Success-focused advice for people aiming to be successful
#BREAKINGNEWS: Rapper MRNES & EDM Producer PAUL PICASSO have formed an EDM/TRAPSTEP GROUP “Yo!TrapMidi”
EDM producer Paul Picasso and Jersey MC MRNES join forces to create an EDM/Trap Step group called YoTrapMidi. To form the group wasn’t a hard task since they’ve previously worked together on many of MRNES’s hiphop tracks. They both have fallen in love with the Trap World and feel they can take it up a notch and make some amazing tracks together.
Trap music is a music genre that originated in the early 2000s from Southern hip hop and crunk in the Southern United States. In 2012, a new movement of electronic music producers and DJs emerged who began incorporating elements of trap music into their works. This helped expand its popularity among electronic music fans.
Labeled as the “new dubstep”, trap music continues to expand its popularity. The music was initially dubbed simply as “trap” by producers and fans, which led to the term “trap” being used to address the music of both rappers and electronic producers., Instead of referring to a single genre, the term “trap” is used to describe two separate genres of rap and dance music.
No matter your views on Electronic Dance Music, there is one thing for sure – it never fails to keep things interesting in this ever changing industry. The new movement seems to be Trap EDM, or to put it simply, “Trapstep” and it may be blowing up faster than the entire scene itself. If you are not familiar (and I don’t blame you) it’s pretty simple. Imagine all of the wubs, womps, build ups, drops, etc. you surely are used to hearing by now but throw in a looped Gucci Mane or Meek Mill beat with an overwhelming amount of random ad-libs ping ponging through your speakers. That’s trapstep.
YoTrapMidi will be releasing their first EP together self titled YoTrapMidi. Coming soon. Look out for it!!!
We get asked all the time here at Music Clout; how can I get a record deal? The answer is somewhat complex in this day and age within the music industry. With so many things changing at neck breaking pace, record labels are often changing their approach when looking for artists to sign to their label. However, there are some fundamental things acts can work towards that can increase their chances of locking down the record deals they dream of.
We’re going to lay out the 3 basics of what just about every label that is still in business is probably looking for. You’ll probably agree that these things are very simple and what artists should be doing to constantly be evolving with their music. However, with so many music acts out there that are not growing and following these steps, it sometimes makes the most sense going back to the basis.
Ok, so here are the three basic tips that are at the core of how you get a record deal.
Having The Best Music: I know this goes without saying, but you’d be so surprised by the numbers of acts that just don’t pay enough attention to their actual music. Most people end up getting blinded by the truth, because of close friends giving them praise for the music they’re putting out. Always look for people who can give you a non-bias opinion about your sound, and don’t be afraid to take criticism. It’s always honestly that makes you grow the most. Also, make sure your current sound is somewhat in line to what’s popular within your actual style of music. Record labels aren’t looking to go too far outside the box when it comes to their current and future signings. Always make sure that the music you’re putting out is the absolute best it can be, and if you feel like it’s not ready, just be patient and release the music when it is ready.
Having A Ton of Fans: Nothing will get a record label more excited than signing an act that has a ton of fans. Actually, if just this one area is strong, everything else can be overlooked, including having great music. However, don’t count your lucky stars that this is going to happen to you. Most of the time stories like that are made from “American Idol” finalists and rarely translate to your everyday average up and coming music act. Regardless, acts must always try and work on building a solid and supportive fan base for their music because it’s going to be a main factor in helping the acts build their careers and eventually receive a record deal.
Be Proactive: Being proactive is underestimated and totally underused. If you’re working on growing your music career five days a week and someone else of equal talent is only putting in three, there’s no doubt who’s going to make the most moves forward to get a record deal. One of the best things an act can do to increase their chances of getting a record deal is by breaking up the responsibilities to various members of the group. This technique ads accountability for actions and also increases the overall productivity of the bands growth. Once you start to make strides in all areas of your career, you can then be very aggressive when it comes to really learning how to get a record deal. Start off by finding the labels you would want to get signed to, learn their contact information and start being proactive by contacting them and making them aware of your music.
