Saturday, August 30, 2008

    Presenting excuses. Mistakes.

    I plan on writing about all the small stupid social mistakes I commit, to keep track of them and to learn from it.

    At this moment there is a birthday party going on to which I am not assisting. I was invited but I didn't know if I could go (most likely not) because it is in a different town and I would have to find somewhere to sleep and I still had to much work to do for my university.

    So I said: "No, most likely I'm not going because I have nowhere to sleep and I still have much work to do."

    Some days later i received a message: "At the end I found a place for you to sleep, are you coming?"

    Since I didn't finish my work I had to say no again. I feel a little uncomfortable about it because I made her look for a place to sleep and write me again to ask if I am coming. I also might give the impression that I don't want to go, which is not the case. The problem comes from giving a bad excuse in the first place. It would have been more convenient to say: "I don't think I can come. If I finish the homework I have from the university I will let you know so we can try to find a place to sleep for me".

    Conclusion: Only give one excuse, the one that you have the control over(i "decide" if I did enough work for the university). If you give more than one reason for rejecting an offer, condition the others to the primary one("If I finish...(then)we can try to find a place to sleep for me").

    Although this is a quite irrelevant case, similar situations might occur where the outcome is not so unimportant. Lets say isn't a party but a that a company calls you for potential job Australia, which would start in a couple of days. Imagine the reasons for which you can't confirm that you take it were that you are waiting for the results from some health tests and that you don't have time to get a visa. Well, it should make clear that the main reason for not giving an answer yet are the tests, and not the visa.

    Bad: "I would go but I don't have a visa yet, and I'm waiting for the results of some health tests."
    Better:"If the results from my health test are good i could go, then we would still need a visa. Do you think that would still be possible?"

    In the first case the reasons are enumerated, while in the second the main concern is put first and as a condition for the second to even matter. Otherwise the company might make to effort to get you a visa, and I would have to reject it because the primary problem was not cleared. This would give a bad impression, and probably they wouldn't call you next time. Had you made clear which was the primary objection then you wouldn't have gotten into the trouble.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Screw losers. Be a someone.

    We always hear we should act naturally. "Just be yourself" is what you probably have heard from your mother many times. If you are a guy and ask for advice on how to get the girl you want to one of your (girl) friends, they will say the same thing: "Oh, just show yourself the way you are". I call bullshit. This is the biggest mistake you can make.

    The fact is, you didn't decide who you are. During the part of your life that had the biggest influence on your character and your habits you were barely conscious (your childhood, not the times you were drunk). Why should you accept how the environment molded you into who you are? What is so worthwhile about all the imperfections in your character? What kind of self defeating loser attitude is that? If want feel proud about anything in life, shouldn't you start by yourself?

    Transform into who you want to be. Behave as you want to behave. Listen to all, but subordinate to nobody as they tell you how you should be.

    Push your limits. Push your comfort zone. Burn your fears. Behave as the individual you want to be, and you will eventually become that individual. That is the only worthy attitude.

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Tom Cruise IS great

    Imagine not having seen this video before. Forget about how much you laughed when you saw it for the first time. Turn the volume off and watch it one or two minutes. You would think: "I wonder what he is talking about", "He surely knows what he is saying." "I never knew Tom Cruise was such a deep person!"...

    In fact, that is the funny thing about the video. He talks complete bullshit, but he makes such an excellent delivery that it causes a contradiction in your brain. Such a contradiction often causes a humorous response (laugher).

    We may laugh at Tommy, but he can laugh at us too, because he actually manages to fool us into thinking that he is saying something much longer than anyone else could have.

    Tom Cruise is great, just not at thinking.

    How to win an argument to smart people

    Did it ever annoy you that even though your arguments were clearly better, the people watching seemed to support the other guy? Well, to me...oh so often!

    Lets take a look at this example:

    Person A: The moon landing was a hoax.
    Person B: I'm quite sure it is real. There are videos that prove it is real.
    Person A: The moon landing was a hoax.
    Person B: But the government could never cover something that big.
    Person A: The moon landing was a hoax.
    Person B: ...uh...but really, all those pictures they claimed to be false, the NASA proved them to be real.
    Person A: The moon landing was a hoax.
    Person B: But!...uhhh...

    Obviously, Person A is not providing any arguments, it is Person B who brings up evidence to back up his claim. But a third person, will see Person A being assertive, fast reacting, confident about himself and relaxed. He gives the impression that his point is so self evident that it is not even necessary to support it. Person B, although well intentioned, argues from a defensive position, lowering his social value. He may even start stuttering as his new arguments don't flow smoothly. Or from the frustration he may start to talk faster, move his hands around. All of these give a poor impression to the people watching.

