Influence #5

It’s astounding to me to see the thousands of people that show up to the various concerts at the Jiffy Lube Live Center.  What is that common factor inside every concert goer that drives them to show up that night.  It can’t be just that they like the artists music. Is it?

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Why do you want to influence others? Well, everyone desires something.  I can’t think of any decent person that just wants to sit by and let luck decide their life..  It is important to believe in something.  I mean to be passionate about a cause.  Whatever that cause is find it.  If you are passionate about something, then you definitely do it more than once a week.  For instance, politicians jobs are to influence their constituents. Lobbyist’s jobs are to influence the politicians.  We as citizens influence the politicians as well.   It’s all an accepted circle. So much so, that there is a business out of it.  There are people who get paid to negotiate and fight on your behalf.  My goal is to teach you the basics of how to do that yourself.  The best politicians can be friends with you even if your beliefs aren’t the same. Most people can at least tolerate those types of politicians.

The goal of this chapter is to influence others regardless of their beliefs.  Some people try to win influence or likeability over others by riding the fence on issues. To me there is nothing more distasteful than someone who can’t commit to a stance on a major issue.  This is an ameture mistake. You are no longer an ameture. Now, there are some people who truly can’t decide on one thing like religion, or political affiliation and that is fine. But, for those that intentionally hide, skew, or split their views to please others, it is unattractive.  I encourage you to be empathic those those with opposing viewpoints. You will win more friends with a tongue of sweet honey than a tongue of fire. Practice communicating your feelings to friends.  Let them know how you feel about something caring they did for you.  They will appreciate that and keep on giving.  You can leverage your friends trust in you to make more friends and influence more people.  Trust creates credibility. Credibility creates desire, more trust, and deeper relationships.  My friends I’ve had for years share and do way more things for me than the friends I just met  six months ago.  I’ve taken time to build trust, establish connections, and lend a helping hand. In return, my friends have shared their knowledge, experience, and assets with me.

The simple truth is that most people like friendly, warm personalities.  The best way to get friends that will connect with you is to treat people how you would want to be treated. People who are similar in behavior to you will gravitate towards you without you even trying. It should be natural to be yourself right?  Actually it’s not easy for a lot of folks.  With enough practice, you will realize that being yourself in life is a lot less stressful than trying to be someone you are not.

Even though my advice is to look similar to those you want to attract, I am by no means advocating dressing poorly. If it just so happens that the individuals you hang around like to wear tattered clothing and that is the style. Then so be it. However, in most cases, your classiness of dresses directly correlates with your level of quality in people’s minds.   It’s automatic. We naturally see someone in nice clothing and assume they are big shots.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been treated differently when going into a store two times wearing two different types of clothing. Some time ago, I nailed an interview wearing a Goodwill suit that cost me eight dollars . This was for a supervisor position at a big corporation in Washington, DC.

We also feel important when we surround ourselves with good looking, aromatic people.  In my research for this book I met a couple different people who employed a strategy that is the exact opposite of mine. These people prefered to go out on the weekends with acquaintances who looked less desirable than them so that they would be more attractive by comparison. I don’t recommend this because then the focus is too much on judging the looks of your friends. You should focus on looking good in public and surrounding yourself with others who care about their personal image. This includes basic hygiene, body language, and social cue awareness.

Another thing that we instinctively do is compare things. We compare cars, homes, significant others, toys, pets, you name it.  That’s the reason why comparative bargaining works.  When you are trying to persuade someone to do something for you it’s often hard to find out their limits directly. A lot of times they don’t know. What I like to do is ask them for whatever favor I need at a level that’s just barely absurd. A level that I know they don’t have time or ability to complete. Then when they say no, I debate that offer with them for a bit. If they still say no, I ask for that same task but at a moderate level.

Let’s say you need a housemate to clean a room in the house.  Well I won’t ask for them to clean the whole house but I’ll ask them to clean two rooms in one weekend. Then if they say no, I’ll convince them why they should clean two rooms.  If that doesn’t work, which it probably won’t, I’ll ask if they can clean just one room and i’ll clean the other room.  At that point they would say yes because cleaning one room is way better than cleaning two rooms.

Which brings me to my next piece of information.  People are more compassionate and willing to perform favors when they see you pulling your weight.    They want to see that the requestor is doing his or her share. They are also more willing to return a favor.  Favors and small gifts are important to give to new friends.. My favorite types of gifts are information. For instance, showing someone who likes coffee a cool new cafe or someone who likes yoga, a great yoga website.

