How To Win Friends And Influence People (As An Adult)

 

The majority of people will have far fewer friends as adults than they had as children, and will form even fewer new friendships as they grow older… but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are many reasons that it is harder to make (and keep) friends when you are an adult than when you are a kid, but one of the biggest things seems almost counterintuitive… we’re more afraid as adults than as children.  As adults, we have experienced emotional pain that the vast majority of children have never been around, let alone experienced… everything from being rejected by someone you were interested in all the way up to the pain of losing someone close to you.  That pain hurts in ways that physical pain doesn’t, it’s harder to ignore, and it takes longer to heal, so the fear of feeling it again is much more intense than the fear of physical pain.

Our subconscious minds, however, don’t even want to admit to this fear… they mask it with all sorts of other excuses and reasons, most of which seem reasonable on the surface, and our conscious minds don’t really want to face our fears either, so we blindly accept the excuses spewed by our subconscious.  The only real way to get past that is to consciously examine why we let a friendship fade away, or why we hesitate to reach out to a possible new friend.

Being consciously aware, and active in guiding your life, requires effort, and puts you at risk of failure.  Making friends (and keeping them) requires you to open yourself up to emotional pain (not necessarily to feel it, but you have to risk it), as you have to allow them inside your walls that you’ve built to keep even the potential of pain at a distance.  You have to invest your time and energy into something that you don’t actually control, that may not come out the way you want it.

The how of making friends and influencing people is easy… find common ground and reach out to them.  Find ways to invest your time and energy into something that you have in common, or something that is important to them.  Listen to them, and learn who they really are.  Let them inside your walls and your masks… the more personal your connection is, the stronger your link will be… you will be better friends, and/or be able to influence them more strongly.

None of those things are hard to do (directly) or hard to understand… the difficulty is in opening yourself up to the potential of pain, the possibility of failure or loss, and the giving up of control.  It is hard to let down your walls enough to reach over them to someone else… but it’s worth it.

In fact, I am going to be reaching out to people I haven’t connected with for a long time over the next little bit… Family, friends, former coworkers.  I’m writing again now, and I’m working on following my own advice (not always the easiest medicine to swallow).  Want to connect (or reconnect) with me?  Now is a good time… reach out and I’ll respond.

Swimming In The Currents Of Life

Are You Floating Or Swimming Through The Currents Of Life?

There are two modes in which we can live life, passive and active.  The most common mode is passive… when you live passively, you let the currents of life take you where they will, whether that is good or bad.  The most active role you take is to try to avoid negatives, and even then, you won’t go much out of your way… you likely even feel like there’s nothing you can do.

When you live actively, on the other hand, you have an idea of where you are, where you want to be, and the direction you need to go to get there.  You take active steps to move in the direction necessary to get to the destination you have chosen.

Good and bad things will happen to everyone, regardless of whether they are choosing to live actively, or just going where life takes them.  Diseases generally aren’t things you choose, for example, although your choices can certainly affect your likelihood of getting many of them.  Meeting the love of your life isn’t something you can choose, either, although again your choices can most definitely affect the likelihood of meeting them (and even more so the likelihood of keeping them).

The mode in which you live your life is a choice, though as Rush says, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.  You can alter which mode you live in at any time, though not without difficulty.  Most people live most of their life in the passive mode, and even people that choose to live actively can sometimes slip into living passively, and those who live actively don’t necessarily do so in every aspect of their life… You may be actively choosing to get fit, or to move up the corporate ladder, but be living passively in your love life, for example.  We only have so much attention, and it’s hard to be attentive to every part of your life.

So… why should you choose to live one way or the other, if good things and bad things happen either way?

A life lived passively will have, at most, brief moments of joy… You may feel joy when your child is born, for example, but if you don’t actively choose to focus on them and spend time with them, that feeling will fade, and may even turn into resentment when they impact your life in ways you did not choose.  You may feel joy when you meet a new flame, but if you don’t actively choose to invest in that relationship, it will slip and fade, and so will the happiness that came from it.

A life lived passively will have very little passion… It will be sort of gray, and you will likely feel far more of the negative emotions than the positive ones.  You may feel depressed, stuck, angry, jealous, etc., mostly because you feel like you have no control over your life, though most of the time when you are in that state, it’s hard to see the root cause.

A life lived passively will have little love… Love is an active emotion, something that must be created.  Love fades when it is not given proper care and feeding, and while the current of life will most likely sweep you past, and through, love from time to time, it will do absolutely nothing to keep that love with you.  That requires action on your part.

A life lived actively can be full of joy, passion, and love… Your choices can feed all of those positive emotions, all of the things that make life worth living.  When you find something you are passionate about, and you pursue it actively, the passion you feel grows.  When you actively choose to invest your time and energy into the ones that you love, the love between your grows deeper and stronger, regardless of the type of love.  When you actively choose to live life, and you see the impact it has on everything, and everyone, around you, you can build joy that lasts.

