21 Keys to Magnetic Likeability

Magnetic Likeability

Your true potential is enhanced by the sum of all the people who like you, and thus would go out of their way to assist you in a time of need.  Unfortunately, there is no quick-fix guide for becoming extremely likeable.  Likeability is tied deeply into some of your most stubborn, long-standing habits and behaviors.  As with conquering any major personal change, it takes time and practice.

Here’s what you should practice:

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster. Your life will never be the same again.
– Og Mandino

  1. Be Attentive to Others and Never Stop Listening – Self-centered people are usually unlikable.  When you’re involved in a conversation, it’s important to focus more on the other person and less on yourself.  If you genuinely concern yourself with others and listen to them closely, you’ll make scores of friends with little effort.  Remember, everybody loves a good listener.
  2. Compliment People Who Deserve It – Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to shine.  Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
  3. Make Yourself Available and Approachable – If people cannot get a hold of you, or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you.  Your general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them.  Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of communication to those around you.
  4. Speak Clearly so People Can Understand You – Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can’t understand.  Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and likeability.
  5. Never Try to Be Someone You’re Not – All people have the subconscious ability to detect bullshit.  Even academy award winning actors slip up every now and then.  Fake people are not likeable.  Ask yourself this: If you don’t like who you really are, why the heck should I like you?
  6. Address People by Their Name – People love the sight and sound of their own name, so make sure you learn to remember names.  Use them respectfully in both oral and written communication.
  7. Mirror the Person You’re Conversing With – You can mirror someone by imitating their body language, gestures, movements and facial expressions during a one on one conversation.  The other person will unconsciously pickup on the familiarity of your mirrored actions, which will provide them with an added sense of comfort as they speak with you.  The more comfortable you make them feel, the more they will enjoy being around you.
  8. Always Ask to Help… and Help When Asked – Everyone appreciates the gift of free assistance and those who supply it.  Highly likeable people always spare time for others, regardless of how busy their own schedules are.  Remember, helping people get what they want is the #1 key to getting what you want.
  9. Never Get Caught Lying – Everybody stretches the truth at times, but everyone hates a liar.  Ironic, isn’t it?  Regardless, understand that your credibility and likeability will get crushed if you are caught telling a lie.
  10. Say “Please” and “Thank You” – These 2 simple phrases make demands sound like requests and inject a friendly tone into serious conversations.  It can mean the difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.
  11. Use Positive Language (Body and Verbal) – You can use positive language skills to exhibit yourself as a helpful, constructive person rather than a destructive, disinterested one.  Positive body language involves the act of maintaining eye contact while speaking, using hand gestures to accentuate important points, leaning in closer while someone else is speaking, smiling, and mirroring the person you’re involved in a conversation with.  Positive verbal language concentrates on what can be done, suggests helpful choices and alternatives, and sounds accommodating and encouraging rather than one-dimensionally bureaucratic.
  12. Smile – Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile.  Think about how you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles.  Suddenly she doesn’t seem like a stranger anymore, does she?  Instead she seems warm and friendly, someone you wouldn’t mind being around for a little while longer.
  13. Keep Unqualified Opinions to Yourself – If you don’t have all the facts, or you’re uneducated on the topic of discussion, it’s in your best interest to spend your time listening.  Unqualified opinions just make a person sound foolishly arrogant.
  14. Provide Tangible Value – Don’t just follow in the footsteps of everyone else.  Figure out which pieces of the puzzle are missing and put them in place.  When you add tangible value, you increase your own value in the eyes of others.
  15. Respect Elders, Respect Minors, Respect Everyone – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected.  Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother.  People will notice your kindness.
  16. Make Frequent Eye Contact… but Don’t Stare – There’s little doubt that eye contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication.  When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction, which leads to likeability.  The key is to make frequent eye contact without gawking.  If you fail to make eye contact you will be seen as insincere and untrustworthy.  Likewise, an overbearing stare can make you appear arrogant and egotistical.
  17. Don’t Over-Promise… Instead, Over-Deliver – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill.  They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity.  Sure, they do deliver something.  But it’s not inline with the original expectations, so all it does is drive negative press.  If you want people to like you, forget about making promises and simply over-deliver on everything you do.
  18. Stand Up for Your Beliefs Without Promoting Them – Yes, it is possible to stand up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone else’s throat.  Discuss your personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but don’t spawn offensive attacks of propaganda on unsuspecting victims.  Stand firm by your values and always keep an open mind to new information.
  19. Make a Firm Handshake – There is a considerable correlation between the characteristics of a firm handshake (strength, duration, eye contact, etc.) and a positive first impression.
  20. Keep Your Hands Away from Your Face – Putting your hands on your face during a conversation tells the other person that you’re either bored, negatively judging them, or trying to hide something.
  21. Dress Clean – “Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance.”  Henry Ward said that, and he knew exactly what he was talking about.  People will always judge a book by its cover.  While a stylish dress code is not absolutely necessary, it can drastically alter another person’s perception of you.

