Total Time: 1 to 2 hours, spread over several days
Total Cost: None
I’d like to briefly preface this weeks post by letting you all know that one of the main reasons why I decided to do the year long 5 and 50 challenge was to develop my media creation skills – especially my video editing and writing skills. The video and “script” for this week, which you’ll find below, are my first real attempt at editing and pre-scripting a video. In other words, its probably very unprofessional and looks totally corny, but that’s okay! My goal is to get better and better at this each week, and you gotta start somewhere.
Effective communication skills are paramount to a successful life. Studies have shown that people with better communication skills earn higher salaries than their peers with similar levels of work experience. In Dale Carnegie’s seminal book How to Win Friends and Influence People, the bible on effective and positive communication, Mr. Carnegie interviewed a man by the name of Charles Schwab, a man who’s name you probably recognize. Charles Schwab was one of the first men to ever earn a million dollar a year salary, and this was during a time where 50 dollars a week was considered quite livable. The secret to Mr. Schwabs success?
“Charles Schwab told me his smile had been worth a million dollars. And he was probably understating the truth.” – Dale Carnegie
Stop what you’re doing and ask yourself this question, if Charles Schwab’s smile was worth a million bucks, how much money are you costing you and your family right now by continuing to live your life without access to the most powerful and expressive facial gesture of them all – the ability to dramatically raise one eyebrow?!
Hundreds of dollars? Thousands? Millions?
I can guarantee you that there is no smarter investment of time you could possibly make than learning this life altering skill. In just a few short hours of practice all of these skills and the incredible benefits that accompany them can be yours. Here’s how:
Before we get started, remember that the vast majority of your training and practice should be done in front of a mirror, especially the earlier steps.
Step 1: Determine your dominant eyebrow.
In all likelihood, one of your eyebrows will feel more responsive than the other. Play around for a few minutes until you can find it, because this will be the eyebrow we learn to raise first.
Step 2: Locate your eyebrow muscles
The act of individually raising an eyebrow requires that you utilize some muscles in your face which you’ve likely never tried to individually activate before. You’ll need to build up some strength in these muscles to be able create eyebrow separation, so we’ll need learn where these muscles are. Take your fingers and place them directly above your dominant eyebrow. Next, raise both eyebrows like you would normally. You should notice some tension in your skin on both the inside and outside of your brow. These are the muscles we’ll be building up over the course of the next few days. I find that the inside muscle is much more difficult to activate without raising the other eyebrow than the outside muscle, so we’ll mainly be targeting the outside eyebrow muscle.
Step 3: Eyebrow pushups
At this moment, your brow muscles are likely not strong enough to be used for dramatic effect. We’ll need to build up some strength in these muscles before we can achieve any kind of real separation. To do this, we’ll perform an exercise I call the eyebrow pushup.
To execute the eyebrow pushup, take your hand and place it firmly down on your non-dominant eyebrow. Your hand is here for two reasons, to hold the non-dominant eyebrow in place, and to feel how much tension is occurring in this brow’s muscle as you attempt to individually raise the other one.
With your hand in place, just start doing push-ups. You’re going for full extension of the dominant eyebrow. At first, you’ll essentially be raising both eyebrows while holding one in place and will feel like your making no progress whatsoever, but this step is critical so hold tight. It really doesn’t take too long before you’ll start getting results. Just remember that the goal with these pushups is to minimize the amount of tension you feel in the non-dominant brow while simultaneously maximizing the height of the dominant brow. I found it useful to massage the stationary brow muscle with one finger to get it calm down a bit.
Continue to do pushups in front of the mirror until your dominant brow muscle starts to ache, which shouldn’t take too long. Don’t stop now. Feel the burn. Push through the pain. We need this muscle to get totally swole so now is not the time to back out. Push it until your muscle can’t possibly bear any more pushups, then do 10 more. Congrats, you’ve completed your first session.
It took me three or four sessions of this, once in the morning and once in the evening, before it felt like my non-dominant eyebrow muscle was starting to feel relaxed and I could easily locate the muscle on the outside of my dominant-brow. If you’ve reached this stage, your training is nearly complete.
Step 4: Creating eyebrow separation
Were finally ready to attempt the actual maneuver. At this point you’ll notice that when you raise your dominant eyebrow, the non-dominant brow will still raise slightly even though all the action is going on in the other side of the face. To get the desired effect we’ll need to simultaneously raise our dominant eyebrow while lowering our non-dominant one. You shouldn’t find it too difficult to lower your eyebrows because its essentially the same thing as squinting. The act of lowering and bringing your brows together is the exact thing you do when the sun gets in your eyes.
At this step, which should certainly be done in front of a mirror, you might find it useful to first raise your dominant eyebrow as high as you can then squint your other eye. Play around with this until you can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. When you’re ready, look away from the mirror to attempt the maneuver before looking back to see how you did. It should go without saying that if you wish you to execute the dramatic one eyebrow raise in the wild, you’ll need to be able to do it without looking in a mirror first.
Step 5: Continuing your training
I have great news for you dear reader. Now that you’re able to isolate your outside dominant eyebrow muscle, you can continue to build strength in it without having to look in a mirror or use your hands! You can practice doing “no-handed pushups” while watching TV, playing video games, knitting, or just walking down the street. You’ll find that over time, the muscle really does get stronger and stronger. With diligent and continued, you may even be able to execute the “Nimoy”, the pinnacle of single-eyebrow maneuvers.
You may have noticed that this only article only covers how to raise one of your eyebrows, but not both. As of writing this I’m only capable of raising one eyebrow myself. To achieve total eyebrow mastery you’ll need to repeat this training process for the other eyebrow. I’ll be certainly be doing this in the future, because my research has indicated that years of only raising one of your eyebrows may result in premature wrinkling on one said of the face. Plus, being able to switch between eyebrows can really add to dramatic effect.
That’s all for week 3 of 5 and 50! I hope you all enjoyed the new format, and I’ll see you all next week for the final week of “new skills month”.