    If afterwards you ask the third person, we will very likely say something like: Well, I don't know it, but it might very likely have been a hoax. So why does Person A win even though he did not prove his point? Because the argument was not really about if the moon was a hoax! A third person will be submitted to all kind of other information, not related to that topic. The speaking rhythm, the tone of the voice, the way they stand, their facial expression, how they move their hands, and so many other things. It is estimated that only 30% of the attention in the communication goes to listening what the others say, the rest goes to non-verbal communication.
    If you repeat the message many times, it is more likely to catch on. Just repeat repeat and repeat your point. You will lose some points because you don't bring up any proofs, but by doing such an easy job your body language and your speaking will be much better, outweighing the lack of reasoning.

    This style will work specially well against well intentioned and intelligent people and a public without that doesn't have strong opinion on the subject.

    Of course, you shouldn't make it to obvious nor use it in front of the same people to often so they don't notice the pattern. The technique can be improved by slightly ridiculing you opponents position and other tricks. But lets leave that for some other day.

    Give it a try. Focus less on the arguments, emphasize your position, enjoy. Read More...

    Monday, August 25, 2008

    Your unproductivity zone.

    What is the unproductivity zone?

    Your unproductivity zone is a name for all the things you do JUST to avoid doing something else. Once you enter it, you get stuck for hours. You may not really enjoy what you are doing, but it is just so easy to stay there! You are not really excited about anything at the moment, you procrastinate what you have to do, and even if you have no obligations, you just waste your time in your unproductivity zone because you don't know what else to do. You resort to it when you don't know what else to do as if you where conditioned for it.

    Everybody has their own unproductivity zone. Mine is, as many people's, the Internet. The routine goes as follows: Get on the computer. Check mail. Check favorite web pages. Check blogs/forums. Don't know what to check anymore, you reach your unproductivity zone. So re-read mail. Re-check the same web pages in case you missed something. Click on links you did not click the first time. Start reading all the comments in blogs (which can be many). Answer them. Oh, you found some interesting video on some page. Click it to see the comments on the video on Youtube. Check related videos. You just received a new email. Since some time passed, you can recheck blogs/newspapers for updates. See if someone answered to your comments on the blogs...etc.Hours and hours pass.

    Did you enjoy it? No. You where just sitting there, waiting for any kind of stimulus the Internet would give to your lazy brain. The more time you spend in the unproductivity zone the harder it gets to do something else. In fact, you will feel more and more passive, bored, inactive, unsatisfied all the time.

    The problem with the unproductivity zone is that at first, the activity may not be useless. For instance, it is not useless to check your mail. But to check your mail you have to get on the computer, and after your productive work is finished, you keep sitting in front of it.

    What do you lose?
    1. You will procrastinate the things you have to do. The more time you are in the unproductivity zone, less time you will have to do your tasks, so the idea of doing them becomes even worse. What happens then? You go back to your own little world and try to forget about how "stressful" your life is.
    2. You won't do the things you want to do because you don't even remember you wanted to do them. Maybe you want to learn to play the guitar, write a letter to an old friend, go jogging, work out, go to the library to buy this book you want, etc.
    Some tips to avoid sinking into the unproductivity zone:

    • List what you must and want to do. In a first one you just write the tasks you need to do. The a second one the things you want to do.
    • Determine your unproductivity zone. Whether it is the Internet, watching TV, playing games on the Internet, talking to your best friend. You probably already know what it is.
    • Detect when you reach the unproductivity zone. Think about it. Realize that from that moment on you are wasting your life on something that you neither need to do, nor enjoy!
    • Nike had it right: Just do it. Step out of you unproductive activity the moment you realize you reached. You will still be fresh, at it will not be hard. Just stand up, breath slowly and deeply and forget about what you where doing. Don't think about it, don't complain. Accept it.
    • Condition yourself to hate this useless state. Think about all the things you have to do, and feel like an asshole for avoiding them. Check your list to remind you about the more enjoyable things you could be doing.
    I still sometimes fail and spend time doing nothing, avoiding reality, and feeling terrible about it. But it becomes less every time because I feel so sick about it. It just feels so much better when you know you haven't been wasting your time. Read More...

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Get over shyness: Eyes.

    How many opportunities have you lost in life because of shyness? Uncountable. We all know that not being shy is the number one requirement to have success in life. So lets get over it.

    Being shy has a double negative effect. First, since you are shy, you will not expose yourself to all the possibilities you have. Second, others will see you are shy and will not be interested in hanging out or cooperating with you. Lets not even speak about leadership!

    The eyes are one of the principal factors that expose shy people are they eyes. They are scared to look into other people's eyes, and if they do, they quickly look down.

    The following exercise proved to be very useful for myself. I practice it everyday, all the time, because it costs no effort, is fun, and rewarding!