Someone living passively sees a job they don’t like as something they have no choice about, something that they are stuck with, that drags them down.  Someone living actively sees the job as something that enables them to pursue whatever it is that they are choosing… and you would be amazed at the difference in attitude that brings, and how much of the negative perception of the job goes away with that difference.

Someone who is living passively will see a family member whose health is failing as a negative to be avoided… They choose not to get too close, in hopes that it doesn’t hurt as much when they go.  Someone who lives actively will instead see the time before the person goes as a chance to renew and strengthen the bonds of love between them, and will end up hurting far less, because the very strength of those bonds, the bonds that the passive person is letting fade, will support them and give them strength.

Again… the way you live life is a choice, and your whole life doesn’t have to be one or the other.  If you are living passively, and most people are, you can choose to live actively in just one area of your life… you can actively invest in the love you have (or actively invest in new people, if you don’t currently have anyone… even the smallest of active investment of time and energy will make a massive difference), you can actively pursue your passion (whether that’s helping others, cooking, woodworking, art, or anything else), and you can actively choose to take joy from wherever you are.  You can actively be active, to start getting fit, or actively choose what you eat… it’s amazing how much eating well can affect every other aspect of your life.

It doesn’t really matter where you bring active living into your life… the effects of bringing it into your life anywhere will spread to the rest of your life.  It’s easier to love someone who is passionate, and easier to be passionate when you know you have love solidly in your life.  You have more energy to follow your passion when you take care of yourself physically, and the mental improvements from being passionate make you less likely to eat poorly.

I’m actively choosing, right now, to live my life more actively… Won’t you please do the same?

Apologies For The Confusion- AMiracleADay.com Is Slowly Coming Back

AMiracleADay.com Is Under Construction
AMiracleADay.com Is Under Construction

After www.AMiracleADay.com being gone for quite a while, I am in the process of bringing it back.  That process, however, is a little messy, and some links may be broken, images may be missing, etc., while it’s ongoing.

Sorry about any irritation it might cause, but at the same time, I’m glad it’s coming back (and yes, this is the original owner/author).

Why Love Comes to Those Who Aren’t Searching

Guest Post – Secrets To Creative Dating!

What To Do When He (Or She) Cheats

The Easiest Way To Strengthen A Relationship

One Simple Step To Make Your Life More The Way You Want It

Visual Or Verbal Memory… How Do You Remember?

When you remember something, what is it that you remember?

Do you remember the actual way things looked, like a photograph or video?  Or do you remember a description of what happened, like a journal entry?

Memories form a huge part of who we are.  They are, after all, your history… all of the events that have led you to where you are today (all of the ones that you can consciously remember, at least).

The way that you remember your past has a huge impact on how you act and react to other people and the world in general.  It is often easier to attach emotion to already existing images, whether photographs, a movie, or visual memories, for instance.  At the same time, however, the depth of emotion attached is often greater with images generated from words.

It is easy to come up with examples.  You are far more likely to feel an emotional reaction to a story about a natural disaster when there is a picture or video of the aftermath.  Your connection with a character, or a story in general, however, is likely much greater when you read the book than when you watch the movie.

These are not universally true… the depth of emotion from a picture of your wedding night, or your baby’s first steps, or something similar may be as great or greater than the picture formed from a description of that.  You can also easily attach emotion to a story about a parent who lost their child without needing a picture.

These exceptions do more to show the general truth of the rule than they do to contradict it, however.

The two ways of remembering have an impact on the way we think, as well.  A person with a visual memory is, in general, considerably more likely to be able to deal with small details well.  The person with the verbal memory, on the other hand, likely finds it easier to do a quick analysis of large amounts of information.

Even more than ability, though, the two ways of remembering have a great impact on our preferences.  A person with a verbal memory may have plenty of ability to deal with small details… but is highly unlikely to enjoy it.  A person with a visual memory may be able to analyze large amounts of information, but not want a job that requires them to do so regularly.

The two forms of memory are not completely exclusive, either.  A person with a visual memory can still remember words and descriptions, and a person with a verbal memory can still remember pictures, and even more so, generate pictures from the words they remember to describe whatever it is.

Those of you with a visual memory may want to look closer at the second image in this article to better understand… that is a picture formed entirely from letters.  While this is not literally what people with a verbal memory do, it can make the idea a more concrete concept for people who do not remember in words.

The way you tend to remember things is not something that can be changed, though you can explicitly remember specific things in the other manner, if it is important.  I have a verbal memory, but I’ll never forget the way my wife’s eyes looked at our wedding, or the sight of my baby a few days old at home, or a few other of the most important moments in my life.  I’m certain my wife, who has a visual memory, could name a few things that she will never forget, verbally (though she may have a mental image of the words… I’m not entirely certain).

