Taking Action and Taking Risks That Lead To Social Success

I frequently say that social success builds up on a foundation of social confidence and good social skills.

Most people who lack the social life they want are in this position because they are lacking in these two departments. Social situations commonly make them feel nervous, and they are somewhat socially clumsy.

Fortunately, there are steps they can take in order to utterly change this. Social confidence and skills can be learned. It’s mostly a matter of training one’s mind to think in a new way, and building positive social habits. I describe this process in more detail in this special presentation.

This process does take some work though, as learning anything meaningful does. For shy and socially anxious people, this is where a lot of procrastination often comes in.

Although they feel lonely, although they crave a better social life, it’s common for them to postpone working on their social confidence and skills over and over again, and just try to distract themselves from their problems with TV, computer games, food, alcohol or daydreaming.

I understand this phenomenon. Years ago, when I realized I was socially insecure, I didn’t immediately start looking for a solution. At first I just waited, hoping this problem will go away on its own. It didn’t. Then when I eventually picked up a book on overcoming shyness, it took me months before I seriously started practicing what I had read in it.

I procrastinated a lot. But eventually I took the necessary steps to find a reliable solution for my social insecurities and I applied it consistently until I became the socially confident and capable person I wanted to be.

When I look at the shy and socially anxious people I talk to today as a social confidence coach, I see a similar issue of procrastinating and not taking action. Only sometimes it’s so acute it’s shocking even to me.

smile Taking Action and Taking Risks That Lead To Social SuccessSometimes I’ll have an email exchange with someone who’s been socially anxious for over a decade, and although they’ve read a bunch of advice over the years about overcoming this, they’ve yet to take even the first practical step for improving their confidence.

Considering how precious and short our time on this planet is, wasting so much of it is mind-boggling to me. Nevertheless, many people procrastinate for years before truly doing something to improve their social confidence. So I’m writing to hopefully help change that.

There are a few major reasons why we procrastinate in overcoming our social insecurities, which I’m gonna address one by one, and I’m gonna show you how to deal with them:

1. Delusional Hope

This is when a person thinks their shyness or social anxiety will just go away on its own, if they just wait. Kind of like a bruise on your arm that heals itself. Unfortunately, that rarely happens.

You see, the mind doesn’t work the same way the body works. Your body repairs itself. Your mind on the other hand reinforces the thinking, feeling and behavioral patterns you already have. So if your thinking is negative, you feel nervous in social settings, and you avoid social interaction, as time goes by this will only stay the same.

In order to change, you need to take conscious action and effectively re-condition yourself to think, behave and react emotionally in a different way. Here is my blueprint for doing this.

2. Lack of Hope

There are also many individuals who lack hope in the exact area where it’s important for them to have hope. I’m talking about the people who simply don’t believe they can overcome their social insecurities, so they choose to do nothing.

When a person tells me “I just don’t think I can overcome my shyness”, I will typically ask them “What makes you think that? Have you tried it multiple times and failed? Have you seen lots of people around you trying it and fail?” They’ll usually reply: “No, it’s just something that I think”.

That’s the kind of thinking that’s not rooted in concrete experience and has little to do with reality. The person thinks they can’t overcome their shyness just because their thinking is generally pessimistic, without solid proof to support it.

And this is the type of thinking that’s most toxic. It’s the kind of thinking that keeps folks stuck in jobs they hate, in mediocre relationships, in circumstances way below their potential, all while reality permits so many things to be achieved. It’s the kind of thinking not to be trusted.

I’m not saying that you should believe with certainty that you can overcome your social insecurities without proof (I believe it, but I have lots of proof). I’m just saying to have some hope that this is something that may possibly be done. And that possibility is what makes it worth trying. If other people have succeeded, why can’t you?

This leads me to my next point.

3. Not Wanting To Take Risks

For some, even when they think it might be possible for them to gain social confidence, it’s not enough to take action. Because the possibility of failure is also there, and they don’t wanna assume that risk. They aren’t willing to try something until they’re sure it’s gonna work. They want guarantees of success.

Interestingly enough, this is the precise kind of mindset that’s at the root of shyness and social anxiety.

You could say that shy and socially anxious people feel nervous in social situations and they don’t talk much because they’re afraid they’ll say something stupid or weird or boring, and they’re not willing to take that risk. So they end up watching from the sidelines as others talk, bond and have fun.

The fact of the matter is that in life, there are no guarantees. If you wanna achieve anything, you gotta be willing to take some risks.

You take risks by opening up and participating in social situations, and the reward is that you get to have a fun social life. You take risks by trying a solution for your insecurities that seems good after an external evaluation, and the reward is that you get to overcome your social insecurities. Even if that solution may not be ideal for you, because eventually you’ll get to the right one.

Somehow, this discussion all goes back to time. Time is the only finite resource you have. You don’t want to waste away years and years of it by waiting and delaying and avoiding risk, instead of working on overcoming your social insecurities and trying the solutions that exist. 

