How To Be InterestingPosted: May 31, 2012
If there is any one thing you can do to increase the quality of your life, it is to become an interesting person. This is not only good for your own state of mind, it also makes you highly charismatic, potentially increases the quality of other’s lives when they interact with you and certainly sets you apart from the vast majority of men most women date.
Most people do not consider themselves interesting, remarkable or remotely out of the ordinary. While I rarely find this to be true (most people are simply bad at advertising how they are interesting), the reality is that if you don’t believe you are a fascinating individual, you will have a hard time projecting anything otherwise. For that reason, if you feel like you are dull or boring it is up to you, and you alone, to change that.
The world is a big place, but it is easy for your world to get very small if you follow your same routine day after day. We all at times want an easy, care-free life, and it is easy to take the path of least resistance, but it is also boring. You may not feel the tolls of boredom in the moment, but eventually it will pang at you and drag you down into utter mediocrity, and that is not where you want to be if you want to live a remarkable life. Now if you abhor change, eat the same meal every day and only like vanilla ice cream, these suggestions may not appeal to you. However, if you want to taste all the spices that life has to offer then by all means read on.
The most interesting man in the world is not some Kenny Rogers lookalike holding a beer on TV but rather the original Renaissance man, Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo was not only one of the most astounding artists and inventors of his day, he was also a gifted scientist, musician, military engineer, athlete and event planner. (Now that’s one well-rounded dude!) While I do not expect you to aim for that high bar, we certainly can take a cue from Leo and enrich our lives by becoming modern day Renaissance men. The following eight mindsets will establish you well on your way toward your own personal renaissance.
1. Default towards action. This simply means taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way to widen your palate of experience. Debating between trying something new or falling back on the old standby? Always go for the new. If you have the choice between staying in or going out, by all means go out. If you have work to complete and friends to meet, don’t cancel your plans to work. It will be there when you get back. You won’t be sitting around later in life wishing you didn’t neglect work, but you will lament neglecting your friends (or at least you should if you have your priorities straight.) We will rarely regret the things we do, but certainly those things we haven’t, for it is the experiences you live that define who you are. In the same way…
2. Choose the more adventurous path. We always have choices that are easy and safe yet boring, and counter to them we have the more adventurous route. In these instances choose whichever one allows for more possibilities to unfold. This can be as simple as opting to walk instead of drive to lunch, or much bigger decisions that may challenge you immensely. Have a choice between relaxing at a resort in Cancun or trekking though the rainforests in Costa Rica? By all means take the one that will expand your horizons the furthest and will challenge you the most. (That’s the trek, by the way.) Anyone can lie around and relax, and you may enjoy it immensely, but it will not help you grow like experiencing new cultures, lifestyles or physical challenges will. What you gain from the experience will live with you always and make for great stories to tell.
3. Travel. This goes hand in hand with choosing adventure, but in a very specific way. There is no pastime that will make you a more well-rounded, wise and fascinating individual than traveling, especially to places outside of your own culture or comfort zone. Upon returning from my first trip abroad my worldview expanded exponentially, so much so that things were never the same for me again (in a good way.) You’ll see people living in ways that are very different that you, and yet they are still happy and that life goes on abundantly without your own cultural restraints. There will be challenges you wouldn’t normally face, and in overcoming them you will gain a new appreciation for life’s simple pleasures. The further you can get out of your comfort one, the better, and the more you will take away from the experience!
4. Cross things off your bucket list. Have a bucket list? If so, that’s a good start, but it means nothing if you aren’t making a direct effort to cross those goals off the list. Some items take relatively little effort to get done (something like skydiving can be done in an afternoon with a fairly small cash investment), whereas others may take months or years of planning (such as hiking the entire 2,663 miles of Pacific Crest trail). Start by knocking off those things that require the least effort. The experiences alone will make you much more interesting and the wisdom and confidence you gain will be priceless. If you don’t have a bucket list, start getting creative by imagining your wildest dreams, and then write them down. (Helpful hint: If you list items are all things you can accomplish right now with only moderate effort, you aren’t being creative enough.) The process of making the list is almost as much fun as accomplishing those goals themselves and will give you a new found sense of direction and purpose!
5. Get Social. Don’t spend much time socializing? This is integral to leading an interesting life. Sure, you could go out to a club, art exhibit or dinner alone, but it is much richer experience when you share it with others, and it tightens your bonds with those people as well. That is not to say if you have no one to go with that you shouldn’t go (see my first point above), but that you should say yes to the opportunities that come up to spend time with others. If you don’t have others to spend time with, find some by joining social networks. No, not the virtual ones like FB and Linked In (though those can sometimes be helpful here), but rather actual groups that meet regularly for a common purpose. It really could be anything…an extracurricular class, professional association, bike/ski/basket-weaving club, or volunteer organization. This is where you will meet like-minded people who very often are also in need of a social outlet. An added bonus here is many of these groups are full of people who are single (single people tend to have more time), and often the ratio is very slanted toward the women. Sing up and start getting out there today. Sure, it may be uncomfortable at first, but the possibility of meeting lifelong friends or a significant other certainly outweighs those fears, and is another step closer to overcoming them.