If you were to attempt to constantly remember things in whichever way is not natural to you, however, it would take so much ongoing mental effort that you would basically be unable to function at a normal level.  You would find yourself constantly mentally exhausted.

It is difficult, even when you know that someone thinks and remembers the other way, to truly understand.  It is somewhat like a blind person and a deaf person trying to communicate to each other the things around them.  The deaf person can try to imagine what sound would, well, sound like, and the blind person can try to guess what things would look like, but the concepts are so foreign that they are likely to be wrong more often than right.

That doesn’t mean that they can’t find a way to communicate, though.  It’s just that a large part of the way that one perceives things is missing from the way the other experiences them.  That means that things that are perfectly clear to one person may be confusing or completely misinterpreted by the other.

If you understand that the other person thinks and remembers in a way that is actually foreign to you, it can help you to figure out better ways to communicate with them.  It can help you to better understand and connect with them.  It can even help you to forgive them if you understand that what they did simply didn’t have the same meaning to them that it did to you.

PS – I have not conducted a scientific study, but based on the people I have known, visual memory is more common than verbal memory.  This seems, again from the people that I know, to be even more true for women than for men, though men still seem to more commonly have visual memory than verbal.

All of which makes me curious… which way do you remember?

Bleeding A Few Drops At A Time

We all have different sets of rules for blaming different people… one set of rules for those we love, one for strangers, one for those we actively dislike, etc.  There is another set of rules we all have, though, that is much harder to reconsider and change… the rules for blaming our selves.

When I say blame, I mean whether you truly believe something is the person’s fault or not.  You might say, for instance, that little Suzie shouldn’t have pushed the other child in her class… but if you are truly thinking “He must have done something to deserve it.”, you don’t truly blame her.

The change in the rules for whether or not you blame someone are pretty easy to predict when it comes to other people.  The closer you feel to them, the less likely you are to blame them for something.  If someone you love does something bad, you will look for circumstances and related evidence that shows, at least to you, that it is not their fault.  If someone you dislike does something good, you will look for circumstances and related evidence that shows, to you, that they had selfish motivations for doing so.

When it comes down to your own actions, the same sort of thing appears to apply, at least on the surface.  If you love yourself, you will look for excuses to not blame yourself for your own actions.  If you dislike yourself, you will find reasons to not even credit yourself for the good that you do.

In my experience far more people fall into the latter category.  They blame themselves for things where they would not blame anyone else for the exact same actions.

Part of this comes from the fact that we know, for certain, our own thoughts and motivations.  Few people truly have completely pure motivations when they do something, even something that seems completely selfless to others.  When you look at your own actions, then, you have all of that to associate with the action and take away the goodness of the action.  The same sort of thing holds true for bad deeds, as well… not only do you know what the action was, you also know all of the bad thoughts, feelings, etc., that went with it, making it even worse.

This is a vicious cycle, too… the more you blame yourself for everything you do, the less you like yourself, and the more you look for things you can blame on yourself.  You often even start blaming yourself for things that are outside your control… for the happiness of those around you, for instance, or your lack of talent in one area or another (you can gain skill, but not talent… to others skill may appear as talent, but talent is innate ability, without training).

Mostly this happens at the subconscious level.  You don’t even realize that you are blaming yourself for things that you would never even consider thinking was someone’s fault if the same thing happened to them.

This has a huge impact, but it comes slowly… it is an ongoing injury that only bleeds a few drops at a time.  There is no noticeable impact for weeks, months, sometimes even years.  It’s so gradual, in fact, that you often don’t notice it at all… you just get more tired, more easily overwhelmed, or angered, or other negative emotions and reactions.

Even if you only bleed a few drops at a time, you will eventually bleed dry.  Infusions from positive things happening in your life (finding your soul mate, having a baby, getting your dream job) can help out, but if you don’t stop the bleeding, even the strongest man will fall.

How do you stop the bleeding?  You can learn to focus on the positive things in your life, and that will generally slow and maybe even stop the bleeding.  If you really want to heal, though, you have to learn to take a step back from your life, mentally, and look at your self the way you would look at another person.

Would you blame your best friend for the fact that they had not fulfilled all of their dreams?  Would you blame your brother or sister if they occasionally fail?  If you wouldn’t blame someone else in the same situation, then you need to let go of the blame you are laying at your own feet.

It is hard to do this, and it is easy to slip back into blaming your self for everything.  It does become easier with time, though, and the peace that accompanies releasing the guilt and blame is nothing short of amazing when you first experience it.

Broken dreams, like broken toys, cannot be fixed while you cling to them.  You have to let go first… then you may find that they can be restored, sometimes better than they ever were.