Trust me: years from now, when you’ll be looking back at your life, the biggest regret you’ll have is having procrastinated, not having taken more action and not having taken more risks. And the biggest satisfaction you’ll have is that of having put everything into it and tried all that you could to be the best person possible, and have the best life possible.

If you’re ready to take action for ending your shyness or social anxiety, get onboard my free social confidence newsletter, where I’ll share with you my top social advice, based on my experience as a former shy guy and my 6+ years as a social confidence coach. Click here to join it today.

And above all, end the procrastinating! Take action! The time is now. 

How to Change the World

I find that almost every person I meet has this deep, strong drive to change the world. It’s in our nature to want to improve our surroundings and it’s in our nurture to want to leave our mark on things in a meaningful way.

This being said, changing the world is not easy. Many people find themselves spending their days in meaningless tasks which give them little opportunity to have a real impact on the world. This is one of the main reasons why they feel frustrated.

If you want to really change the world, you will need to leave aside the common wisdom most people follow and to go on a smarter, saner path. My work as a coach led me to believe there are four fundamental ingredients to change the world big time. In this article, I’m going to share them with you.

1. Lead by Example

One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi is this: “You must become the change you want to see in the world”. How true! It is essential to practice what you preach if you want to have a real impact. If you preach healthy living, then live healthy. If you preach being sociable and outgoing, then be sociable and outgoing.

Not practicing what you preach is the best way to lose credibility and to diminish the impact of your message. People tend to think that if you don’t follow your own advice, either it’s too hard to follow or you don’t really believe in it. So why should they?

If on the other hand, you practice what you preach, not only that you gain credibility, but you show people how to apply what you preach and what benefits it provides. This is crucial because there is nothing as persuasive as a real model of following a certain way and benefiting from it.

2. Have a Compelling Message

impact How to Change the WorldI think a lot of people don’t have an impact on things because they have nothing clear they stand for. They know they want to change things, but they don’t know why, how and most importantly, in what direction.

If you want to change the world, you need to get very clear on this: What do you stand for?

Of course, this is not a question you best answer just like that. Take some time to read, experience, experiment, reflect on different things and find that key thing you believe will make the world a better place.

When you have one thing you find meaningful and worth standing for, you can develop a powerful and compelling message around it. Then, focus on getting that message out there as much as possible, in the best ways possible. This leads me to my next point…

3. Make Yourself Visible

If you want to feel you impact things on a large scale, talking with your friends and convincing one of them to quit smoking or something like that won’t cut it. Large scale impact implies large scale communication and getting your message out there to thousands of people, sometimes even more.

In order to do this, it is required to make yourself and your message highly visible. You want to get out there, to get your message out there, to interact with many people and with the right people. There are many ways to do so, of which I often recommend four:

  1. Blogging and using social media sites;
  2. Publishing one or more books;
  3. Public speaking;
  4. Business networking;
  5. Appearing in the traditional media.

You will find that each one of these methods has its pros and cons. Depending on your specific goals and strengths, some of them will work better for you than others.

 4. Paint Suggestive Pictures

One question I’m fascinated about is this: How do you generate emotions using words? There are a lot of answers to this question, but there is one answer which, in my view, takes the cake: painting suggestive pictures.

Most people react emotionally with ease to something they can visualize. This is why whatever your message, you will have a powerful impact with it if you communicate it in a very visual way. Use lots of visual words, visual metaphors and analogies, which create a clear picture in people’s minds of what you’re talking about.

I often start sentences with: “Imagine that…” Then I’ll paint a specific picture that I know will get the response I’m looking for. It’s a great way to hook people and get them wanting to walk on the road you’re showing them.

Changing the world can be quite a challenge. For some reason, most people are resistant even to ideas and trends that will improve their lives. At the same time, in my experience, changing the world is a highly fulfilling endeavor and I think it’s definitely worth pursuing it.

Just keep in mind that changing yourself always comes before changing the world.

Image courtesy of MykReeve

Aim High In Your Career

It used to be that people saw their job strictly as a way to earn a living. If their work provided a good income, they would consider that it fulfilled its role entirely.

progress Aim High In Your CareerMany people still see their job that way today. However, I believe that it’s worth aiming higher. I believe that it’s good to ask for more from your work that to simply earn you a good paycheck. And by doing so, you’ll transform your career into something much greater than a steady income stream, and your whole life will be much more rewarding as a result.

I see career as one important piece in a much bigger puzzle. And that puzzle is what I typically refer to as lifestyle. These days, I always think of career development as part of lifestyle design. I try to look at the bigger picture. When you think about it that way, your perception shifts and aiming higher becomes natural.

Money, Passion and Time

From my perspective, aiming higher in your career means that you seek not one, but three things from it:

1. Money. Your job provides you with a decent income that ensures you a financially comfortable lifestyle. You don’t have to become filthy rich, but if you can struggle to make ends meet, you have a problem. Income does matter, even if it’s only up to a certain point.

2. Passion. You enjoy your work. You feel passionate about the activities you do in your day to day job and about the impact you have through your work. You feel excited to go to work every day and see your job as a source of emotional satisfaction.

