Why Your Life Sucks: The Top 5 Reasons

Sometimes, while contemplating who you are, what you’ve accomplished so far and how your life looks, you may find yourself thinking and saying to yourself: “Wow! My life sucks!”

Many times, this thought is a blatant lie. Your life doesn’t suck; you have plenty of things to feel good about. Sometimes though, even if it’s still an exaggerated thought, there may be some truth to it. There may be several areas of your life where things are not going the way you’d like them to go, and you’re clearing not living up to your potential.

As a confidence and communication coach, I work all the time with people who feel they’re underachieving. Although a dramatization, “my like sucks” is almost a mantra for some of them. Drawing from this coaching experience, I’d like to discuss what I deem the 5 most widespread and crucial reasons why your life may not be how you want it to be.

1. You Don’t Know Yourself

Self-knowledge is critical if you wanna achieve something in life and be happy. If you don’t know what you want, you’re not gonna have clear, stimulating goals to go for. If you don’t know what truly makes you happy, you’re likely to aim for goals society says you should achieve but actually do little to make you happier.

If you don’t know your natural strengths, you’re gonna let them go to waste while trying to perform well in tasks you have no natural inclination for. A shortage of self-knowledge leads to heaps of missed opportunities and pointless frustrations.

So if you believe you don’t know yourself well, I recommend that you make understanding yourself better a priority. Introspection, feedback from others, personality tests, psychology books and coaching sessions, they can all help immensely in knowing yourself better. Use these tools.

2. You Let Yourself Get Distracted

boredThere are plenty of elements all around us to distract us from our goals: movies, games, TV, the web, Facebook, food, drinks, music, gossip, etc. They pull us to engage with them for a dose of brief but immediate pleasure, often losing sight of our long-term goals in life.

It’s very easy to fall prey to such distractions and end up ignoring your major goals. Then one day, as you look back at your life, you realize you’ve spend years entangled in activities that gave you instant gratification, but you’ve accomplished little that’s worthwhile.

People who get things done recognize the powerful pull of distractions, they learn how to manage them, and they do so daily. They learn how to balance seeking short-term and long-term satisfaction, and they take active steps to make distractions less available. If you wanna achieve something in life, you wanna follow their example.

3. You Expect Quick Results

I’m frequently shocked by how fast most people expect to achieve their goals. They have nearly zero tolerance for things going slowly and taking hard work. They want everything to happen now and happen effortlessly.

I see this related to confidence and communication skills building in particular, since this is my field. So often, severely shy people expect to become super-confident socially in literally just a few days. Or people with few social skills seek a few quick tips that will make them smooth and charismatic overnight.

When you tell them that social confidence and social skills, even with a highly-optimized approach, will still take weeks and months to improve visibly, many swiftly go looking for someone who will promise them immediate results. A year later, they’re back looking at your solutions, having made no progress in this time. That’s the paradox of seeking quick fixes: it actually delays one’s progress instead of hasting it.

Expecting quick but meaningful results is simply not realistic. Anything worth achieving will require time and work to be achieved. Change doesn’t happen overnight; success doesn’t come overnight. It’s crucial to accept that and let go of expectations to get quick, meaningful results. Only then, you’ll be able to put in the necessary work to get what you want.

4. You’re Not Willing to Invest in Yourself

Your success in any area of life (career, relationships, health, etc.) is greatly influenced by the quality of your education in that area. Quality education gives you the right know-how and helps you develop the proper skills to achieve what you want, in a timely manner.

But quality education rarely comes cheap, and it almost never comes free. Sadly, a lot of people are not willing to invest financially in their professional and personal growth. They try to get by with free information they can find on the Internet, or to figure everything out on their own.

That’s the very long, slow and frustrating road to success. As I mentioned above, no meaningful results can be achieved overnight, but you can sure speed up the process a lot by getting the proper education and help.

It’s worth investing some money in books, classes and training programs that help you gain key knowledge and develop relevant skills. I can vouch from experience that, if you choose the right education and teachers, the return on investment will be tenfold.

5. You Hang Out With the Wrong Crowd

The people you surround yourself with and spend your time with have a huge impact on where your life goes. Unsurprisingly, it’s very common for individuals with unfulfilling lives to hang out with people who pull the down instead of pushing them up.

