Far more often than any of us like to admit, our actions are driven by an inner desire to impress other people. This desire is often reflected in the brand name products we use, the bars and restaurants we frequent, the houses and cars we buy and the careers we choose.
But are name brand products, fancy bars, houses and cars really that impressive? What about a person who holds an elite position in a career field they dislike? Some of these things might capture our attention for a minute or two, but they won’t hold it for long.
Why? Because tangible possessions are not as impressive as intangible qualities.
Consider the following questions:
- He drives a Porsche, but can he truly afford the car payment?
- He owns a big house, but is it a loving household?
- He makes a lot of money, but does he enjoy what he does for a living?
You get the idea. Whenever the answer to questions like these is ‘no,’ the subject who initially appeared to be impressive no longer does.
Now take a moment and imagine a person who loves what he does for a living, smiles frequently and bleeds passion in every breath he takes. Would he impress you? Would it matter that he wasn’t a millionaire?
Here are 28 dignified ways to impress everyone around you. If you practice these tips on a regular basis, they won’t just impress others, they’ll help you become a better person too.
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
– Winston Churchill
- Be authentic. Be true to yourself. – Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” Live by this statement. There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes. The only shoes you can occupy are your own. If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing. And ask yourself this: If you don’t like who you really are, why should I like you?
- Care about people. – If you don’t genuinely care about people, they won’t care about you. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness. And so on and so forth.
- Make others feel good. – People will rarely remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
- Be honest and take ownership of your actions. – Nobody likes a liar. In the long-run, the truth always reveals itself anyway. Either you own up to your actions or your actions will ultimately own you.
- Smile often. – Everyone likes the sight of a genuine smile. Think about how you feel when a complete stranger looks into your eyes and smiles. Suddenly they don’t seem like a stranger anymore, do they?
- Respect elders. Respect minors. Respect everyone. – There are no boundaries or classes that define a group of people that deserve to be respected. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you would give to your grandfather and the same level of patience you would have with your baby brother. People will notice your kindness.
- Address people by their name. – People love the sight and sound of their own name. So make sure you learn to remember names. Use them courteously in both oral and written communication.
- Say “Please” and “Thank you.” – These two simple phrases make demands sound like requests, and they inject a friendly tone into serious conversations. Using them can mean the difference between sounding rude and sounding genuinely grateful.
- Excel at what you do. – I am impressed by great guitarists, writers, bloggers, painters, motivational speakers, internet entrepreneurs, computer engineers, mothers, fathers, athletes, etc. There is only one thing they all have in common: They excel at what they do. There’s no point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it right. Excel at your work and excel at your hobbies. Develop a reputation for yourself, a reputation for consistent excellence.
- Help others when you’re able. – In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less. Everyone values the gift of unexpected assistance and those who supply it.
- Put a small personal touch on everything you do. – Think of it as branding your work. If you’re funny, add a little humor into it. If you’re an artist, decorate it with illustrations. Whatever you do, customize it with a little personal touch of ‘you.’
- Over-deliver on all of your promises. – Some people habitually make promises they are just barely able to fulfill. They promise perfection and deliver mediocrity. If you want to boost your personal value in the eyes of others, do the exact opposite. Slightly under-sell your capabilities so that you’re always able to over-deliver. It will seem to others like you’re habitually going above and beyond the call of duty.
- Get organized. – How can you get anything accomplished if you aren’t organized? You can’t. Make a regular habit of organizing your living space and working space. For some practical organizational guidance, I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
- Do your research and ask clarifying questions. – Don’t be that clueless dude in the room who just nods like he knows what’s going on. Prepare yourself by doing research ahead of time. And if something still doesn’t make sense to you, ask questions. The people involved will respect your desire to understand the material.
- Share knowledge and information with others. – When you can, be a resource to those around you. If you have access to essential information, don’t hoard it. Share it openly.
- Be positive and focus on what’s right. – Everything that happens in life is neither good nor bad. It just depends on your perspective. And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should. Either you succeed or you learn something. So stay positive, appreciate the pleasant outcomes, and learn from the rest. Your positivity will rub off on everyone around you.
- Listen intently to what others have to say. – Eyes focused, ears tuned, mobile phone off. In a world that can’t move fast enough, someone who can find time to listen to others is always appreciated.
- Be faithful to your significant other. – Tiger Woods was everyone’s hero until recently, wasn’t he? Sustained fidelity in a long-term intimate relationship is not only impressive, it creates a healthy foundation for everything else you do.
- Learn to appreciate and love Mother Nature. – Those who truly appreciate and love the natural world surrounding us typically exhibit the same high regard for all humanity. It’s a positive way to live, and it’s something people notice.
- Invest time, energy and money in yourself every day. – When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life. You are simply the product of what you know. The more time, energy and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge, the more control you have over your life and the more valuable you will be to everyone around you. For fresh ideas on self improvement and lifestyle design, I recommend The 4-Hour Workweek.
- Perform random acts of kindness on a regular basis. – Pay for a stranger’s coffee in line at Starbucks. Buy the office receptionist flowers just to say, “Thank you.” Help an elderly lady with her groceries. There’s nothing more rewarding than putting smiles on the faces around you.
- Compliment people who deserve it. – Go out of your way to personally acknowledge and complement the people who have gone out of their way to shine. Everybody likes to hear that their efforts are appreciated.
- Speak clearly and make eye contact. – Most people have a very low tolerance for dealing with people they can’t understand. Mystery does not fuel strong relationships and impressiveness. Also, there’s little doubt that eye contact is one of the most captivating forms of personal communication. When executed properly, eye contact injects closeness into human interaction.
- Make yourself available and approachable. – If people cannot get a hold of you, or have trouble approaching you, they will forget about you. Your general availability and accessibility to others is extremely important to them. Always maintain a positive, tolerant attitude and keep an open line of communication to those around you.
- Be self-sufficient. – Freedom is the greatest gift. Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom. And self-sufficiency is quite impressive too. In the business world, it’s one of the primary dreams that inspire people to give-up their day jobs to pursue entrepreneurship.
- Exploit the resources you do have access to. – The average person is usually astonished when they see a physically handicap person show intense signs of emotional happiness. How could someone in such a restricted physical state be so happy? The answer rests in how they use the resources they do have. Stevie Wonder couldn’t see, so he exploited his sense of hearing into a passion for music, and he now has 25 Grammy Awards to prove it.
- Be a part of something you believe in. – This could be anything. Some people take an active role in their local city council, some find refuge in religious faith, some join social clubs supporting causes they believe in, and others find passion in their careers. In each case the psychological outcome is the same. They engage themselves in something they strongly believe in. This engagement brings happiness and meaning into their lives. It’s hard not to be impressed by someone who’s passionate about what they’re doing.
- Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them. – Yes, it is possible to stand up for your beliefs without foisting them down someone else’s throat. Discuss your personal beliefs when someone asks about them, but don’t spawn offensive attacks of propaganda on unsuspecting victims. Stand firm by your values and always keep an open mind to new information.
Of course, the coolest thing about this list is that everything you need to impress everyone around you is already contained within you. So stop trying to impress people with the possessions you own and start inspiring them with who you are and how you live your life.