3. Time. I don’t mean that your job gives you time; I mean that your job doesn’t take too much of your time. You work a reasonable schedule, which leaves you with time and energy to do other things as well. This applies even if you enjoy your work. There are surely other things you enjoy as well and you want to do. These require time too.

Now think of how a job that fulfills all 3 of these conditions looks: you go to work and you enjoy what you do, but you don’t spend too much time with it, and you return home with a decent paycheck.

Then you use the remaining time and the available income to do other things that you’re passionate about, whether it’s travelling, reading, cooking, partying, going to the gym, spending time with your family, horseback riding, spelunking, or whatever.

Overall, it’s a lifestyle where you have all the important elements within reasonable dosages: fun, freedom and fulfillment. Now, is this too much to ask?

Some people will tell you that it is. That work is intrinsically hard and time consuming, and that’s just a cost you need to pay in order to make a living. I disagree. I think that’s a huge limiting belief to have and I deem it’s only reasonable to ask for a career that combines money, passion and time.

Why do I think it’s reasonable? Because I have such a career and most of the people I’ve surrounded myself with do as well. In fact over the years I’ve met and talked to literally hundreds of people with such career and the resulting lifestyles. And they’re just regular people, who achieved this on their own, under no special conditions.

Yes, within the general population, they are a minority. But they’re such a well represented minority that I believe it’s worth aiming to be part of it.

Maybe not everybody will do work they enjoy, provides them a good income and doesn’t demand too much time. But you’re not everybody. The possibility is there for you, waiting to be turned into reality. So believe in yourself and aim for this kind of a career and lifestyle.

What does it take to actually achieve it?

The Power of Persistence

Well, the trouble is that many people start off aiming high in their career, but their career goals and expectations quickly plummet in the face of failure. They seek to achieve an amazing career, but their initial attempts go wrong, so they quickly get discouraged and give up.

Initial failure though is actually to be expected. I often say that if having a great career would be easy, everybody would have one. But it’s not.

You need to try various paths and methods, to experiment, to learn from failure and to keep going. You need to find your own formula for career success and it is only with perseverance that you can do so. It takes time, it takes flexibility, and it takes some patience.

Unfortunately, most people have a low tolerance to frustration, which means they’re simply not able to handle emotionally a lengthy journey towards career success, paved with traps and perils. The first time they fall in a puddle on the road, they give up and go back.

The key differentiator that can make your story a success is persistence in the face of hardship. It’s essential for you to learn to stay confident in the face of failure and to keep pushing forward. These are rare, but nevertheless, learnable qualities. And it is these qualities that, in the end, will get you the amazing career and lifestyle you want.

PS: Check out my latest posts on DatingAdvice.com as well. One is about conversation topics for first dates, and the other is about 3 powerful mindsets for dating success.

Image courtesy of sputnik 

How to Stop Being Needy

Do you often sabotage yourself by being needy? Whether this happens in job-related situations, around other people in general or around members of the opposite sex that you fancy, I want to let you know that you can learn how to stop being needy and solve this issue. Permanently.

Over the last several years, I’ve coached dozen of individuals who were needy and I helped them gain the self-confidence they desired. The fact of the matter is that being needy is a process, created in your mind by the way you think about yourself and others.

And you can reverse this process through proven psychological techniques, thus replacing neediness with sell-confidence. Here’s the gist of this procedure.

1. Build Trust in Your Strengths

First and foremost, you have to get in touch with you own strengths. Do some self-exploration and get to know your own strengths. Acknowledge them to yourself and become aware of their value in this world, for you or for others around you.

If you’re often needy, it’s almost certain that you don’t have a very good opinion of yourself, and that has a lot to do with seeing your flaws but not seeing your strengths. A big part of learning how to stop being needy is correcting this state.

The goal is for you to know our strengths better and trust them. Thus you’ll see yourself in a better light, which will make more things seem possible for you, which will automatically make you less desperate. There is a lot of power in seeing yourself in an overall positive way.

2. Think in Terms of Abundance

free How to Stop Being NeedyAlso common for people who are needy is a perception of shortage. “If I don’t get this job I will never find another one like it.” “If I don’t get this person to be with me, I will never find anyone like them.” This is how their routine thinking goes.

But this is never true. In reality, no matter how special an opportunity is, there are many other opportunities similar to it. That are many great jobs and great women/men out there, and this is something that you need to realize and internalize.

Put another way, in order to stop being needy and desperate, it’s essential for you to think in terms of abundance. To see this world as a world full of opportunities, in which when one door closes, another one opens. It is very much true. And this is a way of thinking that you can develop with practice.

But, this is not as straightforward a process as it may seem. There is an entire art and science to changing the way you think. To learn more about it, I recommend you watch this practical presentation right now, where I discuss it in more detail. It’s loaded with relevant confidence building advice for you.

3. Challenge Yourself

One of the amazing things about challenging yourself is that besides helping you be more confident, it also helps you stop being needy.