You can leverage social media to “help” friends commit to something that they have agreed to do with you.  Publicize someone’s commitment to helping you with whatever you desire so they feel committed to helping you. They will not want to let you down for fear of public scrutiny or the guilt in their mind.  Their reputation and image are on the line.

Make the person feel smart for accepting your ideas by saying things like, I can tell you are a smart guy.  It’s not just common flattery. it’s they must be dumb if they don’t go along with your plan.  In emotional relationships, even professional relationships people like to feel they are in control even when they aren’t. If you can master this facade then you will win a majority of arguments and decisions.   You will achieve more win-win scenarios because the other person will think they call the shots and you will get the outcome you desired.  Guys especially, like something more when they work to get it. Even if what they achieved isn’t that monumental.

People trust someone who shares similarities with themselves. Similarities attract each other.  If you want to attract someone who likes yoga then you need to dress like you do yoga. Simple as that.  As simple as this fact is, a lot of people don’t realize. I’ve had friends come to me, asking why they can’t get so-and-so to date them.  Well one person looks like they just came from a GWAR  concert while the other is a ballet dancer.  In this respect, you need to focus on what others identify you as not what you identify yourself as.

Personal contact and collaboration go along way in initial meetings.  Give someone a tip on something early on as a peace offering then they may be more likely to give you something later. Keep the ante up on the favors and soon enough you will be trading cars.  A canadian  named Kyle MacDonald, was inspired by a book he read as a child to trade his way to the top. He started with a red paper clip and ended up with a house once he was done trading. His first trade was the paperctoo for a fish-shaped pen. His last trade was a movie role for a two-story farmhouse in Canada.

Increasing your social status is a quick way to increase your influencing power.  There are a lot of professional clubs and associations that cost less than $50 annually.  You can also make your own club for whatever interests you. You can post flyers on craigslist, church bulletin boards, apartment complex bulletin boards, and at local shops.  Social clubs, professional organizations, and associations It’s no secret that social status brings influence.  Check your community center’s online page for clubs.  A lot of churches and businesses have clubs related to sports, travel, or food. Even though you might not be the CEO or the preacher you can still be a big influence in the social scene..

The last but most important key aspect of influence is to allow yourself to be influenced.  This means break down the barriers that you put up to keep people away.  Don’t make excuses for being anti-social.  Make an effort to engage in community events at the club house or pool.  Letting go of your pride and ego will allow you to be vulnerable to influence and reason.  A peer is defined as someone who is equal to you in things like status, ability, qualification, age, and other characteristics.  A friend is generally your peer and sometimes the words are used interchangeably. You can’t be someone’s peer if you think you are better or more important than them.

Tools -Storytelling

The most powerful tool for influencing others is your story. Telling a captivating story can motivate others, recall lost feelings, and promote self-reflection.  How did you get to where you are right now? That is what is interesting to new acquaintances.  They want to know what makes you so important? What is your claim to fame?  In instances where someone has heard about you before, maybe they are a mutual friend, they will want to know details to confirm what they have heard about you.  Hearing a story activates tons of sensors in our brain. It creates images, feelings, and smells.  Stories can be as descriptive as you make them.  The feelings that stories create are engaging and captivating. In 2010, researchers at Princeton University found that the person’s brain telling the story synchronizes with the listeners when fully engaged.   The same waves and sensors fluctuate at the same time.  The researchers also discovered that we think in cause and effect. That is exactly what a story is. We think of our daily lives as stories. The same study concluded that stories are the best way to attune listeners to your ideas.  This is why when you have a dream about an idea you feel so compelled to follow it. The dream story activated sensors in your brain that made it seem real.

If you have been following this guide by been going on adventures then you should have plenty of great stories. People desire to relate their stories to other’s experiences.