So now you know what to say if ever asked: how can i get a record deal.
Which Music Discovery Platform Has the Biggest Audience?
A Guest Post by VentureHarbour
This isn’t just another speculative poll on which music streaming / discovery platform is winning the arms race. Oh no! I thought it might be fun to collect a bunch of data from tools used by the digital marketing community to highlight which platform has built and maintained the largest online audience.
I’m going to say up front that this blog post has nothing to do with the profitability, quality, or awesomeness of any of the platforms compared. While this might seem like a naive omission for an article talking about marketing effectiveness, I think a focus on these aspects distracts from the point of which service has built, and is engaging with the largest audience.
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a summary of who’s winning in a variety of categories:
|1st place||2nd place||3rd place|
|Website Traffic / SEO||Pandora||Deezer||Last.fm|
|Number of Users||Pandora||Grooveshark||Spotify|
As you can see, Pandora are our overall winners when it comes to size of audience. While they do have an unfair advantage (they’ve been around for 13 years, have ~1,000 employees and$56.3m funding) it’s worth pointing out that they’re far from having a monopoly. Spotify, Last.fm, Deezer and Grooveshark all give Pandora a serious run for their money in some areas that we’ve analysed. So let’s kick off with the big one; who has the most users?
Which music discovery platform has the most users?
I was hoping to show both paid vs. free, and active vs. inactive users on this graph, as I think that would give a fairer insight into the value and quality of each platform’s users. Unfortunately, these figures aren’t something that many of the platforms give away too easily (although it’s reported that all of Rhapsody’s 1m users are paying a subscription fee, while 5m of Spotify’s 33 million registered users are paid users).
Please note that the graph above shows registered users, not active users.
Which service do people search for the most in Google?
Generally speaking, the more searches for your brand name in Google, the stronger the size and awareness of your brand. I was interested to investigate the volume of searches for each of the platforms’ brand names, both over time and in relation to each other.
This isn’t an easy one to analyse, particularly due to the multiple intents for searching for ‘Pandora’ (it’s also a popular jewelry brand, and a Greek myth), but after having a poke around with various different queries and tools (SEMrush, Google Insights, Google Trends) it became clear that Pandora are indeed the most heavily searched for music streaming / discovery platform on Google, followed by Deezer, Spotify, and Grooveshark, all in close competition.
Interestingly, when you look at these search trends segmented by geographical regions, it becomes clear that each platform is focusing on different geographical markets. Grooveshark (heatmap displayed to the right) are clearly targeting Argentina, Australia, The United States, Mexico and Canada; whereas Deezer are obviously tackling France, and Spotify are making the biggest impact in Scandinavia and the United Kingdom.
Which service receives the most traffic from Search Engines?
It’s very interesting comparing this graph and the one below, as it shows which platforms have placed some focus on SEO as a method for attracting a larger audience. Out of the services compared, it seems that Pandora and Last.fm have both placed heavy focus on building links and generating vast quantities of high quality user-generated content.
Deezer is an interesting one, as despite relatively few links and pages, they receive a huge amount of search engine traffic from Google.fr, which works a little bit differently to Google.com (e.g. it places more emphasis on ranking pages written in French, or created by French sources).
Which service has been linked to the most from other websites?
The number of links a website has from other sites is often a good indicator of the quality and degree of emphasis being placed on online PR & SEO.
Using data from Open Site Explorer and SEMrush, we’re able to see that Last.fm receives animpressive amount of search engine traffic to their website, which appears to be attributed to building a vast quantity of backlinks and the creation of 48 million or so user generated pages.
One thing that Last.fm have done incredibly well from an SEO perspective, is that they’ve encouraged users and artists to link to their Last.fm profile. This isn’t really typical of any other music streaming or discovery service, and it’s had a huge impact in enabling Last.fm to rank very high in Google for searches for artist names, which tend to have a high search volume.
Now I know that link quantity isn’t the be all and end all (link quality trumps link quantity), but in this case there does appear to be a good correlation between quantity and quality metrics, such as overall domain authority (here’s a more in depth analysis from OSE).