These people they hang out with fit various negative profiles: some are pessimists who discourage them from following their dreams, some are slackers who encourage them to waste time, some are needy and drain them of resources, some are dumb or prejudiced, and some are toxic or manipulative.

If you have such people in your life, it’s crucial to distance yourself from them, so they’re not able to influence you. You will do much better when you’re out from their negative spell.

Your life really doesn’t have to suck in any way. Like all other people, you’re not perfect, but you do have the ability to live a pretty damn good existence. However, it won’t happen by accident. You need an effective approach to life. I have laid out its fundamentals in this article.

For more advice from me for your personal and social success, check out my free social confidence training video, and join my free social skills newsletter. You won’t regret it.

Why Anxiety Levels Are On the Rise and What to Do About It

We live in a peculiar society. The level of prosperity we have is higher than ever in recorded history, our degree of freedom and possibilities is also higher than ever, and yet our levels of anxiety are higher than ever as well.

And it’s not just my experience as a confidence coach, which may make me biased considering that I work with anxious people on a regular basis. I’ve seen several important scientific studies that point to such a conclusion.

One interesting study for instance, shows that normal children today experience a level of anxiety that would have been considered pathological in the 1950s. And the study was done several years ago. Things have only gotten worse since.

Since high, recurring anxiety constitutes a serious health issue, I’d like to talk about the 4 factors I believe contribute greatly to this rise in anxiety levels in our society. I’ll also suggest some ways to deal with them, so you can lead a more peaceful and fulfilling existence.

1. Unrealistic Expectations

Nearly everywhere I go, I meet people expecting to live these glamorous, extravagant lives worthy of a best-selling novel, filled with fame, riches, power and adventure. Not just hoping, but expecting; and expecting all of this to come easy.

People get sucked into this dream of having it all and doing it all. And for 99% of them (which probably include me and you too), it’s just not a realistic dream. Not everybody is Bill Gates or Brad Pitt.

I’m all for aiming high, but it’s important to know your limits as well. Because when you don’t, down the path in life you run into heaps of conflicts between expectations and actual results; which is what’s currently happening to lots of folks in their 20s, 30s and 40s. And such conflicts are a major source of anxiety.

So keep your expectations in check and use some common sense when forming them. It will spare you a lot of senseless distress.

2. Negative News in the Media

The media knows that, sadly, people pay a lot more attention to negative news than positive ones. Which is why it bombards us with such news, and now it does so more than ever. And since mass-media news consumption is still a major pastime for most people, it means they’re right in the middle of this onslaught.

Exposed to bad news in large quantities, our minds easily start to over-generalize, and they come to perceive the world we live in is a much more dangerous place than it truly is.

Thus, many folks seem to think that poverty, disease, crime and violence are on the rise, when according to real statistics, they are nearly universally on the decline. And their bad views lead to irrational fears and lots of anxiety.

So, if you wanna make your life much more pleasant and your perspective on things much brighter, cut down your consumption of mainstream news and media to a minimum.

3. Less Focus on Deep Relationships

sleepDeep, fulfilling relationships are a powerful anxiety moderator. People with an abundance of such relationships typically experience significantly less daily anxiety than the rest.

Today though, we seem to be much more focused on money, career and status than on spending quality time with others and building meaningful relationships.

And when we interact with others, it’s often in shallow, restrictive ways, like the use social media websites, which does little in terms of enhancing the emotional connection with others. Posting a couple of pictures on Facebook for your friends to see is nowhere near as fulfilling socially as actually conversing with them face to face.

So it’s important to dedicate your social life a decent amount of time, and to focus on building and maintaining deep relationships.

If you feel you lack the social skills or social confidence to do that successfully, I suggest you check out this free presentation where I’ll teach you how to boost your social confidence, and also join my free social success newsletter. A lack of confidence or social skills needn’t be a permanent obstacle. You can do something about it.

4. The Allure of Quick Fixes

I can definitely see a high propensity for people today to seek quick fixes to their problems, even major ones. I suspect this issue is getting worse, especially when it comes to dealing with anxiety.

