comfort zone in small ways can also help you find yourself.

By placing yourself in uncomfortable situations, you will find out what you’re capable of accomplishing, what you like and dislike and what you’ll tolerate. The best way to find out who you are is to say yes to new experiences, especially those that scare you or make you anxious. Placing yourself in these situations will provide the most growth. 

Related: Want to Reach an Overwhelming Goal? Try the Simple Trick That’s …

2. You’ll become comfortable with the best and worst things that life throws at you 

Embracing the unknown will prepare you to tackle anything without being phased. The best part of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is that you always come out of it a stronger person. As you go through unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations, the fear of the unknown becomes less scary. This teaches you perseverance and increases your confidence to handle any situation. 

3. You’ll not only realize that you have no control over what happens, but you will be okay with it 

Uncertainty about your future, your relationship, your career — uncertainty in general — is discomforting. The most revealing image of uncertainty and anxiety was at the onset of the pandemic as crowds were panic-buying at grocery stores in the angst of running out of toilet paper. Looking back, in the end, it wasn’t even that bad. 

Planning to an extent is smart, but there is value in also being okay with not knowing what will happen today, tomorrow or a month or year from now. Embracing uncertainty will make you realize very quickly that you really have no control over what happens. More importantly, you’ll have control over your reactions and quickly learn to manage and control your emotions in any situation. 

“If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” — Daniel Goleman

4. It makes you more chill

When you become okay with not knowing what will happen, an overwhelming sense of chill and adaptableness comes upon you. You’ve been through the points of putting yourself in rough terrain and not knowing where your decisions will lead you. After identifying that you can figure yourself out in any situation, you become happier and more confident. With that experience, embracing the unknown is a great way to make you unphased by the challenges and changing conditions that life throws at you. 

It’ll just be another moment where you’ll once again figure it out and move forward. 

5. You’ll become happier 

How often have you said yes to something you didn’t want to do or agreed with someone you disagreed with, just because you weren’t sure what would happen? Perhaps you feared what they would think or how your actions or responses would affect your future opportunities. 

Embracing the unknown makes you more inclined to do the things that are good for you and the things that will make you happy. You’ll say no a lot more than you say yes. You won’t care about disappointing others because you’ll know that you can hold your own whether you disappoint them or not. 

You’ll become more sure of yourself and won’t need to seek the approval of others. In return, these actions will make you more genuine and will attract the respect of others. You’ll learn to set better boundaries and do what’s best for you. With the assurance that whatever you decide will, in the end, benefit you because you know that opportunities are never-ending. 

6. Opportunities will present themselves to you

We’ve all heard the phrase, when one opportunity closes, another opens. One of the biggest lessons I learned was when I decided to leave my full-time job to work on my own business. Although it took me a while to muster the courage to jump, I was not only more content, but a newer and better opportunity presented itself at that exact moment. When you decide to embrace fear and do what’s best for you, you attract better opportunities and the universe will align to meet your expectations and desires.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” — Paul Coehlo

Embracing the unknown can have a different face for each person. It can look like leaving a bad relationship, switching careers, changing majors, transferring to another school, saying no to your boss, declining a meeting or corporate event and the list goes on. Either one, another or all, the first step into embracing the unknown is to make the first move. Whether it be in declining that first meeting, researching a new career or another school, starting your business or leaving your job or relationship. We often fear the worst of what could happen to us but forget to envision the best that could happen. 

“A lot of times people look at risk and ask, ‘What are the odds that I will succeed?’ A different way to look at risk is to ask, ‘What’s the worst thing that would happen if I failed?'” — Dave Hitz

Related: 6 Ways Forward When Your Path Is Uncertain

Here are seven simple steps to start embracing the unknown:

1. Identify what you don’t like 

2. Identify what you can control 

3. Execute on the things that you can control

4. Make the jump

5. Persevere

6. Say yes to every new and uncomfortable situation

7. Watch your life change 

Embracing uncertainty is one of the most rewarding skills you can learn. It will give you the ability to live your life with more freedom, happiness and assurance and empower you to set boundaries. It all starts with the first step. 

“When you focus on being the best person you can be, you draw the best possible life, love and opportunities to you.” — Germany Kent

Related: To Grow Into Ourselves, We Must First Embrace The Unknown

 

 

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To win over investors, use growth as your differentiator • TechCrunch

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So they’ve looked at your pitch deck and you’ve got the intro. Now, you have 30 minutes to win over an investor. What do you tell them? What would be convincing enough for them to buy in? How do you show them what’s possible?

The simple answer: Demonstrate that you are set up to grow.

What is growth in this context? After investing and working with hundreds of startups, our company Seedstars defines growth as the processes in your business that, when put together and optimized, make for sustainable and compounding value over time.

For founding teams and investors alike, it can be incredibly rewarding when the parts of a growth engine work together. Serial entrepreneurs can relate to the joys of mastering cost-effective customer acquisition, onboarding that kick-starts long-term retention and customer service worth talking about. This is one reason why a customer journey map can be particularly useful.

