How to be interesting in social situations

To appear interesting, you first have to be interested in it.

We tend to focus too much on ourselves. In a conversation, we think ahead of “cool” things to say. We try to be interesting this way.

This is not the way to do it.

It’s the same principle that says that if you want to be a leader, you have to be a follower, if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader, to be a speaker, you must be a listener first, etc.

So, if you want to be an interesting conversationalist, you have to be first interested in others before they can find you interesting.

That means excuses such as “I’m not an interesting person,” “I have nothing interesting to say,” are invalid. These are just examples of the “me-me-me” egotism: “poor me; it’s all about me.”

Also, it’s not only about what others are saying in a specific conversation, but also about your ineterest in the world in general.

If you are interested in different things, you will become interesting automatically.

This is because, if you’re passionate about something, you’ll infect others with this passion as well. Just like laughter, other states of mind are likewise transferrable.

On the other hand, if you’re e.g., pretending to be interested in something that you really don’t care about, then it shines through and leaves others indifferent.


Pain = lesson

Imagine if everything we’d do would go smoothly and without any challenges. This would be a pretty boring reality.

We also wouldn’t feel as if we really deserve the result, which in turn would make us unhappy and miserable. That may be hard to believe, but it’s true – the highest rewards in life are the ones we get for defeating the most significant obstacles.

In essence, life is all about struggles and overcoming these struggles. Life without struggles is impossible, and even if it were possible, it would be meaningless.

We know that everything in the Universe has it’s opposite. There’s good and evil, hot and cold, stinginess and generosity, pleasure and pain, etc.

So, there’s no escaping any of these – but we can choose the way we react.

There’s a well-known quote from the 1987 movie Wallstreet. In that movie Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko describes greed, and it goes like this: “Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.”

I don’t know about greed, but I think this applies to the feeling of pain just as well. It clarifies in a sense that it shows us exactly the issue at hand.

We can usually find a lesson in it. If we would dig deeper and ask ourselves why do we feel the pain and why do we feel miserable, it may very well show us the solution – what do we need to work on.

But that’s for us to see or not see. It’s a choice we can make.

If we don’t get something we hoped, then usually, it’s because we don’t deserve it. It’s Universe’s way saying: “you’re not ready yet, do some more work.” And, it shows us exactly what do we need to work on.

It’s as if we’re really being tested whether we are worthy of the reward or not. Everything comes with a price. The Universe won’t give anything away for free.


Focusing on what you can measure

We tend to focus on what business people call the “lag measures” – the things we can’t measure immediately. E.g., focusing on a number of sales by the end of the year vs. focusing on the work you put in a day.

If a writer is focusing on the end result – the book – she’s focusing on a lag measure. If she’s focusing on pages written per day, then she’s focusing on the lead measure. One you can measure, the other you can’t. Well, you can, but the time you can – it might be too late.

Lag and lead measures are everywhere. E.g., when you eat junk food, the results are lagging – that is, the time you see the results of the unhealthy eating become visible when the damage has already been done. The same applies to exercise, smoking, drugs, working on your craft, spending time on social media, etc. The result is not instantly visible.

So, when we want to get work done, it’s best to focus on how much did we get done in one day – not on the end product itself. Because we can easily measure the work, we put in at a given day and immediately know if we are in schedule or not.