Which service has the most followers on social media?
For me, the most exciting insight from this graph is just how exceptionally well Pandora are using Google Plus. It’s not common to see a brand with over 500,000 +1s on the relatively new social network – even Spotify (in second place) only have 24,000 +1s! What’s particularly interesting, though, is that Spotify have approximately 3x as many Twitter followers as Pandora, suggesting a slightly alternative focus between the platforms as to which social network to target.
Besides these two outliers, it seems that Deezer are certainly punching above their weight with over 1.3m Facebook fans, and Last.fm and Rdio both seem to have placed some effort into growing their Google+ communities. Without looking too much into how engaged these various communities of fans and followers are it’s hard to make any concrete assumptions on who’s using social media most effectively, but the numbers seem to suggest that in order of best to worst it goes: Pandora, Spotify, Deezer, Grooveshark, Last.fm, Rdio, MOG, Rhapsody, and then Earbits.
So there we go! Pandora, Deezer and Last.fm have got their heads screwed on right from an SEO perspective. Spotify, the kings of product launches, are doing some very forward social media engagement and online PR, and Pandora is leading the way with the most users.
What I find really interesting about this analysis, is that it’s shown just how level the playing field still is, despite the competitiveness and aggressive nature of the music streaming market. It’s clear that each platform has adopted a completely different strategy and geographical focus, making the progress of each platform very exciting to watch develop.
What do you think? Who will be the winner at the end of 2013
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could always approach big decisions head on, and feel little or no regret, regardless of the outcome? As Yogi Berra famously said; “when you approach a fork in the road, take it.” But seriously, why are decisions often such a source of conflict? Usually, there are three options: making the safe choice, maintaining the status quo, or taking a risk. Any decision would be a no-brainer – if it didn’t involve some risk or uncertainty – since certainty of outcome is one of the biggest myths we harbor. So while big decisions can be daunting, there are pitfalls to avoid as well as ways to make a decision you probably will regret. Think about a current situation in your life in which you’re contemplating a big decision.
Be willing take risks – This isn’t to say you should be impulsive, overly risky or reckless. But keep in mind that when you’re entering the unknown there may be unanticipated hazards. Gathering as much information about possible outcomes can help to make the most informed decision; but remember, there are no certain outcomes. So ask yourself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Imagine your worst-case scenario has already occurred. Feel your emotions. What reaction would other people have? How likely is this outcome? If some of these things did happen, would it really be as bad as I feared? And if things don’t turn out exactly how I hope, will I be able to handle it? Chances are you can absorb the consequences you fear, a lot easier than the “what if” consequences of inaction.
Set goals – Without setting specific goals related to an important decision, you’re setting yourself up for an unclear path moving forward. Set specific goals related to the choice you’re considering. What exactly would you like to happen, and when? Who else will need to be involved and who will likely be affected by this decision? Are there things you’re willing to give up in order to make your goal happen? Once you’ve thought about these things, ask yourself, “Is this goal still a priority in my life?” If the answer is yes, let yourself feel more confident in the choice you’ve made.
Be flexible – As you move forward with a decision, a change of course might be called for. At this point, ask yourself if you’ll still be able to pull off meeting your goal. Do you need to stick with the original plan, or change direction? The ability to recognize when a goal starts to become unrealistic is an important skill. And don’t let this get you down! Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s goals, so continue to raise the bar even higher for yourself.
Conquer ambivalence – Ambivalence is actually a choice in itself-the choice to not make any decision at all. Remember, up until now you’ve most likely been able to make choices and take responsibility for your decisions and you will be able to do it again. Think of a crucial decision you’ve made that you feel proud of. Recall how exhilarating it was to achieve the goal you set for yourself. Making a decision to better your life and strive for greatness, regardless of the outcome, is still an accomplishment you can be proud of.
By doing these things, you’re on the path to competently and consciously take charge of your life. What life decision(s) are you considering making now? Maybe it’s a career change, taking steps to get more serious in a relationship or to end a relationship, making a large purchase, having or adopting children or going back to school. Whatever’s the choice at hand, allow yourself to dream? Most of all accept no excuses; and think about how far you could go if only you stopped getting in your own way.