Also, check out these best selling books on likeability:

Photo by: Proserpina

How To Save Your Health and Wealth at the Same Time

Save Your Health and Wealth 

Your health is your life, and your wealth represents the fruits of your labor.  I assume you don’t want to be wasteful with either of them.  Here’s how to save both at the same time:

So many people spend their health gaining wealth,
and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.
– A.J. Reb Materi

  1. Reduce Your Consumption of Drugs – That includes alcohol, cigarettes, over the counter, prescription and otherwise.  Drugs are a huge financial drain, and in most cases, unhealthy for the human body.  A significant portion of the global population abuses the crap out of them on a daily basis, legally and illegally.

  2. Learn to Cook and Prepare Healthy Food – People who eat every meal out tend to have lighter wallets and heavier rear ends.  With the exception of pricey, upscale dining establishments, you’ll find that most restaurants use lower-grade ingredients and employ sketchy sanitary practices that fall well below the standards you embrace in your own kitchen.  So when you eat out, you’re either spending more cash or eating low-grade product.  Regardless, you lose.  The ability to cook and prepare healthy meals is a vital skill everyone should know how to do.

  3. Brown Bag the Leftovers for Lunch – Always cook enough at dinnertime so you can enjoy lunchtime leftovers the following day.  Leftovers are faster, easier, cheaper and healthier than anything you’ll find at the local fast food eatery.

  4. Avoid Overpriced, Unproven Supplements – Most people assume that FDA approved nutritional supplements are proven products.  Wrong!  Do you really think the FDA has enough resources to precisely verify every new dietary supplement proposed to hit the market?  I assure you, they don’t and there is no feasible way they ever will.  Remember, the FDA concentrates its efforts on drugs, not supplements.  Under the active Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act, producers of dietary supplements do not have to verify that their product is effective, safe or at all healthy prior to placing it on store shelves.  Sometimes someone has to become dreadfully ill from a dietary supplement before it even becomes a “blip” on the FDA’s radar. 

  5. Drink Filtered Tap Water – I’ve said it before, people go to work and trade priceless hours of their lives for dollars and then waste the dollars buying something that’s already free.  A Brita water filter is an inexpensive investment that makes free tap water as healthy and pure as the bottled water for sale at the local supermarket.  Since a penny saved is a penny earned, you’ll be making money every time you take a sip.  Also, substituting beverages like soda for filtered tap water is another healthy way to save.

  6. Stop Driving Like a Maniac – The faster you accelerate your vehicle, the more gas you will burn.  People who are heavy on the pedal use up to 37% more gas during every mile of city driving.  At $4 a gallon, that’s a lot of wasted money.  Also, the faster you drive, the less time you have to react to hazardous road conditions.  Bottom line: Drive responsibly at or below the speed limit.

  7. Brew Your Own Coffee – Is coffee perfectly healthy for you?  It’s hard to say for sure.  There is a good deal of medical research to validate both sides of the argument (see here and here).  However, one point remains certain: millions of people across the globe drink coffee every single morning.  Many of them wasting significant amounts of money on fatty, sugar and cream packed coffee beverages from Starbucks-style coffeehouses.  So the real question is: How do you make the coffee drinking habit healthier and less expensive?  The answer is simple.  Brew your own coffee.  If you like, add a dash of low fat milk and a single packet of sugar.  It’s quick, fairly healthy and way cheaper than Starbucks.  We have a Cuisinart Two-to-Go Coffeemaker and absolutely love it.