This makes a lot of sense. When you challenge yourself and you surpass these challenges (which one way or another you almost always do), you prove to yourself that you’re capable and you can rely on your won person.

This in turn builds the perception that you have many options in life, in dating, in your career, and so on. And that’s how to stop being needy in any of these areas.

Our regular tendency is to avoid challenge. Because challenges create struggle and sometimes generates anxiety. This tendency is especially true for people who are needy. So it’s crucial for you to correct this tendency and begin doing the very opposite.

Consistently challenge yourself. Push yourself out of your comfort zone, try new things, and take calculated risks. You’ll be surprised what you can achieve and how your image of yourself and of the world can change.

For more advice on how to stop being needy don’t forget to watch this video, and put into practice the ideas you’ve learned so far.

The truth is that you don’t have to be needy. It’s not a fixed personality trait. It’s a mere habit you’ve picked up over the years through some bad social conditioning. You can completely remove this conditioning and be the confident person you want to be. Many before you have managed to do so.

Image courtesy of blinkingidiot

4 Reasons Why Your Confidence Isn’t Improving

I’ve been working full time as a confidence coach for several years now. I’ve seen many people make incredible progress regarding their confidence (typically my clients), but I’ve also seen many people make small progress or no progress at all.

Truth be told, the rule when it comes to boosting your confidence is either to succeed marginally and in a very long stretch or time, or to fail.

Nevertheless, the people who see amazing improvements in their confidence, and overall they are quite numerous even though they are the exception, represent living proof of the level of confidence anybody can potentially achieve.

Just have a look at my testimonials page, with snippets of real feedback emails I received over time from people who applied my Conversation Confidence guide, and you’ll see that utterly transforming your level of confidence is indeed possible.

And even though it’s not gonna happen overnight, you can experience amazing changes in just a couple of months, sometimes even less.

If your confidence is not improving at this point, or not very fast, I’d like to show you why, so you can make the right course corrections. There are 4 major reasons why your confidence may not be improving.

1. You’re Not Really Serious about Gaining Confidence

The first reason may be that you want to gain confidence, but you’re not really committed to the process. You may read some occasional advice on boosting your confidence, but you rarely apply it, and even when you apply it you do it for a couple of days and then you give up.

Confidence 300x199 4 Reasons Why Your Confidence Isn’t ImprovingNot being serious about gaining confidence isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Maybe your level of confidence is actually pretty good, and there are just some specific areas where your confidence is a bit lacking. And this lack of confidence isn’t really affecting your life that much, so it’s hard to gather the motivation to do the work required to gain more confidence.

If your life is great and more confidence with only bring marginal improvements, maybe it’s a good idea to simply admit to yourself that the return on investment is not big enough and that’s why you’re not really committed to improving your confidence. And that’s that.

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. In general, people who seek advice for gaining confidence are seriously affected by their lack of confidence. Maybe they have no friends and no social life because they are shy, or they have toxic relationships, or they’re stuck in a crappy job, and their life isn’t anywhere near the way they want it to be.

If this is your case, there is no sensible reason for you to not be serious about improving your confidence. In fact, improving your confidence might just be the most important thing you’ll ever do in your life.

So it’s time to quit fooling around, fully acknowledge that you need this, and make a firm decision to get this area of your life handled, no matter what it takes. Your confidence isn’t gonna go up by itself. You need to make working on it a priority for yourself.

2. You Don’t Truly Believe You Can Gain Confidence

Many folks think that confidence is either something you have or you don’t. So it’s hard for them to believe they can improve their confidence.

Right off the bat, I’d like to assure you that this is not true. The fact of the matter is that, although your genetic predispositions do play a role in your level of self-assurance, for the most part your confidence is the direct result of your beliefs and your automatic thinking patterns.

And using the right tools, you can change these. If you would see the amazing transformations some people achieved that I’ve seen over the years, you wouldn’t have a doubt that this is possible. And there is no motive why you can’t achieve the very same results. Your brain functions the same way their does.

Sure, most people don’t achieve big improvements in their confidence, but it’s because they follow a flawed process, not because it isn’t possible. And then they falsely assume that it just can’t be done, or at least not by them.

Nevertheless, the fact you haven’t managed thus far to achieve your desired level of confidence, if anything, is an indicator that you’re following the wrong path, not that a good path isn’t there. And that’s actually my next point.

3. You’re following The Wrong Advice

There are tens of thousands of articles online on how to be more confident, be more outgoing, love yourself and so on. And there are hundreds of books on these topics. I’ve read and applied a ton of them as I worked on my own confidence.

The conclusion? More than 95% of the advice on boosting confidence you’ll find out there is bogus. It’s simplistic, repetitive, impractical, naive or just plain wrong.

Confidence is one of those topics everyone seems to think they understand, but few people do. There is some real, multifaceted psychology behind the process of gaining confidence, and few individuals actually have a good grasp on it.

This is why it’s important to not buy into every confidence boosting method out there, especially if it promises immediate, complete and effortless changes. Let me be as clear as possible: if somebody is promising you some trick to become confident overnight, they’re just trying to swindle you out of your money.