Michael S. Broder, PhD is a renowned psychologist, executive coach, bestselling author, continuing education seminar leader, and popular speaker. He is an acclaimed expert in cognitive behavioral therapy, specializing in high achievers and relationship issues. His work centers on bringing about major change in the shortest time possible. http://stageclimbing.com
For much more on how to set and meet goals in your life in order to make the major life changes you are contemplating, check out my book Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential.
Service And The Power Of Positivity
By Robin Yukiko – August 20th 2012
I ran into an acquaintance who has been out of work for some time. He complains that the market is terrible and how he is sick of this town. He blames politics and says the dating scene sucks here. Then he hands me his card and says if I hear anyone who’s hiring that I should pass along his info.
I knew immediately that I would not.
Now, I’m a nice person. But, even if I met someone in his field, why would I stake my reputation on someone who doesn’t enjoy a single thing about life, where he lives, or anyone he meets? Why would he treat a job any differently?
As my friend and colleague Donovan Plant so eloquently sings, the universe is a yes machine. When you input yeses, it makes more yes. Likewise, when you fuel it with negativity, it malfunctions and serves you sludge.
The music industry is no different. Musicians, whether we acknowledge it or not, are in the service industry. It is a happy circumstance that we enjoy our work (if you don’t, get out while you still can). It is both humbling and empowering that we should serve others with our music.
When you play a wedding, you are providing the soundtrack to the most important day of someone’s life. When you play a piano bar, you are giving someone a reason to get out of their house, making a lonely drink less lonely. When you teach a music lesson to make ends meet, you are providing someone with the knowledge and motivation to make music for himself, empowering him. Even playing in a cover band gives people the experience of hearing their favorite songs live, reminiscing about their youth, or just escaping to something they know the words to.
And when you accept and enjoy the act of giving through your art, you open the doors–in a very real way–to receiving.
In a similar way that pheromones attract others, yes attracts yes. Giving begets giving. And sincere willingness to serve attracts work. Don’t hold grudges. The world has no pity for sour grapes or resentment. Share with others. Don’t be that guy. Be the guy (or gal) that people want to be around.
The universe is a yes machine.
Robin Yukiko is a Berklee College of Music grad, singer-songwriter, pianist, and music educator in San Francisco. She hosts the SF Singer-Songwriters’ Workshop at the Musicians Union Local 6. Learn more at www.robinyukiko.com.
“I can’t get any work done because I’m always distracted by something”
“I can’t focus for more than 10 minutes”
“I keep procrastinating on everything”
These are the most common problems I hear when I’m trying to help someone out.
I wasn’t the most productive guy a few years ago. I’d start a task and get interrupted every few minutes by something: Skype, Aim, or something on my phone. After I finished a task I would automatically head over to Facebook and Digg as a reward. If you looked around my desk there were empty cans of coke and receipts laying around. Sometimes it’d be 2pm in the afternoon and I didn’t have a single thing done.
I didn’t think I had any issues though because I was making a lot of money in spite of these bad habits.
It wasn’t until I installed a tracker that I actually saw the truth (RescueTime) and it sucked. I was on the computer for maybe 16 hours a day, but in reality I was only doing work half of that time. Go ahead and install it and see for yourself. Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
The ADD Generation and Dopamine
Our attention spans are getting shorter. Just look around the next time you’re having dinner and notice all the couples that rather play with their phones than talk to each other. People in offices everywhere are working in one tab with Facebook in another one. Wasn’t technology suppose to make us more productive?
This has been going on for almost a decade now and I blame it on the rise of social media and smarter phones.
There’s actually something going on biologically that explains why it’s so easy for us to be distracted. It’s because of dopamine – a chemical in our brain that associated with reward and motivation. The biggest takeaway about dopamine is that we’re actually addicted to the anticipation of the reward, rather than the reward itself.