People often seek to solve serious anxiety problems with just a few tips and tricks. They look for fast techniques that will effortlessly get rid of all their worries. And many marketers are eager to cater to such desires with false promises and ineffective courses.

When easy tricks for eliminating anxiety don’t work, people often revert to the ultimate quick fix: medication. Anxiety medication usage has been on the rise for decades. But alas, meds often don’t produce improvements either, when they do it’s often short-lived (as the body builds tolerance to them), and they frequently have dangerous side-effects.

You definitely have reasons to trust that you can overcome anxiety issues, including generalized anxiety and social anxiety. But not via quick fixes. The truth is that you need a reliable psychological solution, which you’ll have to put into practice for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. Only thus you’ll genuinely solve your anxiety problems.

Interested in learning such a solution for overcoming social anxiety, which has been used successfully by hundreds of shy and socially anxious individuals I’ve coached personally? Then check out this special presentation I created. You won’t regret it.

Our world isn’t perfect, but it does offer some amazing opportunities. Life today is definitely worth enjoying. So if anxiety issues are preventing you from enjoying it fully, working on taking care of these issues may just be one of the most crucial things you’ll ever do. Take action.

3 Love Myths That Really Harm Your Romantic Life

Romantic relationships fascinate me. Most people deem their romantic life as very important to them. At the same time tough, it’s an area that even generally smart and educated people often navigate using irrational, impractical and simplistic ideas. And when that happens, a lot of frustration and disappointment ensue.

I’ve certainly made my fair share of relationship mistakes, and I like to think I’ve learned from them. I also like to think that, in time, I developed a much more realistic, scientific and healthy view of love and relationships.

Looking out how many folks think about romantic relationships (from friends to acquaintances to relatives to coaching clients), I’ve identified 4 major love myths that loads of people operate on. These myths cause them a lot of pain and struggle, and they really got to die. So this is my attempt to debunk them and hopefully send them to their grave.

Myth #1: You Have a Soulmate

This idea states that there is one person in this world (no more, no less) who is a perfect match for you. And when you find each other, you’ll fall madly in love with each other and have the perfect, everlasting relationship.

Sounds like a fairytale when you read the whole proposition? It is. Psychologists, sociologists and biologists have been studying the underpinnings of love for decades, and there is nothing in their discoveries to support the concept of a soulmate.

The truth is to be found in basic statistics: you live in a world with millions of other potential mates. Given the complexity of human beings, some of them will likely be highly incompatible with you, many of them will be somewhat compatible, and several of them will likely be highly compatible with you. It’s a stretch to call these later people soulmates, but they are people you would have an amazing romantic relationship with. And there’s more than one of them.

These are the odds you’ve been dealt in the real world. And these are the odds you wanna consider when you think about finding love.

Believing they have a soulmate just makes people abandon great relationship because they don’t feel “perfect”, as well as become emotionally dependent on their current partner if they think he/she is their soulmate. And if for some reason their “soulmate” breaks up with them, a whole Greek tragedy follows. Having a soulmate is a crude, outdated concept, and it’s high time we drop it.

Myth #2: True Love Lasts Forever

Whenever I hear this statement from somebody, I ask them what they mean by “true love”. The most common answer is that true love means “love that lasts forever”. So they’re essentially saying that “love that lasts forever lasts forever”. Which is saying nothing; it’s a circular statement.

LoveI take a deep breath and I keep going. Eventually I discover that what the other person is trying to convey is the idea that if a love is strong (which is what they call “true love”), than it will never end. They’re basically asserting that the longevity of love can be predicted by its intensity.

Okay, now I understand. But their assertion is not true. In fact one of the key aspects of the psychology of emotions is that the duration of an emotion frequently doesn’t correlate with its strength. A person can get very angry, and 5 minutes later be completely calm. Similarly, someone can fall in love head over heels, and in a few months that love is gone.

I find it interesting that, nowadays, people marry out of love more than ever, yet the divorce rate is higher than ever as well. I’m sure there are many explanations, but one of them is probably the fact that love can be a very volatile feeling. To assume that it will last forever because it’s strong, or even because it’s been strong for a few years, is farfetched.