There is no such thing. Building confidence is a process. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to take years, but it doesn’t happen overnight either.

Use your critical thinking and do your research when you learn about a method for developing confidence. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4. You’re Looking For Advice When You Should Be Looking for a Formula

Imagine that you wanna learn how to bake a cake. What you need is a complete recipe, which shows you the entire process from start to finish, gives you all the steps in the right order, and explains precisely what to do in each step.

Isolated advice such as “you have to add lots of sugar to make it sweet” or “add fruits on top after you heat it” is useful but it’s not the complete recipe. It’s some adjacent advice. And unless you also have a good understanding of the recipe, you won’t be able to bake the cake.

It’s the same with gaining confidence. Advice is useful. The right advice is very useful. But it’s still just isolated pieces of advice. What you require is a step by step formula, which takes you through the entire cognitive and behavioral process of confidence enhancement.

I know that it may seem like a couple of tips are all you need and you can handle this, but unfortunately this is rarely true. Gaining confidence is a bit more complicated than you might think. Some psychologists and researchers dedicate their entire life to studying it.

Personally I offer a free social confidence newsletter, where I seek to provide the best possible advice for gaining confidence, but at the same time, I know that for most people, getting some good advice will help them make visible progress, but in itself is insufficient.

Because good advice is not a complete formula. And complete formulas are typically what you find in books and courses. That is why I have a Conversation Confidence guide, which offers a precise, actionable formula for gaining (you’re got it) conversation confidence. I encourage you to check it out.

I believe in formulas, I believe in committing yourself to the process, and I believe in applying tried and tested methods, not methods that sound good or promise miracles. These are my tenets for building confidence, and these are the tenets I encourage you to follow as well. You will go far.

Image courtesy of SweetOnVeg

Are You Wasting Precious Time?

I often say that the most valuable resource we have in life is time. Time is the only resource that cannot get replenished. You can perhaps extend it a bit by living healthy, but beyond that what you get is what you get, and your responsibility is to use it wisely.

So if there is one thing that bothers me, it’s the reckless wasting time. Which seems to be the main hobby of many of us. Until one day we realize that we’ve let most of our life fly by and we’ve done so little with it when we could have done so much.

Considering this, I’d like to give you a simple roadmap to help you avoid wasting precious time and make the most out of your own life.

It’s All About Your Values

What does it mean to use your time well? I believe it means to use it doing things that are aligned with your values, with the things that are most important to you. Now the trick is that each person has their own unique set of values. Examples of such values include:

  • Having fun;
  • Helping others;
  • Interacting with others;
  • Creating;
  • Learning, etc.

Depending on your own values, using your time well will have a unique significance for you. Your first task regarding this is to ask yourself: “what is most important to me in life?” and seek to identify your dominant values with as much precision as possible.

Aligning Your Life with Your Values

Once you have a good understanding of your own values, it’s time to get as many activities as possible in your program that are well aligned with them and cut out the ones that are not.

time 300x300 Are You Wasting Precious Time?

You’ll have to do a realistic assessment of how you use your time each day and start making steady changes until your use of your time is well aligned with your values. In general, there are three types of errors you can spot in the way you use your time right now:

1) Living by other people’s values. This is when you invest your time doing something that others or society in general tell you that you should do, but they don’t truly match your values.

For example, seeking to build a family because that’s what most people do, although personally you don’t actually want a family and you don’t feel it would make you happier. This is why it’s important to get clear on what matters to you, and assess the actions you take based on your own values.

2) Seeking instant gratification. This is when you do something that quickly satisfies one of your values, although there are alternatives that require more time and effort but in terms of quality are radically better.

For instance, chatting with a friend on Facebook when you could go out with them and chat face to face. Although the second option will prove much more gratifying if connection is an important value for you, you have to invite them out, get out of the house, go somewhere and meet them. Which delays the gratification, but it’s worth it.

3) Not leaving your comfort zone. This means doing things that are trouble-free, instead of challenging yourself, even if the pleasure they give you is feeble and it fades quickly.

For example, maybe you value freedom a lot and you could achieve a lot more freedom by starting your own business and turning it into a success. But this implies risks and uncertainty and you don’t want that, so you choose to stay in your regular 9 to 5 job, which is comfy but not at all fulfilling in terms of freedom.

Fortunately, by clarifying your top values and assessing how you use your time based on them, you can realize when you’re letting one or more of these 3 errors take hold of your time and squander it.

Then all you need is the fortitude and determination to correct these errors and make the best use of your valuable time and your irreplaceable existence. And these are traits that you can develop with practice, plus a bit of patience. Remember: all you have is one life. Live it wisely.

PS: Two of my articles have been recently published on DatingAdvice.com. One is on approaching women, the other is about long-term relationships. Check them out; I think you’ll like what you’ll learn.