When we hear a DING on our cell phone, we really wanna check it because we don’t know what it’s from, or who it’s from. Dopamine makes us seek the information, we get rewarded for seeking which makes us seek even more. Our scumbag brain gives you pleasure when you do these low value activities.
Now you have an idea of what’s going on, what can we do to beat it?
I’ve collected some strategies over the years that have really helped me.
One of the key concepts to understand is that focus takes time and practice to improve. If you can only focus for 15 minutes, then slowly build your way up to 17 minutes next time. The goal is progress, not perfection.
Caffeine is useful in moderation; just don’t be one of those guys that needs 10 cups of coffee to function. If you need that much caffeine to function then your body’s sleep deprived. I prefer green tea over coffee these days – much more health benefits, less calories, less caffeine, and it releases the caffeine steadily so I don’t experience crashes. I drink a cup in the morning with my breakfast.
I like to get myself a little pumped up before I start working. I listen to some rap music, review my goals, visualize a better future, watch some motivational videos on youtube, read a passage from a book, etc.
Start the Morning Off Right
How you start off you day sets the tone for the rest of the day so it’s important to have a strong and consistent morning routine.
Here’s my current one:
- Wake up / drink water
- Restroom / shower / brush teeth
- Look over the tasks / goals of the day
- Begin Work
I have a really simple rule I called the 2 by 12. My goal each morning is to finish my morning routine, and to complete 3 hours of work by 12pm. This requires me to wake up early around 7am each morning.I always meditate in the morning before I start working. I’ve been doing this daily for about half a year now and I’ve noticed huge increases in my level of concentration. It’s weightlifting for your mind basically. I’m not into that woo-woo shit, meditation is backed by science. (Evidence builds that meditation strengthens the brain)
Clear to Neutral
This means having a clean work environment and desktop. There’s nothing on my desk except my work station and water. Your work environment reflects your state of mind. Michelin level chefs don’t cook in dirty kitchens; you shouldn’t work in a dirty environment. The same goes for your desktop
After your done working for the day, make it a habit to spend a few minutes clean up.
It’s also good to really make an effort to be paperless everything. Switch all your billings to electronic (Save some trees!). Whenever I get a business card or document I’ll take a picture and save it to Evernote.
Block External Distractions
Put your phone in another room with the vibrate on. Don’t let your focus get ruined because you heard a text message come in. It’s not that important.
Co-workers can be distracting too. If you have an office, close the door when you’re working. Stuck in a cubicle? Put on some headphones and get Wired in.
Invest in some sound isolation headphones too. If there’s construction nearby or if your neighbor’s playing house music, then these are lifesavers. I use Bose QuietComforts
Block Computer Distractions
1) Exit any programs that aren’t relevant. Close down all non-work tabs in your browser.
2) Enable a website blocker. I use Self-Control for Mac. Alternatives are Leechblock for firefox, and StayFocused for Chrome. Block distracting websites: facebook, twitter, reddit, forums, porn, whatever.
3) Turn on invisible mode on your instant messaging programs, or just log off them
I really like the fullscreen feature that most programs on Mac have these days. When I’m writing or programming, having the apps take up the entire screen lets me focus on just the task at hand.
I like listening to something in the background while I work – just make sure there’s not any lyrics to distract you.
I suggest starting off with the same song everyday so that it acts as a mental trigger. When I hit play on The Social Network soundtrack, I know it’s time to get to work.
Before each work session, I always write out my objectives. Notice each one is very specific and starts off with an action verb.
“Order tickets from ATL to NYC from 8/12-8/15 at Delta.com”
“Write out 5 ads for xxxxx Campaign & translate them into Spanish at www.onehourtranslate.com”
Your brain wants simple instructions. If your objective is broad like “Build Bizopp Campaign” then you might have some analysis paralysis and start procrastinating.
Working in Timed Intervals
Work in either 50 minute sessions with 10 minute breaks, or work in 25 minute sessions with 5 minute breaks.
It wasn’t easy when I started using timers. After 10 minutes of working I was dying to check my phone or to refresh my stats. It’s years of bad habits built up that you gotta change. Just think of it like a muscle that you’re training. If you can go 10 minutes of fully concentrating before a break, then aim towards 15 minutes next time. Think of your ability of concentrate like a muscle. You can train it to be stronger.
