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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting)

How Not to Be Boring (And Start to Be More Interesting)

Humans are creatures of habit. We love to establish a routine and stick with it. Then we often put ourselves on auto-pilot.

Routines can be incredibly useful in helping you get things done. However, too much of a routine can also make you incredibly boring.

Nevertheless, many people live lives that are boringly predictable, or live a life where everything is outlined or planned.

Well guess what? Life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it. You must be able to go with the flow regardless of whether you have a plan or not. My life is not even close to what I thought it would be like a year ago. How could I have known what was going to happen? How can you?

So, how not to be boring and start to be more interesting?

Face your fear of uncertainties and start to be more spontaneous. And in this article, I will show you how.

1. Create an Environment That Fosters Spontaneity

It’s scary to let go of your plans because then, you are inviting all kinds of uncertainty into your life. In fact, fear is the root of most spontaneity problems. By conquering those fears, you can become less dependent on your plans and live a far more interesting life.

Ask Your Friends If You Are Too Predictable

Ask your friends if you are too predictable. It might be awkward to ask, but listen to them closely for the answer.

The people who know you well are in a better position to give you this information, and they might see some areas where you can improve that you might not consider yourself.

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Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

During your life, you have picked up beliefs that may hold you back. If you think it is “weird” to talk to a stranger, or that you’ll mess up if you try to do something differently, you have a limiting belief.

Find these beliefs and then remove them. These guides will help:

Look at the World Through a Child’s Eyes

Children are endlessly curious, and you should be too. You may have much more in the way of experience than a 5-year-old child, but there is still a lot of stuff that you don’t know too.

The only way to develop new insights is by trying new things regularly, much like a child who thrusts himself into the unknown.

Reduce Time-Wasters

Things like TV and mindless Internet surfing eat up huge chunks of your time. They give you an excuse to be lazy instead of spontaneous.

When you don’t rely on these crutches, it becomes much easier to act more carefree.

Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time

Stop waiting for the perfect time for spontaneity to take hold. If there is something that you want to do, the best time to do it is now.

For example, if it’s raining and you want to dance, don’t let the presence of other people stop you. The rain may have stopped by then!

2. Start Acting Spontaneously Now

Becoming a spontaneous person is not easy, especially if you’ve been conditioned to be a boring person for many years. But you can change if that’s your wish.

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This section contains a progressive set of exercises to gradually turn you into a more spontaneous individual. If you can follow through on these steps consistently, you can add more joy and interest to your life.

Get up and Dance, Right Now!

I know it’s silly, but get up and dance. In fact, do it right now.

As it takes some practice to become more spontaneous, now is a good time to begin. So, play some tunes and get up and boogie down! What’s the worst that can happen?

Add a “Twist” to Normal Activities

Normally, I do my writing while sitting on my couch. But, every once in a while, I like to spice things up and go to a local cafe.

Maybe you go for a morning jog along the same route every day. Tomorrow, try taking a detour instead of continuing straight ahead. You may be surprised by what happens.

Go Explore a New Location

You probably don’t have to go too far from where you live currently to find a street you’ve never walked, a town you haven’t explored, or a trail you haven’t hiked.

Check out a new place and see what you have been missing.

Use Randomness

When I find myself in a situation where I can’t make up my mind, I randomly decide.

For instance, I used to sit and debate with myself about which of three movies I wanted to watch. Now I just use a random number generator and arrive at a satisfactory answer within seconds.

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Flipping a coin or using a random number generator is very easy. It gets you in the habit of coming to a decision much more quickly.

Try a New Hobby, Activity or Class etc.

Choose an activity that has always interested you but you haven’t tried, and another pursuit that has never interested you. Locate classes that are being offered on each of your two choices and sign up for them.

Enjoying activities that you like as well as pursuing hobbies you wouldn’t expect to like makes life just that much more exciting.

Say “Yes” More Often

If your friend invites you to a party that you normally wouldn’t attend, make yourself go.

Start taking advantage of the social possibilities that are placed before you. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll also become more spontaneous.

Do Something Without Thinking

If you get a random (non-destructive) impulse, act on it fast. Don’t think about it too long. Otherwise, you’ll second guess yourself.

Commit yourself to the activity even if you are hesitating. Got an urge to break out into song? After you reflexively, dismiss the urge, commit to singing the lyrics and follow through on it.

Talk to Strangers

Does somebody look interesting to you? Go up to them and start a conversation. I know this can be extremely difficult. Nevertheless, go ahead and take a step in their direction.

It’s not as “scary” as introducing yourself or initiating a conversation, but it does help build the momentum. In fact, I often start talking to someone who interests me once I take that first step.

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If you need a little help, here it is: How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Do Things That Scare You

Being spontaneous involves regularly stepping out of your comfort zone. So, act and move ahead in spite of your fears. I used to be afraid of heights, but one of my friends and I decided to buy a Groupon to go skydiving. Guess what? I faced my fear and it melted away after I made that leap.

A Little Spontaneity Makes You Less Boring!

Becoming more spontaneous doesn’t mean putting an end to long-term thinking or planning.

Ideally, you should be able to create a plan, execute it, and then deviate from it whenever you wish. Planning is not the enemy. Instead, the culprit is fear.

Begin living a life where fear does not hold you back. You’ll soon get into the habit of becoming more interesting and less boring.

Don’t miss the following articles if you want to live your best life:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

More by this author

Michael Davidson

Michael teaches English in Israel while blogging about how to live a happier and healthier life.

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

More Tips About Making Influence

Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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