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Baobab Studios unveils Momoguro Web3 collectibles game

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Baobab Studios is taking its animated storytelling into a new platform today as it unveils Momoguro, a digital collectibles game build on Web3 technology.

The company is working on the title with Web3 technology firm ImmutableX, which scales blockchain games for mainstream consumers.

The project was created by designers Nico Casavecchia and Martin Allais. Momoguro is part of Baobab’s continued mission to inspire the world to dream, bring out a sense of wonder, and make people matter through storytelling, said Maureen Fan, CEO of Baobab Studios, in an interview with GamesBeat. (We’re planning on having Fan speak at our GamesBeat Summit: Into the Metaverse 3 online event on February 1-2.)

“Web3 is really exciting for us because it is another medium for us and really aligned with our mission statement, which is to inspire the world to dream, bring out your sense of wonder and make you matter,” Fan said. “And that last sentence, which is make you matter, is what I feel differentiates us from other animation studios out there because we want you the audience to be part of the experience, whether it’s a character or if it just means you’re the community. You actually get to influence what happens and how we build that story. So Web3 was natural for us to be a part of because it really helps with that mission and allowing the community to be on the ground floor.”

A toaster character in Momoguro.
A toaster character that shoots toast in Momoguro.

As with all of Baobab’s franchises, Momoguro is an entirely new universe. Its story and characters transcend any medium and will flow from digital collectibles to the metaverse, TV/film, books and more, Fan said.

In the game, players will collect creatures with unique powers in the fantastical world of Momoguro. In this story-driven world players fuse their collectibles with creatures, called Momos, to gain their abilities and become ultra powerful Momobeasts. Baobab showed a bit of the game at the Art Basel event in Miami.

“I personally am excited about the endless combinations that I can create. Because you have these Momos that have different abilities. And so you’re discovering them in the world. And you get to decide which Momos you want to use,” Fan said. “This fantastical world is just super fun. And I just want to be in it all the time.”

You can also go on quests to unlock clues, discover secrets long forgotten, and unite with Momos to defend the world from the self-serving forces seeking to divide it.

“In an increasingly divisive world, we believe in Momoguro’s message that supports community,” said Fan. “Digital collectibles allow a community to get in on the ground floor in the creation of a new universe. By empowering players to be a part of the game’s story, Momoguro encourages us to believe that we are stronger together.”

Momoguro is a Web3 digital collectibles game.

The move is a pivot for Baobab, which started making interactive films for virtual reality. Baobab’s leaders include Fan, who previously worked at Zynga; Eric Darnell, creator of films like Antz and the Madagasgar series; and narrative technology veteran, Larry Cutler, formerly at Pixar.

But this all fits within the grand plan, Fan said. That’s because the company has always wanted its intellectual properties to reach a wide variety of platforms — not just reside on leading edge platforms such as VR.

“We always thought VR as an entry point in us,” Fan said. “I always wanted to create an animation studio that created characters and stories that went beyond just an individual medium. But VR was super awesome. Because no one had an advantage. VR was technological disruption. So I thought as a way where we could create great stories and characters, and then put those great stories and characters in many different media.”

Maureen Fan is CEO of Baobab Studios.
Maureen Fan is CEO of Baobab Studios.

The Momoguro world and Baobab’s digital collectible game will launch in early 2023, followed by other
digital collectibles, integration with metaverse platforms, and an expansion of the Momoguro franchise
across media and entertainment.

“We are excited to partner with Baobab Studios to enhance their player experience and unlock a new universe of creative play for the community,” said Tim Steudler, head of games business development at
ImmutableX, in a statement. “Digital collectibles are the future of entertainment, and Baobab’s team has a long track record of creating compelling, award-winning stories and characters in worlds where you can be part of the story.”

Part of the reason that Baobab is doing that partnership is that it’s not a Web3 company, Fan said. Alex Tinsman, head of community, said the company did research on Web3 and its own target audience. And it found that its appeal lies with lore-driven communities, Web3 gamers, and enthusiasts. It found some interesting crossovers in that respect. the enthusiasts in particular understood what it means to have a digital identity and digital items, and to truly own your game assets.

Baobab Studios has released eight projects to date; Invasion!, Asteroids!, Jack, Crow: The Legend, Bonfire, Baba Yag, Paper Birds, and Namoo. All received both critical acclaim and commercial success, the company said. The works have been viewed millions of times.

The studio’s IP is currently being adapted into books (MacMillan, Penguin Random House), film
(Roth/Kirsch, Disney), original series with premium streamers, and games.

Baobab used Unity for its VR title The Crow.
Baobab used Unity for its VR title Crow: The Legend.

“We’re always putting our IP in different media because we think that great stories and characters transcend any individual media,” Fan said.

Baobab’s most recent release, Oscar-nominated Namoo, was acquired by Warner 150 earlier this year and is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

“We have a kickass game team, which I don’t think we’ve shared with the entire world,” Fan said.