Believing this myth is bad because it makes people commit to lifetime relationships purely based on love. And that’s a mistake. Because later, if much of that love dissipates, they may find out they have nothing else in common: no commons goals, values, passions or beliefs. There is nothing left to hold them together. That’s how messy breakups or really stale relationships come to be.

Myth #3: Love Will Just Find You One Day

We see this myth exemplified in movies all the time. She walks into a coffee shop, just looking to get her morning coffee, when him, tall, dark and handsome, accidentally bumps into her and spills his vanilla latte all over her.

He starts desperately apologizing and hopelessly trying to clean the latte off her dress, while casually noticing she has really nice eyes. Next thing you know all this has transitioned into in a fun, flirtatious conversation, which then turns into a date, which turns into an epic loving relationship.

It’s a great movie plot. But it rarely happens in real life. They’re just too many unlikely factors that have to come together at the same time for such a situation to actually occur. Honestly, you’re probably more likely to win the lottery than to find love like that.

I know why people believe this myth though: because it’s convenient. It’s much easier to believe that love will just find you one day because you really want it, than to believe that if you want love in your life, you have to be proactive and go find it.

However, that is the truth. If you wanna have love, it’s not enough to just get out of the house. You need to actively expand your social circle and meet new people, deliberately initiate social interactions, and make quality conversation with others. You need to talk with a range of people, go on series of dates, test and explore, until you find someone you connect really well with.

That takes time and work. That requires good social skills and social confidence. And a lot of people find it hard to accept that; especially those who are shy and somewhat unskilled socially. So they prefer to believe a myth.

Nevertheless, believing a myth won’t get you far. You need to look reality in the eye, accept it and choose your action course based on it. It’s the only way to find real love.

If you’re shy, socially anxious or you lack social skills, seek help and work to fix this. Check out my instructional presentation about improving social confidence and join my free social confidence newsletter for more help from me in this area. Address the issue. Don’t delude yourself that love will just find you one day out of the blue.

Romantic relationships can be a very fulfilling part of your life. But you need to look for them, go into them and decide which way to take them based on rational beliefs and mindsets, not on unrealistic assumptions. So let’s put the love myths to rest.

4 Rules for a Fulfilling Social Life in the Modern World

The world has sure changed a lot.

Just a couple of centuries ago, most people lived in small towns and villages, where they had a basic social life and well-defined social roles. In time, human settlements grew, and a large percentage of the population migrated to the city.

Then came newspapers, radio and TV, as well as enhanced transportation, which enabled news, goods and people to travel faster and further than ever before. And more recently, we saw the rise of the internet, mobile communication and social media, which created a whole new level of possibilities for social interaction.

I find that many people are very confused by today’s social structures and social tools. They find it difficult to build meaningful relationships in the intricate modern world. I’ve been coaching such people since 2008. Based on my experience, I’d like give you what I deem as 4 essential rules for a fulfilling social life in today’s world.

1. Don’t Stay Too Informed About Others

With social media websites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter being so popular today, it’s very easy to connect online with others and stay informed about their lives. The problem is that staying too informed about other people’s lives, particularly those you hardly ever see in real life, can be a major source of frustration.

You see, we are all inclined to compare ourselves to others. And when we receive constant updates about a large number of people and compare ourselves to them, they’re always bound to be at least a few who seem to be doing much better than us in some way: they travel more than us, they go to cooler parties, they have better relationships, they have more expensive cars, etc.

Our minds really don’t know how to properly handle all this personal information. They’re wired for living in small bands and tribes (which is what we did for most of our existence as a species) where there weren’t that many people to compare ourselves to in the first place.

If each day we go online and we notice there are all these people who are doing better than us in some area, it’s gonna create the false sense that we’re losers. We’re not, of course; we’re just comparing ourselves with a really big sample, and looking mostly at the positives in their lives. This is prone to create a sense of defeat and disturbance.

So often when you cut down on the amount of info you get about others via social media, it will feel like a huge relief. You’ll be happier with yourself, have a better mood, be more productive and focus more on your own life.

I’ve experienced this every time I’ve cut down on my social media usage. Nowadays, I only use it scarcely to keep up to date with the lives of others. I much prefer face to face conversations, which limits the information I receive to what truly matters to me.