Storytelling is so powerful that there are professional consultants who make a living teaching business leaders how to motivate employees using this art. Storytelling can mesmerize listeners by building a bridge into their mind.  The memories that you make with others will be the glue that holds the friendship together.  You can use stories to prove your stance on an issue or a trial you have passed.  Stories are great in the beginning of relationships and friendships. After a few months into a relationship it is safe to easy off on storytelling because by then you will have made great connections with your potential friends. Try not to artificially inject stories into every conversation or else you will be overbearing.
Skill-Charisma and Authority

So you have decided that you want to be more charismatic.  Now it’s time to start acting like it.  Developing charisma is one of the most controversial social science topics out there. Some say great minds are born charismatic like presidents, religious leaders, and business tycoons. I challenge that notion with this exercise.   Try leading dinner plans or evenings out with family. They are perfect test subjects because they know you, they are forgiving, and they are willing to trust you.  The next night or outing try suggesting someone else take lead then be interested in the plans they come up with. Practice being eager to go through with their plan but not too eager or it will seem staged. share some of your short 10 second videos with people at work.  Once you get good at hosting dinner outings then start hosting at your own house.  Make it a bi-weekly routine to get everyone in the habit of making your place the social spot of the week.  After a few good times they will be looking forward to it.

Another key to charisma is a great smile. You need a genuine electric smile. Your neighbors should be able to feel your presence when you enter the room. You should be able to feel this presence because the feeling starts with you. If you don’t feel amazing then no one will.    At the end of the day you want people asking you, “why are you so electric!”?  This warming presence will lead to more attention and magnetism from your audience.

You also need to be aware of the tone of your voice and your facial expression. Speak loud but don’t yell. Don’t cover your mouth when you talk.  Periodically raise your eyebrows in interest when listening to someone’s story. Nod your head in agreement from time to time to show that you are keeping up with the topics at hand. Watch other people’s facial expressions to make sure you don’t look too excited or too depressed.  Don’t repeat old content. Keep the conversations moving. Speak at a steady pace, not too slow or fast.  Keep your stories short as well. When you respond to other people, appeal to their topics using colorful words and insightful questions.  Alter your voice volume  to keep the audience interested.  If you talk in one pitch then people will start to lose focus.  Throw in dramatic pauses with your sentences to give your audience a chance to reflect.  Also, remember to stand tall like a president and talk with your arms for maximum engagement. Don’t be stiff.  The first part of delivering a message is the message, the second part is how you deliver the message.

With charisma, we can use comparisons to our advantage again.  Metaphors and contrasting statements will leave lasting effects on listeners.  Metaphors and contrasts draw correlations between opposites.  Contrasts force listeners to reflect on statements that contradict the normal human behavior.  Comparisons cause listeners to realize the distance between two points.  It is equally important to listen to what others have to say. Facilitation of the conversation is an easy way to appear in control with minimal talking required.  Refer to the graphical  guide for tips on facilitation.

#1 Knowledge

I have always been fascinated with finding out how machines and systems tick.  When I was younger, I took apart toys after I became tired of playing with them. When I started going to high school, I switched to old machines around the house or from second hand stores.  Then, when I entered college, I became bored with machines and took an interest in people.  The complexity of human beings attracted me.  Each person on earth is truly unique.  Everyone perceives, understands, hears, and interprets messages differently. Sure, there are stereotypes, similarities, and norms, but the mixes of culture, society, and experiences combine to make us unique. A personality is a combination of experiences, inherited behavior, and culture.  Your unique personality, of course, has different consequences on different people. We can control these consequences by controlling our personality.  We can craft a personality of interest if we know how to change these things that make up our core.

The easiest out of the three core elements to change are your experiences.  Try to experience something new every week, or every day, for the more aggressive reader.  Surround yourself with positive role models.  Find someone who is where you want to be in 5-10 years and befriend them.  The second easiest element to change of your personality is your inherited behavior.  When we are children we have to be taught to share, to tell the truth, and to be kind, but those are the basics. We are necessarily taught the finer skills. We have to teach ourselves how to develop and harness our uniqueness.  Practice observing your own behavior for a week. Carry around a notepad and write down things about yourself that you would like to change.  Notice how you interact with friends, family, and co-workers. The next week, start catching yourself doing the things on your list, then try to promote the opposite or desired behavior.  I did this for years through college and a couple years after.  Never stop trying to improve your image. I should also note, when I say the word image, I am referring to our inward image and not physical appearance.

The hardest and most powerful element that affects a personality is the culture that person exists in.   We can classify them into work or school culture, family culture, and friend culture. There are norms within each of these groups such as always saying good morning to people at the office or having watercooler chats in the break room.  There are also boundaries in things like humor or conversation topics for family culture.  You will either be an influencer or an influence based on the amount of power or leadership you have in these culture groups.  The size of these groups combined with the amount of power you wield in them affects your ability to change these cultures.

That being said, there is some type of emotional, sociological, intangible source that drives everyone. If you find what drives someone then you can influence and motivate them. So, in order to have social power we must first develop knowledge.