Image courtesy of wowyt

Good Comebacks When Someone Makes Fun of You

I write a social confidence newsletter which currently has over 10.000 subscribers. One frequent question I get from subscribers is: “What are some good comebacks to use when someone makes fun of you?”

This question reminds me of my days in middle school and part of high school when me and my peers used to constantly tease each other and we would always try to have really good comebacks to what the other person said. It was a permanent battle of comments and I was pretty lousy at it.

So when I receive this question about good comebacks, I assume it’s from some 13-year old who’s in an environment with a bit too much testosterone, where putting other people down is a way to feel powerful or achieve some form of status.

Many times, this is the case. But equally often, the question comes from a full-grown adult who is dealing with teasing or denigration from others and still doesn’t know how to handle it. I guess some things never change.

So, whether you’re a teen or an adult, I want to address this issue and give you the tools to handle such situations.

Good Comebacks for What? 

I know you think that what you need is some clever comebacks. If someone could give you some very witty lines that you can use in every situation, you’d always come out on top and you’d show those people who make fun of you.

But that’s not what I’m gonna do.

comeback 300x204 Good Comebacks When Someone Makes Fun of You

Because, no matter your age, this game of who-has-the-cleverest-comebacks is silly. It’s a strenuous clash that goes on relentlessly and nobody truly wins. Sure, it can be fun sometimes, but it’s not regularly.

This is why the best advice I can give you is to not engage in these battles of comments. If you engage, you just add fuel to the fire. As a rule, when a person makes fun of you, focus on disarming the situation rather than making fun of them back. It’s much simpler and it yields much better results.

Coming from this perspective, good comebacks are not aggressive or derogatory. Rather, they reflect a disinterest in playing this game, and not because of fear or shyness, but because you don’t find it worth your time.

Today, my most common reaction when someone makes a joke about me is to make some lazy statement in response like: “Yeah man, whatever” or “You don’t say?”

And if they ask me a sarcastic question, I just give a ridiculous answer that shows I’m not taking it seriously. Like, if they ask me: “Why are you so thin?” I might answer something like “I’m going for the world record for slenderness.”

Interestingly enough, if a person makes fun of me once, they usually never do it again. Or they then do it rarely, and in a gracious manner.

One thing I’ve learned quickly is that trying to find slick comeback lines and using them robotically is the wrong approach. What is the right approach?

The right approach is to gauge your social confidence level in situations where others make fun of you. Because if you have confidence and a good self-image, I promise you that you will create just the right effect.

You’ll naturally come up with good comebacks, you’ll always have something effective to say and you’ll deliver your lines with such poise that others will not want to mess with you.

The fact of the matter is that most people who wonder about good comebacks they can use are pretty insecure and they approach social situations in a weak, defensive way. And this is the real problem.

If this is you, the best thing you can do is work on building your social confidence. The rest will take care of itself.

Now, since this is a different topic altogether, I address is separately in this special presentation. Make sure to watch it, and you’ll learn not only what makes you lack social confidence, but also how to develop it.

I’ve gone from being very insecure to feeling at ease in social situations myself. And now, the very idea of trying to find good comebacks and memorize them for future use makes me laugh.

But I understand where you’re coming from. It’s just that a couple of clever lines will only give you a temporary fix, and even that one will only work occasionally. The real solution lies in building real social confidence. Make this your priority.

Image courtesy of World Series Boxing

How to Be Friendly

If you study the people who bond the easiest with others and have the richest social lives, it doesn’t take long to realize that much of their social success resides in the fact they are very friendly and gregarious, with both girls and guys. Luckily, you can learn how to be friendly as well, and join their ranks.

As a communication and confidence coach, one of my core activities is teaching others how to be friendly and confident socially, and helping them create the fulfilling interpersonal relationships they yearn for.

The thing is, friendliness is just a set of behaviors and a certain frame of mind. If you understand them, you know how to be friendly. And if you employ them effectively, you become more friendly and social.

With this in mind, here are the 4 essential behavioral and mental changes to make in order to be more friendly.

1. Use Social Initiative Exercises

The biggest component of friendliness is social initiative. Having social initiative means that you proactively generate social interactions or certain phases of social interactions. You don’t wait for others to be social with you before you’re social with them.

There are very specific actions that compose social initiative. You can take these actions, one or more at a time, and practice them deliberately, sort of like exercises. I’m talking about actions like:

  • Be friendly 300x201 How to Be FriendlyAttending events that are social in nature: parties, classes, networking events, etc.
  • Walking up to new people or people you know and starting conversations.
  • Introducing yourself to people you don’t know when they join your conversation.
  • Asking the other person questions about themselves during a chat.
  • Talking about yourself and sharing your own ideas and experiences.
  • Asking another person for their contact details.
  • Calling or emailing another person and inviting them to go out with you.

And the list could go on. Pick a couple of these activities today and start doing them more. There is no point in waiting.

2. Develop a Mindset of Likability

Something I’ve noticed early on at individuals that want to learn how to be friendly because they struggle with this is that, at some level, they see themselves as unlikeable.