2. Keep Your Social Expectations in Check

Not only that we stay connected with lots of people today, but we also get constantly exposed to the highest examples of social success in the world.

Turn on the TV and you’ll quickly stumble across news about some movie star going to exclusive clubs, spending $10k on champagne, and dating a supermodel. Moreover, we’re subtly suggested that we all can and should get the same type of lifestyle.

social lifeUnsurprisingly, many people’s social expectations are off the charts. Men wanna date models, women wanna date VIPs, many folks seem to be going around meeting others with a 50-qualities-you-must-have-to-roll-with-me checklist in their pocket. Then they complain that they’re single and they don’t have any friends.

Now, I’m all for having standards regarding who you date or befriend. And it is true that many persons have the opposite problem of lacking any standards whatsoever. Nonetheless, many people have social expectations that are way too high. It’s not necessarily that they can’t achieve them, it’s just that it’s gonna take tremendous effort and sacrifices, while settling for something less will prove very fulfilling as well.

You don’t need to have an elite social life to be happy. Connecting with like-minded people is what truly matters. If you have several upbeat, easygoing people to hang out with regularly, plus they have similar values with you, your social life will be much more fulfilling then if you reject social opportunities constantly, waiting to meet the perfect people.

 3. Concentrate on Substance over Appearances

I think people today focus on how they come across to others more than ever. They concern themselves with their image fanatically, often to the point of caring about it much more than about the way they truly are, and thus ending up manufacturing false appearances about themselves.

Every time I see I guy I know is still living with his parents going out dressed in an expensive suit on which I knew he blew all his money, it makes me laugh. And I see this kind of stuff often. Maybe it’s not a suit, it’s a car or a watch, but it’s the same pattern.

Creating an embellished image of yourself can get you some attention and validation from people who just met you. But once they get to know you better, all that validation will go away because you’ve cheated their expectations.

Since you can only keep up appearances for so long, creating false appearances is a very ineffective strategy to build deep, long-term relationships with people. And ultimately, these relationships are the most important ones, because they are the most rewarding.

This isn’t to say that appearances don’t matter and you should ignore them. That’s a mistake too. However, in my view it’s wise to make sure you never put appearances over substance. Consider how you come across, work on putting your best foot forward when you interact with others, but don’t try to seem someone you’re not. It won’t get you far.

4. Don’t Try to Please Everyone

In today’s world, we interact with more people than ever before in the history of humankind. Some of our interactions develop into deep relationships, many more remain transitory.

In such a context, one of the worst mistakes you can make is to approach social interactions from a mindset of trying to please everyone. This, unfortunately, is something a lot of people do.

Trying to please everyone is simply not a realistic or helpful attitude. It gets you constantly stressing about what others think of you, acting inauthentic, sacrificing your needs to please others, only to end up being the generic person that nobody remembers.

I believe the best mindset to have is the mindset that, while you do want to be liked by at least some people, you can’t please everyone and you don’t have to either. It’s a mindset that will permit you to be authentic, confident and relaxed in social situations, while also being sociable and bonding with lots of people. And it will do wonders for your social life.

The tricky part is internalizing this mindset if you currently don’t have it. You need to immerse it into your subconscious beliefs system and make it a part of who you are. Then you’ll naturally operate on it in social situations and rip the benefits.

This is an issue that I often work on with my coaching clients, and there is a lot I have to say about it. So I created a special presentation in which I discuss step-by-step how to stop trying to please everybody and become authentic and confident in social settings. Go here to watch it right now. I guarantee you’ll learn a lot from it.

The best part of living in today’s world is that there are more social opportunities and social tools than ever. But it’s important to know how to navigate the opportunities and use the tools effectively. With the right know-how, you can build a truly rewarding social life, and that will make your whole existence feel more meaningful.

For more social advice from me, I invite you to join my free social success newsletter, and I’ll talk to you some more there.

How to Deal with Social Pressure and Follow Your Own Path

Sometimes your goals and behaviors, even though they make rational sense, will come into conflict with the way others would like you to act and live. When this happens, such people may try to make you conform using emotional tools such as sarcasm, criticism, withdrawal of approval, threats or rejection.