Think of yourself as a salesmen and your product is yourself.  In order to persuade someone to buy you, become friends with you, you must find out what they want, then repurpose your personality to offer that trait to them. In order to acquire new friends you might have to get rid of old friends. If you have friends who are adding more complication to your life then consider cutting the time down that you spend with them and use that to spend investing in new friendships.  I’ve had to get rid of friends and acquaintances that were poisoning my quality of life.  This was a hard decision but something I will never regret because it gave me my life back.  Take time to search your connections for relationships that could end up like that down the line. Keep a watchful eye on those.

The 5W’s are the best way I get to know someone: Who, What, Where, When, and Why.  Review a scenario of the 5W’s in the graphic book.  The first time I talk to someone I ask them open ended questions to find out their religion, relationship status, line of work or study, and political affiliation.  In some cultures it is okay to ask about these things right off the bat. In Washington, DC politics are the main topics at a lot of bars so it is normal to ask someone about their political affiliation.  In Lynchburg, VA religion is a big deal. Folks are very open about their religious beliefs therefore it wouldn’t be abnormal to ask about religion during an icebreaker conversation.  Asking questions are also good ways to move a stale conversation along.

Some people will just ignore someone who says “hi” to them walking down the street or sharing an elevator. I welcome conversations with anyone, no matter what they look like, you never know what you can learn from someone. Also practicing talking is the only way you will be a better conversationalist. I had an acquaintance in college who was friends and roommates with one of my good friends.  I never really spent much time with her specifically but I kept her as a contact after college. Years later, we ended up in the same city for graduate school.  As the senior editor for the school newspaper and journalism student she gained excellent editing experience. She started editing my research papers as a favor during graduate school.

Skill – Mimicking and profiling

Some soft skills that will help with gaining knowledge from people are mimicking and profiling. Profiling isn’t just for policemen.  When I struggled with my depressed during high school days, my mom decided to send me to a psychologist. I went once a month for almost a year. The sessions helped me discover how alone and angry I was but they didn’t lead me to joy.  My feelings of happiness and sadness weren’t consistent, but one day, while waiting in the hallway for my next class to start I met a older guy who quickly became my best friend.  In hour first conversation we found out that we both play the same video games, love the same music, and live less than half a mile from eachother.  I also found out that he worked the graveyard shift inside a submarine for the navy, so if anyone knew about loneliness – he did. Jeffrey became my role model. For a couple years, I mimicked his behavior because he was a big influence in my life.

Profiling is a way for you to infer information about someone based on collections of physical and behavioral qualities. Based on pre-built profiles you can infer information about someone that will help you predict their actions, likes, dislikes, etc.

Capitalize on the insecurity of lost identity. People want to know the 5W’s, who they are, what they are good at, and why. Self-identification is an ongoing process. People never stop redefining themselves. Besides, let’s face it, who doesn’t like hearing reaffirm great things about themselves.  I’m not saying you should suck up to someone or be a “yes man”. That is for amateurs.  Everyday try to find something good about one person and let it naturally come up in conversation.  For instance, a co-worker is telling you about a recent project they worked on,  you can tell them “Modifying XYZ spreadsheets is your specialty. I’m sure you will ace this project!”. Co-workers love being recognized of their strengths.

Always assume someone is watching you when you are in public.  At my college there was a secret society called Chi (pronounced ‘Kai’ not ‘Chee’).  They were the spirit of the school. It was understood amongst the students that Chi was always watching.   One year I dyed my hair blue just for fun. A couple days after doing so, I received a letter from Chi in the mail, condoning my school spirit. The letter also asked me to do the honor of placing the ceremonial flowers and sign on the pedestal for there next Chi Walk event.

If you have ever noticed someone picking their nose in the mirror in their car then you know – people act weird when they think no one’s watching. Don’t be that person and you can avoid some embarrassing moments and office drama.  Your big brother, parents, boss, teacher, they are always watching. Don’t let them know that you know they are watching but always perform your best because you know they are watching.

When debating about projects and current events, only tell someone they are wrong if they can take criticism, and if you know them well enough.  People respect constructive criticism from their peers they trust.  Unfortunately, some people can’t take criticism at all, and offending them isn’t the way to be interesting.  Remember, the best location for criticism is away from other peers.  If you are in a debate or argument, remember to voice your respect for their opinion in spite of your disagreement of it.

