Few of us wouldn’t like to improve our personalities. However, it’s not like improving your jump shot, where you exactly what to do and how to measure your success. There are a lot of aspects of our personality, and a lot of ways we can improve. It’s also not always easy to tell when we’re improving.
One of the reasons for this is that our personality, our collection of behaviors of how we interact with others, is largely unconscious. It’s automatic. So when we make slight changes, we still “feel” normal, since we’re still “ourselves.”
It’s not like we can look in a mirror and see if we’ve lost weight, or try on a pair of shoes and see if make it more comfortable to walk.
However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t specific techniques to improve your personality. There are. And you are about to learn what to do. We’ll break down the five basic components, so you’ll know that you’re going in the right direction.
Being more self confident is the foundation upon which a “good” personality is based. If you’ve got the greatest ideas in the world, and can offer easy solution to help people, it won’t do any good if you are to shy. Two tips to increase self confidence is self acceptance, and kindness.
You are who you are, right? Once you fully accept yourself, you won’t worry so much about whether or not others accept you. Simply take a few minutes every day and appreciate yourself, just how you are.
Kindness comes in when you communicate with others. If you are coming from a frame of kindness, rather than seeking approval or validation, you’ll naturally become more confident. One way to strengthen this is to do “good deeds” for strangers, without hanging around for a “thank you.”
Open doors for people, pick something up for somebody if they drop it, or even just smiling at a stranger can do the trick. When you focus on being kind to others, self confidence is a natural outcome.
Being assertive simply means speaking your mind in a neutral way. You’re not asking for approval, nor are you trying to cram your ideas down anybody’s throat. For example, if your friend is having a problem doing something, many would tend to say something like,
This sounds kind of condescending. It’s “un-asked for” advice, and unless they are specifically asking for it, they likely don’t want to hear it.
A better method would be to say something like,
“Hmm. That sounds difficult. I don’t know about you, but if I were in your shoes, I might… What do you plan on doing?”
This way, it’s clear your offering your advice as your opinion, rather than advice.
Or let’s say you and a group of friends are deciding where to eat for dinner. An aggressive thing to do would be to try and overwhelm others with your opinion. The passive thing to do would be to simply go along with what the “crowd” wants. The assertive thing to do would be to say something like this,
“I don’t know about you guys, but I’d LOVE to try out that new Italian place!”
The key to assertive communication is to express your feelings without trampling on those of others around you.
Most of us are horrible listeners. We wait until the other person takes a breath so we can spit out whatever words we’ve got building up in our minds.
But true communicators listen carefully, and ask open ended follow up questions. The best conversationalists, those who come across as the most charismatic and magnetic, spend most of their time encouraging their conversation partner to do most of the talking.
Simply stated, the more interested in you can become in the other person, the better of a listener you’ll be.
Reading Body Language
Our facial expressions and body language are consistently giving off TONS of information, but most of us are too caught up in our heads to even notice.
But when you pay attention, you’ll find it’s pretty easy. If they are facing you and are open, meaning they aren’t “protecting” any part of their body with their arms or legs, that’s a good sign.
If they look mostly at you with their face and their eyes while you’re talking, that’s also a good sign.
Positive body language and facial expressions are an indication that they are interested in you and feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Closed off body language is an indication that you need to slow it down a bit, and work on helping them feel more comfortable. Maybe the conversation topic is a bit too personal, or maybe you’re simply moving too fast. Give yourselves time to get comfortable with each other.
The last skill is to be comfortable in many different social situations. This means being friendly with people you just met, or simply passing by. A great way to practice this is to strike up conversations while waiting in line.
You don’t need to do anything other than chit chat, but the more strangers you make a point of talking to, the more comfortable you’ll begin feeling in social situations.
How To Remember To Practice
Take each one of these traits, (self confidence, assertiveness, listening skills, body language, and social comfort) and assign each one to a finger on your left hand.
Take the time to memorize each trait and what it represents. Then, whenever you’re out in public, and you’ve got a couple minutes, choose a finger, and it’s corresponding trait, and simply practice a couple of techniques.
If you make it a point to do this on a regular basis, you’ll consistently further your personality development.
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