  8. Wear Helmets and Protective Body Gear – How many motorcyclists, bicyclists, skateboarders, etc. do see foolishly blazing around without wearing any form of protective body gear?  It’s your life.  A quality bicycle helmet will cost you $40 and 2 seconds of your time to put it on before you ride.  If you don’t wear one and end up crashing and cracking your head open, it could cost you thousands of dollars in medical bills and take months, if not years, for your body to fully recover.

  9. Stay In and Hang Out – Your home is your haven.  It’s the safest, most comfortable environment to relax and socialize in.  It also happens to be a far cheaper alternative to the local bars, pubs and clubs.  You can save money on gas and entertainment costs while avoiding a lungful of secondhand smoke.  So login to eBay, sell some stuff you don’t use, buy yourself a Wii and invite over a few of your favorite people.  Don’t forget to crank-up the tunes.  😉

  10. Buy Healthy, Generic Brand Food – When it comes to the bare essentials on your grocery list, generic brands can provide the same food quality at a significantly reduced cost.  U.S. food manufacturers are forced to follow a set of standards which basically guarantees the quality of the food they produce.  Many large-scale grocery chains purchase name brand products directly from the manufacturer and simply slap their own generic brand label on the packaging.  You should always compare the generic brand’s list of ingredients to a name brand product just to make sure everything matches up.  [Read more…]

9 Black Belt Techniques for Fighting Laziness at Work

Fight Laziness 

Laziness can ferociously creep up on us at work even when we’re consciously committed to getting things done.  It’s a byproduct those evil shiny objects passing through our periphery just begging for attention.  We try to fight them off, but sometimes it’s an arduous battle we can’t seem to win.  After all, being lazy is what our unconscious minds would rather being doing anyways.  

Not all is lost though.  With the help of a few black belt techniques, laziness can be conquered.  You just have to game your mind before your mind falls victim to the lazy game.  Here’s how…

Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.
– Anne Frank

  1. Fully Understand the True Consequences of Being Lazy – If you are habitually lazy on the job there’s a good chance that you’re not fulfilling all of your responsibilities.  If you’re not fulfilling your responsibilities then you’re not doing your job, and thus, you’re not worth paying.  It’s only a matter on time before your superiors notice this and eliminate the dead weight.  There’s a pretty good article on About.com entitled “How To Get Fired.”  Take a quit look at this article and ask yourself, “How many of these points pertain to laziness?”  Similarly, if a self-employed person gets lazy, you can be fairly certain they will not be self-employed for long.
  2. Never Lose Sight of the Whole Elephant – I’ve heard people use the phrase “take one bite of the elephant at a time” more times than I can count.  It is true, breaking up a large project into a series of smaller, bite-sized milestones is a smart way to hone your concentration and keep yourself motivated in the short-term.  However, it is never wise to completely lose sight of the whole elephant (the big picture).  After all, the whole elephant is the only reason you started working in the first place.  At some point you want to get promoted, land that full-size contract deal and have the opportunity to get ahead of the pack.  Those are big picture goals, goals that motivate long-term drive.  You must always remain cognizant of the fact that a bit of laziness now on a few small tasks may snowball into a lengthy stretch of missed opportunities in the future when the judge compares your performance to that of your peers.
  3. Don’t Stop Doing… Start the Next Related Task – Once you stop, laziness kicks in and it’s hard to get going again.  The key is to complete a task and then immediately jump to the next related task.  I consider a related task to be any task with a similar type required mental thinking.  Your mind can transition seamlessly between related tasks because your efforts on the previously completed tasks have already geared your mind for the type of work required in all the subsequent tasks.  The sooner you forge ahead, the more confident you will feel going into it and the more productive you will be.
  4. Do Work for You Too – Far too often I see competent, hardworking people only doing work for someone else, usually their employer.  When the workload is extremely light (or the day comes to and end), they get lazy and do less instead of transitioning their attention to accomplishing something for themselves.  If all you’re hard work is spent growing someone else’s business and all your free time is spent being lazy, you will never grow a business of your own.  Avoid laziness by spending your down time working for you.  The more you accomplish for yourself, the more motivated you will be in all walks of your work life.
  5. Setup Physical Barriers Against Distractions – Distractions lead to laziness, and unfortunately, distractions are friggin’ everywhere!  If you’re like me, you love to check your favorite blogs and reddit.com 50 times a day.  How do I conquer the urge?  I setup a physical distraction barrier by unplugging my internet connection while I’m working.  If you’re like my wife, Angel, you are prone to spending too much of your “work at home” time watching Lifetime movies.  How do I conquer her urge for her?  I hide the dang remote!  😉  In all seriousness, sometimes you must setup physical barriers between yourself and the distractions that attempt to overpower your conscious will to work.
  6. Actually Schedule In Late Afternoon Goof-Off Time – One of the most effective anti-laziness tricks I’ve implemented actually involves scheduling in goof-off time each afternoon at 4PM.  By doing so, I have slowly eliminated my spontaneous urges to check my favorite blogs and news sites because I now know I have a scheduled time to do so.  This may seem odd, or even somewhat counterproductive, but it has actually skyrocketed my early morning through mid-afternoon productivity levels.  So even though I’ve committed to being lazy in the late afternoon, the entire early part of my day (when my mind freshest) is spent in the zone without the physiological urge to slack off and succumb to laziness.
  7. Coach Yourself Out Loud… Inch by Inch – This is another one that sounds strange (literally), but truly is an effective self-motivation method.  Break the task you’re currently working on into a few smaller, logical steps and then coach yourself through them out loud.  “You have to get this done!  This step is so easy!  Let’s do it right now!”  When you complete a step, congratulate yourself on a job well done.  “That was great work!  You’re on fire!  We’re going to be finished with this in no time!”  I find that coaching myself out loud through each step actually makes me more cognizant of my forward progress, thus motivating me to work even harder on the next small step.  Success is just a game of inches.  Every small inch of forward progress is a grand accomplishment, because at some point you will be able to add up all those inches.  When you do, you will find yourself in the end zone… Touchdown!
  8. Take Mentally and Physically Active Reward Breaks – Taking a short, productive break in between every solid hour of work is something I strongly recommend, but only if you spend your short breaks doing something that actively stimulates your mind and body.  Inactive activities promote laziness and mid-day fatigue.  Take a quick stroll around the office, get up and talk to someone you enjoy speaking with, or crank-up your iPod and listen to a song that motivates you.  Whatever you do, stay active and alert.
  9. Refuel Your Mind and Body with Premium Everyday – You are what you eat!  If you eat like crap, you will feel like crap.  If you feel like crap, you will produce crappy work.  Don’t sell yourself short of your full potential.  Refuel your mind and body with premium, healthy food and 8 hours of sleep each night.  Most unhealthy eaters who don’t receive enough sleep are unsurprisingly lethargic in every waking hour of their existence.

Photo by: Philippe Leroyer

30 Useful Tools Everyone Should Own

Tools Everyone Should Own 

Productive living is all about being properly equipped.  Maintaining an essential set of useful tools is the key to the productivity kingdom.  The list below is by no means all-inclusive, but instead concentrates on the very basics, the essential supplies everyone should own.