The use of such tools by a number of people to exert influence over you is what’s known as social pressure. It’s a force meant to make you conform to the will of others around you and, more broadly, to the standards of society.

I’ve had many conversations with people who’ve made numerous sacrifices in life due to social pressure. Almost without exception, when they look back, they regret having given in to the desires of others instead of doing what they truly wanted to do.

This is why it’s key to know how to deal with social pressure. It frees you to follow your own path in life and do so without any shame. With this in mind, I’d like to give you a few practical ideas:

1. Remember That the Majority Is Often Wrong

Social pressure is often a powerful force because when several people show disapproval towards something we do, we automatically assume they are right and we are wrong, since we are alone and they are many. Our minds tend to operate on the principle that the majority is always correct.

However, in practice, that is frequently not true. In fact, let’s face it: most people don’t really know what they’re talking about most of the time. They believe various ideas simply because they’ve been exposed to them thousands of times from a young age (which is basic indoctrination) and they never bothered to question them; then they go through life following those ideas, living unimpressive lives, and expecting others to do the same.

So when you consider this, it makes no sense to give authority to an idea just because a lot of people believe it. If anything, it’s probably a sign it’s a flawed idea. This is something to always bear in mind when confronted with social pressure.

2. Don’t Blow Things Out Of Proportion

Sometimes social pressure can take pretty rough forms. Like if your whole family threatens to kick you out of the house and disown you unless you get married. It’s not a tragedy, but it’s not a pleasant situation either.

social pressureHowever, the vast majority of times, social pressure takes light and brief forms. Like if your friends tease you a couple of times when going out for not drinking alcohol, or a few people give you weird looks on the street because you’re dressed in an unusual way.

It’s common though for individuals dealing with such minor events to mentally make a really big deal out of them. They start thinking that everybody hates them, and that they are complete screw-ups. Their minds dramatize and exaggerate.

When dealing with social pressure, it’s important to notice how you think about it, and keep your thinking in check (here is more detailed advice on how to do this). Acknowledge what’s happening, but don’t blow it out of proportions. It will save you a lot of stress.

3. Develop a Strong Sense of Self

In my experience as a confidence and communication coach, there is strong correlation between how sensitive a person is to social pressure and how weak their sense of self is.

People with a weak sense of self let how others see them define them, and abundant approval from others is the one crucial factor that makes them feel good about themselves. Conversely, if others disagree with them or disapprove their conduct, they instantly feel invalidated and worthless.

Cultivating a strong sense of self implies getting to know yourself and your strengths, developing a positive self-image, and improving your social confidence.

This is a big and crucial topic, so I’m not gonna address it in this brief article. Instead, I’ve created a free instructional video where I share my tried and tested advice for improving your confidence and developing a strong sense of self. I suggest you go here and watch it right now. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Find People Who Accept You as You Are

The fact many people don’t approve of what you do or how you do it doesn’t mean that all of humanity is rejecting you. But it can often feel that way; unless there are also people in your life who accept you the way you are.

These people can be either A) like-minded people, who are similar to you in goals and behavior, or B) open-minded people, who have a lot of tolerance towards diversity.

Such people are great because they confirm that being true to yourself is not a death sentence for your social life. It’s reassuring to know that you can follow your path, and even though many will object, some people are fine with it and will keep being your friends.

If you lack such people in your social circle, I encourage you wholeheartedly to find them and keep them close. Get involved in social events, meet new people, get to know them better and spot the ones who accept you as you are. Make friends with such people and foster those friendships. For an unconventional person in particular, they are priceless.

Once you’ve learned to deal with it, social pressure is really no big deal. All that will truly matter to you is that you understand why you wanna do what you wanna do, and it feels right to you.

You’ll feel motivated to follow your own path and you won’t be distracted by herd-like opposition. You’ll live true to yourself and you’ll be proud of yourself for it.

How to Make Friends When Travelling Alone

As you may know, I’m a big fan of travelling and I tend to travel a lot. Over the last 6 months for instance I’ve been to Hungary, Spain, Italy, The UK, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Peru and Brazil. And my travel itinerary looks as busy for the next 6 months.

Sometimes I travel with friends, but many times I travel alone. However, I never feel alone when travelling, because I constantly meet new people, have social interactions and make friends during my trips.