They don’t think they’re good enough or interesting enough for others to want to interact with them or be friends with them. Thus, they are act cold and unfriendly with others. But this is just a facade, to protect themselves from the rejection they expect to happen.

If this is true for you too (and in almost surely is), then implement the 1st change I mentioned may prove to be quite challenging. You may have trouble even asking a few questions or making a bit of small talk with others, because you keep second-guessing yourself.

This is why it’s crucial to work on your mentality as well and develop a mindset according to which you are a likeable person; you are good enough. Which, trust me, you are. You just don’t fully realize it yet.

Since this is an extensive topic, I discuss it separately in this cutting-edge presentation. Make sure to watch it and you’ll learn the exact steps you have to take to change your mindset and become at ease in social interactions.

3. Choose the Right People for You

A genuinely friendly person can make conversation with just about anybody and enjoy the experience. Nevertheless, there will always be people they find it much easier to chat with, for longer periods of time, they’ll take more pleasure in it and they’ll be much more outspoken.

These are the people they are very compatible with: the people they have a lot in common with in terms of ideas, values, lifestyle, interests and so on.

It’s much easier to be friendly if you’re interacting with a person you match well with. If you usually hang out with people who only talk about marriage, kids and TV shows while you care about personal development, entrepreneurship and travelling, there is a definite mismatch there.

Think about the kinds of people you connect with the best, and then seek the types of activities, places and events where these kinds of people spend their time. Meet the right people for you and you’ll naturally find yourself being friendlier.

4. Socialize On a Regular Basis

It’s hard to become friendly and social if you only go out once every two weeks and you spend the rest of your time at home by yourself.

In order to eventually be friendly without effort, you mind needs to become acclimatized with social interactions. It needs to recognize them as a standard component of your life, which you go through regularly. And this requires regularity in your social interactions.

So, go out more, meet new people and interact with them periodically. Make going out the rule, not the exception. This is how to be friendly on a constant basis: by acclimatization with social contact.

Again, this presentation will provide you practical advice for achieving this and making the process of becoming more friendly as smooth as possible.

Your social life is under your control. Make the right adjustments in your behavior as well as your mindset, and you’ll surprisingly find yourself opening up more with all kinds of people and having lots of fun interacting with others.

That’s when you know that your life can be all that you want it to be.

Image courtesy of NicoleAbalde

Jobs for Shy People: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Jobs for shy people 300x201 Jobs for Shy People: The Good, the Bad and the UglyIf you’re shy and interested in finding a job, you may be wondering: What are some good jobs for shy people?

The traditional advice concerning jobs for shy people goes something like this: since you are shy, you will feel uncomfortable dealing with people. Therefore, you should pick work where you don’t interact a lot with others.

Based on this line of thinking, several career fields and jobs with minimal human interaction are recommended for shy people, such as:

  • IT. Good jobs include: computer programmer, software developer, computer systems analyst and web designer.
  • Finance. Possible jobs are: accountant, financial analyst, credit analyst and actuary.
  • Writing. Good jobs include: author, photographer, article writer and content translator.
  • Health Care. Some nice jobs are: lab technician, researcher, equipment preparer and medical transcriptionist.
  • Blue Collar. Possible jobs are: janitor, maid, gardener, repairman, factory worker or truck driver.

While it is true that the jobs above won’t involve too much social contact so you won’t find them stressful from this perspective, there is a potentially huge problem with pursuing such a job.

In order to comprehend this, consider a few important ideas which, as a social confidence coach, I’ve discovered to be very accurate.

1. Deep down, you may actually love jobs that involve social interaction.

Many shy people I’ve coached were deep down very sociable and they loved interaction with people. But on top of that was a layer of insecurities that made them feel nervous in social situations.

However, once they managed to remove that layer, the love for social interaction became obvious. Many of them work in fields where they regularly deal with people, such as sales, recruitment, training or management, and it’s deeply fulfilling for them.

If they would have just avoided jobs that entailed social contact, they never would have ended up doing what they truly love.

2. Shy people don’t necessarily have bad social skills and good technical skills.

Many of the shy people I know are in fact very intelligent socially. They have an intuitive understanding of people and intrinsically, they have sharp social skills. It’s just that the nervousness they feel when dealing with others can inhibit these skills from manifesting.

I also know shy people who work in jobs like computer programmer or accountant and they suck at them. Because that’s not where their natural skills are; it’s just where they don’t have to face the discomfort of dealing with others.

So, it’s a big mistake to assume that if you’re shy, you automatically have an inclination towards technical jobs and lack an inclination towards working with people. You never know what’s beyond the shyness.

3. A big part of overcoming shyness is exposure to social situations.

Yes, shyness can be defeated. And right now there is an overwhelming amount of empirical evidence confirming this.

However, a very important step in defeating shyness is engaging in social interactions reputedly instead of avoiding them.

This exposure to social situations will help your brain get accustomed to them, and change your beliefs about yourself and others, thus making you more confident socially. This leads me to my next point…

4. Avoiding jobs that entail social contact just perpetuates the problem.

Shy people avoid social contact. And it’s perfectly understandable, because it’s scary. Nevertheless, considering the role of exposure to social situations in overcoming shyness, this only keeps their problem alive.