    The exercise will help you lose your fear for strangers. When your eyes cross with somebody else's, keep staring at them. Not in an aggressive way, just plain relaxed. Keep looking into their eyes until they surrender and look somewhere else. You have to see it as a battle. Do it on the street, in the line for the theatre, in the subway...everywhere. Do it with old ladies, guys, girls, kids...just about everyone.

    You will notice that the hardest to beat are the kids, specially babies! Why? Because they don't know about shyness. You will find it terribly uncomfortable to look more than a couple of seconds into kid's eyes. Think about it, you feel uncomfortable looking into the eyes of a kid! It's not some kind of monster that is going to eat you. Once you experience it, you will realize how incredibly stupid your shyness is, and it will reinforce your will to get over it.

    One final tip, since you will lose battles at first. Lose them with honor. When looking away, you will feel a natural tendency to quickly look downwards. This is a sign of submission. Try to slowly move the focus point in a upward or lateral direction. This gives a message of indifference.

    This exercise will help you not to only look more confident, but also to be more confident. You will see that there is nothing in other people to be afraid of. Most people look away in about 1 second, some people last 2 seconds. They most I have seen is people that watch 5 seconds. These are hard to beat.

    Try it, it feels good! Have fun!

    Friday, August 22, 2008

    Blame yourself

    When you have many problems in your life, most likely you are the problem.

    When something goes wrong, don't look around you to find who to blame. Look in the mirror. If you blame someone/something else, you will not be critical to yourself. You need to find what was went wrong in your behavior. That is what you can work on, that is what you must improve.

    If you couldn't finish your work because you didn't have the material you needed from some person, it is your fault! It was your responsibility to finish the work, and thus it was your task to make sure that the other person would deliver on time. Maybe there were 2-3 days you where waiting for the other person to deliver you something, comfortably procrastinating with the excuse of the wait. Why didn't you put pressure on the guy? He doesn't care about your failures, you should.

    If you can't find anyone to talk to on a party, it is only your fault! You were probably not interesting, you didn't transmit a good feeling or you where committing some other mistake(s). Think about what you said. When the conversations faded, when people lost interest. Think about what the other people where talking about. Why could have had a great time, but YOU failed. Don't blame other people for the your limited social scope.

    It is not productive for yourself to find out what others do wrong, only what you do wrong. Find out what you could have done better, and do it better next time. People for which everything goes right do not complain about others. If there is any doubt, always blame yourself. Read More...

    Some blogs I like

    It hasn't been long since I started looking for personal development resources on the web. As for now, the first two seem the best out there, the third one is a pick-up artist I like.

    The Positivity Blog
    : It contains an amazing amount on posts about self-improvement. It contains tons of information! Definitely worth a daily check!

    Steve After spending some nights in jail this guy decided to change. He started a entertainment software company and is now completely devoted to self-development. He has some great podcasts on his web. From what I have heard so far they are great, I hope he doesn't jump the shark.

    Becomming a pick-up artist: A 22 year old virgin male that decided to become a ladies man. The best thing is that his skills with the ladies had a effect on other aspects of his life. He regularly answers emails from readers, and it is great, because he doesn't try to make others feel good, he tries to make them accept the truth. A 100% bullshit free blog.

    The best way to keep updated of different blogs is with the use of google reader! If you don't have a google account... what are you waiting for?

    Tuesday, August 12, 2008

    Small fears at the mall

    Today I was in the mall and saw two girls who are old classmates of mine. At first I tried to avoid them, because we never were very good friends and I didnt really have anything to tell them. I thought they had probably already seen me but ignored me just as I was doing. But then I realized that the reasons I didnt want to talk to them were not those, they where just an excuse, a euphemism for my mind. I was afraid of the situation, i was afraid that they would not recognize me, afraid of the uncomfortable situation of not knowing what to say, afraid of what they would think of me.

    Stupid little unimportant fears like these are one of the biggest constrains to achieving what you want in life. That is why some days ago I decided I would fight against every little fear I would have. It is the only way to overcome them.

    I just went to the girls and talked to them, said it had been a long time, and asked what they were doing there. They asked me where i have been and what i've been up to. Unimportant, banal, things. But it feels great having done it. Not because of the achievement, but because i did not let these little monsters in my head scare me. Because I got out of my comfort zone.

    Im not completely satisfied though. I did not ask them what they have been up to. After they asked me, I told them im finishing my degree in mechanical engineering, and they seemed impressed. I thought that if i were to ask them, they would tell me something like that they are working in some shop or so and that I wouldnt be able so say something nice about it, like they did. So i decided not to ask. Big mistake. Will not happen again. Read More...


    I will focus this blog on how I am changing myself. It will be on my everyday experiences with people and what I learn about it. I will explain many things that are helping me into becomming a more skilled person, not just socially but on every aspect in life.

    Anything else I have to add I will do it later. Read More...