Personality development: How to be an influential person

Vidyut and a local woman from the village Sethan, Manali

A common goal of personality development is to be influential. The key to being an unforgettable person is to be a highly sensitive person yourself. And if you are a highly sensitive person, you are influential, because your words stay with people. Be spontaneous, genuine and sincere. Being unique follows on its own!

People chase personality development methodologies, personality assessment tests, coaching and counselling in search of this elusive goal, and what they get at the end of it is often a highly polished template. Yet, if you take a moment to remember all the people who have made a high impact on you, the result will rarely look like a polished, standardized list of best practices or fixed personality traits.

This post is for people who ask what I do to be popular. Actually, I am not all that popular. I am too outspoken to be popular. I have horrible reclusive social habits. However, there are things I do, which often get me appreciation. For what it is worth…

Show your feelings

Many people say smile a lot and people will like you. That is true. Most people enjoy being around cheerful people, but what about when you are not happy? I think, its okay to share that too. This is different from cribbing or complaining. You can simply express that you are unhappy, if that is your truth in the moment and it shows that you trust the person you are with with your feelings. It also shows that you are confident enough of yourself to not need masks. It invites people to be themselves with you. However, if you crib and blame people, the listner feels uncomfortable. Their intention was not to cause you trouble or worse, be the trigger that reminds you of unpleasant things. When people share feelings, offer company, acknowledge it. Share how they impact you. If their expression reaches you, they like you. If their words don’t register, they feel irrelevant.

Be multi-faceted

Easy to say I know. It depends on person to person. Some people are multifaceted by nature, others learn. Discover new interests and present your different interests as different parts of your personality when you interact. For example: if you like playing games on the computer and reading, don’t think you’re a nobody. Know the games and books you enjoy the most. Know the qualitites you like in them when discovering new ones, and it will reflect in your speech. Be aware of what holds meaning for you, and explore it and your presence will bring meaning.

The value of silence is highly underestimated

I think a lot of people like me because I can be comfortable and let them be comfortable too when there is nothing to say. My attention is on them, with them and yet, there is no compulsion to speak unless there is something to say. This is good if you want to keep people interested in you long time. Sometimes, being able to just be, without being required to “perform” is what the relationship needs.

Value interactions

People are different. They think, dress, act, talk differently and differences are bound to happen. If you can recognise those as the happy by-product of your acquaintance and be willing to let the other perspectives exist without needing to demolish them, people will be more inclined to share their feelings with you. This also means that they will enjoy being with you.

Have trivia to share

Not as an agenda, but things you noticed and enjoyed – the point is the sharing of interesting things you have, not manufacturing something to seem interesting. Notice the world and happenings and have interesting bits to share with people that are relevant to their interests. Don’t impose the latest make-up range with a mountaineer and benifits of organic manure with a computer geek. See if what you’re saying has relevance in their world and you may surprise yourself with how much you expand yourself too – by being alive to another.

Do not chase approval

You cannot please everyone. And if you are a person who influences others, then remember that change is rarely pleasant. Change unsettles people. Be congruent and transparent and people will trust you because of it. This is not the same thing as being popular. The person who everyone likes to party with is not necessarily the same person whose opinions are seeked when making decisions. A person who influences decisions is one whose intention is clear and useful and who is transparent and trustworthy.

This post is from an old email to someone who wanted to know.

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