I remember listening to a pod-cast on the Art of Charm about a book called The Charisma Myth written by Olivia Fox Cabane. While the host is asking questions I stopped what I was doing because Olivia said something about not liking humans in general. It startled me a little, but later I understood that this aversion stemmed from popular science that tells you that if you want something, you simply act fake and game the system. She was disheartened by all the people who were willing to use cheap tricks to get their chunk of the cake.
When you fall into that mentality what you are doing is putting a load of “quick fixes” on top of a mental/physical foundation. You can see me coming. If your foundation is weak, you crumble under new added pressure, or those quick fixes become exactly that; quick. They let you down when you most need it, or you don’t understand why something worked a while and then it stopped which in turn made you lose your confidence or your patience.
This is nothing new. In fact, 30 years ago a book called “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” exposes “make belief” methods and proposes a change in mindset. What it calls a paradigm shift. It also proposes the use of undeniable principles and focuses on going deep into yourself to nurture permanent change.
Here’s an example of a quick and easy personality tip. It’s called Mayor Walking. All you have to do, is whenever you walk around, you smile and deal with people as if you somehow knew them. This sounds like a great idea. At least it gives you a starting point. And who knows? Maybe you will get lucky and meet a bunch of cool people, get invited to cocktails and parties, maybe score a goal or two. A lot of people dig these suggestions, they are easy to understand and you get down to business fast.
But why do you do it? This tip never asks you why. It tells you what you can get if you apply it. It focuses on results. How can you have any bit of conviction if you barely understand that behaving this way is aligned with your beliefs? So this is where it fails. If you decide to use it, it is like make up, you look good, but then it wears out until all that is left is your true self.
Then there’s also this idea that if you are applying this tip you put yourself in a position where you may not really like what you are at this point in time. Fine. Just consider that the day things go sour you will show your old face again, and since you never gave yourself a chance you will feel resentment.
It’s not always clear, I fell into this mentality when I first started reading books about popular psychology out of sheer curiosity. Until it started working and I had no clue what I was doing or why I was doing it. So give yourself a chance. Stumbling is part of the experience.
Food for thought.