  1. Laptop Computer – In most cases the desktop computer is dead weight.  The portability of a laptop provides you with the flexibility of using the whole world as your personal office space.  Some of my most creative ideas come to fruition while working remotely in fresh, stimulating environments.
  2. 4 Month Calendar – Take a quick glance at the next four months in one clean shot.  A hard copy 4 month calendar is an indispensible tool for capturing an elevated view of a busy schedule.  Even better, you can make one for free.
  3. Measuring Tape – Measuring things by the length of your hand or shoe isn’t exactly an accurate practice.  Get yourself a 25 foot retractable measuring tape that will be capable of handling all of your measuring needs.
  4. Portable GPS – Being truly lost is not a fun feeling.  A GPS basically eliminates this possibility.  During a recent vacation to Costa Rica our Garmin GPS pretty much saved our rear ends on multiple occasions.
  5. Cell Phone with Handsfree – Why would any sane person drive one-handed while holding an odd shaped phone to their ear when they have the option to use a handsfree set?  When I’m forced to be on a long phone call, I like to get other things done at the same time.  My handsfree cell phone allows me to do this no matter where I am.
  6. Hand Sanitizer – Because there isn’t a sink and bar of soap conveniently located outside of every drive-through window or various other snack time locations.  In my mind, hand sanitizer is a tool, a tool that prevents me from infecting my body with germs every single day.  Keep yourself healthy!  Sanitize your hands before you eat!
  7. Multi-head Screwdriver – Take a look around.  I bet most of the manmade objects around you are being held together by screws.  Throughout your lifetime you’re going to need to tighten a whole lot of them in all different sizes and varieties.  A decent multi-head screwdriver with a wide assortment of screwdriver heads is your best bet.
  8. Pliers – Your hands are not the most effective tool for gripping and maneuvering small objects.  That’s where pliers come in handy.  One set of pliers will not do the trick either. Likely, you will need a small assortment of pliers in various styles and sizes for different kinds of jobs. You’ll probably use needle-nose pliers most often, but heavy grooved pliers and wire cutting pliers will come in handy at times too.
  9. Hammer – The single greatest tool of all time.  The hammer has an infinite set of practical applications.  A good old 16 oz claw hammer will provide a lifetime of reliable service.
  10. First Aid Kit – Human beings are not made of titanium.  When you or someone you care about gets injured, a basic first aid kit becomes the single most important thing you own.
  11. Water Filter – People trade precious hours of their lives for dollars and then waste the dollars buying something that’s already free.  This scenario represents the inverse of productivity.  A Brita water filter makes tap water taste just as good as anything you’ll find at the grocery store, not to mention you’ll be saving money every time you take a sip.
  12. Various Types of Tape – Scotch tape, masking tape and duct tape… you need them all.  Tape may very well be the second greatest invention after the hammer. 
  13. Quality Sunglasses – Most people consider sight to be their most important sense.  Quality sunglasses protect the human eyes from being destroyed by the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.  This radiation can lead to short-term and long-term ocular problems such as cataracts, blindness and various forms of eye cancer.
  14. Wrist Watch with Alarm – A wrist watch doesn’t have to be fancy.  Being able to tell the time and set an alarm for last minute reminders is the key.  It has been my experience that people who wear wrist watches are noticeably better at managing their time.
  15. Extension Cord – Because an electrical outlet is not always where it should be.  How great will it be when household electrical power is transmitted wirelessly? [Read more…]

21 Must-Read Articles on Happiness


Each of these articles delivers a unique, healthy message concerning the topic of happiness.  I’ve read them all… and yes, I think you should read them too.  They need no further introduction.  Enjoy!  😉

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance.
The wise grows it under his feet.
– James Openheim

  1. The Art of Smiling

  2. How To Be Happy

  3. Three Keys to Finding True Happiness

  4. Seven Tips for Making Yourself Happier in the Next Hour

  5. Your Dreams and Desires Are Your Guiding Light To Pursue

  6. The 6 Components of a Happy Life

  7. Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time

  8. 100 Ways to Keep Yourself Happy

  9. Find a Job You Love?

  10. Surefire Way to Wake Up Without the Snooze

  11. Happiness at Work

  12. The Incredible Power of Contentment

  13. What Does Your Life Mix Pie Chart Look Like?

  14. Seneca’s Top 10 Fundamentals for Finding Happiness

  15. 12 Techniques to Help You Live a Happy and Fulfilled Life

  16. Your Home: The Best Company To Work For

  17. Flip Your Thoughts: The Key Habit for Weight Loss, Frugality, Happiness, Success

  18. A Personal Experience: Simple Gifts Mean the Most

  19. How To Maximize Your Pleasure and Joy

  20. Top 10 Reasons Why Happiness at Work is the Ultimate Productivity Booster

  21. The 7 Habits of Highly Happy People  😉

Also, check out these great books for more happiness articles:

Photo by: Ernst Moeksis