Social proof is the scientific term for mimicking. It is a great influence tactic for beginners.  For example you go to your friend’s birthday party where you only know a few people. There are two different friend circles there, his work buddies and former classmates.  You don’t really know his classmates so you attempt to reflect their behavior to fit into the conversation.  Meaning you try to mimic their body language and facial expressions as not to stand out.  It’s a good practice to draw similarities quickly, perhaps after-school clubs, sports, or Greek organizations.

The best time to be unique is when you are in small gatherings.  This is the time you can create originality. Originality is replaceable. This will create a void in their life. When they experience how refreshing your personality is they can’t help themselves by being around you.  If you are in the courting process, limit your time with the person. This gives them a taste.  Think of movie trailers. They just give you the scenes right before the action starts. You have to pay to see the full movie to get the details. This is the same effect we want to have in our social encounters to elicit the maximum influence and desire.  An easy way to differentiate yourself is to join something where you are the only kind of your gender.  Try taking a class or joining a club where the opposite sex stereotypically is the minority. You can look at local sports clubs, music classes, book clubs, different art classes, or hiking,  Surprisingly, many organizations still post things in newspapers, so be sure to check the obvious and not so obvious locations as you hunt for new hobbies.   Thanks for reading, comment, like and subscribe if I changed the way you think.

What does the future hold for technology?

Like most tech enthusiasts and entrepreneurs I am OBSESSED with future technology.

http://futuristicnews.com/smart-palm/ this awesome solar panel flower called a Smart Palm gives free wifi, ports to charge electronic devices, and local city information.  It’s a little pit stop for pedestrians, tourists, and travelers. They are in Dubai, India which is the City of the Future!

http://www.neatorama.com/2012/03/30/scientists-can-now-control-lightning-strikes-with-laser/

How to control lightening strike destinations with high powered lasers^^

https://www.ethz.ch/en/news-and-events/eth-news/news/2015/07/soundproofing-with-quantum-physics.html

Soon to come sound proofing technology using quantum physics

Introduction – Why do we we want to be more social?

Why do we care about increasing our social power? Well we all want something. Whatever that something is it can’t be achieved alone.  Majority of the things we have were given to us by someone. In order to get what you want, you need to increase your circle of influence.  Well how do you influence others? You have to be interesting enough to mesmerize your audience.

In a time where face to face communication is on the decline, it is imperative that we learn to be effective communicators.  We must communicate to establish connections and communities with our neighbors.  The Generation X, Y, and Z, are disconnected from society in real life but connected on the internet. They have a false sense of society.  This is birthed the issues of social anxiety and fear of public speaking.  Studies have been conducted that prove people would rather die than speak publicly.
Social network in a course
In this blog series I want to talk to you about the 6 degrees of connection, social engineering, leveraging of feelings, connections, influence and many other topics.  I took the strategies I’ve been using all my life and turned them into a system I can hopefully teach other people to use.  Have you have ever known someone who is naturally, really good at something? One of my favorite guitar players Yngwie Malsteen, is that guy.  In a one of his interviews he was asked to explain how he plays so well and fast at the same time. He failed at explaining this then apologized because he simply couldn’t  explain how he does something so natural as breathing. If you have ever watched him play then you know what I mean.

I will teach you the tools and skills you need to exercise this framework.  To be interesting means to be intriguing, to gain attention. Our goal in this is to not just catch someone’s attention for the moment but to have them thinking about you even after you leave.  Everyone wants to be intriguing. They want to also be intrigued; entertained.  Do you want to captivate audiences, impress your boss, land that business deal, make new clients, get the rock star husband or the model wife?  This blog will teach you how to manipulate your social encounters to your advantage. This guide is directed towards anyone who wants to improve their reputation, deepen relationships, and widen their scope of influence. I want to show you how to build lasting friendships and increase your happiness through engaging interaction.  Here are the highlights of what I will go over.

This guide is directed towards anyone who wants to improve their reputation, deepen relationships, and widen their scope of influence. Your outcomes in life are a sum of all the decisions you and others connected to you make. If you can control your actions and influences those  actions of others then you can effectively change your destiny.  We demand attention, some of us more than others. People are naturally curious. When you first meet someone they will be somewhat interested in you. Your goal is to captivate them right from the get go.  People tend to be more interested in someone they can’t figure out.  Once they figure out your habits, tendencies, eating preferences etc. things get monotonous and predictable. For instance, in a new relationship you might be obsessed with your new partner. You want to learn their likes, dislikes, political affiliation, religious affiliation, where they like to eat, shop, and play.  Once you figure out these things and you all get into a routine – go here for lunch on Wednesdays, and here for breakfast on Saturdays; things start blurring together.  You want to delay the time it takes people to figure you out, almost like leaving breadcrumbs.  Once they do figure you out, you want to keep your daily life unpredictable and fascinating.  It’s possible to maintain while also doing new things weekly.

