Jun 042011

Many people pursue popularity and friendship, but few seem to understand the magical key to achieve their desires.

Some (OK, perhaps more than just “some”) think the key is financial success.  They spend their funds on the baubles our retailers parade, then proudly display them for all to see.  This doesn’t accomplish the goal, because real friends and real popularity is fleeting when those people you attract are mesmerized by expensive trinkets.

A reliable formula for friendship and popularity is simpler than many people realize.  All you have to do is

  1. be sincere
  2. ask good questions
  3. listen actively and intently
  4. remember what was said, and
  5. help others get what they want.

You will find that if you follow this formula, success will smile upon you all the days of your life.  For one thing, asking good questions not only improves your relationships, it will also greatly enhance your wisdom and understanding.

The problem is that many grew up with role models (parents or people they thought were popular) that viewed the world from a different, pessimistic perspective: They were taught that the world is one of scarcity with only so much popularity to go around, so one must compete for every scrap of success that they can get, which in turn creates a focus of me-me-me.  Such people think about themselves most of the time, and when they meet people, they spend all their time talking about me-me-me or thinking about what they will say next about me-me-me, as soon as their friend stops talking.

The wise optimist approaches life completely differently.  He realizes that there is an unlimited amount of popularity and success to go around.  When they meet someone, they carefully ask thoughtful questions and give the other plenty of time to answer.  They manage to convince the other person he or she is the most important person in the room at that moment in time.  They do not let emails, cell phone calls, and text messages pull them out of the conversation.  The wise optimist is a sincere listener, asking follow on questions and remembering what is said.  Before long, they discover little ways that he can help the other person.  After such a conversation, the wise make some notes in their journal or smart phone, knowing that the little details may fade if he skips this important step.  If possible, he will schedule doing a few actions/favors that will help the other, without being asked.

The results from these few steps, repeated daily, are truly stunning.  The more you follow the system, the more sincere relationships you create, the more influential you become.  Success starts coming you way and the momentum builds.

“Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.”

— Francis Bacon

Try it.  Try going as many months as you can without talking about me-me-me.  It will change your trajectory.

I.M. Optimism Man

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