Before I could only work for about 15 minutes before my mind starts wandering. Now I can work for hours at a time.
I personally use Pomodoro Desktop for the Mac. It sits on my menu bar for easy access & it integrates into my Calendar so I can track how many work sessions I’ve completed.
It’s healthy to take breaks, but make sure they’re productive breaks. We all know how easily a 5 minute Facebook / Reddit break can turn into 2 hours.
During my breaks I like go ahead and plan out what I’m doing the next session. I also use it as a chance to stretch a bit, use the restroom, grab a healthy snack, or get some water. For my longer breaks I’ll go outside and take a walk.
Blanking Your Mind
This is a technique I’ve been practicing. There’s so much internal dialogue in our minds and most of it doesn’t help your goals. When you’re on the treadmill, your mind is telling to go take a break. When you wanna start doing homework, it’s telling you that you can just work on it tomorrow.
That’s why when my brain’s telling me to slack off, I just kinda blank my mind. Shut up dude! I’ll close my eyes for a few seconds and take a deep breath. I don’t think. I just start working.
Action Creates Motivation
I think “motivation” as we know it is bullshit. Too many people don’t wanna work because they don’t “feel like it.” They sit around waiting for the day when they’re just going to wake up and get into the zone.
I crave achievement. My body is fucking addicted to the dopamine and positive feelings I get when I complete a task. So when I don’t feel like working, I just start working. Getting started is always the hardest part. Don’t tip toe your way into a cold pool, just jump into it.
Rewards & Punishment
If I don’t complete my tasks for the day, I don’t have a boss bitching at me. I knew so many guys that were straight A students in high school, but completely fell apart in college because they didn’t have to go to classes. The same thing happens to guys when they first become self-employed. Many people can’t handle this freedom.
One trick I use is a system of reward & punishment for myself. A bad week means I don’t go partying on the weekends, and I have to stay home on a Saturday night to make up for it. If I wanna go get a massage, I have to get some tasks done so I earn it. Rewards help motivation.
Sometimes you just can’t focus and don’t feel like working. We all have off days.
- Change your environment. I’ll just grab my laptop and head to a coffee shop for a few hours. Working at home everyday is tough because we’re social creatures. Make sure to bring a pair of noise canceling headphones. One time I couldn’t focus because the Cafe had Nickelback’s greatest hits on repeat.
- Physically recharge yourself. I take a 20 minute power nap everyday around 2pm to refresh myself. If I’m really distracted I’ll just go to the gym early or go for a run.
- Sometimes you just have too much stuff going through your mind. Take a 5 minute meditation break to clear your thoughts.
- Break the task down into the smallest component. Just tell yourself you’re going to write for just 5 minutes. After 5 minutes you’ll find that you wanna keep going.
My Checklist Before Working
- Did I Meditate?
- Is my work area clean?
- Are my tasks/goals for the day clearly defined?
- Am I “invisible” on my instant messengers?
- Is my phone in another room on vibrate?
- Are all distraction websites blocked on my laptop?
What is the goal of all this? Efficiency. Why work 8 hours on something when you can accomplish the same thing in half the time? Use that extra time to focus on what really matters to you. Go exercise, work on your passions, have an active social life, read, etc. Being able to focus hardcore and get work done is a huge competitive advantage.
There’s an internal battle going on inside of us at each moment; the lazy asshole that’s impulsive and always wants immediate gratification vs the worker that wants to fulfill your goals and ambitions.
With each decision you make, you’re empowering one side over the other. Always ask yourself, “What’s the right action?”
You know what motivates me these days. I ask myself where would I be if I procrastinated and had no motivation the past few years? I’d be in the rat race, looking forward to 2 weeks vacation a year, chilling in a cubicle for 10 hours a day, making my bosses rich, saving up so I can afford a BMW 3-series, etc. Each decision you make today directly impacts the future you have tomorrow.
Work hard and be worthy of the advantages you had in life.
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.