The most interesting people have layered personalities.  You should focus as much on your personality as you do your appearance. If you don’t focus on your appearance much then perhaps find another book to read  then come back to this ones. Your personality supports your appearance.  The physical features will draw new friends in but the deep conversations will make them stay.

Everyone is different but for some, personality can be easier to change than physical appearance. A habit only takes 21 days to create, even less for younger readers.  It is important to work out your brain as well. Stronger brains create stronger and quicker habits, as well as more fruitful conversations.  In the words of The Most Interesting man in the World, “ Being boring is a choice”.  As an interesting person you will control: what happens in your mind; how you display thoughts in your mind and what impression you instill in the mind of your listeners. Interesting people develop connection based on emotions. Feelings and emotions matter in developing connections.  Intimacy and curiosity go hand in hand; they develop interest.  The more intimate a relationship is with someone the more interested they are in you.  When I say intimate, I don’t mean physically.  I mean to have a deeper understanding of someone because knowledge compounds interest. Sometimes people aren’t satisfied with just knowing a little bit they want more. Take for instance when someone wants to know a juicy piece of gossip.  They aren’t satisfied with just a hint. They want the whole download on the drama.  The goal here is to develop a deep personality.  Remember, experiences create deeper personalities and deeper friendships.  If you want a deeper relationship with someone go out and do something. Go explore a new part of town you have never been too like a park, shopping mall, or lake.  In this blog series I will tell you about the 5W’s of conversation: Who, what, where, when, & why.  We will talk about public speaking hacks like facilitation.  Information gathering techniques used by the FBI and other major crime fighting guru’s.

When I used to work at a logistics firm, I met a manager named Yusuf, whom I judged by his appearance initially. Once I got to know his personality, he surprised me.  He could quote just about any verse from the bible word for word. He also knew a lot about horticulture and herbal remedies.  From that point on, I was interested to learn more about him.  He became a great mentor to me. He taught me how to approach women, how to do save money living on my own, and how to control my mind to reduce social anxiety.

Here is what predictable (aka boring) people do:

  • The same thing everyday
  • Create drama for attention
  • Perform almost every action with theatrics

Interesting people carry an air of mystery and walk with subtly. For some individuals, one day you hate them and the next day you like them and don’t know why. Yes, being interesting is fun. Being wanted is exciting. Not knowing what you are going to get into every weekend is the bee’s knees.  Thanks to the increase of time spent on computers, the finesse of a socialite and master communicator are more noticeable. It is also easier to subjugate minds that are constantly trapped in cyberspace. I pass by people at work and they ask me how I’m doing I say fine, even though I’m skeptical of whether they really care. Then, I ask how they are doing and they just keep walking. Or I see people and say hello and they say fine how are you, don’t even look up from their phone because they are so engrossed in what they are doing. They are stuck in their own routines.   Given this, It is hard to make new friends and bid for people’s time. Time is a commodity. Most people tend to already have a set friend circle and routine making it hard to slide your way into their lives.  This is why I will get into the importance of marketing yourself for friendship, relationships, business partnerships and more.

Awkward is one of the most used words in today’s pop culture.  From 2012- mid 2015, Almost 10% of the terms searched on Google contained the word awkward in it whether it was the Awkward MTV comedy show, awkward family photos, or awkward moments.  This word is used to define any uncomfortable social interaction.  Whatever the case, we live in the most awkward era to date. Awkwardness is caused by lack of social graces, familiarity, and awareness. We will improve on developing these positive features to ward against this behavior.

I want you to know that it is okay to be weird, special, or strange. Why be boring? Boring is normalcy, routine, complacent. Everyone is weird, some people are just better at hiding it. I will teach you how to embrace your unique weirdness and display it as an asset. I’ll teach you how to be special but not “special”.

Exercise #1 – Create an alias
Secret Santa
This is a fun way to practice getting out of your shell. Be creative with it. It’s got to be unique. If your real name is already unique then think of a simple alias. Use this name when going out to restaurants, bars, or other public places where you will have to use your name.