With respect to their career, shy people avoid social contact by looking for jobs that imply very little of it, it any. And they are quick to believe these are the best jobs for shy people.

I often hear shy individuals saying: “I don’t want to have to deal with others in my job. It’s demanding!”

Well, the fact dealing with others is demanding is the very reason why you should consider a job that entails dealing with others.

You can’t stay away from what scares you forever.

At one point or another, if you want to truly live your life, you need to face your fears. And a major way to do this is avoiding the “traditional” jobs for shy people and instead choosing a job that gets you interacting with people.

I’ve had coaching clients who worked, at least for a while, in jobs like door-to-door sales person or customer service representative, precisely because they were intimidating for them.

And these jobs provided a good amount of social exposure, which helped them build their social confidence.

By the way: if you want to learn how you can gain social exposure as effectively as possible and build rock-solid social confidence in literally just a few weeks, check out this presentation right now.

So: What are the best jobs for shy people?

They’re the same jobs that are best for anyone else: the jobs they have a natural inclination and passion for.

Look deep into your heart and ask yourself: “What would I really like to do if I wouldn’t be shy?”

It could be a technical job; it could be an extremely social job. Either way, that’s the path to pursue in your career.

And even if deep down, you truly want to work in a job that requires little social contact and you do have natural skills for it, you may still want for a few months to give a try to a job that requires lots of social contact. Simply because the experience in itself will be extremely useful in developing your social confidence.

Remember: the most valuable experiences in life are often the ones that you’re afraid of.

Inage courtesy of Ed Yourdon

The Truth about Being Weird

4660452869 ec134f95c6 The Truth about Being Weird

Me, I’m an oddball.

I follow a healthy eating plan although I’m thin as a rail (which most people find strange), I believe in polyamory, and I often say some of the most retarded stuff you can imagine in conversations.

Many of the persons I coach have this belief that they are weird and that if most people would know them as they are, they would ridicule them or reject them.

So they frequently keep to themselves in social interactions and they avoid showing their true personality.

I want to shed the light once and for all on this weirdness issue. This will help you embrace your weirdness and accept yourself as you are.

Pretty cool, ha?

Everybody Is Weird

Whenever I talk with a person that believes they are quirky or strange, I realize they have this mistaken feeling of being the only one like that. They think just about everyone else is normal, except for them.

In my experience, things couldn’t be further from the truth.

We all have are own peculiarities, we are all deviations from what is routinely considered a ‘normal, respectable person’.

Let me tell you something: that normal person doesn’t exist. It’s a made-up social concept.

The only reality about weirdness is that:

1) Some people’s weirdness is easier to notice because it has to do with the way they look, dress, talk or commonly behave, while other people’s is harder because it relates more with their intimate life.

2) Many individuals are really good at hiding their bizarre side and putting on what they deem as a socially acceptable facade. Get to know them better, and you may find out they attempted suicide twice this year, or who knows what.

The suicide example is a true story, by they way. I recently met this girl who seemed so normal, until… well… I dug deeper. I’m good at that.

Weird Is What Makes People Bond

Okay, some perilous types of weird, like attempting suicide or being a wife beater, can be a turnoff. Although, you’d be surprised how even a trait like that will make you more endearing in somebody’s eyes!

But the general rule is this: it is our weirdness and vulnerability that makes us bond as human beings.

When a person seems to fit the standard pattern too well, they may appear like a quality individual at an intellectual level, but at an emotional level, it’s very hard to bond with such a person.

It’s our peculiarities and our rough edges that make us human and allow us to connect at a deep level, not fitting some unrealistic social standard.

Here’s something essential to know about those individuals who seem (and I stress the word ‘seem’) to be very ‘appropriate’.

You know the type: great job, perfect physical shape, doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t offend anybody, has all the correct opinions, etc.

Most people I talk with have one thing to say about such individuals:

Booooooring!

Unleash Your True Self

Now, taking into account all that I’ve emphasized so far, there is one proper course of action regarding weirdness:

Bring it into play!

Instead of hiding your true self because you don’t want others to judge you, consciously open up more and express that side of your personality you traditionally hide.

And I don’t mean express it just with some people, if they seem to approve of it. I mean express it with everybody, no matter what they may think of it. This is how you build your self-acceptance.

This only thing that should matter to you is whether you’re OK with that side of your personality. If you are, anything else is secondary.

In my case, I know that I have some bizarre opinions or I make some lifestyle choices that many don’t understand. But I understand them, and they make sense for me. So I have no hesitation in displaying them.

Ultimately, embracing your weird side comes from putting it out there more and changing the way you think about it.

More on this changing your thinking part coming soon, in my social confidence newsletter.

In the meantime, remember that everybody is an oddball in some way; and at the end of the day, those that show it confidently and unrepentantly have the most to gain.

Have fun and stay tuned!

Image courtesy of rishibando