6. Embrace your curiosity. One of the most important mindsets that set Da Vinci apart from other men was his insatiable curiosità. Curiosity is our natural state. We are all born with it, but so many of us mistakenly learn to stifle it as we grow up. Curiosity, along with a sense of openness, playfulness and a positive attitude make learning easy, as those are the traits of small children who are able to learn quickly because they do not have years of limiting beliefs working against them. If you do not already live there, revisit that state of childlike curiosity. It is what drives your desire to understand your world. A robust sense of curiosity will lead you toward asking 5 questions for every one answered. (If not, you are not digging deep enough.) Curiosity is the motivation that compels you to try new things. Simply trying new things will expand your palate and enrich your life experience. You very well may not enjoy everything you try, but that’s okay…there are so many options this world has to offer you couldn’t get through it all if you wanted to. Never be afraid to ask questions and say yes to new experiences. The ventures will never diminish your identity, only enhance who you already are.
“The desire to know is natural to good men.” — LEONARDO DA VINCI
7. Set out on the path of learning. Education is not solely something that qualifies you for a job you can actually live on. It is the path toward being interesting. Recently I was complimented on my ability to talk proficiently on most any topic, simply because I knew a little something about Louis Mountbatten and his royal lineage*. Obscure? A bit perhaps, but the point is a little knowledge goes along way, especially when it’s coupled with a sense of curiosity to fill in the gaps. There is something you are interested in knowing more about. (If not, go back to the previous point!) Find it, do a little research and enthrall yourself in the subject, even if only for 15 minutes. Read up on a variety of subjects and themes, be it in books, magazines, or even Wikipedia. Go to a bookstore and check out the periodicals…not fluff rags like Maxim or Us Weekly, but magazines on substantial subject matters that interest you. (My personal favs are National Geographic and The Economist.) As a fringe benefit, there will be other people there you can talk to, including women. What do you talk about? What magazine they are holding? Obviously they have some interest in that subject, so that is a great place to start. Feeling even more ambitious? Go out and learn a new skill. Take an art or cooking class, or start learning that language you’ve always wanted to speak. You’ll meet people in class that have at least one common interest, thus simultaneously building your social network, and when you inevitably start talking to them about other subjects you’ll be able to hold your own because you have been following your curiosity and becoming a well-rounded, interesting fellow!
8. Talk to everyone. Whether you realize it or not, sharing yourself with others is often a gift to them, and they need in now more than ever. People everywhere are becoming more isolated and socially impeded. Virtual world portals such as the internet and mobile devices are driving this process exponentially faster. While it is easier than ever to connect across the globe, the way people use these tools isolates them from the actual world happening right in front of them. In most any public place you will see people checking their mobiles, messaging friends that are elsewhere, and using it so they don’t have to be alone rather than interacting with the people five feet away. Silly, isn’t it? (Especially in environments that are social by nature like bars, clubs and coffeehouses.) We all want to connect with others, but we trade that potential for quick blurbs with those we already know who are nowhere nearby. By stashing away the mobile and making an effort to meet the person next to you, you increase your social confidence and potential to make meaningful connections tenfold. The people you meet will appreciate you for making the effort and wish they had the courage and foresight to do so themselves. By being socially gregarious you come off as being charismatic and someone worth meeting because you already are talking to people and not being a digital recluse. Others nearby will be eager for you to chat them up, making the whole process easier. People want to talk to cool, interesting people, and by making the effort you just became one of them. They also are much more likely to offer you opportunities you otherwise would not have access to. I personally can trace many significant friends, jobs and experiences all back to one random conversation. If I didn’t open my mouth that day my life would be very different, and I do not think for the better!
Just by engaging in one of these mindsets you will change your life for the better. Take on several and you are well on your way to making a profound transformation that you will naturally convey in your confidence, wisdom and demeanor. The end result will be someone who outwardly appears worldly, charismatic and attractive, and people will be compelled to get to know you more. The door will be open to you. Where you go from there is entirely up to you!
*In case you’re wondering who the hell Louis Mountbatten is, read more about him here. By clicking this link you have just taken one small step toward taking action, embracing your curiosity and set off on a course leading to a vast world of knowledge. Congratulations!
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