5 Simple but Crucial Habits to Build a Positive Personality

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Building a positive influence over people is hard work. It is not only about how you interact with people but also about how you compose yourself when no one is looking.

The behaviors you tend to do when you’re alone percolates into your personality no matter how conscious you are in front of others.

As I’ve learned the hard way, it does not matter how you behave with others. You cannot decide you want a positive influence over a particular set of people. You either have it with everyone, or you don’t.

This is because having a charming presence begins with a change in your value systems. This change is what transforms you from the core. It’s what makes your personality permanent. Without a change in your core beliefs and a subsequent change in your thinking habits, you’ll not be able to emanate the presence you wish.

Here are a few beliefs and habits you can work on to change for the better. All of them are simple to understand. Almost none is easy to implement. But even if you focus on one, you can see your relationship with yourself and with others improve drastically.

#1. Choose Your Words Carefully

“The tongue has no bones, but is strong enough to break a heart. So be careful with your words.” — Unknown

There are indeed a hundred different ways of saying the same thing. Most conversations, personal or professional, necessitate a thorough, quick evaluation of the effect of your words, tone, and body language.

Your judgment of human nature comes into play here. If you cannot determine to an extent as to how others react to what you say, you’ll always be playing the game blindfolded.

Life will be full of surprises, albeit unpleasant ones. I cannot emphasize this point enough. Though it seems like an age-old adage that you hear from your grandparents, it is immensely powerful.

More importantly, the best skill to learn is to know what is to be left unsaid. When it comes to professional conversations, less is almost always more — talk less, say more.

Words can arouse conflict or form friendships. They can make or break relationships. Whether a child grows to be a confident person or with traumatic memories is often determined by the choice of words that his parents made.

Lost time, a fired bullet, and spoken words cannot be retrieved. Choose them carefully

#2: Everything Is on You

The price of greatness is responsibility — Winston Churchill

Think about the last time you got a promotion. It came with increased responsibility, right?

Well, It also works the other way round.

When you accept responsibility in life, you get a promotion. And what are the perks that come with it?

  • Better relationships

  • Higher income

  • Friendly conversations, and

  • A contagious personality

Most people pass the buck around some way or the other. They play the blame game. They give excuses.

“Everyone else does it that way.”

“No one else does it this way”

“It’s not my fault”

But you don’t have to. You see, the reason we have evils in society at large is not that there are bad people. It’s because good people don’t stand up enough.

History is full of people who stood up, took responsibility, and demolished tons of evil practices that our society was packed with.

People are insecure. They need someone to rely on. Be that person. Be the one to give a handout. Be the one who we believe in. And you can only do it when you shoulder responsibility.

#3. Avoid This Habit Like a Virus

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.”― Maya Angelou

No one likes a chronic complainer. They’re the ones who nitpick. The ones who find the negative needle in a positive haystack. What a skill, I must say though!

There’s always something negative going on with their life. And when you stay with them long enough, you become like them. They’re the one fish that spoils the pond.

Don’t hang out with such people. We all have them in our lives.

On the other hand, take a harsh look in the mirror. Do you complain about petty things that have nothing to do with you?

If so, stop at once. Half of the people don’t care about your problems and the other half are happy you have problems. There’s no point to complain anyway.

The Stoics had it best. They based a lot of their principles on first recognizing what’s in your control and then forgetting everything outside of it.

You’ll be amazed to see the amount of complaining that is around you. Observe people in the coming week. See what they talk about. You’ll find a lot of bitching.

This is exactly why it’s important that you don’t complain. It’s another way of showing that you’re in control of yourself. And a person who is control of his emotions and reactions is the most trustworthy one to be with — personally or professionally.

#4. The Habit That Kills Your Soul

“If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Every time you gossip, you give a piece of your soul to Satan (or whoever is the evil force in your faith).

Gossip is the sensational conversation that is never fact-checked. Which celebrity slept with whom? Who got caught having sex in the hallway? Who is going to get a promotion? And so on.

While it can help connect people, the connection itself is thin. Deep bonds are not formed out of casual gossip. And small talk always comes out of big mouths.

As many will attest, gossiping often leaves us feeling empty inside. It develops a subconscious belief that you’re the kind of person who talks shit about people behind their backs.

Moreover, lying is a close relative of gossip. Rest assured, the person who talks shit about people not in the room will also talk about you when you’re gone.

Just like chronic complainers, avoid people who gossip and avoid gossiping yourself.

As I wrote in a separate post, here are a few questions to reflect on, when you catch yourself gossiping next time:

  • Is it the truth?

  • Is it kind and gentle?

  • Is it necessary?

  • Am I spreading rumors?

  • Do I say positive things about others?

  • Do I enjoy and encourage others to spread rumors?

  • Does my conversation begin with “Don’t tell anyone?”

  • Can I maintain confidentiality?

#5. Make People Die to Talk to You

Here’s a superpower that no one talks about: speak softly.

Our culture associates loudness and arrogance as masculine qualities. Even ambitious women think they have to put the mask of masculinity on to succeed.

And it does make sense at some level, right? But only if you believe that the world is some sort of a deadly jungle where the only way to survive is to shout at the top of your lungs, insult people and put others down.

For the rest of us who live on Earth, it’s not true at all.

The smartest people in the world have their mouths closed. They speak softly because they live to learn, not flaunt what they know. Doing this gives them the opportunity to hear others.

But more importantly, they’re the ones who draw people in. Think about it. You have a choice to meet two people

  • The guy who overpowers you and makes you uncomfortable

  • The guy who isn’t assertive beyond common sense, speaks softly and invites you in

Which one would you hang out with? The latter? I guessed so.

Now, be that person yourself. It’s a crucial skill to improve interpersonal relationships and collaboration. You’ll go far with it.

Final Thoughts

These habits look like they come out of a corny self-help book. But they’re life-changing. Trust me on this.

Now. here’s your task, should you choose to accept it.

Pick one of these qualities that you relate to and need the most:

  • Choose your words carefully; talk less, speak more.

  • Assume responsibility for everything that happens

  • Don’t complain

  • Don’t gossip

  • Speak softer

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Written on August 20, 2020