If you can do this, you can travel as much as you want, whenever you want, without needing to worry about bringing along some sort of travelling companion so you won’t get lonely. You’ll find people to spend time with and have fun with while travelling. I’d like to show you 3 very effective strategies to do this, which I use personally.

1. Make Travel Plans That Facilitate Contact with New People

When setting up a trip, you’ll make plans regarding transport, accommodation and travelling style. Each of these areas offers opportunities to meet new people and socialize. So when you make your travelling arrangements, try to find and choose options that facilitate social interaction. For example:

  • Consider staying in a hostel rather than a hotel. It’s cheaper, and since you’ll share a room with 3, 4, 5 or more roommates (depending on the room size) you’re bound to have lots of social interactions. If you want more privacy, in many hostels you can rent a single room as well, and since the whole hostel atmosphere is still very social, you can still mingle a lot.
  • Another option to a hotel is finding and renting a room in somebody’s home, using websites such as AirBnb or Roomorama. It will give you the chance to meet a local, possibly their friends or family, spend time with them, and also get inside tips regarding the city you’re visiting. I use this accommodation option a lot, and I’ve stayed with some great hosts so far.
  • Take guided tours. Even if you leave on a trip by yourself, you can still do it with other people, by taking a guided tour instead of exploring on your own. Thus, you’ll be part of a group of tourists, and you’ll have a guide. So you’ll get competent info about the places you’re seeing, and you’ll get to socialize with the other people in your tour group. Two birds with one stone.
  • Take the train instead of renting a car. When moving around, like from one city to another, renting a car and driving alone offers zero social opportunities. From a social perspective, a much better choice is to use public transportation, which gives you opportunities to talk with new people and make friends. Trains are my personal favorite. I’ve met tons of people and had fascinating conversations while taking a train to somewhere.

2. Use Social Hobbies for Social Interaction

One of my top pieces of advice when it comes to making friends is to have hobbies and activities that are social in nature and permit you to interact with new people. Such hobbies and activities will become particularly useful for making friends when travelling alone to new locations.

Friends travellingFor example, one of my hobbies is salsa dancing. And I’ve met hundreds of people over the years by going to salsa classes, parties, and events, which are very social in nature. Whenever I go to a new city, I look on the Internet for salsa clubs and salsa parties in that city. In the type of big urban environments I like to travel to, there are almost always at least a couple of them.

Then when I’m in that city, I’ll go to some of these salsa parties. Where, you’ve guessed it, I’ll dance salsa, plus I’ll use this opportunity to meet new people and socialize (women in particular, since, you know, salsa is a male-female partner dance). I’ve made friends all over the world through dancing, and I’ve acquired many memorable experiences.

A friend of mine is a member of Toastmasters, which is an international public speaking association, with clubs all over the world. Whenever he goes to a new city, he finds one or more Toastmasters clubs there, and goes to their meetings. That’s how he meets like-minded people and makes travelling social.

Whether it’s dancing, or public speaking, or some other activity, the main thing is to have social hobbies. And when you travel, capitalize on these hobbies to meet new people and make friends. They will revolutionize your social life anywhere you are.

3. Get Social. I Mean Really Social

By making the right travelling arrangements and by using social hobbies, you can put yourself in environments that are conducive to social interactions. But that doesn’t mean social interactions will happen on their own. Not for the most part at least.

You can take a guided tour and not talk to anybody in your tour group. You can ride a train and not start any conversations. You can go to a meeting in a new place and just stand by yourself in a corner during the entire meeting. So being in social environments is not enough. You also have the task of being social.

By being social I understand having social initiative and doing a range of things that help you relate and connect with other people: starting conversations, asking questions, being chatty and opening up, keeping conversations going, having a positive vibe and being friendly.

When travelling alone, it’s even more important to do these things. I am generally pretty social, but I’m extra-social when travelling by myself to a place where I don’t know anybody. Because I don’t have any pre-built relationships. All I can rely on for social interaction is new relationships, and these develop by being outgoing.

