Become Infinitely More Interesting and Less of a Gosh Darn Stick In the Mud |
Lemme tell you who gets the guys (and the girls, and the jobs, and the promotions, and the attention, and the accolades and the fill-in-the-blank-you-get-the-picture): INTERESTING PEOPLE.
PEOPLE WHO ARE THEIR OWN PERSON...I MEAN, THEIR OWN PEOPLE...PEOPLES? (Tenses and grammar is hard, you guys.)
Too many of us are focused on trying to be liked, or cool, or not ruffling anyone else's precious, stupid feathers.
We blend in and go beige and fly under the radar, aiming for acceptance instead of awesomeness. (Acceptance from other bland blend-er in-ers, I might add.)
But the world is aching for more neon orchids and stand-tall sunflowers in a sea of identical blades of grass and ho-hum dandelions. ACHING FOR THEM.
What would it be like stand out from the crowd, you flowery motherfucker?! To turn up the volume? To commit to being...I dunno, uniquely you?
You didn't come here to blend in. If you did, you would be having a much better time doing so. Today I want to share a few of my faaaavorite ways to be infinitely more interesting, special, and just like, more fun to be and be around.
1) Ask the questions no one else is asking.
The next time you're in a conversation one-on-one, commit to being really, really, insatiably interested in the person you're talking to.
Instead of getting all wrapped up in, "But what does he/she think of me?!" and, "Am I being boring?! DO THEY WISH I WOULD STOP TALKING?!" put allllllllll of your attention and focus on them.
Who are they? What's their deep-down deal? Listen. Connect. Discover.
This person has dreams and struggles and fears and one time they wet the bed at summer camp and it trickled down to their bunkmate below (the gangly, awkward, Lenny Peabody) and he has never, ever been able to live it down. They called him "Wizz McWizzer" for the rest of the summer. It was TRAUMATIC and AWFUL.
See how human this guy is? How similar the two of you probably are, and you don't even know it?
Resist the pull to run through the average, "What do you do?" / "Where do you live?" / "Where are you from?" because SNOOOOOOOOZEFEST. Aren't we all sick of answering those questions? Oh my God if I never have to tell another person where I went to college I will be thrilled.
Seek permission and ask out of-the-box questions. Here are a few of my favorites:
"Can I ask you something kinda funny? [Wait for response - if they say no, okay, their loss...] What were your birthday parties like as a kid? I'm always curious about that kind of stuff."
"Can I ask you this question I love asking new people? [Again, wait for the go-ahead....] How would you describe your inner world?"
"Alright, I'm going to ask you something but try to respond without overthinking it, okay? [Waaaaaait for it!] If you had to spend one year of your life as any animal, what animal would it be and why?
"How would you describe the work you do in 3 words? ANY 3 WORDS. Go!"
When you take an active, out-there interest in the world (and people) around you, you're automatically more interesting to others.
Because curiosity breeds curiosity. Fascination creates more fascination.
Experiment with going off the grid in dull, everyday conversation. See what arises as a result. Pushing yourself to ask a few eyebrow raisers serves you in a few cool ways, only one of which being that you learn a lot about someone by how they respond to these questions.
If someone shuts you down, makes fun of you for asking, or doesn't wanna play ball, good to know. They're either uptight and unimaginative or it takes them a good long while to open up in the first place. Either way, it's not your problem.
Sum up: BE INTERESTED AND YOU'LL BE MORE INTERESTING.
2) DECIDE That you are interesting, unique, special, and unicorn-y.
I really don't care if you think you actually are interesting, special, and unique, I want you to just DECIDE, moving forward, that you are.
Remember in "The Princess Diaries" when Anne Hathaway had no clue she was a princess until Grandma Queen Julie Andrews showed up and was like, "Yo you're coming to Genovia and we're gonna give you contacts and a blowout. GET USED TO IT, PRINCESS."??
Consider me Julie fuckin' Andrews. You're the princess of being interesting, hence forth.
You is one-of-a-kind. Special. Snowflake-y. FOREVER.
There's never going to be another you, dork-brain. You can't even argue that, it's the plain old truth. DA. TROOF. Start accepting it and agreeing with it and acting accordingly.
Once Anne Hathaway learned she was a Princess she had to act a little differently too, remember? Like she couldn't make out with Erik Von Detten in that janky beach cabana. Papparazzi caught that shit, right??
From now on I want you to imagine there are papparazzi following you everywhere and if you start acting all bland and beige and blending in-y they're going to SNAP IT and Julie Andrews is going to have to give you a stern talking-to.
FROM NOW ON YOU'RE SPECIAL AND DIFFERENT, OKAY?!
No one has your memories, your stories, your rich, complex, inner emotional landscape and smorgasbord of experiences. That shit is yours and yours alone.
So what turns you on and gets you off? What do you have a knack for that other people always comment on? It doesn't matter how big or small it is, you have to start O-W-N-ing it. OWN IT. PWN IT. Keep a list handy and constantly add new discoveries to it.
Because I like making things about me sometimes, here's a handful of secret, fascinating specialties I keep up my sleeve:
- I do a killer Judy Garland impression.
- I've seen every. single. Elvis movie.
- I own somethin' like 40 bottles of nail polish and love them all as if they were my children.
- I make the best margaritas. Frozen, rocks, fruity, you-name-it, you want in on this fiesta.
See how little this has to do with my value, worth, or marketability?
Don't tie your uniqueness to how lovable you think you are (or aren't), don't attach it to how good of an employee or boss you can be, just start proclaiming your weird shit. We all of have piles and piles of weird shit and we act like it's not there. Be proud of your weird shit! BE THE UNICORN YOU ACTUALLY ARE.
(No one likes a unicorn that tries to cover up her horn with an obtrusive hat. It's useless and stupid and so last season!)
3) BE THE PINEAPPLE.
The next time you're about to go into any group setting, I want you to remember this: You can be the pineapple. Scratch that: YOU ARE THE PINEAPPLE.
I'm talking staff meetings, birthday parties, crowded subway cars, family gatherings, whatever whatever whatever, be the pineapple.
Maybe I should explain...
If we were to look at these social settings as fruit salads (y'know, like ya do), what automatically might spice things up and give them a little umph? A slightly more delicious...je ne sais quoi??
It's such a juicy, delectable treat when pineapple is included. When I see that golden juicy bitch in a fruit salad I am like, "HELLO & HELL TO THE YES, thank you pineapple for bringing out the sweetness of that honeydew and the tartness of those green, green grapes. Thank goodness you're here."
Consider yourself the pineapple. That fruit salad needs you. It wouldn't be the same or as delicious without you. It's a little less interesting and exotic when you're not in the mix.
You don't need to be the star of the show, the loudest one in the crowd, but you have to understand that (whether you recognize it or not) you bring something else to the table. Something uniquely you. There is something pineapple-y and delicious about you. What is it?
Are you good at being the chill, quiet one who doesn't need to be the center of attention? Do you enjoy helping other people feel comfortable and included? Do you like throwing your hat in the ring and getting the party started?
No party is complete without a pineapple. Assume that position. The pineapple position.
Long and short of it: You probably don't have to do anything too crazy to start being very interesting. Most people are mind-blowingly unique and fascinating, they just (for some inane, human, mucky-muck reason) don't see themselves that way.
But if you commit to being very interested, if you decide that you are indeed the Princess of Interesting, if you start showing up as the automatic flavor-booster to any group setting, you might be shocked by how surprisingly irresistible and one-of-a-kind you truly are.
You will likely surprise yourself, and therefore start surprising others.
I know I love surprises. I just hope you do, too.