When Nadia Comaneci won the first perfect ten in gymnastics in the 1976 Montreal Olympics* it stunned the world with amazement. When she completed 7 perfect tens it told the world that Olympics is all about achieving more, bettering records and pushing beyond limits of endurance.
What about bettering ourselves and scoring a perfect ten! What about having a winsome personality that attracts others with its magnetism, charm and grace! It takes a lot of persistent effort to do so; yet the message is you can!
Smile is so universal; yet so many smiles are efforts to sell, deceive or manipulate. But if you can smile from your heart; and let joy radiate all over you lighting up the eyes with a twinkle and spreading cheer; then that smile reaches across boundaries. Isn’t a lovely smile on your face the key not only to personal attractiveness (more than all the cosmetics of this world); but also the key to build instant rapport with your audiences and win a place in the heart of all? Yes; a radiant smile is the key to lasting relationships.
We live in an aggressive world where might is often confused with right. In the mad rush to be first we tend to bulldoze people into submission. But if we can practice little courtesies of life-those small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness-then we would make this earth a better place to live in. Life would be much more of glide than a bumpy ride then; for courteous behaviour (like helping an elder person do a simple task which he finds difficult to do) is like oil that lubricates the hinges of a door. Can you not with a little thoughtfulness practice showing respect and care to all who cross your way? I think you can!
#3. Kind Words
Words are like a knife’s edge when used with malice. It makes others bleed. Words that are potentially loaded with harm are like vicious dogs waiting to be let loose to tear their innocent victims apart. Isn’t it better to post a doorkeeper at the gate of your mouth rather than spit venom like cobras? This was King David’s prayer to God, “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3). No doubt, we need God’s grace to keep our mouths shut! At the same time we need to practice the art of speaking kind words that will win friends and influence people.
#4. Don’t Pry into Other People’s Private Lives
There is a private space for everyone which no one wants to have violated. Even the hot selling point of more leg space available with cars and airliners is an indication of its emotional counterpart. While this need of being alone with one’s thoughts and emotions is there; I’ve met many people whose sole objective in life is to ask nasty or cleverly masked questions with the intent to pry open very personal and private information. (What is surprising is that these questioners are very secretive themselves who resist being asked questions!) Isn’t it much better to allow people their private space and maintain their respect towards you than be marked out as a sour person because of your prying nature?
#5. Keep Commitments
Have you ever tried to say this over phone: “I’m in a meeting now. Will call you later”? Later, did you forget all about your promise? When such forgetfulness happens many times, people will not consider you reliable. You will lose their trust and your credibility. Therefore make sure that you follow through with your promises and deliver. One real cause of friction in relationships occurs when people do not stick to time of meeting agreed upon. Why not be a winning personality by being on time every time?
#6. Be Skilled in Something Other Than Your Work
Came across an interesting proverb recently which says, “God does not subtract from men’s lives the time spent for fishing.” Are you hooked to some constructive hobby or leisure time activity? Are you extremely good at it? Not only does it help you to enjoy life to the fullest but it also gives you something attractive to talk about when you meet with people. Help people remember you by your passion and your excellence in that pursuit.
#7. Do Not Sound Your Own Trumpet
It is sad when there is no one to say words of praise for you. But it is pitiable when you try to praise your own achievements yourself. It is comical to see people who blare their own horns at the first chance they get to speak. So avoid this habit yourself. On the other hand, one good thing you can do is to show interest in what others consider important for themselves. For some it might be their children, for others their work or even their love of some sport. When you show interest and are willing to listen; not only will they feel honoured but you will also gain valuable insights on what is close to people’s hearts.
#8. Allow People to Save Face
How often we jump in to condemn a person who made a mistake? How sad to see people pounce on one who has offered a sincere apology already for the wrong committed? More insulting are generalized and caustic statements like, “He is always like this doing stupid things.” Allow people to save face. When you act graciously with people who make mistakes they will be motivated to reward your kindness with better and responsible behaviour from their part.
#9. Do Not Be a Quitter
Life and success is all about perseverance. But losing is a habit with many not because they can’t win; but because they have struck a romance with giving up. It all starts in small matters like not completing a speech or leaving one corner of the room uncleaned. Such small things snowball into a mountain which stands as a real barrier to your life’s progress. So make it a habit of completing the small tasks of life and big things will take care of themselves. After all, the great lesson of life is that you have to determine to finish strong!
#10. Show Confidence and Initiative
People love to be led. You might also be someone who loves to follow. But strangely there are always people who look up to you. The question is whether you are someone who can take the lead with confidence in getting something done. Though we all face loss of confidence from time to time in life that prevents us from taking initiative, there are ways to get out loss of confidence. Never forget that one good initiative you take can catch up with others like how Benjamin Franklin lighted up the entire city of Philadelphia by taking the initiative to hang a lighted lamp in front of his home at night.
Like pebbles from rough stones come after many a tumble in the stream beds; so also a lovely personality is shaped after much chiselling in the grind of life. Are you game for it?