Many of the persons I coach are somewhat timid about doing all of this stuff. It often seems intrusive, weird. And although I understand this perception well, I also know that realistically, there is no reason for them to be timid. People are generally eager to meet other people. Plus, if you’re new to a place and others know it, they tend to be even more open towards you.

Nevertheless, if you’re shy or socially anxious, you probably lack the well-internalized social mindset required for you to be outgoing with new people, without feeling nervous or inhibited. And your conversation skills may be lacking as well, mostly due to inexperience.

So you will need to work on changing your mindset, as well as improving your conversation skills. This is, of course, easier said than done. It’s not my intention in this article to teach you how to perform these two fairly elaborate tasks. However, I recommend you to join my free social confidence newsletter, where I will teach you just that.

As soon as you join the newsletter you’ll receive from me a free instructional presentation in which I’ll show you my step-by-step process for developing a deep-rooted mindset that makes you socially confident, and then as a member of my newsletter you’ll receive weekly, tried and tested advice for improving your conversation style and making friends.

Go here to join the free newsletter right now, and I’ll talk to you some more there.

Photo taken in Rio de Janeiro during World Cup. 

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

impactI 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.

progressMany 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 

Have a Social Support System

Of all the things that can help you be happy and successful in life, very few are as important as having a social support system. By social support system (or 3S), I mean a network of people (friends, family, business partners, etc.) that you can rely on for various forms of assistance in overcoming hurdles and in achieving your goals.

The people in your social support system can help you in many ways:

  • They offer you feedback and advice to help you in your pursuits;
  • They provide emotional support when the going gets tough;
  • They offer a model through their own behavior and pursuits;
  • They may lend you resources or give you a helping hand when in necessity;
  • They are there for you and you know you can count on them.

All this readily available support proves itself to be enormously useful. The truth is that no matter how smart and ambitious you are, great things can only be achieved with the support of others. And the people who’ve achieved the greatest things have usually had a good social support system to rely on.

This being said, there are a few important ideas worth mentioning about social support systems.

A Single Person Is Not a System

A system entails a number of elements, not just one. Having one friend does not equal having a social system. Having a romantic partner or spouse that you always go to for help and no friends to speak of beyond them, also doesn’t count.

There are only so many ways a single person can help you and sometimes they simply won’t be able to do much for you. Plus, what happens if that friend moves to another country? Or if you break up with your partner? All your support has gone down the drain.

If you have social network of one, you need to expand it in order to develop an actual interpersonal system for support. Go out there, meet new people, make conversation and build friendships. Multiple of them.

Compatibility Does Matter a Lot

teamNot every person you’ll meet will be a good fit as a member of your 3S. They need to have similar goals, values and life principles to you in order to help you in a meaningful way. Otherwise they will often pull you down rather than push you up, even if they are very well intentioned.

Considering the diversity of goals, values and life principles among people, I dare say that from all the people you’ll meet, the ones who can make good members of your social support system will probably be a minority.

Nevertheless, you will find plenty of them if you maintain an active social life, you meet lots of people and you explore the possibilities. But you have to do these things. It does take some work to meet good people for you.

Support Implies Reciprocity

A good social support system involves reciprocity: you receive help from members of the system in various forms, and you provide help to them in return. If you only take and you do not give, after a while the people you rely on will stop being there for you.

A social support system functions much more on self-interest than on altruism. It’s the idea that by helping each other, a bunch of people can get much further than they could on their own, that keeps it functioning well. This is what has been keeping society working for thousands of years, and this is what keeps a 3S working.

It’s Time to Let Go of Your Social Insecurities

The biggest obstacle for most people in building a good social support system for themselves is shyness and lack of confidence. This prevents them from attending social events, starting conversations with others, being social and building strong relationships.

If this is your case, it’s time you learn how to stop being shy and gain the social confidence you want. Get this area of your life handled, and everything else will fall into place.

I recommend you join my free social confidence newsletter, when I will share with you a couple of times per week proven advice and techniques to gain social confidence, develop your social skills, and build the social life of your dreams.

When you join you’ll also get immediate access to a special presentation where I reveal some of my top know-how on gaining conversation confidence, based on my 5+ years of experience as a social confidence coach.

So, join the newsletter here, and I’ll talk to you some more on the other side.

Image courtesy of thetaxhaven