During the past year, the company has hired a number of game developers who worked in the past at Zynga, Wizards of the Coast, Disney, Electronic Arts and more.

As for the metaverse, Fan said it depends on how you define it. It doesn’t have to be about VR, though that can be one part of it.

“The way I define the metaverse is as a digital destination where people hang out and are entertained in a virtual world. That’s how I define it. And so yes, you want both interactivity where you’re having things to do. And you’re connecting with other humans, whether that be your friends or strangers. But you want to do that in a world with great stories and characters. So that’s what we see ourselves doing, bringing the great storytelling structure from films and TV and a lot of the traditional things along with the interactivity of games and having them all in one, one medium.”

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4 Body Language Habits To Be Persuasive

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When it comes to persuasion, likeability is key.

Consider the last time someone persuaded you to do something. Odds are you appreciated and trusted this individual. I would also assume that they did not use pushy language or forceful gestures. And, while you might be unable to pinpoint what they did to persuade you specifically, I’m sure the person was likable.

In 2021, Mariam Younan and Kristy Martire conducted two studies to examine whether an expert’s likeability affected jurors’ opinions in civil and criminal trials. The results were conclusive: less likable experts were considerably less persuasive than likable experts.

Another thing to remember is that you are constantly trying to persuade. You are trying to win people over in almost every interaction with coworkers, potential clients, and friends. This is not manipulative. It is innate and natural. Consciously or subconsciously, you are doing things that make you more or less likable.

Body language is a significant and often unconscious part of likeability and persuasion. This is good news for someone striving to be more persuasive and likable. Lucky for you, you can change many straightforward things about your body language that will automatically enhance your likeability.

Related: How to Tell If Someone Is Manipulating You Based on Their Body Language

Tilting your head

When you feel safe, you naturally tilt your head. The next time you are with close family members or a loved one, observe the number of times someone tilts their head without realizing it. You will also notice that we often tilt our heads when we ‘coo’ at babies.

This behavior is part of our limbic brain response. A head tilt exposes your neck and, therefore, your jugular vein. This puts you in a vulnerable position that becomes a subconscious sign of respect and trust. We display this vulnerability around babies to make them feel at ease. We also send this message to those we love to convey confidence and comfort.

When you seek to persuade someone, they are more likely to see your perspective if they feel safe. Tilting your head is a simple way to demonstrate your attentiveness and care. This simple gesture communicates to other individuals that you are listening rather than thinking about other things.

Isopraxis, or “body echoing,” is a phenomenon where people replicate another person’s body language. If you notice multiple people have their heads tilted in a conversation, chances are they are more engaged, and the conversation will last longer than usual.

Related: 15 Secrets of Really Persuasive People

Standing with legs crossed

If you feel uneasy or unsteady, you presumably plant your feet firmly to maintain balance. This same desire to stay grounded naturally happens, whether near the edge of a tall building or in an uncomfortable social situation. Why?

Both situations above provide a threat that activates a person’s fight or flight safeguards. You will notice that the planting of your feet is one way your body unconsciously protects itself.

The opposite is also true. You will have no problem crossing your legs when you feel totally comfortable. The instability of standing on foot is only possible if you are totally safe. As a result, crossing your legs is another simple way to signify to others that you are grounded and non-threatening.

Isopraxis will also lead the person you are speaking with to mirror you. As they cross their own legs, their defenses will soften. As with head tilting, this action will help a conversation last longer. A longer conversation means more time to communicate face-to-face, which is immensely helpful in building rapport in business and personal relationships.

Related: One Negotiation Expert Shares the 4 Body Language Cues Every Entrepreneur Should Recognize

Simply smiling

Smiling is a powerful charisma builder.

Whether you realize it or not, your emotions are infectious. This includes happiness, which is often transferred through a smile. Just think about it: It is very hard to frown at a smiling person.

When someone smiles, the neurotransmitters associated with lowering anxiety and increasing happiness are released. Therefore, smiling at someone during an interaction improves your own mood, which increases your charisma, and helps the other person feel more positive emotions.

When someone attributes positive experiences or conversations with you, likability and trust increase and individuals will want to spend more time with you and truly listen to you. These attributes will make you a more persuasive person in all your relationships.

In other words, do not underestimate the power of a smile.

Related: How to Be a More Likable and Charismatic Leader

Pointing feet

I have always found it fascinating to watch the direction of people’s feet in social situations. Often, the direction a person’s feet point indicates where their mind is focused. If a person’s feet are pointed at you, this is a great sign that they are interested in what you are saying. However, if their feet are pointed away from you, they are probably close to exiting the conversation or group.

Like the previous body language gestures, pointing your feet towards a person you’re interacting with will also encourage them to continue talking. It is another effective way to signify your interest in the person you are talking to. This will help you persuade them to continue talking.

Try to observe these four natural behaviors in yourself and others. You might be surprised to discover what your body language communicates to those around you. You can use these opportunities to learn more about the people you interact with and how you present yourself. The more likable you can present yourself, the more persuasive you will be.

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